Lord Parshwanath is the twenty third, the last but one, of such great tinkers or professors of religion.
He is he first Jain Teacher about Whom some of the oriental scholar accept that He was a historical person.
Lord Parshwanath was born in 706 B.C at Varanasi and attained salvation in 1977 B.C. from Parasnath Hill
in the Bihar province, a place piligrime for all sections of the Jains.
The following would be read with interest by those who believe that Parshwa, and not Rsabha was the founder of Jainism.
There is nothing to prove that Parshwa, was te founder of Jainism Jain tradition is unanimous inmaking Rsabha, the first Tirthnakara as its founder. There may be something historical in the tradition whic makes him the first Tirthankara.
(Indian Antiquary, Vol.IX Page 163)A news item daed Nov.7, 58 , appeared in the Indian Express:
Shimaga Nov.6, 58, Nineteen graven stone images including one measuring about eight feet in height, believed to be on Parashwanath worshipped by Jains were unearthed here on Sunday last, while digging The earth for laying foundation for a building.
The other eighteen images three to four feet in height are believed to be of Jain “Tirthankara.” All the images were partially damaged.
On the idol of Parshwanath with the seven-hooded Cobra was the inscription:
“Moola Vikyata Mohashaka late (Sambhnda) nugrajnu Voghala lasha Nirmita.”
In the Kanada script.
Archaeologist said that e scsript was in vogue upto 12th century A.D. and believed that the images belong to a period before 12th century.
A brick measuring 15”x9”x1” was also unearthed at the same spot.
From Kankali Tila, Mathura comes on Ayagapata belonging to the Indor-Scythian period which mentions the Vodua-Stupa built by the Devas. The Deva style of Indian Architecture has been assigned to pre Nanda period.It is clear from the Jain tradition that this stupa was rebuilt during the life-time of Lord Parshwa and as such it goes a long way in proving the historicity of Parshwanath.
Stone idols believed to be dating back to the 11th Century, have been found in the village of Kashiwala near Nagina in the district.
The idols were discovered while excavating some buried ruins at site believed to be that of an ancient
Officers of he Archaeolgical Department and some local officials have already examined the idols, some of which will be sent to te State museum at Lucknow and some to the National Museum at New Delhi.
A whole stone image of Lord Parshwanath had been discovered in these ruins earlier. It is soon to be installed in the Jain temple here.
The special feature of the images of Parshwa & Suparashwa in that they are adorned with a canopy of five or more snake hoods. There has been unearthed an image with such a canopy of snake food at Mohan Jadaro, which undoubtedly seems to be either of Tirthankara Suparsha*
The images of Parshwa found at Dharashima in Deccan and Khandagiri Behar are also of great antiquity. Originally the cave temples at Dharsina were constructed by Nila Maha Nila of the Vidyadhara class. Who flourished before Parashwa, Karakanda, the kind of Champa renovated these cave temples just after Nirvan of Parshwa and install the image of Parshwa there. The standing image of Parshwa on the wall of the cave No.2 and another in seated pose are remarkably ancient and beautiful**
The war between Love & Hatred. Poundnapur was the capital of the
country Suramya in Bharat Kshetra.
The king Arvinda ruled over this place. His Prime Minister, a Brahmin by name Vishwabhuti, had two sons
Kamath and Marubhuti. King Arvinda once celebrated Sarasvati Puja ad gave presents to scholars,
on witnessing which Marubhuti desiring to become a great scholar went to the city of Byodha and
studied under another scholar Agnisharma. While he was thus away from his native city Kamath seduced
the wife of his brother Marubhuti. Vishwabhuti could not tolerate this and starved himself to death.
The kind hearing the news of his Prime Minister’s death, prevented the publication of this evil news
and sending for Kamath appointed him as Prime Minister in place of the father. While he was returning
home to assume the appointment, the kind went half way to meet him, and not revealing the situation
the king aske the new Minister, “It a person leads an immoral life with his own brother’s wife, what
punishment will you recommend for him?” Kamath, not knowing that the king had got wind of his evil
action, replied that the right punishment for such an immoral act was that either the sinner must
be forced to hug a metal statue heated red hot, or he must be made to ride a donkey and pass through
the through-fares of the city and finally banished. The king, agreeing to the counsel, instructed his
officers to award the latter punishment. When banished ,Kamath went to a
forest and became a hermit practising tales austerities. When Marubhuti returned to his home, he felt
sorry for his brother and being moved by fraternal affection and going in search of his brother reached
the forest where Kamath was mortifying his self in the midst of five fires, Kamath was then having a
heavy slab of rock tied to his locks of hair. As Marubhti apologetically requested his brother to return
home, he fell at the feet of his brother Kamath vainly hoping that he would change his mind. Instead
the evil-minded ascetic threw the rock on his brother’s head. Marubhuti died immediately and was born
as an elephant, while Kamath was born as a serpent in the same forest. Here again the elephant was
attacked by the serpent and killed.The elephant after neath was, after a few incarnations,reborn
as a Vidyadhara prince. This Vidyadhara prince listened to the preaching of the saint Samadhi
Gupta ad renouncing the world engaged himself in yogic contemplation in a forest. His enemy
Kamath after a long period of life in hell was born in the same forest as a pyton. Impelled by
hatred it, as usual, attacked the saint in yogic contemplation and swallowed him. The Vidyadhara
was later born as an Ahamindra Dev in heaven. After enjoying the happiness of Ahamindra Deva for
the allotted period he as born as a son by name Anand to the kind Vajra-bahu and his queen Prabhanki.
