Mahavir Swami Janma Kalyanak, the world is celebrating the birth of the 24th Tirthankara Bhagwan Mahavir Swami!
It was that divine night of Chaitra Sud Teras when Bhagwan Mahavir was Born!
Let’s understand the life story of Bhagwan Mahavir with sketches!
About two thousand six hundred years ago, King Siddhartha of Nath Dynasty ruled at Kundalpur of Bihar state in India. The name of his wife was Trishala (Priyakarini). Both of them lived at 7 storeyed Nandyavarta Palace of Kundalpur. The name of the parents of Siddhartha was king Sarvartha & queen Shrimati.
One night queen Trishala saw sixteen dreams serially-Aeravat elephant, Bull, Lion, Laxhmi (being anointed by elephants), A pair of garlands, Moon, Sun, A pair of fish, Two pitchers filled with water, Pond with lotuses, Sea, Throne, Viman coming from the heaven, Nagendra bhawan, A heap of jewels & Fire without smoke.
In the morning she asked her husband King Siddharth the meaning of her dreams. He told her with a lot of happiness- “O Devi Trishala! Yor are very lucky because the great soul of Lord Tirthankar has come in your womb.” Queen Trishala became very much delighted and returned to her palace with her divine lady attendants.
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After nine months and seven days, a son more lustrous than the Sun was born to queen Trishala without any pain in the night of Chaitra Shukla 13.
Knowing the birth of Lord Tirthankar, Saudharma Indra came to Kundalpur with his divine family from the heaven.
He took the Tirthankar-child to Sumeru mountain on Aeravat elephant and with performing His birth anointment (ceremonial bathing) celebrated gracious Janma Kalyanak Mahotsava.
At that time, Indra gave Him two names-VEER & VARDHAMAN. Later the same Mahotsava has celebrated at Kundalpur also with great zeal & happiness by the deities in the presence of King Siddharth & Queen Trishala.
Once child Vardhaman was swinging in the cradle at Nandyavarta Palace. By chance, two great Digambar Jain Munis named Sanjay and Vijay came there and only by looking at the Tirthankar-child, the existing slight suspicion about some matter (Tattva) in their heart was at once cleared and so with great delight, they named Him as SANMATI.
Divine child Vardhaman was growing up with sucking the nectar, placed in His thumb by Indra. Both the parents and the whole family were very much delighted seeing the charming childish activities of the divine child.
One day Tirthankar child Vardhaman was playing in the garden of Nandyavarta Palace with his divine friends. Listening about his bravery & courage a deity named Sangam came there from the heaven to test His qualities in the form of a large ferocious cobra.
All the children started running here & there, but Vardhaman was not disturbed at all. Showing great courage, he started playing on the hood of the snake like the lap of mother.
Then Sangam dev appeared in his real form and appreciating the strength & patience of Vardhaman again & again, named Him as ‘MAHAVIRA’.
Vardhaman was growing up gradually. He had always eaten the food of Kalpvrikshas of heaven, so he did not eat the food of his house any time. He also used to wear the clothes & jewellery brought from the heaven. Vardhaman entered the young age from Childhood and passed thirty years.
One day queen Trishala asked Him to give consent for the marriage but the Prince Mahavira expressed His keen intention to take Jaineshwari Deeksha to get free from the worldly transmigration at the place of being married with some girl.
Mother Trishala became very anxious to listen to this but somehow Mahavira pacified her. Later He went to the forest to take Deeksha being seated in Palki.
At the age of 30 years Bhagwan took Jaineshwari Deeksha below the Sal tree at Manohar forest near Kundalpur on Magshir Krishna Dashmi with performing Panchmushti Keshlonch (fist-plucking of own hairs in 5 times).
Deities came and celebrated the Deekshakalyanak Mahotsava of Bhagwan. Mahamuni Mahavira stood up in meditation for 2 days. Indra took away His hairs & consigned them to the water of Ksheer Sagar. He used to attend Bhagwan like a servant daily taking it as his holy duty.
After two days of taking Deeksha, Tirthankar Mahamuni Mahavira went for taking the first Ahar (meals). King Kool (other name-Vakul) of Kool village had the fortune of giving the first Ahar to Mahamuni Mahavira.
