Bhagwan Rishabhdev Stories: Exploring 13 Births of Adinath, the First Tirthankar of This Time Cycle

Tirthankar Bhagwan Rishabhdev, also known as Adinath Bhagwan, was the first Tirthankar of the third era (third aara as per the Jainism time cycle) of the current time cycle; He was also the first king of the current time cycle. His symbol (laanchhan) is bull (vrushabh). Yakshdev Goumukh is His Shaasan Dev and Yakshini Chakreshwari Devi is His Shaasan Devi.

He had taken 12 births before becoming a Tirthankar. He was born in the Yuglik era as the son of the last Kulkar named Nabhi and Marudevi, due to which He is also known as Mata Marudevi na nand. He was married to Sunanda and Sumangala and had 100 sons and 2 daughters. On attaining Absolute Knowledge (Keval Gnan), He gave Deshna to thousands of spiritual seekers.

So come, let’s now read the life stories of the Lord’s 12 previous births and followed by His last life as a Tirthankar.

Shri Adinath Bhagwan: First Birth, Second Birth, and Third Birth

His first birth was in the Mahavideh Kshetra as Dhan Saarthwaah Sheth in the kingdom of King Prasanna Chandra. Dhan Saarthwaah Sheth was a very rich business man. He used to offer alms to Monks and also serve them a lot.

Once, for business purpose, he was going to Vasantpur. On the way, some Jain Monks (Sadhus) requested him to accompany them during their travel. He accompanied them with this business crew, took great care of them, and served them heartily along the way. After making a hermitage at a place suitable for the Monks, he left for his business work. Thereafter, Seth became so busy in his business that he completely forgot about the monks.


Suddenly one day, he recalled about having brought the Jain Monks along with him. As soon as he remembered, Dhan Saarthwaah Sheth immediately went to the Monks and repented greatly for his mistakes. Then, he served the Monks heartily. During this time, Dhan Saarthwaah Sheth attained the Right Vision (Samyak Drashti), which is the first step to Absolute Knowledge (Keval Gnan). Thereafter, he started embracing the life of a Shravak and lived so throughout his life. He passed his remaining life in servicing others and performing great austerities.

His next birth was as a yugal in the third era in the Bharat Kshetra.

The period from the first era to the third era of the current time cycle in the Bharat Kshetra is called the yugaliya period. In this yuglik period, humans are born as twins only, one male and one female. Every pair of twins (yugal) spends their whole life together. The twin children grow together, become young, and get married when time is apt. They live a happy and contented life, and die naturally together. During this period, there is no tension, no pain and no worry for even food. Lord Rishabhdev took birth during this period. After completing His lifespan as a yugal, His third birth was as a celestial being (Dev) in the Saudharma devlok, one of the 12 celestial realms or heavens.

Shri Adinath Bhagwan: Fourth Birth and Fifth Birth

After passing his life amidst immense happiness and luxuries at Saudharma devlok, the fourth birth of Lord Rishabhdev was as a human. He was born as a son to King Shatbal and Queen Swayamprabha and was named Mahabal. Being an expert in various skills, he was also known as Vidhyadhar. In course of time, the parents gave the charge of throne to their son and took Diksha.

In the royal court, most of his ministers lived a life that was tainted with wrong company and immersed in the pleasures of five senses. However, one of his ministers named Swayambuddh had attained Samyak Darshan (Right Vision). He lived an extremely pious and religious life, driven with the goal of liberation. However, Mahabal was more influenced by the other ministers, who were drowned in enjoying the sensual pleasures to the fullest, and hence, he remained engrossed in the bad company. Owing to King Mahabal’s carelessness, the entire kingdom was in chaos. Seeing this, the heart of Minister Swayambuddh started crying in deep pain.

Once Minister Swayambuddh gathered a lot of courage, and in the courtroom, he said to the King, “Whatever you are doing is not right. We should not waste our life like this. All this is temporary.” King Mahabal replied, “I am still young and I must enjoy all the sensual pleasures in life.”

Just a day ago, one Jain Monk, who had Avadhi Gnan, had told Minister Swayambuddh that he should not worry about Mahabal because in future, his heart would change and he would become a being of a higher level; but right now, he had only one month’s time left to live his life. So, Minister Swayambuddh informed this to the king. Due to the advice of Minister Swayambuddh, King Mahabal’s heart changed completely. With the end time coming closer, the king immersed himself in devotional worship and repented for all his wrong deeds. While spending his last hours in this way, he died and took birth in devlok.