This kind Vajrabahu was rulling over the country of Kosalya, the capital of which was Ayodhya.
He belonged to Ikshvaku dynasty. This price Anand in the course of time became a great ruler.
One day this king Anand celebrating Nandiswara puja in the temple of the Lord Jina situated in the city. Just as that time the Jain sait by name Vipulmati appeared in the temple. He went round the temple and worshipped the Lord. While the saint was seated in the temple Anand Maharaja saluted him and listened with devotion the saint’s discourse on Life and Dharma. After hearing the discourse, the king addressed the saint as follows:
“Master! the idol installed n the temple, in whose name all the religious worships are conducted, is but a material object. It is by nature incapable of punishing the wicked and protecting the virtuous devotees, why them all these paraphernalia of worship and devotion to this inanimate idol”? To this question raised by the king as a result of genuine doubt, the Muni answered thus:
“You are quite right in describing the material idol incapable of differentiating between virtue and vice. But it symbolises, the the Divine Lord. When a person enters a temple, he appears with devotion before the idol, the material representative of the Omniscient Lord. While worshipping he became free from all evil thoughts and his mind is filled with virtuous ideas. < br />These ideas constitute necessary condition for spiritual welfare and future good. This desirable psychic state is caused by the devotional worship of the idol in the temple. Hence this is really the cause which produces the future spiritual welfare and so it is valuable and must be accepted as such”.
*Cf. Marshall, Mohanjadaro Place N. XIII. N.B. The image unearthed must be that of Lord Suparsha,
the seventh Jain Tirthankara, for these Mohanjadaro Harappa, civilisation belongs to a period some
4000-5000 years old. Editor.
** See Introduction of the Karakanda-Cariu Karanja pp. 4-7.48
*** Read also “Idol worship in Jainism” in this book.
The king had his doubt cleared. He enthusiastically went round the temple building and worshipped with devotion at the symbol installed therein and representing the omniscient Lord .
One day when he was standing before a mirror be noticed a grey hair, and realized that it was a sign of the approaching old age. He decided to abdicate his kingdom in favour of his eldest son. After renouncing the royal paraphernalia, he was initiated as an ascent by the saint named Samudra Gupta. Gradually he became absorbed in the practice of yoga.
In the meantime, the hunter Korang who was responsible for his previous deaths was reborn as a lion. When this lion perceived the saint absorbed in contemplation his inborn hated was roused. If attacked the saint and tore his body to pieces. The yogi without swerving from his concentration cast away his body, and was born as Anantandra in Anta Kalpa.Here in Bharat Kshetra in the Country of Kasi. whose capital was Varansi there ruleda king by Name Vishvasen. He belonged to Ugar Vansa and was of Kasyapa Gotra. His queen was Brabmi. The deva Anantardra enjoying his swarga happiness for the allotted period was to be born as a son to the Maharaja Vishwasen. As soon as Devas became aware of this happy event they showered jewels over the city. The queen had unusual dreams and gave a birth to a son, the future Tirthankara. No sooner the child was born than the devas assembled and carried the child to the mountain Mandara. The child was bathed with water carried from the milk, ocean. He was given the name Parshwanath. The child was then brought back to Vaanasi and handed over to the parents. This was 3750 years after the Nirvana of Bhagwan Arishtnemi, Bhawan Parswanath’s body was of light blue colour.
In the meanwhile, the lion, his enemy, after death had to suffer several miseries in hell for a long
period. Then he was born as a king Mahipala in the city of Mahipa Pura. This Maharaja was the maternal
grandfather of Parswanath. When he lost his queen he renounced te kingdom and adopted a tapsi life of
being surrounded by five fires. When the young prince Parswanath entered the forest and passed without
showing respect to this false tapasi , the later was offended. He cried out to the prince whom he
“Am I not your mother’s father? Was i not born of an illustrious family, and have I not given up all to be taken myself of the wilderness? Am I not anchorite, practicing here the severest possible penances? What a proud little fellow you are not to greet me with a proper salutation.
