THE JAIN HEROES AND HEROINES
Jainism teaches a man to be fearless, and there s no instance of Jain having deserted the battle field or turning his back to the enemy While Jain Kings ruled, no foreign invader was allowed to obtain a foothold in the sacred land of Bharat Varsha.*...................
Bharat Varsha remained a free country till the time of Bhagwan Mahavira.** In the words of the Greek
writer no foreign invader even dared to undo the iron-gates of India till His time.*** It was about 500 B.C. ,
that the Greeks first attacked Kandhar, which was then the part of this great country. Its kind finding
himself too weak to defend himself sent a message to the Jain Samrat Srenak Bimbsar and begged him for
help.**** Well, how could a Jain hero turn down a request for freedom from fear.***** He at once
deputed the Jain commander , named Jambu Kumar, to defend Kandhar. Jambu Kumar fought so bravely that
the thoroughly disappointment Greeks had to leave the country.
*Some Historical Jain Kings and Heroes P II and 106.
** Jain Sidhant Bhaskar Part VI Page 72.
***Mc Crindle; Ancient India Page 63
**** Modern Review Calcutta Oct. 30 P. 438br
free.* Something later Parsanirup got a foothold nerar Taxila,but Nandi Vardhan drove him also.
Samrat Chandra Gupta Maurya. Chandragupta’s deeds of valour are described under the head “The Jain Kings and Monarch”.
Kharvela.In B.C.194 Greek King Demetrious defeated several Hindu Kings and reached upto Mathura and the king Pusha Mitra approached him for peace.** This was however too much for Kharvela the Jan Samrat of Orissa who challenged him and fought so bravely tha Demetrious had to go back defeated.***
Chamundaraya the Commander-in-Chief of Rajmala II of Ganga Dynasty won more than a dozen titles for his chivalorious deeds. Some of titles he earned are:
Vir-Dhurendra, Dhirmartund, Ran Raj Singh, Bir-Kul-kaldund Bhuj Martand, Smar Parshuram, and Satya-Yudhister etc.
But inspite of these martial deeds Chamudraya was a man religious bent of mind. In fact he was a pillar of Jainism and a treasure of Right Brief. He was the disciple of Shri Nemichandracharya, who composed his famous Gomatsara for him. He built several temples at various places and his works to glorify Jainism were immense. The colossus of Commetshvara at Shravenbelgola (Mysore) is also due to his religious zeal, which made him immortal as ne of the greatest promoters of Jainism in the South. He was, despite his being a Commander-in-Chief of an army so calm, so steady and so undisturbed in mind that he composed Chamudaraya Puran during the eventful moments of warfare. He also composed a work of Jain conduct entitled Chira-sara, which shows how deep his acquaintance of Jain philosophy was. As a poet he is styled as the crest of the best poets.
*, ** Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society P. 77.
*** Jain Itihas Vol II, Part 2, pp. 39-56.
Abu. The Mohmmedans attacked Gujrat. The commander of that place, Abu, who had taken the householder’s vows, used to observe Pratikarman daily . While engaged in the battle it was prayer time, for which the Jain commander wanted to retire to some lonely place. But, in view of the overwhelming forces of the enemy it was neither easily possible nor considered feasible. So Abuji sitting in his seat on the elephant back and holding swords in both of his hands did his Pratikarma. While so doing, he begged forgiveness fom one-sensed and two-sensed beings, which amazed the other chiefs. Pratikarman being over Abu challenged his counterpart, but even before the invader could make any reply, the Jain hero gave the opponent such a blow that he reeled under its effect.
