Shri Amar Muni
SHANTINATH BHAGAVAN -
The account of the earlier incarnations of Bhagavan
Shantinath indicates that his being had taken the path of discipline that
lead toward purity of soul many births before. As a result of this
uplifting during his incarnations as Shrisen and Vajrayudh it was born as
Meghrath, the son of king Dhanrath of Pundarikini town in Purva Mahavideh
area. At the proper time, king Dhanrath gave the kingdom to Meghrat and
became an ascetic.
Protection to a
Meghrath was a benevolent and religious ruler. He was
compassionate and protected all living things. Being a Kshatriya and a
warrior he had the chivalry to sacrifice all he had in order to protect
those in trouble.
One day while observing the partial renunciation vow (Paushadh)
he was about to start a discourse on the religion propagated by the
Tirthankars. All of a sudden a pigeon, trembling with fear, fell in his
lap and uttered in choking human voice, "Save me, O king! Give me refuge,
take me under your protection!" The compassionate king comforted the bird
and took it under his protection.
The pigeon was followed by a falcon who too uttered in
human language, "O king! This pigeon is my food, leave it alone." The king
tried to explain, "It has taken refuge with me, as such I am duty bound to
protect it. I will give you any type of food you want; why kill a living
thing just to fill your stomach?"
The falcon insisted, "If you will not leave it I may
die of hunger. I am a carnivore; who will provide me food. If I die, you
will be responsible and bear the sin."
When the falcon did not yield, Meghrath said at last,
"O falcon! As long as I exist, I will not allow you to die. I will cut out
flesh from my body equivalent to the weight of this little pigeon and give
it to you. You may satisfy your urge to eat. But under no circumstance I
shall allow you to kill the bird that has taken refuge with me."
The falcon agreed to this proposal and the king put the
pigeon in one pan of balance and in the other started putting pieces of
flesh cut out from his own body. Surprisingly, the weight of the pigeon
continued to increase as the king went on putting his flesh in the pan.
Witnessing this pathetic scene, the queens and the members of the assembly
were moved to tears. They requested the king not to sacrifice his precious
life for a mere pigeon. The falcon, was also requested relent but he too
The king continued to cut flesh from his body and put
it in the pan of the balance. At last, when the pieces of flesh were not
enough, the king got up from his seat and sat down in the pan. Everyone
present was dumb struck at this lofty compassion and chivalry displayed by
the king. Suddenly there was a flesh of divine light and a divine
personage appeared. The pigeon and the falcon disappeared. The god
addressed the king, "Maharaj! The king of gods was praising your
compassion and courage, in his assembly. I could not contain myself and
came around to test you myself. All this was my creation. You come out
with flying colors. You are worthy of the praise bestowed on you by the
King of gods. Please forgive me." The god filled Meghrath�s wounds
instantaneously and left for his abode.
Whenever there is a talk about chivalry and compassion
king Meghrath�s name is taken with respect.
Disturbed by the miseries of the mundane life, one day
king Meghrath was doing mediation. He transcended to a very high level of
purity. Knowing about this uncommon purity and determination of Meghrath
the king of gods bowed to him with reverence, "My salutations to you O
citizen Yogi! there are but a few in this world who could reach this level
of detachment and purity." Two senior consorts of Indra, Surup and Atirup
did not like this gesture of praise of a mere human. They both came to
disturb the meditation of Meghrath. They made several beautiful and
voluptuous damsels appear before the king. These beauties tried to disturb
Meghrath by a display of dances and inviting gestures. When these night
long seductive afflictions failed to disturb king Meghrath, the goddesses,
before returning to their abode, appeared themselves and asked the king to
King Meghrath, then, coronated his on and took Diksha
from Arhat Dhanrath. Due to his increasing purity in meditation in the
face of many afflictions, he earned the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma.
Completing his age he reincarnated in the Sarvarthsiddha dimension of
From the dimension of gods, the being that was Meghrath
descended into the womb of queen Achira, wife of king Vishvasen of
Ikshvaku clan and ruler of Hastinapur.
Once there was a great storm in the Hastinapur area.
There were heavy rains and many other calamities. An epidemic followed
these calamities and hundreds of people started dying every day. The
masses appealed tot he king to save them, but the king took a vow that he
will not eat or drink as long as peace and normalcy does not return to his
Move by this harsh vow of king Vishvasen, the king of
gods himself appeared before the king said, "O king! You are disturbed
unnecessarily. Is there any death at the place where the wish-fulfilling
trio of Chintamani, Kalpavriksha, and Kamdhenu (divine gem, tree and cow)
exist? The embodiment of peace is being carried by queen Achira Devi in
her womb and you still feel disturbed. It surprises me!" The Indra then
sang a panegyric in praise of the Tirthankar and advised the king, "Let
the queen got to he roof top and sing this panegyric. After this, let her
throw a glance at the vast expanses of your kingdom all around. This
pacifying glance of the queen will remove all miseries from wherever it
On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of
Jyeshta the queen gave birth to the great and illustrious son. The whole
universe, including even the hell, was pervaded by a soothing glow and a
feeling of joy and happiness. Due to the pacifying influence during the
period of pregnancy, the new born named Shanti Kumar (Shanti = Peace).
When he came of age he was married to several beautiful princesses. At
proper time king Vishvasen gave the kingdom Shantinath and took Diksha.
After a few years king Shantinath got a son who was
named Chakrayudh. Several years later, the divine disc weapon appeared in
the armory. When the traditional worship rituals of this weapon were
concluded, it started moving toward the east on its own. Shantinath
followed the Chakra with his armed forces. Most of the kings on the way
surrendered. After defeating the remaining few Shantinath became a
When, after a long and peaceful reign, he realized that
the moment for his renunciation was approaching, Shantinath went into the
Sahasramra jungle, and, becoming an ascetic commenced his practices.
After wandering as an ascetic for one year he returned
to the same jungle and there, on the ninth day of the bright half of the
month of Paush, he attained omniscience under a Nandi tree. His first
discourse was on the subject of disciplining the senses. He came to
Sammetshikhar after a long period wandering and propagating true religion.
There, along with nine hundred other ascetics, he observed a month long
fast that started his final meditation. On the thirteenth day of the dark
half of the month of Jyeshta, Bhagavan Shantinath attained Nirvana.