The Secret of Past Lives: The sons of Bhrigu recollect their previous birth

Published: 23.08.2017

Bhrigu was a pandit. A son was born to him after many years of penance and desire. Bhrigu was given an indication that the child conceived by his wife was a celestial being and hence he will become a sanyasi and that Bhrigu should not stand in his way if he opts to renounce the world. But once the child was born, the couple could not reconcile to the idea of their son turning an ascetic, "Somehow we should stop him from becoming an ascetic. Ascetics normally visit the towns. If we live far away in isolation so that he would never meet these mendicants, he would not get influenced by them. Then there are chances that he would not become a mendicant." Alongside, they created fear in him by saying mendicants cut the ears, pierce the stomach with weapons and kidnap the children. Whenever any mendicant passed by, the child would run into his house out of fear. One day it so happened that the children were playing in the ground when a group of monks passed by with a cloth holding their begging bowls. The boy got scared and wondered what he could do. There was no place to hide and the house was far away. They may do anything, they thought, cut their throats, cut their ears or even pierce their stomach! They prayed to God to help them. They were so frightened that they started climbing trees to hide.

It so happened that the mendicants, looking for a stretch of ground where no grass was growing or minimal living beings were seen, found the place beneath the tree to be the best. They sat under the tree, cleared the place and began taking out from their bags and vessels containing food, milk, etc. They shared the food. They ate their food more out of necessity than desire. The children saw that they did not have any weapon like knife, etc. Instead, the bag contained food items. Were these seemingly kind souls as evil as their parents had portrayed them to be? As they continued thinking along these lines, the mind began to focus and they started recollecting their previous birth, the life as a celestial and the penance and restraint of an ascetic. Strong detachment to the world began to express itself and soon he wanted to renounce the world and become an ascetic. Undauntedly he declared to his parents that he would like to lead monastic life and be an ascetic. The parents tried to dissuade him and explain the problems and difficulties that he would face by going into the monastic order. But the son had a very strong recall of his previous birth and parents felt that their lives would be purposeless. It is believed that the son must light the funeral pyre of the parents and if turned a mendicant, who would do that for them? But the son explained everything in detail.

The parents believed firmly that those who do not have sons cannot attain salvation. They asked him to marry and after fathering a son, he could accept sanyas. Since he was bent upon renouncing the world right then, the parents had to give up. The parents were also ready to renounce and Bhrigu ordered his ministers that the entire property may be deposited in the royal treasury. All of them decided to embrace asceticism. People celebrated the event as the entire property had been given for the people in the king's treasury.

The Queen Kamalawati asked about the reasons for such celebration. When she heard the reason she felt sad. On learning that the queen was sad the king went to the palace. He said, "My dear why are you so sad? We should be happy. We are receiving much treasure in our own treasury." The queen said, "The treasure is being donated by the court pandit after he has renounced the world with his family. Are we going to share his spoils? That too a king instead of giving to his subject is taking from them? Don't we have enough in our treasury?" On hearing this, the king felt like he had been hit by a boulder. The queen continued, "When all the three of them are ready to embrace the monastic order why can't we? We have also reached a stage in life when we can renounce the world." On hearing this, the king could not agree more. Along with Bhrigu there were four more members and the king Ishukar and the queen Kamalavati were also initiated into the monastic order. (On the basis of Chapter 14 of Uttaradhyayan).


Title: The Secret of Past Lives
Authors: Muni Kishan Lal
Publisher: B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2017

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Fear
  2. Pandit
  3. Sanyasi
  4. Uttaradhyayan
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