This made every man, woman & child of Gujrat sing Abu’s praises. While presenting an address the
Maharani Jocularly remarked “Well Abu Ji, while you were asking forgiveness from one-sensed and
two-sensed beings our forces had lost all hopes of victory for it was argued that a general who was
asking forgiveness from one-sensed and two-sensed beings would hardly be able to kill five –sensed
At this, the Jain Vir Abu replied “ Your Majesty, the vow of non-violence that I was taken concern may Soul and my individual self. But so far as it concerns obedience to the orders of and the welfare of the state, I consider t my first and foremost duty to fight and if necessary to kill the adversary in the battle- field. You should also know tht my physical self is th property of the country and as such its use must also conform to its commands. But as regards my Soul, it is my private property, which I must save in accordance with the dictates of the vow of Ahimsa taken by me.*
Vachup and Irugup. The Musalmans invaded Konkan. The Raja of Vijaynagar in order to save Konkan enquired of his commanders as to who would like to own responsibility for the battle. Seeing that the other knights were confused, the JainVir Vachup accepted the challenge. His brother, Irugup, was also a Jain hero. Both of them fought so bravely that the Hindu Rajas vociferously sand their praises, and out stome slabs depicting their courage and valour.2
King Suhidev. Masud the Commander-in-Chief of Sultan Mahmud Ghazni attacked India in 1033 A.D. The Hindu Kings unitedly opposed the invader with all their might. A severe battle raged on the bank of the River Kutil. The situation having became acute for the invaders, they sandwiched* rows of cows between their own lines and that of the defenders. This had the desired effect, for the Hindus were very much non-plussed,**
besieged and at last defeated.3 The Jain King, Suhidev of Shivasti (Gonda) coul not bear the ignominy of his country lying prostrate at the feet of the aliens4. He went to the temple, bowed before the image of Lord Sambhav Nath, the third Jain Tirthankara, and vowed that he would drive away the tyrants5. All the soldier repeated the voew.
Raising cries of “Victory of Lord Mahavira”,6 the soldier threw darts on the cows, which dispersed in no time.7 The battle raged on for days and at last he moslem forces got depleted. Their Commander Masud was also killed in this battle8 and the vow of the Jain Vira Suhildev was fulfilled.
1 to 3) Shri Vasti aur uske Naresh Suhildev. Ray (World Jain mission) Page. 60-65
4)Smit Journal of Royal Asiatic Society (1900)
5) Herey: Journal of the Asiatic Society Bengal 1892 P.34,
6-8) Shri Vasti aur uske Naresh Suhildev P. 62
*Sandwich-two slices of bread with ham etc in between
** Non-plus-to puzzle; and insuperable difficulty.
Mulla Mohamad Ghazanavi, the writer of Twarikh-i-Mahmudi accompanied Masud in this campaign. On the basis of this Book Abdul Rahman Chshti wrote another book Murati-Masudi in the time of Emperor Jehangir. Chisti writes.9]
“ Masud’s forces ad reached Bahraich on Shauan 27th , Hijri 423 (1033 A.D.), and the Hindus were routed in the encounter. At this Suhildev took charge of the situation and in the end inflicted a crushing defeat on the Muslims, who fled away . Suhildev pursued them htly and besieged them at Bahraich . ultimately Masud and his soldier were all put to sword on Rajabul Murjaki 18th Hijri 424 ( 1034 A.D.)” 10
Ashashah . Maharana Uday Singh was the real heir to the estate of Mewar. But being yet a
child Banbir was made
the regent. Fearing that Udai Singh, when grown up, would reclaim the throne Banbir taking,
a sword enterned the
palace to kill the child king.Panna, the nurse, having guessed the object of the intruder
put her own baby instead
of the heir in the bed! Banbir enquired Panna “Where is Udai Singh?” And with utmost
composure the nurse pointed out
her own darling in the bed. Banbir considering the nurse’s son to be Udai Singh beheaded
him, while she put Udai
Singh in a basket and escaped.
She them approached several chief tains and Jagirdars to save the life of Udai Singh, but fearing reprisals by Banbir they all refused andy aid. At last she came to Ashoshah* and begged him for Abheydan, meaning freedom from fear. Ashshah was not unaware of the might of Banbir but how could such a request be turned down by a Jaina? He bravely assured the nurse not to be afraid of the life of Uda i Singh, whom he would save even if it involved any risk to himself.