Now, he was born as Lalitang Dev. There, he enjoyed enormous pleasures and spent his life in deep attachment with Devi Swayamprabha. Finally, Lalitang Dev, through his Avadhi Gnan, came to know that his life in devlok was about to get over.

Shri Adinath Bhagwan: Sixth Birth and Other Two Births

The sixth birth was in the Purva Mahavideh Kshetra as Prince Vajrajang, the son of King Suvarnajang and Queen Laxmidevi. At the same time, Shrimati, who was Devi Swayamprabha in her previous birth, was born to Queen Gunvati and King Vajrasen who was a Chakravarti in the Purva Mahavideh Kshetra.

Shrimati, being the daughter of a Chakravarti, was raised with lot of love and pamper. Once Shrimati, along with her friends, went to see (do darshan of, devotional viewing) Jain Monks who had attained Absolute Knowledge (Keval Gnan). Just upon seeing them, Jatismaran Gnan manifested in her due to which she could see her previous births. Through it, Shrimati saw that as Swayamprabha Devi in her previous birth, she had passed a long time in deep attachment with Lalitang Dev. Upon knowing this, Shrimati experienced a significant pain of separation from Lalitang Dev. She firmly determined that in this birth too, she would have him only as her husband.

Later, Shrimati called upon the best of the painters and informed them about all the special moments she had shared with Lalitang Dev in her previous birth. Then, she asked the painters to draw exact pictures of those moments and organized a huge exhibition of those. Anyone who saw the exhibition was praising it. Vajrajang, meaning Lalitang Dev who was Shrimati’s husband in her previous life, also came to see the exhibition.

Upon seeing the paintings, he recollected his previous birth with Swayamprabha Devi, which arose in him the desire of meeting Swayamprabha Devi. Shrimati had already instructed that if anything happens to anyone while seeing this exhibition, she should be informed immediately. Upon inquiring, King Vajrajang revealed the truth and was then taken to King Vajrasen. There, whatever Shrimati said and Vajrajang said, both was same. So, Chakravarti King Vajrasen got his daughter Shrimati married to King Vajrajang. Later, King Vajrasen handed over the responsibility of his kingdom to his son-in-law, took Diksha and went to jungle to attain Self-Realization. Vajrajang and Shrimati were living happily together and were running the kingdom well.

Once some Monks visited King Vajrajang’s palace, and listening to their preachings, he thought of taking Diksha and decided to spend the rest of his life religiously. One night, King Vajrajang decided that he shall take Diksha the next day and hand over the kingdom to his son. Meanwhile, at the same time, his son thinks that his father is not giving him the kingdom. Therefore, to take revenge for not getting the kingdom in his hands, the son killed his parents the same night by releasing poison in the air when his parents were in deep sleep. Thus, King Vajrajang and Queen Shrimati died together.

Thereafter, in the seventh birth, Queen Shrimati and King Vajrajang, both were born as Yuglik; they lived together and died together too.

Then, in the eight birth, King Vajrajang became a celestial being in devlok. There, he enjoyed immense pleasure and luxuries.

Shri Adinath Bhagwan: Ninth Birth and Tenth Birth


After completing his lifespan in devlok, King Vajrajang took birth as a human in a family of an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner (vaid). His name was Jivanand. He learned the medical (vaidik) skills from his father. Once upon seeing a Monk whose body had become too weak and fragile due to severe austerities, Jivanand felt like serving him with a vaidik treatment. So Jivanand requested the Monk, and then with great care, treated him with all medicines. This is how Jivanand freed that Monk from all diseases.

By serving the weak Monk heartily and selflessly, Jivanand’s next birth was in devlok. This was the tenth birth of the Lord.

Shri Adinath Bhagwan: Eleventh Birth and Twelfth Birth

Bhagwan Rishabhdev’s eleventh incarnation was in the Mahavideh Kshetra, in Pudarikgiri Nagri located in the Pushpakalavati Vijay region, as a Chakravarti named King Vajranabh.

One who was Queen Swayamprabha in the previous birth took birth as Chakravarti Vajranabh’s brother. Since so many births, these two were born together. All brothers were profoundly attached with each other. Like King Vajranabh, they would help the poor and the orphans.

