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 Parshwanath Bhagwan
Bhagwan Parshwanath, the most worshippable, Tirthankara in the present Chauvishi had nine birth incarnations before he had been to born to the queen VAMA of the king ASHWASEN at Varanasi on the eleventh day of dark half moon midnight of Gujarati Month Magshirsh. His nine previous births are:

Marubhuti
An Elephant
Heavenly god in Sahstra heaven
Kiranveg Vidyadhar
Heavenly god in Achyuta heaven
Vajranabh
Heavenly god in Nav Graiveyak
Kanakbahu Cakrin
Heavenly god in Pranat Heaven and last one as Parshwanath

From the birth of Marubhuti he had entangled with Kamath Tapas. This continued until the last birth. When he was in the eighth birth he had undertaken Tapa of Vissthanak Padas and made sure to have strong bond of Tirthankara Naam Karma. Later on he went to 10th heaven. When he was in heaven he attended 500 auspicious occasions of Tirthankaras. He again bonded solidly with Adeya Naam Karma, one of the 103 Karma prakrutis. Hence, he is called Purushdaniya Parshwanath. Therefore, he is being worshipped very much nowadays. Notable five Kalyanaks of Parshwanath are as under:

Chyavan kalyanak
Janma Kalyanak---Magashirsh Vad Dasaham
Diksha Kalyanak---Magashirsh Vad Agiyarash
Keval gyan Kalyanak---Fagan Vad Chaudash and
Moksha Kalyanak.--- Shravan Vad Aatham

When he was in the womb of Vama she saw a huge serpent passing through her bedside so he is named as Parshwa after his birth. When he grew up he married to Prabhavati a daughter of king Prasenjit.

Encounter with Kamath Tapas
Once upon a time Parshwa was sittin in the balcony with his queen Prabhavati, he heard noise and shouting on the road. He called upon a servant and inquired about it. He learnt that a Tapas had come at the outskirts of Varanasi and carrying out Yagya and had hypnotized the people of the town with his magic power. Parshwa went to the spot due to curiosity. He asked some irritating questions to Tapas. Tapas was irritated and turned angry. However, Parshwa was as cool as ice. He did not pay attention to the words of Tapas. He, then asked his servants to break open cautiously the burning wooden piece as there were twin serpents inside it.

Servants opened it and found the facts. Twin serpents were half burnt and already on the verge of loosing their conciousness. Again Parshwa asked his servants to let the twin serpents listen the "Namaskar Mahamantra." Servants obliged to the order and said Mahamantra. At the end of their life they went to Patal-loka and turned to be Husband and wife as Dharnendra and Padmavati respectively. (Details can be had from Parshwa-Dharnendra Nexus by Prof. M.A. Dhaky) Later on Tapas was downgraded by the audience and gathered heavy spite and deceit for Parshwa. He died and due to his pre-determined Tapas he turned to be heavenly god in the Meghkumar category. His name mentioned in the scripture as "MEGHMALI."

Here Parshwa left the scene as if nothing had happened. His time for initiation drew near and Lokantik Gods came to remind him for the initiation. Before he set out for renunciation of the world, charity custom began to relinquish all the worldly wealth for the one year. After completion of the charity work, he embraced the royal path to salvation. At this stage he attained fourth Gyan called ManahParyaya.


Last and final encounter with Kamath
Once upon a night time Parshwa was meditating near "AHICATRA" town at present in UP. He was so concentrated vigorously in the meditations, he had forgotten the outer world and totally in the own SOUL, Kamath due to predetermined vow realized because of his Gyan that Parshwa was alone now and he could satisfy his will. He came down to earth and started harassing Parshwa in whatever possible means he could. He did not get success. He then produced with the help of his divine power the huge gathering of the dark clouds and started raining heavily with horrible thunderstorms and lightening. He did it so vehemently and dangerously that the outskirts of the Ahicatra town was submerged with the flood waters. The water rose to the level of the nose of Parshwa.

The throne of Dharnemdra shook. He used his divine knowledge to know the cause of the shaking. He realized the matter. He understood his important duties and with his queen Padmavati, rushed to the spot of scene at once. They came there paid salute to the Parshwa and also asked for his pardon. Realizing their duties, Padmavati generated beautiful and fragranceful huge Lotus. She sat under the lotus and kept Parshw who was in the standing posture at that time in the lotus. Dharnendra also created shelter in the form of huge and decorated umbrella over the head of Parshwa.

