Life of Siddhasen Diwakar
2000 years ago there lived a teacher named Devarshi in the court of Emperor Vikramaditya or Chandragupta II. Devarshi had a son named Kumud who was a very intelligent child. Devarshi sent him to the best monastery school where Kumud quickly mastered all the arts and sciences. In the earlier days contests were held to decide upon the compatibility and knowledge of a person. Devarshi had a strong believe that his son could defeat anyone in such contests and Kumud was also very confident about himself. In all such contests Kumud could overcome everyone in the court of Emperor Vikramaditya. He also visited many important courts of India and was victorious every time. Thus these successive triumphs produced a sense of vanity in his mind and he began believing that he was the most learned person than anyone.
One day Kumud announced an open competition with anyone who could challenge his knowledge. He was so confident of his win that he promised to become the disciple if anyone who could beat him. No one came forward to accept his challenge which made him more egoistic. This made him even more egotistical. H e became very proud of himself. He sewed the emblems of a lamp, a net, a fork, a ladder and a spade onto his clothes. These beautiful emblems were meant for his rivals. He explained that if any competitor out of fear of defeat tried to escape in the dark, he would locate him with his lamp, if one escaped in water, he would trap him with the net, if one escaped in fire, he would get him out with the fork, if one escaped in the sky, he would bring him back with his ladder and if one escaped in the nether world, he would dig him out with the spade.
During that time, there lived a Jain Acharya Vriddhivadi who was the head of the Jain religious order. He was very scholarly person. When Kumud came to know about him he wished to challenge him too. He was told that his universal subjugation would remain incomplete until he vanquished the Jain Acharya.
Acharya Vriddhivadi was then camping at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh. Thus Kumud went to meet him but as the acharya was campaigning he did not in a particular place for a long time. Consequently the Acharya happened to move towards the next camp that very morning. When Kumud arrived in Mandu, he was told that the Acharya had left. He thought that the Acharya became scared of his defeat and was thus avoiding Kumud. He sped towards the place where the Acharya was headed and stopped him near the river Kshipra.
Upon meeting the Acharya Kumudchandra introduced himself as the most knowledgeable man of India. He informed that that as he had heard that the Acharya was a very learned man, he had come to compete with him. The Jain Acharya was rather unresponsive but Kumud insisted upon the contest. Acharya suggested having the contest in the nearby court but Kumud was so eager that he insisted upon the contest to be held with the ranchers of the Kshipra as their judges. The Acharya was also aware of the intense knowledge of Kumud and was aware of his status as a well known scholar. He could well understand that the knowledge of Kumud was obscured by the vanity and pride but he also visualized the immense contribution that Kumud could make to the Jain religious order.
The Acharya thereupon agreed and gave Kumud the first chance to begin. Kumud seized that opportunity and began exposing the weakness of different schools of thought including Jainism. However, the rancher could not understand his content. Next the Acharya began his presentation. He was aware of the real calibre of the ranchers and asked them to form a circle and recite a song. Then with his melodious voice he started singing a song with the following lines; Ahimsa is the path of peace; that eventually leads to happiness.
The ranchers appreciated the song and merrily recited the same in chorus. They also played the flute in tune. With this the Acharya concluded his presentation. Kumud was confident of his win asked the rancers to disclose the result. The ranchers unanimously declared Acharya to be the winner. Kumud immediately realized his folly and he fell at the feet of the Jain Acharya and begged him to accept him as his pupil. Acharya nevertheless did not intend to take advantage of that unfair contest. He thus declined the offer and asked Kumud to a rematch at a nearby court. Kumud said that the Acharya was his true preceptor as he had made him realise the real essence of knowledge. Kumud however, agreed for another contest in the nearby court where Acharya decisively defeated him. So Kumud became his pupil and was renamed Siddhasen. He is thus known as Siddhasen Diwakar.
Works of Siddhasen Diwakar
Siddhasen Diwakar inspired the Jain monks to study intensely the Jain Holy Scriptures. He himself devoted to the profound study of Jain works. He opposed to the storage of Jain works in isolated places. He wished to bring them to light for propagating Jainism. He himself wrote collected and edited certain prominent Jain works. He is also credited with compling the celebrated Kalyanmandir Stotra. It is regarded as a monumental work in Sanskrit poetry. Sanmatitarka is his best text on logic and is widely read even now. He also wrote well known Sakal tirth stotra with the details of all Jain Tirtha of that time. This work itself places
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