SHREE ABHINANDAN BHAGWAN: LIFE STORIES OF THE FOURTH TIRTHANKAR OF THE PRESENT TIME CYCLE

Shree Abhinandan Bhagwan was the fourth Tirthankar of the present time cycle. His complexion was golden and was approximately 350 bows tall. Abhinandan Swami’s symbol (laanchhan) is ape/monkey. Yaksheshwar Yaksh Dev and Kalika Yakshini Devi are His Shaasan Dev and Shaasan Devi, respectively.

Come, now let’s read about the life story of Abhinandan Swami and His two past births.

Shree Abhinandan Bhagwan – Past Births

In Jambudweep’s Purva Mahavideh Kshetra, in the Manglavati Vijay’s Ratnasanchay Nagri, King Mahabal ruled his kingdom. This was the antepenultimate birth of Lord Abhinandan. By adopting charity, highest state of conduct in worldly interactions, and austerity in his life, the king used to practice a high order of virtuous internal state of being that prevents one from hurting oneself or others (dharmadhyan).

After running the kingdom nicely, few years later, an urge arose within King Mahabal that the ultimate goal of life is not kingdom and rule, but it is self-restraint, renunciation, detachment and attainment of Moksha. With that intent of detachment, King Mahabal took Diksha from the great Acharya Shri Vimal Suri. After taking Diksha, his life passed doing penance and meditation while practicing self-restraint with discretion and humility.

abhinandan story

Seeing King Mahabal as a monk going walking barefoot from one place to another (vihaar) in jungle, many people would praise him. When someone would praise him, sweet pride wouldn’t arise in him. In contrast, if someone would condemn or insult him, even then no sort of attachment or hatred would arise in him.

While performing a lot austerities, worshipping several sthanaks out of 20 sthanaks made him   acquire the Tirthankar-naam-and-gotra karma. Finally, he abandoned food and vowed to fast unto death, and after death, he reincarnated as a celestial being in the Vijay Vimaan celestial heaven.

We get dishonour in life on the basis of the karma that brings defamation/discredit/dishonor (apyashnaam karma) and honour on the basis of credit bearing name-form karma (yashnaam karma). Honour and dishonour come to us according to the rise of the unfolding yashnaam and apyashnaam karmas. If we give happiness to others, then yashnaam karma is bound; if we give pain, then apyashnaam karma is bound.

In reality, we are in the form of Soul. While doing any work, when we feel sweetness within, that is called the ego of doership; the bondage of karma is due to that. In this world, the sweetest juice of all is indulgence in the pleasure that arises from doership (garvaras). Shrimad Rajchandra has said, "If there would not have been pride (maan) in the world, then salvation would be here only." Pride is an attribute of kashaay, which makes one feel very sweet if one gets it and lives based on it. Even the worldly life abounds because of pride.

Shree Abhinandan Swami – Birth, Childhood and Youth

After completing his long lifespan in the celestial world, the Soul of King Mahabal was born as a Tirthankar. He was born in the Ayodhya Nagri located in Bharat Kshetra. His parents were the Ayodhya Nagri’s King Samvar and Queen Siddharthi. While in the womb of His mother, everyone in the kingdom was very happy and elated. The meaning of Abhinandan is happiness. Therefore, Lord was named Abhinandan.

When Prince Abhinandan got married, His father, King Samvar, handed over the kingdom to Him and took Diksha. King Abhinandan ruled His kingdom for a long period and gave a lot of happiness to His people.

Diksha and Keval Gnan

Upon the request made by the celestial deities, after giving varsidaan for one year, King Abhinandan took Diksha. Soon after taking Diksha, Lord attained Keval Gnan. After Keval Gnan, Prabhu gave Deshna to many people and liberated them.

Abhinandan swami diksha

His 116 chief disciples (Ganadhars) sat in Abhinandan Bhagwan’s Samovasaran organized by the celestial deities. Listening to His Deshna, tremendous detachment and knowledge would arise in people, and then taking Diksha, they would progress on the path of liberation.

Deshna on Asharan Bhavana

In the Samovasaran, Abhinandan Bhagwan gave Deshna on the Asharan bhavna. Listening to the Deshna on Asharan bhavna, knowledge would instantly arise in people. Asharan Bhavana means experiencing one’s self to be an orphan.