Now as the water level grows, the lotus move in the upward direction and due to umbrella shelter Parshwa was protected from the obstacles produced by the Kamath. Later on stabilizing the Parshw and assisting him in his meditations, Dharnendra, formulated his another form and told Kamath to withdraw his divine power and allow Parshwa to meditate smoothly. Adamant Kamath did not listen to the advices and started quarreling with Dharnendra. Ultimately, Dharnedra won over and Kamath left the field defeated. Both Dharnendra and Padmavati after paying and praying worship to Parshwa also withdraw their divine power and left for their palatial residence. As the night was over Parshwa finished his meditations without knowing what had happened during night and moved from there for another place. The very important thing is to learn from this incident. Kamath and Dharnedra were doing their respective jobs, one for destruction and other for protecting respectively, Parshwa was neither had attachment to Dharnedra nor did he have spite for Kamath. He was "STHITPRAGYA" in terms of Bhagwad Gita.

Parshwa attained Omniscience after 84 days of initiation. He then turned to be BHAGWAN PARSHWANATH. He established his own four-fold order. Aray Shubh Duatt became the principal Gandhar of that order. The souil of Ashadhi Shravak became Aryaghosh gandhar. The tonk of Shubh Gandhar is situated on holy pilgrimage place of Sammetshikhar. Parshwanath then moved for several years on this earth, devoting his life to annihilate the Tirthanakar Naam Karm. As his end of life drew near he approached Sammetshikhar and accepted Anasan with THIRTY THREE monks including his principal Gandhar. As the life remained for few samayas he stopped all the yogas of Mind, Speech and Body and attained 14th and last qualitative step of spiritual ladder "AYOGI GUNASTHANAK." Within the time required to speak five "Harshva" letters his soul relinquished its body forever and left for his salvation abode seat from where any soul never returns to this horrible and torturous world. The soul of Parshwanath now enjoys eternal peace and bliss.


Following are the names of Gandhar of Parshwanath

1 Aray Shubh Datta
2 Arya Ghosha
3 Arya Vashishta
4 Arya Brahma
5 Arya Soma
6 Arya Shridhar
7 Arya Virbhadra
8 Arya Yashobhadra
9 Arya Jaya
10 Arya Vijay

Numbers in Parshwanath Organisation:

Sadhu: 16000
Sadhvi: 38000
Shravak:164000
Shravika:327000


Courtsey

Trishasthi salaka purush of Kalikaal Sarvagya Hemcandrasuri The history of Shankheshwar Parshwanath

Jain History had recorded that the 23rd Tirthankara, Bhagwan Parshwanath was to be born in the present Chauvishi. Bhagwan Damodarswami, the 8th Tirthankara of last Uttasarpini forecasted the story of Parshwanath before Ashadhi Shravak. Ashadhi Shravak was one of the staunch disciple and polite Shravak of Bhagwan Damodarswami.

Once upon a time he had been to the assembly of Damodarswami and after listening to his sermons he was worried about his emancipation and salvation. He stood up and politely requested the Tirthankara to foretell about his Salvation time. Tirthankara replied "O! Good and fortunate Shravak! You will achieve the Salvation in the time of 23rd Tirthankara Parshwanath in the forth coming Avasarpini in Bharatkshetra. You will become his Gandhara, named Aryaghosha."

Listening and learning from very honourable Tirthanakar Shri Damodarswami, he felt ease and became very happy that he would be the Gandhar of 23rd Tirthankar Parshwanath in the nxt Avasarpini. However, he did not forget that Bhagwan Parshwanath would be his GURU and in his time he would achieve salvation, he asked further to Damodarswami the structure and form of Parshwanath. The compassionate Bhagwan described the structure as under and also told brief history of Parshwanath.

Parshwanath would be 10 Haath in height and would have Azure colour of the body. Ashadhi Shravak fully engrossed with the structure of his benevolent Tirthankara, started to create the images of Parshwanath. He created three images of Bhagwan Parshwanath. They are called now as CHARUP PARSHWANATH at village Charup near Mehsana in Gujarat, ANTARIKSHJI near Nasik in Maharashtra and SHANKHESHWAR PARSHWANATHJI at Shankheshwar in Gujarat. Charup Parshwanath was originally known as Shamla Parshwanath. It is said that this Charup Parshwanath too was miraculous image. In the past it showed four types of forms everyday. Ashadhi shravak was worshipping his Bhagwan beyond our imaginations after constructing the images. He worshipped them with four categories; such as Naam, Sthapna, Dravya and Bhav. Always one finds him worshipping the images and remains in continuous touch with them. He was so connected with these idols that he remained disconnected with the worldly happenings. His end came near and his light of soul was to extinguish. He died but he was in the meditation of Parshwanath. He went to heaven. He used his divine knowledge to know from where he had come to this heaven. He knew it was the affect of his worshipping the image of Parshwanath. He brought one image to the heaven and worshipped it everyday until his end. He finished his heavenly life span.

