There once lived a king named Jitshatru in the city of Vanijya. There also lived a rich householder named Anand in the same city. Anand was a billionaire. He was so rich that he had 4 million gold coins, an equal amount of cash, had invested an equal amount in trade, in ornaments, and other assets. He also owned 40,000 cows. He was highly respected by the king, as well as, the people of the town.
One day, Lord Mahavir visited this town and gave a sermon. After hearing the sermon of Lord Mahavir, Anand decided to accept the twelve vows of a householder. After following those vows for fourteen years Anand decided to renounce worldly affairs. So he called his children and transferred all his business and family responsibilities to them and told them not to stop him in his spiritual pursuit. He was going to spend the rest of his life in penance and meditation.
After some time, due to performance of austerities, pure mental condition and resulting of purity of his soul, he attained Avadhijnan (Limited Divine Knowledge). It just so happened that Lord Mahavir and his disciples were in town. One day, while Gautamswami went to collect alms (food), he overheard people talking about Anand’s poor health, and that Anand had attained Avadhijnan. So Gautamswami decided to visit Anand. When Gautamswami arrived Anand offered his salutation lying in bed. He told Gautamswami about his Avadhijnan and that he could see up to the twelfth Devaloka (heaven or celestial abode). Gautamswami told Anand that although such knowledge was possible for a householder to attain, it would not be possible to see that far. He told Anand that he should do prayshchit (repentance) for telling a lie. Anand was puzzled because he was telling the truth. He did not want to disobey his spiritual teacher, but at the same time he thought it was not fair to repent for telling the truth. So he respectfully asked Gautamswami, “Guruji, is it necessary to repent even when someone is telling the truth?” Gautamswami said, “No.” Gautamswami still did not believe Anand, so he went back to Lord Mahavir to get some clarification.
Gautamswami told Lord Mahavir about his conversation with Anand. Mahavirswami said, “Gautam, Anand is right. He has attained such Avadhijnan that he can see that far. How could a knowledgeable person like you make such a mistake? You are the one who should ask for his forgiveness.” Gautamswami realized his mistake and immediately went to Anand to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Anand was very happy that Lord Mahavir took the side of truth, and not that of his first disciple, Gautamswami. He was also happy that even a great monk like Gautamswami, who had very high accomplishments, came back to ask for forgiveness. He felt very strongly about his religion and the monks who follow it. Anand fasted until death and was reborn as a heavenly angel in Saudharma Devaloka (a heavenly region). After the completion of that heavenly life, he would be reborn as a human in Mahavideh and would attain liberation from there.
The essence of human life is to practice one or more of the twelve vows in daily life. This story tells us how householders (shravaks ) should have faith in truth, religion correct the mistakes of their teachers humbly. It also shows how simple, humble, and a true follower of Lord Mahavir Gautamswami was. When Lord Mahavir pointed out his mistake, Gautamswami went to Anand without any arguments to ask for forgiveness, even though he was the first disciple of Mahavirswami. It also shows how impartial, Lord Mahavir was because, even though it was the mistake of his first disciple, he did not cover it up. On the contrary, he took the side of truth and explained to Gautamswami his mistake.