At that time he began to cut firewood lying nearby into pieces with an axe. This was, however, only a pretence for in reality he only wished to work of something of his temper against the prince.
The boy prince who was endowed with clairvoyant knowledge from childhood shouted to make him stop and exclaimed. “There dwell in that log a serpant and his mate: do not murder them for nothing.” The
advice tendered by the print in mercy to the snake was, however, rejected by the hermit as a
result of which the hidden snakes were cut. While the snakes were ding the prince gave them the bountiful
Namaskar Mantra for their future welfare.
Mahipala lost all control “ I see, I see!, he cried, “ you are a sage, a very great sage. But I am your
grandfather. Besides i am a hermit practising the penance of the five fires. I stand for days together
on one leg with little arms. I suffer hunger, thirst, heat and cold, and break my fast only on dry leaves.
It s proper that a youngster, such as you should call these austerities fruitless and unwise?”
The prince answered firmly but in a sweet and wonderfully gentle tone. “The spirit of envy infects all of your practices; and you are killing living creatures here every day with fires. Such practices as yours divorced as they are from right, knowledge are as barren as chaff separated from grain*. Give up these meaningless practices of physical torture; follow the path of the Tirthankara by performing spiritual meditation in right faith & right knowledge: for that is the only road to emancipation.” The prince thereafter returned to his place and the snakes, who due to the wholesome effect of Namaskar- Mantra breathed their last, were immediately born in the swarga as Dharendra and Padmavati enjoying heavenly delight. The hermit on the other hand, due to this balanced mind full of vanities after death was reborn as Sambra-Deva.
Prince Parswanath was not thirty years old. His hears was filled with the spirit of renunciation. He thought, “ for innumerable time I enjoyed the statues of and Indra, yet the just for pleasure was not satiated. Of what use will a few drops of earthly water be to one whose thirst was not quenched by an ambrocial** ocean? The just for pleasure is only heightened by enjoyment as the virulence*** of fire by the addition of fuel. Sensual pleasure through at the moment of enjoyment look pleasant yet their consequences are most bitter and unpleasant; for to satisfy the cravings of the senses one is forced to range in the realms of pains and vices paying no heed to moral injunctions. Hence the soul is compelled to migrate from birth to birth, entering even into the Kingdom of beasts and the spheres of the suffering of hell. I shall, therefore, now waste no more years in the vain pursuits of pleasure.’
Spurning the royal glory Shri Parswanath became an ascetic to realise his Omniscient self. At this the Devas appeared and carried him in a palanquin to the nearby tapovana, where he continued his spiritual discipline. While he was thus absorbed in yogic contemplation Sombra Deva was passing along that place in his aerial vehicle. When the vehicle was just passing over the yogi it ‘ the psofacto* stopped moving further. Sombra Deva looked out of find
*Read “ Selfmortification and asceticism” in this book,
** Ambrosia= The fabled food of the gods which conferred enternal youth and beauty to those who are etc.
*** virulence = Malignity.
the reason and seeing his erstwhile enemy engaged in contemplation, his intrinsic hatred was roused. Wanting to destroy the yogi he created various sorts of troubles. For a week he cast fire, thunder and rain, an hurled rocks over him. Learning the awful situation in which Shri Parswanath was Dharendra Deva, the snake, who was in his previous incarnation given the all-bountiful Namaskar Mantra by the prince, appeared there and protected the body of the true yogi by spreading his hood over him.
The missiles hurled by old Kamath now in form of Sobra Deva fell as flowers at the worshipful feet. Undisturbed by rancour and even the least sense of retribution ** the true yogi continued his contemplation till he realised his infinite qualities of Infinite knowledge Infinite faith, Infinite Power and Infinite Bliss*** He then became the Omniscient Arhant. Immediately Devendras having learnt that the Lord Vasarana, the audience hall.
When His enemy watched the celebrations by the Devas he realised how small he was before the Lord, and how g reat was the glory of Dharma which the Lord now represented. This made him give up his wrath and became humble . He approached the Lord with humility and offered himself as a genuine devotee of the great Dharma , a devoted follower of Ahimsa and a worshipper of the Tirthankaras.
After realising arhanta stage Lord Parswanath spent several years in preaching the Dharma to all people and in all places. Finally He spent one month on the summit of Sammenda Giri. With the help of Sukh Chayan the remaining four Aghati Karmas were also destroyed . His Body was cast away , and the Perfected Soul attained Nirvana.
*Ipso facto=L. In the fact itself.
** Returibution= Revenge; punishment; requital.
Adepted from articles by Prof. A. Chakrawarti M.A. I.E.S & Heinrich Zammer Ph.D. from the
Voice of Ahimsa Jan, Feb. March 1954.
*** Anant Gian, Anant Dharma, Anant Virya, and Anant Sukh.