The Parshwanath image, which he took to heaven, is now taken over by Dharnedra and Padmavati. They took it to their palatial residence at Patal-Loka. They worshipped there for millions of year with utmost devotion as they knew that their up-gradation from the worldly life would be due to Parshwanath. The time is passing like flow of water and as dew drops fall from lotus leaf. In the present Avasarpini, that is also called current Chauvishi, the first Tirthankara Rishbhadev born to Marudeva and Nabhi and his lineage was termed as ISHWAKU. Several Tirthankaras were born in the same "ISHWAKU". Then came the turn of YADAV lineage in which child celibate, 22nd Tirthankara Bhagwan Neminath was born to queen Shivadevi of king Samudravijay. Neminath and Narayan Krishna were cousin brothers. Approximately 100,000 years were left to finish the 4th wheel of time cycle in the present Avasarpini. In this fourth wheel of time cycle there were twelve Cakrins, nine Narayanas, nine prati-Narayanas and nine Baldev along with twenty three Tirthankaras. Bhagwan Rishbhadev happened to be in the third wheel of time cycle. The image of Parshwanath continued to be worshipped by Dharnedra and Padmavati during this entire period in the Patal-loka.

When Krishna was narayan, at the same time there was prati-narayan, named Jarasangha. He was elder than Krishna. There was a war between Narayan and prati narayan to establish supremacy of power. This is the natural phenomena. The army of Krishna was defeated by Jarasangha when Jarasangha called his divine power named as "JARA." This divine power when used entire army of Krishna went in to Coma. Narayan Krishna was worried because Jara could not affect only Neminath and Krishna and his step brother Baldev. He consulted Neminath for the remedies.

Neminath advised him to bring the miraculous idol of Parshwanath from Patal-loka after pleasing Dharnedra and Padmavati. He also showed the path to bring it. He asked Krishna to sit in the meditation for three consecutive days without food and water and please the god and goddess. He also informed him that he would protect his army for three days without any assistance and alone from the onslaught of Jarasangha and his army. Narayan Krishna went for meditation and pleased Dharanedra and Padmavati. They appeared before him and asked for the favour. Krishna saluted them and politely requested them to provide him with that miraculous image of Parshwanath. Although they were reluctant to provide it but due to the involvement of Neminath, bind through the worship of Krishna and most important thing was that the time had ripened for the appearance of that image of Parshwanath on this earth, they gave that image to Krishna. They then disappeared. Krishna was delighted and as advised by Neminath he carried out Snatra and Puja of that image. He collected the Snatra-Jal and returned to the war-front. He sprinkled this Sntra-jal over the unconscious bodies of his soldiers. They woke up with the sprinkling and ready for fighting.

Then Krishna entered in to the war field. He too was defeated and to kill him Jarasangha called his ultimate powerful armory tool Cakra. He left the Cakra after revolving it on his finger towards Krishna. It was so luminous and gorgeous that except Neminath, Krishna and Baldev others could not see it. It came rushing towards Krishna. It hit him and he fell down unconsciously. After some time he regained his conciousness and hold the same Cakra on his first finger of the right hand. He then forcefully threw it towards Jarasangha. Cakra this time showed its charismatic act. It killed Jarasangha and Krishna was proclaimed and established last Narayan of this Chauvishi.

He blew up his crouch loudly for the celebration of his victory over Jarasangha. He then set out for the establishment of the image of Parshwanath at the place near war front. He constructed a town and named it as "SHANKHPUR." as he blew the crouch there. He named the image as "Shankheshwar." This was the second renovation of image of Parshwanath. Since Krishna carried out fasting for three days, we are also observing fast for three days and worship Parshwanath. He then worshipped this image until he died.

The historical evidences of renovations of Shankheshwar Parshwanath tirth are available at present and they are preserved well. The time never waits for any one. It passes beyond imaginations. Several thousands of years elapsed after the establishment of Shankhpur town and Image of SHANKHESHWAR PARSHWANATH by Narayan Krishna. There was a rule of Solanki dynasty in Gujarat in the 11th and 12th century of Vikram era. King Siddharaj was the ruler. He had wise and brave chief minister, named Sajjan. Once upon a time while he was returning from the pilgrimage tour of Girnar, he came near Shankhpur. He saw the temple of Bhagwan Parshwanath in ruined conditions. He decided to renovate it on the advice of Hemcandracarya, who also narrated history in brief to him. He constructed the new temple from carved wood blocks and established the image originally created by Ashadhi Shravak. This was third renovation of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Tirth. This was in the Vikram era 1155.