“Sarvagnano dharma susharna jaani, araadhya araadhya prabhaav aani;
Anaath ekaant sanaath thashe, ena vina koi n bahya shashe.

meaning, experiencing one’s self to be an orphan is called Asharan Bhavna.

Explaining the gist of Asharan bhavna, there is a beautiful story of Anathi Muni. During the time of Lord Mahavir, there was a king named Shrenik. King Shrenik once went hunting into a jungle. There, he saw an extremely good-looking Anathi Muni doing meditation.

Looking at his beauty and grace, the king was surprised at how he could renounce the world and why he must have done it! Then, He asked the monk, “In such a young age, keeping aside all sensory pleasures, why you have been into this (renunciation)? Why you are sitting here? Come back into your worldly life!” Then, Sadhu replied, “I have no interest in the worldly life at all. I don’t feel like I have any parent (one who protects and shelters) in this world. I am an orphan. I experience myself to be an orphan (no one who protects and shelters).”

So, the king requested that he shall become his parent. He expressed his readiness to take all the burdens of his worldly life. However, the Muni denied every request of the king.

He narrated his experience that in the past, he was a tremendously rich, affluent and powerful king. He had extremely beautiful queens. Once, he suffered from a terrible inflammatory disease. It started spreading into the full body and there was intolerable scorching sensation inside. There was lot of pain in eyes; it was unbearable. His dad spent a lot of money for the treatment but still the pain did not subside. Hence, despite having a father and mother, he felt like an orphan because no one could heal his pain. His extremely beautiful wife was in his service for all 24 hours; yet, she could not help in reducing his pain. That is when he got a complete experience of how he is an orphan (without anyone who can protect him from pain) in this world.

Then, one night, he felt immensely detached from everything and he made a firm decision that if his pain subsides, he would get free from being an orphan (anaath) and would become parented (sanaath). Interestingly, that night, all the pain in his body subsided and he took Diksha. He then acquired the knowledge of the Self. After Self-realization, he always experienced the bliss of the Soul only and he felt the world to be insignificant.

Listening to the Anathi Muni’s story, King Shrenik gained a lot of knowledge and went away happily.

Since infinite lives, we are in this worldly life, but if we want to manifest our Soul and go to Moksha, then the shelter of the present Gnani or a Tirthankar is necessary. He needs to be alive! By going into the shelter of the present Gnani, there comes an end to the pain and miseries that have been with us life after life. In today’s times, the Gnani who enlightens our Soul are very very rare. That is why Shrimad Rajchandra has said, “Moksha is very very very easy, but the bestower of Moksha is very very very rare.”

In the spiritual world, in the path of Moksha, (meeting a) Gnani is such a station from where you alight and walk into the doorway of Moksha. Otherwise, if there is no Gnani, then since infinite lifetimes, saints and munis take us from the bad path to good path. However, that which is beyond the good and bad, such a pure element (Soul); its realization is not possible through them. If the one who has realized the Soul, who is a Gnani, is met in person (pratyaksh, direct worship), then only Self-realization is possible. There is a lot of importance of this direct worship.

Through the means of indirect worship (paroksh bhakti), merit karma is bound and through direct worship (pratyaksh bhakti), salvation is attained. Whenever a living Gnani Purush or a living Tirthankar is met, know that the way to be free from the cycle of birth and death, going on since infinite lives is obtained. Such a Gnani is there only at times. In the present era, Shrimad Rajchandra and Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan (recently) have been the Gnani Purush.

Nirvana

Tirthankar Bhagwan Abhinandan Swami had 3,00,000 Sadhus, 6,30,000 Sadhvis, 2,88,000 Shravaks and 5,27,000 Shravikas. He had 116 Ganadhars. Shree Abhinandan Swami, along with 1000 Sadhus, attained Nirvana at Sammet Shikharji and went to Moksha.

Abhinandan-swami

Upon reading this story, let us also ruminate into our life the Abhinandan Bhagwan’s Deshna on Asharan bhavna and be free from all sorts of orphanism, become parented by taking the shelter of a (living) Gnani and attaining Self-realization, and above all, become the Real form of the Soul, the Lord of the fourteen worlds who is inside us.

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