In the streets of Polaspur,
a six year old child named Aimutta was playing with a few friends. He was
the son of King Vijay and Queen Shrimati. While playing around, he saw a
monk, Gautamswami, bare-foot and bald, who was out getting alms (food).
Aimutta ran to him and invited him to come to his home to get food, which
would make his mother and him happy. Gautamswami agreed and they left to
go to the castle. Aimutta's mother, Queen Shrimati was standing in the
balcony overlooking the garden. She saw Gautamswami and Aimutta coming to
her place. She was very happy and came down to receive Gautamswami. She
welcomed him with full devotion and uttered, "Mathaenam Vandami (my
salutation to you)." She introduced Gautamswami as a staunch disciple of
Lord Mahavir to Aimutta. She asked Aimutta to go and get his favorite food
to offer to Gautamswami. Aimutta brought ladoos and started pouring them
in a pot even though Gautamswami said he didn't need that many. Aimutta
was so happy offering food to the monk.
As Gautamswami started
leaving, Aimutta said, "Your bag is heavy, let me carry it for you."
Gautamswami said, "Aimutta,
I can not give it to you, because it can only be carried by those who have
Aimutta asked, "What is
Gautam Swami explained to
him that when someone wants to take a spiritual path he must give up his
house, family, and all other social and economical ties. Then he becomes a
monk, and this process is called diksha. People take diksha to avoid the
himsa (violence) that occurs in householder's life. In that kind of
living, people are involved in various activities every minute which cause
to accumulate karmas. On the other hand, a monk don't do those things.
Thus monks and nuns can avoid most of the sinful activities of
Aimutta became curious and
asked, "Gurudev, you do not do sins! But don't you need to eat? Don't you
need a place to live? All these cause sins."
Gautamswami was pleased
with the child's interest to learn, so he explained, "We take food, but we
do not accept food which is made especially for us. We stay in a place,
but we do not own it, and we do not stay there for more than a few days.
We do not keep money, and we do not take part in business or any
organizations. This way as a monk, we do not have to do any activities
which cause sins.
Aimutta said, "Gurudev, in
that case, I want to take diksha."
In a short time, Aimutta
and Gautamswami reached where Lord Mahavir was giving sermon. Aimutta
joined others to listen to his teachings. In that sermon, Aimutta learned
what the life is all about and what one can do if he or she wanted to be
relieved of this worldly sufferings. Aimutta once again expressed his
desire to accept diksha to Lord Mahavir. Lord Mahavir said, "We can not
give you diksha without your parents' permission". Aimutta replied, "That
is easy, I will go home and get their permission and come back."
So Aimutta went home. He
told his mother, "Mom, I want to take diksha. Remember you used to say
that our social life is full of violence, and causes sins? Gautamswami and
Lord Mahavir also said the same. I want to be free of sins. Therefore,
please give me permission to take diksha."
Aimutta's mother was
surprised by his words. She was happy in her mind for his fear of sins and
desire to take diksha because she was also a religious woman. But she
wanted to be sure that Aimutta understood what "taking diksha" meant. So
she said, "My son, to take diksha is not a game. It is a very hard and
disciplined life. There is no mother or father to take care of you. How
will you be able to handle such suffering?"
Aimutta said, "Mother, this
social life also has a lot of suffering. At least we know that as a monk
the sufferings will help destroy the karmas and lead to salvation."
His mother was very happy
to hear this. But she wanted to test Aimutta more. She said, "Son, why are
you in such a hurry? Wait for sometime. You need to take care of us when
we get old, and have your own family too."
Aimutta said, "Mother, I
learned from Lord Mahavir that no one is young and no one is old. I also
learned that no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. No one knows
who will die first or last. So why wait and miss this opportunity which
has come my way."
His mother felt very happy
that her son had fully understood what diksha meant, and what his goal
She said, "Congratulations
my son. I am very proud of you. You will be a good monk. Do not forget
that your goal is to attain salvation, and be sure to observe ahimsa
(nonviolence) throughout your life. We will give you permission to take
Aimutta said, "Thank you,
Mom. I will remember your advice."
Aimutta's mother blessed
him and wished him success in his new life. She also helped get the
permission from his father, King Vijay.
After a few days, he was
given diksha, and became a monk called "Balmuni (young monk) Aimutta."
Some time later, one day
while coming back from the bathroom, Balmuni Aimutta saw some children
playing in a water puddle with a paper boat. He became excited about
playing, and forgot that as a monk he can not play with water. So he ran
towards the kids, and asked if he could play with them. The kids also
became excited for a monk to play with them, and said, "Yes." He took the
lid off the utensil he had and started sailing it as a boat. He was
saying, "Look, my boat is also sailing." Meanwhile other monks came there
and saw him playing with water. They came to him and said, "Balmuni, what
are you doing? Did you forget that as a monk you can not play with water?
By playing with water, we caused harm to many water beings. We have taken
a vow not to hurt any living beings. This is very bad. You have violated
your vow and accumulated sins."
Balmuni Aimutta realized
his mistake. He immediately started repenting, "Oh! What have I done? I
promised my mother that I would not do any sinful activities. How sinful I
am? How nice these monks are to remind me of my mistake! What would have
happened if these monks had not come or seen me?" He was honestly
regretful for what he did. He left with the other monks. Every monk has to
recite the Iriyavahiyam Sutra after they come back to their place from
outside. So Balmuni also recited this sutra. When he came to the part, "Panakkamne,
Beeyakkamne, Panag-daga-matti....(if I have hurt any living beings of
water, green grass, clay,...then I am asking for forgiveness," his
repentance had no bound. He was very sorry for what he had done. He began
thinking, "What did I do? I have destroyed so many living beings. How can
I be free of these sins? How can I show my face to Lord Mahavir? Oh living
beings, I have harmed you. Please forgive me of my sins. I will never
commit these sins again." This sincere repentance did good for him. All of
his destructive karmas were destroyed and he attained Kevaljnan
(omniscience or perfect knowledge). He became Kevali.
After this, Kevali Aimutta
Muni went to Lord Mahavir's assembly, and started walking towards the
other Kevalis who were sitting there. Some senior munis noticed this, and
they started telling him, "Oh, Aimuttaji!! Where are you going? That is
the place for Kevalis to sit. Come over here where the other monks are
Lord Mahavir interrupted
them and said, "Monks, you should not insult a Kevali. Aimutta Muni is no
ordinary monk now. While reciting Iriyavahiyam Sutra, he destroyed all of
his ghati (destructive) karmas, and became a Kevali."
The monks realized their
mistake and thought, "There is no age barrier to be a kevali."
After finishing the rest of
his life, Balmuni Aimutta attained salvation.