by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 185,989 words
The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It is a large encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue where Mahavira replies to various question. The present form of the Sutra dates to the fifth century A.D. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his J...
In that period at that time there was a city named Ālabhikā. Description. There was a garden named Śaṅkhavana. Description. In that city of Ālabhikā there lived many worshippers of the Śramaṇas headed by Ṛṣibhadraputra. They were rich, powerful till fearless. They were also the knower of the tenets of jīva and ajīva. Sometime they assembled at a place and discussed amongst themselves thus: “Āryas! What had been said about the existence of gods in heavens?”
Hearing this question Ṛṣibhadraputra, the kṇowcr of the existence of gods, told the worshippers of the Śramaṇas thus:
“Āryas! the existence of gods in heaven is minimum of ten thousand years. Thereafter increasing from one time, two times till ten times, countable times, uncountable times becomes maximum of thirty-three sāgaropamas. There is no god or heaven with an existence beyond this limit.”
The worshippers of the Śramaṇas had no faith, belief or inclination to accept what Ṛṣibhadraputra had said and returned to their respective places.
In that period at that time Bhagavān Mahāvīra arrived there till the assembly worshipped him. Like the worshippers of Śramaṇas of Tuṅgikā they were highly delighted and pleased on hearing the arrival of Bhagavān Mahāvīra till they worshipped him. Bhagavān Mahāvīra spoke at length to those worshippers of the Śramaṇas and the vast assembly till ‘Be the worshippers of the Jinas’.
Hearing the sermon of Mahāvīra and understanding it the worshippers of the Śramaṇas were highly pleased and delighted. After paying their homage and obeisance to Mahāvīra and standing before him they said, “Bhante! Ṛṣibhadraputra, the worshipper of Śramaṇas had told us that the existence of gods in heaven is minimum of ten thousand years. Thereafter increasing from one time till maximum of thirty-three sāgaropamas. There is no god or heaven with an existence beyond this limit.
Is this true Mahāvīra replied,
“Oh Āryas! I also say and establish that the existence of gods in heaven is minimum of ten thousand years till maximum of thirty-three thousand sāgaropamas. There is no god or heaven with an existence beyond this limit.”
Hearing the verdict of Bhagavān Mahāvīra and understanding it, they worshipped and paid their homage to Bhagavān and came where Ṛṣibhadraputra was. After paying their homage to him they politely asked for his forgiveness, again and again, for not believing in what he had said. Then the worshippers of the Śramaṇas asked Bhagavān Mahāvīra several questions and understood them with their meaning when he explained them. After that paying their homage to Mahāvīra they all returned to their respective places.
When they had gone Gautama after paying his homage and obeisance to Mahāvīra submitted thus:
Q. 78. Bhante! Is Ṛṣibhadraputra, the worshipper of the Śramaṇas, capable of taking initiation from you as a Śramaṇa after giving up his household life?
A. 78. Oh Gautama! No, he is not capable. But observing many śīlavrata, guṇovrata, viramaṇavrata, pratyākhyāna and pauṣadha and other austerities he will live for many years as a householder purifying his soul. Then he will court death after a month’s saṃlekhaṇā missing sixty meals and enriching his soul by discussing, and retracing. He will leave this body in samādhi and will be born in Saudharma heaven in Aruṇābha vimāna as a god. Life-span of some of the gods of the vimāna being of four palyopamas Ṛṣibhadraputra will get also a life-span of four palyopamas.
Q. 79. Bhante! Where will he be born after ending his life-span, existenance and stay in that vimāna?
A. 79. Gautama! He will be liberated in his next life in Mahāvideha till will end all miseries.
—Bhante! It is so. What you say is right.
After some time Blxagavān Mahāvīra left the city of Ālabhikā and the garden named Śaṅkhavana and began to roam in the countryside.