Had Ashashah, the Jain hero, not saved the life of Udai Singh and got him his throne. How could Maharana Pratap,who was his son, save the good Name of Hindus ?
9) Shri Vasti aur Uske Naresh Suhidev Part 34 Pages 30-31.
10) Sulati- Masaudi; Tawarikh –Subtgin; Mirati Masudi Twarikh- i Mahmudi; Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal (Special Number 1892); Journal of Asiatic Society , Bombay Special number, 1892.
*Rajasthan ke-Jain Vir Pages 74-79, and Todd’s Rajasthan.
good name of the Hindus?
Bhamshah. There was a time in the life history of Maharana Pratap , who when pressed by constant adverse circumstance , he along with his famished children, had to escape in the jungles. In such circumstances loaves made of crushed grass were prepared , but a cat took away even such meals.
In sheer desperation Pratap was about to address a letter suing for peace with Akba, when Bhamashah
Jain appeared on the scene and remonstrated that till body and Soul were together he won’t allow his
country to fall an easy prey to slavery .
The Maharana burst out into tears,and said “I have not a single piece of feed the force,how long can i continue to fight?” At this Bhamashah, at once put down at the feet of Pratap the very large quantity of wealth he had. The Maharana refused to accept it saying that the Rajputs do not take back what they have once given away. “
I am not making over the wealth to your personal self”, replied Bhamashah Jain, “ My country needs it and I am simply complying with its demands. You kindly gather the army, and I will fight for its honour.”
In the words of Todd the wealth offered was sufficient enough to maintain forces of twenty five thousand strong for ten years. Maharana Pratap gathered his armies and Bhamashah , along with his brother Tara Chand left to give at Haldighati on the 25th Jne, 1276, such a tough fight to the Mughal bands that there was an utter confusion in the enemy camp.
Kothariji. In the words of Pandit Gousi Shanker Hira Chand Ojha:
The Moghal forces having attacked Mewar, Maharana Sangarm Singh Devatia deputed the Jain Hero Kothari
to oppose Ranbaz Khan.
The Rajput chieftains jocularly remarked “ Well Kothariji, you have now to deal with a battle-field , it is not a question of weighing wheat flour.”
Kothariji replied, “Don’t be afraid on this account, you will see how I keep the balane with both hands in the battle.” When fighting commenced Kothariji let the others. Tying the horse reins to his girdle, he wielded double swords with both hands. To the Rajput chieftains he carried out , “ Let those, who wanted to see me weighing wheat flower and keeping the balance even, come forward”. The brave Jain Vir Kothari thus inflicted such a crushing blow to the enemy that both the Rajputs and the Moghals could not help admiring his courage.1
Dayal Das Jain. When Auranzeb’s injustice exceeded all expections,Dayal DassJain, the Commander-in-Chief of Rajsingh of Mewar could not tolerate it. He made the Rana write a letter to Aurangzeb in which he admonished him against perperation of the tyaranies2 he was indulging in. Aurangzeb was out of himself with rage, when re read the letter, and in consequence attacked Mewar. Dayal Dass Jain in order to put an end to his highhanded bigotry;
himself dew a sword and in the words of Col. Todd “ fought so bravely that the Mughal armies had to make a forced retreat.”3 Azim Khan Aurangzeb’s son was also at some distance from Mewar. Dyal Dass Jain then turned towards him a gave him a very stiff fight, and at last took hold of the fort.3
1-4 Rajputana ke Jain Vir Page 121 and Tod.
The Jain Heroines :
Women also filled an important place in the blessed order of Tirthankara Mahavira. They have been defender of the faith and promoters of the culture of Ahimsa. To them love of country and Dharma was of primary importance. The thing of interest is that these women champions of Jainism hailed from all sections of the people, notably from royalty, the nobility and the houses of the great ministers and generals. They were the shining luminaries in the realm of religion and state alike.
