Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1) ► Lord Śrī Śītalanātha

Posted: 01.04.2016

Lord Śrī Śītalanātha became the 10thTīrthaṃkara after Lord Śrī Suvidhinātha. He was born as the son of Nandādevī, queen of the king of Bhaddilapura, Dṛḍharatha.

Lord Śrī Śītalanātha in his previous incarnation as king Padmottara of Susīmā city ruled for many years and then took initiation into monkhood from the Ācārya 'Strastāgha' and after difficult austerities gained the nāmakarma of Tīrthaṃkara. At the end of his time, observing fast and completing the life-span he became a god of 20 sāgaras in the Prāṇata heaven. His soul entered the womb of Nandādevī after leaving the Prānat heaven on the sixth day of the dark fortnight of Vaiśākha under the Pūrvāṣāḍhā constellation. The queen saw the 14 auspicious dreams. After completion of her pregnancy she gave birth to a son on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Māgha under Pūrvāṣāḍhā constellation. King Dṛḍharatha celebrated the birth to his heart's fill.

The king's body used to burn terribly and nothing would cure him of this. During her pregnancy one day by the mere touch of queen Nandādevī the long-term pain and burning sensation of the king was cured and he felt coolness and soothing feeling in his mind and body. Hence he named the boy Śītalanātha.

From boyhood Śītalanātha entered his youth. The parents got him married to suitable brides. After remaining in the role of prince for 25000 pūrvas, on constant pleas of his father, with a detached attitude he riled the kingdom for 50000 pūrvas and then, sensing the end of the cycle of sensual enjoyments, he expressed desire to take initiation.

Coming to know of Lord Śītalanātha desire, the lokāntika gods accordingly requested him to do so. After giving one year of charities the Lord reached Sahasrāmravana and observing fast, got rid of all the bad karmas and on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Māgha under Pūrvāṣāḍhā constellation, became a mendicant and immediately thereafter obtained telepathic knowledge. The next day at the home of the king of Ariṣṭapura, Punarvasu, he broke his fast with rice pudding. After this for three months bearing with many kinds of ordeals as a mendicant he again reached Sahasrāmravana and under a Pīpala tree observed deep meditation. In deep meditation he destroyed the four obscuring karmas and on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of Pauṣa under Pūrvāṣāḍhā constellation he attained pure knowledge.

After becoming a kevalī, he gave a sermon in the assembly of gods, celestial beings and men. Speaking of the sad desire for impermanent things in the world, he instructed about the efforts to walk on the path of salvation (mokṣa-mārga) and established the four-fold order, thus becoming a Tīrthaṃkara.

A little less than 25000 pūrvas he observed the spiritual path of restraint and thereafter sensing his life span coming to an end, observed a month's fast with 1000 monks. Eventually, stopping the activities of the mind, speech and body, destroying all karmas on the 2nd day of the dark half of Vaiśākha under Pūrvāṣāḍhā constellation, he attained enlightenment and nirvāṇa.

His congregation had 81 gaṇas and Gaṇadharas, 7000 omniscient, 7500 telepaths, 7200 clairvoyants, 1400 14-pūrvadhārīs, 12000 vaikriya labdhidhārīs, 5800 vādīs, 100000 monks, 100006 female-monks, 289000 votaries and 458000 female-votaries.

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Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1)
Author:
Acharya Hasti Mala
Editors:
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011