The time cycle goes on moving and moving tirelessly. There were two most famous brothers, called Vastupal and Tejpal happened to be in the thirteenth century of Vikram era. Their learned preceptor was Acarya Vardhmansuri. He was pious and well charismatic. They all were returning from the Sangha yatra of Mount Shatrunjaya reached Shankheshwar. They worshipped there. Vardhmansuri told both the brothers the history of Shankheshwar Parshwanath and advised them to renovate it from the scratch. Both the brothers very much attached with Jainism readily agreed. They made wonderful temple of Shankheshwar Parshwanath from stones and marbles. They established again the image of Parshwanath renovated with pearls' slurries. They not only made new temple but it had added beauty of another 52 small Deris with 52 Tirthankaras images in it surrounding the principal temple of Shankheshwar Parshwanath. This was fourth renovation of Shankheshwar Parshwanath tirth. It was in the Vikram era 1286.

The time is passing. The rulers in India too were changed. Muslim attackers started roaming in the northern part of India. Jains of that time were very clever and foresighted. They understood the need of the time and to protect such miraculous image and decided to remove the Image of Shankheshwar Parshwanath from the temple and safely placed under ground. There was a town named Zanzupur, which is now called Zinzuvadia, near Shankheshwar. There was a king named Durjanshalya. He was suffering severely from Leprosy diseases. It is unfortunate to have a king with such disease to rule. Therefore, he decided to please his KULDEVTA, the luminous god the Sun. There was The Sun temple near Zunzpur which is now called Modhera. He went there and sat to please his god. After sometime the Sun god appeared before him and asked why he was called. The king told his problem. The Sun god clarified that he was unable to remove his disease but suggested to bring out the image of Shankheshwar Parshwanath from underground. He showed him the place from where it could be found. The king was happy, brought out carefully the image and started worshipping with daily Snatrapuja. He was sprinkling Snatra-Jal everyday over his body with the intention to remove his disease. After some day his disease was completely disappeared and he turned out to be fresh and young. He knew that it was only due to the blessing in disguise of that image. He became now staunch Jain and started following Jain dharma and continued worship of that image daily without interruptions. One day he thought to reestablish and renovate the old temple of Shankheshwar Parshwanath. He ordered for that and renovated the same. This was the fifth renovation of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Temple in the fourteenth century of Vikram era and carried out by King DurjanShaly.

Now the India was in the grip of Muslim kings and rulers. They had started demolishing Hindu and Jain temples at various places. They invaded Gujarat also and demolished Somnath Hindu temple. They were turning their march towards other parts of Gujarat. The Jains again rose to an occasion. They thought that a miraculous image of Shankheshwar Parshwanath should be protected from the onslaught of Muslim invaders as this image was prepared by Ashadhi Shravak through the inspiration from Tirthankara Damodarswami billions of years ago. They precisely did what their ancestors had done in the past. They placed it safely underground.

The time moved on and the rule of Moghuls established in India. Akabar the Great was ruling when Acaray Hirsuri was holding the command over Jain Sangha. Hirsuri converted violent Akabar into Non-violent form. Acarya Vijay Sensuri was next on the throne of Jain Sangha after Acarya Vijay Hirsuri. During the time of Vijay Sen Suri the last and sixth renovation of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Temple took place.

There was a cow in the cowherd of shepherd. A shepherd was grazing the cow herd everyday in the farm land outside the village near Shankheshwar. His particular cow always milking at one significant spot and did not yield milk at home. This shepherd had observed this phenomenon for certain periods. He learnt that this particular spot has something very special in it. He then tried to dig it out very carefully. A miraculous image of Parshwanath appeared with fresh flower worship and divine fragrances. He knew nothing about this but understood that this could be Jain Image. He contacted some Jain leaders and brought them to the spot. They realized that it was their Parshwanath. They contacted present Acarya Vijaysensuri and he rushed to the spot. He told the Shravakas that this was the miraculous image of Shankheshwar Parshwanath and informed them about its history. He advised them to reestablish it in the new temple.

This is the sixth and final renovation of Shankheshwar Parshwanath Temple under the guidance of Acaray Vijaysen suri in the sixteenth century.

The present temple we find today has undergone various changes during the period of time. This is the only temple in the world where the Image of Shankheshwar Parshhwanth is worshipped vigorously and with perfect affections. In other temple one can find that various gods and goddesses are being worshipped. It is said that this idol is presently protected and covered by Gods.

I shall deal with the miraculous stories attached to this idol and temple in the next article if time permits. The stories of Vastupal-Tejapal-Vardhamansuri, Story of Udayratna Upadhyaya and that of Mahopadhyaya Yashovijayji are of interest.


     
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