Chandana was the daughter of the King Chtaka of Vaishali.
She was appointed as the head of the order
of nuns by Tirthankar Mahavira. Er example has ever inspired the fair sex of the Jain persuasion to
sacrifice their lives for the noble cause of Dharma.
Chelana was the queen of the King of Magadha. It was through her tact and religious zeal that her husband Shrenik Bimbsara was converted to Jainism. She was a great philosopher and was full of peity and religious fervour.
Jakkaladevi was the senior queen of the Chalukya King Vikrmaditya (1077 1128 A.D.) She ruled over the province of Inglangi. She earned praise for her good rule and heroic deeds and came to be known as Kali-Kala Parvati & Abhinava Saraswati. She was a follower of Jina Dharma.*
Saviyabbee. During the reign of Gangas Shaviyahbee became renowned for her bravery. When her husband Loka Vidyadhara went out to fight a battle,she used to acoompany him on horse-back and fell fighting a battle of Bagiyur. In an inscription she is praised as second Revati in beauty. Devaki in observance of Dharma,and Sita in being faithful to her husband. She was aliving Jina-Shasana-Devta as well as heroine of the battle-field.**
Patil, Dasksina Jain Dharma p. 144.
**Hiralal, Jain---Shelakhna-sangraha p. 146
Bhairadevi. Queen Bhairadevi ruled over the Kingdom of Gerosoppe in
the 16th century A.D. Sardar
Venkatappa Nayaka was of Shaiva pursuatin .He could not reist the temptation to attack the territory
of the pious queen. The jain queen faced the enemy bravely and defeated him in the battle,
on he played a foul game with her and mudred her treacherously. She was a true heroine who lived and
died for Jainism.*-
* Shitalprsad, Madras Prant ke Jain Smarka p. 136
Conlcusion. We have now come to the last word. The object of writing the two chapters entiled “The Jain Kings & Monarch’ and “The Jain Hero and Heroines” is to show that Jainism also points out the futility of the present day method of settling disputes through brute force. It is said our valiant friend America has amassed ten or even more tons of destructive matter for each man, woman or child inhabiting this globe, and Russia is proud to possess still more of this filthy stuff. We can well imagine wat would be the results if this spark sets the earth to fire. Compare this with the methods employed by Bharata and Bahubali, the two sons of the first Tirthankara Rsabha. As a result of human weakness and being infested with the greed of power and pelf,Bharata had an occasion to fight with his own brother.But they fought not a bloody battle-their’s was a fight of Ahimsa- a competitive swimming , wrestling and gazing and the younger brother was victorious . Bharata was greatly agitated and took resort to destructive weapons but this aroused the Ahimsic feeling in the heart of Bahubali, who instantly renounced the world and became leader of the heroes divine. Time and space, at our disposal, forbid us to discuss in more details how the Jain monarchs, kings and generals, etc. fell fighting in defence of the religion and the country . Jainism is even blamed for the downfall and final slavery of India due to its creed of Ahimsa. What the critics conveniently forget is that while Jain Kings ruled no foreign invader dared to set foot on its sacred soil. When Alexandar and his legions were the terror of his times it was the Jain King Chandra gupta Mauriya, who crushed and defeated him and hurled him out of the motherland. When through centuries of persecution of the Jains, the Hindus rose to power it was only then that the invaders were able to do their worst and remain here.It was, infact , the stangle-hold of the Hindu caste-system that fetish of blood superiority which separated and cut up into disu nited and therefore useless units and prevented the union of the whole country that was responsible for India’s ruination. The modern world infatuated as it si with the greed of wealth and kingdoms the ideal of Ahimsa and Panchsheela has little attraction , but we have seen or our pain, the results of wars to end wars. Sooner or later, nay perhaps sooner than latter , humanity , let us hope, shall have to learn the lesion that soul- force is more powerful than brute-force.