He along with his wife gave Kheer (delicious milk food) to Mahamuni with great happiness. Kuber (the deity of wealth) showered five wonderful things like jewels, flowers etc. from the sky at this occasion.
According to the Digamber Jain tradition, Tirthankar Bhagwan keeps silence after taking Deeksha and His Divya-Dhvani becomes available only after getting Kevalgyan (enlightenment).
Once Bhagwan came to Kaushambi, where Mahasati Chandna, the younger sister of queen Trishala (the mother of Mahavira) was prisoned by Sethani Subhadra. Seeing Mahamuni Mahavira, Chandna developed the keen desire to give Ahar to Him.
As soon as Mahavira came to her, all her shackles were broken, beautiful hairs developed on her tonsured head, attractive garments & jewellery beautified her body, her earthen pot was converted into the golden bowl and the low-quality rice (Kodo) became delicious milk food (Kheer) by the impact of her dedication for Mahavira. Chandna gave Ahar to Mahamuni with full devotion and again the deities showered jewels, flowers etc. from the heaven.
Once Mahamuni Mahavira was meditating in the cremation ground (Atimuktak forest) of Ujjaini Nagari.
A Rudra came there and started teasing Him in various ways but courageous Mahavira was not perturbed at all in His meditation.
The Rudra was very much impressed by the courage and patience of Mahavira and after worshipping Him, he gave Him the name MAHATI MAHAVIRA.
Usually, Mahavira has known by the name of Ativira also. Thus the five famous names of Lord Mahavira are-Veer, Vardhaman, Sanmati, Mahavira & Ativira.
About 12 years had passed since Mahavira took Deeksha. One day He was immersed in deep meditation at the bank of Rijukula river at the village named Jambhrika (near Kundalpur).
His concentration became so pious and acute that He destroyed His four Ghati Karmas and attained Enlightenment i-e. Kevalgyan.
It was the day of Vaishakh Shukla Dashmi. Mahavira became ARIHANT PERMESHTHI. Indra ordered Kuber to form Samavsaran, the divine assembly of Tirthankar Bhagwan.
Innumerable beings-Human, Deities, Animals-birds sit in 12 Sabhas (divisions) of Samavsaran and listen to the Omkarmayi Divya-Dhvani (Sermons or Preachings in divine voice) of Bhagwan. Samavsaran remains in the mid sky at the height of 20,000 hands above the earth.
Days were passing since Tirthankar Mahavira attained Kevalgyan but to the surprise of all, His Divya-Dhvani remained unavailable.
After thinking a lot, Saudharma Indra came to the conclusion that the reason was the lack of Gandhar.
He went to the Ashram of a great Brahman scholar named Indrabhuti Gautam of Brahman village and trick fully asked him some question.
Gautam could not reply, so he said that I will not give a reply to you but will argue with your Guru only, thus Indra persuaded him to trick fully to come to Lord Mahavira once.
As soon as Indrabhuti along with his 500 disciples reached the Samavsaran at Vipulachal Mountain of Rajgrahi, all his proud was shed away and he took Jaineshwari Deeksha & became the first Gandhar of Lord Mahavira.
At once the FIRST DESHNA (Sermon) of Bhagwan became available through Divya-Dhvani on Shravan Krishna Ekam (the first day of Shravan month)after 66 days of His Enlightenment.
Since then this day is celebrated as Veer Shasan Jayanti Diwas (day). The sermons of Bhagwan were in 718 languages so that each creature could understand them in its own language.
Once a frog was going to the Samavsaran of Mahavira with a lot of devotion to Him. It had picked up a petal of a lotus in its mouth.
In the way, it was crushed to death under the foot of the elephant of the king Shrenik. At once it became a Dev(deity) in the heaven due to the effect of devotional spirits.
The deity with the mark of frog in its crown started dancing with joy after reaching the Samavsaran even before Shrenik could reach there. Knowing this greatness of JIN-BHAKTI, all were very much impressed. Since then, this story of “frog turned deity” became immortal.
