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The Compassion Of Lord P�rshvanath

Once a hermit named K�math was performing a sacrificial ritual in the outskirts of a town. He was wearing a single cloth and had ashes rubbed all over his body. The sun was shining and it was very hot. The hermit had also lighted sacrificial fires all around him. The whole town was amazed by the austere performance, and people came in big groups to see him. They were bowing down to K�math with reverence, and he was blessing them.

Seeing groups of people going, Prince P�rshvan�th got curious to see what was going on. He went there. He was astonished by hermit's

austerity. Soon, with his extra sensual power, prince noticed a snake burning in a log of wood. Prince P�rshvan�th felt pity for the hermit who was unknowingly indulging in the gross violence. Prince P�rshvan�th said, "Oh Hermit, what are you doing? Do you realize that there is a snake burning in the fire? This is not a good ritual that you are performing."

After hearing these words, the hermit got very angry. He shouted, "Oh naughty child, what do you know about this holy ritual? You are very rude."

Prince P�rshvan�th ignored the hermit. He asked his servant to pull out the log and split it open. To every one's surprise, a half burnt snake fell out of the log. The hermit felt ashamed, and his face turned pale. The Prince recited the Namok�r Mantra to the dying snake. The snake thanked the Prince in his mind and died peacefully under the impact of Namok�r Mantra. Due to the snake's serenity while listening to the Namok�r Mantra, he was reborn as Dharanendra, the king of heavenly angels.

All the people left the scene thinking about the undesirable ritual of the hermit. K�math felt disgraced and left with anger and hatred towards the prince. K�math soon died without repenting for his anger and hatred towards the prince. Since he had some good austerities, he was reborn as the angel in control of rain called Meghkumar.

Prince P�rshvan�th became the king of the city V�r�nasi. After a few years he renounced his worldly life and became a monk. Once, while he was standing in meditation, the angel Meghkumar saw him. Because of his anger for P�rshvan�th during his previous life, Meghkumar's anger knew no bounds. He decided to take revenge. He created lots of physical torture to monk P�rshvan�th. He was in deep meditation and was not disturbed. This made Meghkumar furious. He created thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. The water began to flood. Its level started to rise.

At that time the throne of Dharanendra began to shake. He made use of his heavenly power to see what was happening. He saw monk, P�rshvan�th, being harassed by Meghkumar. He came to the earth in the form of a multiheaded snake. He spread his hoods over the monk like an umbrella and protected him from the heavy pouring of the rain. He asked Meghkumar in anger, "Oh, atrocious creature, do you know what you are doing? Why are you acquiring more sins by causing P�rshvan�th to suffer? Now stop this havoc!" The monk was so deep in meditation that he did not even know what was going on.

Meghkumar was frightened by Dharanendra's anger and instantly removed all the water. He asked for forgiveness from the P�rshvan�th and then left. Shortly after that incident P�rshvan�th attained omniscience and became the twenty-third Tirthankar of the present era.

 Questions:

1) What was K�math doing?

2) Why did Prince P�rshvan�th ask his servant to pull out the log from the fire?

3) Why did the snake become a heavenly angel in the next life?

4) Why did Meghkumar pour heavy rain on P�rshvan�th?

5) What did Dharanendra do? Why?

6) What did Meghkumar do to the monk before he left?