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Glory of Jainism: Sava-Soma

Published: 03.10.2012



Savchand Sheth of Saurashtra had a flourishing business. It transcended the limits of his own state and had spread overseas. In the business world in Delhi, Agra and Ahmedabad he had tremendous goodwill, and it was said that his promissory-note would never bounce. Once he lost about twelve ships laden with precious goods, in the high seas. It was a grievous blow to Savchand. The loss was huge and in no time the rich businessman turned a pauper. The creditors demanded their money back and Savchand was in dire state. He did not know what to do. Like the proverbial rats leaving the sinking ship, all deserted him in his adverse condition. But all is not lost forever for good people. Every black cloud has a silvery lining. There is always a good Samaritan who comes to the rescue of one in distress.

The legend goes that saint Narsinh Mehta had written a promissory-note addressed to Sheth Shamalsha. Similarly, Sheth Savchand of Vanthali in Saurastra wrote a promissory note addressed to Sheth Somchand of Ahmedabad. It said, "give one lakh cash to Thakore (owner of village) Surajmalji on presenting this hundi (promissory-note)." Savchand had never met Sheth Somchand and was sceptical about the acceptance of the note and getting the money. Two drops of tear fell on the note from Savchand's eyes. He gave the note to Thakore Surajmalji and bade him goodbye. He arrived in Ahmedabad and reached the house of Somchand. Somchand read the note but the name of Savchand did not sound familiar to him. He asked the secretary to inquire. The secretary looked up all his accounts books but nowhere did he find the name of Savchand. For three days Somchand and his staff searched in vain for Savchand's name in their books. He again read the note minutely and saw two spots, caused by the tear drops, on the note. That explained the whole story.

He said to himself, "These tears are of a man in distress. He has written his note with full trust in me and I must not betray that trust. Here is an opportunity for me to use my wealth for a right cause and I must not miss it." He instructed his secretary to hand over the sum of rupees one lakh to the bearer of the note, though Savchand Sheth's name was nowhere to be found in the accounts books. The secretary was surprised but obeyed the master's order. Thakore Surajmalji returned with the money and Savchand's joy knew no bounds.

As good luck would have it, the ships, supposed to be lost, returned safely. Savchand, accompanied by Thakore Surajmalji, arrived at the house of Somchand to repay the amount. He handed a bag containing rupees three lakh to Somchand Sheth who refused to take it saying he had lent only one lakh and with interest it would come to a little more, but not three lakh in any case. Savchand pleaded with him saying that it was he who had extended the helping hand when he was in dire strait. But Somchand did not budge and the debate continued. At last a solution was hammered out with the help of the wise people of the town. It was decided to undertake a pilgrimage and spend the money to help the poor and the needy They all reached Shatrunjaya Mahatirth and began the project of temple - making and helping the poor. The temples bear the names 'Sava-Soma', a mute testimony to the charity, philanthropy and humanity of the two. Theirs is a story to inspire people to be good samritans, to be charitable and to extend the helping hand to one who needs help.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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  1. Agra
  2. Ahmedabad
  3. Delhi
  4. Lakh
  5. Shatrunjaya
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