Mahasati Chandna came to the Samavsaran of Bhagwan at Rajgrahi with her parents and with the feeling of deep renunciation, she took first Aryika Deeksha, the highest rank in the female life.
Later she became Ganini, the head of the group of 36,000 Aryikas of the Samavsaran of Bhagwan Mahavira. In the Samavsaran of Bhagwan, there were Indrabhuti etc.
11 Gandhars, 14,000 Munis, Chandna etc. 36,000 Aryikas, 1 lac Shravaks and 3 lacs Shravikas. The ruling demigod is Matang Dev and ruling female demigod is Siddhayani Devi.
King Shrenik, the emperor of Magadh, was a follower of Buddhism previously but on the persistent advice of his wife Chelna, the mausi (aunt) of Bhagwan Mahavira, he got attracted towards Jain Dharma.
Gradually he became a strict follower of Lord Mahavira knowing the eternal & universal principles of Jainism. He used to go to the Samavsaran of Bhagwan and got immersed into deep devotion for Him.
Shrenik asked 60,000 questions from Bhagwan Mahavira being the Chief “Shrota” (listener) in His Samavsaran.
The great effect of JINBHAKTI (Devotion to Jinendra Bhagwan) can be understood well by the life of Shrenik. Previously with malicious feelings towards Jain Dharma & Jain Sadhus (munis),
Once Shrenik dropped a dead snake around the neck of a meditating Jain Mahamuni and at the same momen,t he became destined to go the seventh hell for 33 Sagars (infinitely large time unit), although later Shrenik developed the feeling of repentance seeing the forgiving nature of Mahamuni.
Gradually Shrenik understood the greatness of Digamber Sadhus and the real path of Salvation (Moksha) in the Samavsaran of Bhagwan Mahavira.
He humbly dedicated himself in the lotus feet of the Lord and due to his pure inner devotion to Him, he reduced his Narakayu (lifetime at hell) of 33 Sagars of the 7th hell to 84,000 years of the 1st hell.
Not only this, he bounded Tirthankar Prakriti by following Solahkaran Bhavnas in the feet of Mahavira and now he will become the first Tirthankar named Mahapadma in the coming Chaubeesi (tradition of 24 Tirthankars) of the next age (Yug) after completing the lifetime of 84,000 years of the 1st hell.
Lord Mahavira preached for 30 years all over the Aryakhand in the form of Arihant Permeshthi. His age had become about 72 years. Once He came to Pawapuri and got seated on a great gem-rock in the middle of the Pond, with abundant lotus flowers.
The Samavsaran had been diminished till then. Bhagwan was immersed into deep meditation and He destroyed His remaining 4 Aghati Karmas to become Siddha Parmatma on the dawn of Kartik Krishna Amavasya.
As all the eight Karmas had been destroyed, the soul became completely pure and at once proceeded up to the Siddhashila just above the Pawapuri pond.
Now the Siddha soul of Lord Mahavira will remain consecrated at Moksha (Siddhashila) for infinite times to come being liberated from the worldly transmigration (cycle of death & birth).
Saudharma Indra came to celebrate the Moksha Kalyanak of Bhagwan along with innumerable deities. After worshipping the remaining divine body of Lord, its holy cremation was performed by the flames coming out from the crown of Agnikumar Dev.
Indra performed Nirvankalyanak Pooja & inscribed the foot-prints of Bhagwan at the same place from where He got Nirvan i.e. present Jal-Mandir of Pawapuri (Nalanda). In the evening Gautam Gandhar obtained Kevalgyan and innumerable Deepaks were illuminated by Devtas to mark the occasion. The festival of Deepawali started from then.
Even today Nirvan Ladoo is offered at Jal Mandir, Pawapuri by thousands of devotees at the dawn of Kartik Krishna Amavasya along with the temples throughout the country & abroad and worships of Gautam Gandhar, Kevalgyan Mahalaxhmi & Saraswati are performed along with the illumination of numerous Deepaks in the evening.
This was the entire life of Bhagwan Mahavir who has been inspiring us since ages!
Watch the entire Bhagwan Mahavir Story here :
Also published on Medium.