Their father then renounced the kingdom and handed over the throne to Vajranabh. He soon became the ruler of the six continents (khands) in that time. This is how he became a Chakravati. He then entrusted various countries to his friends and kept his brother Keshav as his sarthi. After many years of ruling as a Chakravarti, Vajranabh took Diksha. His friends, and the sarthi too, took Diksha.


He attained Dharmdhyan by undertaking spiritual practices, study of scriptures, severe austerities, and restraints. Vajranabha also received great spiritual achievements by performing tremendous restraint, worship, renunciation and austerities and bound the Tirthankara-naam-gotra karma. By having just one intent day and night as to how do people attain the path of liberation and how do people attain freedom from all kinds of sufferings, the Tirthankar-naam-gotra-karma gets bound. Based on this intent, if one attains any one of the Vees Sthanak (20 positions), that person binds the Tirthankara gotra karma. Some of these Vees Sthanak are worshipping the Panch Parmeshti namely, the Arihants, Siddhas, Acharyas, Upadhyays and Sadhus, embracing and following the Right Knowledge-Right Vision-Right Conduct (Gnan-Darshan-Charitra), and practicing a lot of austerities and restraints.

Due to these pious intents, Lord reincarnated as a SarvaarthSiddhi Anuttar Vimaan Dev in devlok. This was his twelfth birth before being born as the first Tirthankara of the current time cycle on the Earth.

Thirteenth and Last Birth as Tirthankara Adinath Bhagwan

Upon completion of the lifespan at SarvaarthSiddhi Anuttar Vimaan, Lord Rishabhadev was born to Queen Marudevi in the city of Ayodhya in Bharat Kshetra. His father, King Nabhi, was a Kulkar. Mother Marudevi had 14 divine dreams that night. By principle, prior to the birth of a Tirthankara, His Mother gets these 14 clear dreams.


The celestial beings informed Kulkar Nabhi that Marudevi is going to give birth to a Tirthankara. All the celestial beings were very happy; they used to stay besides the mother to serve her. The female celestial beings asked many spiritual questions to Mata Marudevi on various topics, which are as

  • Which is the best jewel in this world?
    Right Vision (Samyak Darshan) is the best jewel.
  • Of all births, which one is considered to be successful?
    The birth in which one attains the state of Soul is the successful one.
  • Who is the better-most woman?
    The woman from whose womb a Tirthankara is born is the best.
  • Whom do we call deaf?
    One who does not listen to the words of omniscient God (Jin-vachan)
  • Which work ought to be done at the earliest?
    It is to discard illusory attachment (moh).
  • Whose worship should be done?
    Of Panch Parmeshti Bhagwants and of one’s own Pure Soul
  • Which human being is said to be like an animal?
    One who doesn’t attain the right belief (Samyak Darshan) of ‘I am pure Soul’
  • Who is seated in your womb right now?
    The Guru of the world (meaning whose influence on the world has the power to transform it) Rishabhdev Bhagwan, who is the first Tirthankara!

The main reason why Marudevi could answer all these questions was because Tirthankara Bhagwan was in her womb.

Birth and Childhood

At the time of the birth of Lord Rishabhadev, all Indras (from devlok) came joyfully in their planes to celebrate the Lord's birth. The celestial beings bowed down before the Lord. Thereafter, placing an exact replica of the Lord besides the mother, they took the real baby on the Meru mountain and ceremoniously performed the post-birth ritual of consecration by sprinkling water, also known as abhishek. Such a unique event (the Lord’s birth ceremony) in the world is known as Tirthankara Bhagwan's Janma Kalyanak! His childhood was spent with his father very lovingly and happily.

Marriage and Ruling Reign

Being a Tirthankar, the Lord had Mati Gnan, Shrut Gnan and Avadhi Gnan right from birth. So, He did not take time in learning any new skill or wisdom. Bhagwan Rishabhdev, during his childhood, learned all the skills. Upon reaching the age suitable for marriage, His father requested Him to get married. Although not interested at all, He agreed just to fulfil the father’s wish.

adinath story

The marriage of Lord Rishabhdev got fixed with Sumangala and Sunanda. In the marriage ceremony held by the celestial beings, Lord Rishabhdev got married to Sumangala and Sunanda. In due course, Queen Sumangala gave birth to twins, a son named Bharat and a daughter called Brahmi. Later, she gave birth to 98 more sons. On the other hand, Queen Sunanda also gave birth to twins, a son named Bahubali and a daughter called Sundari. Before the birth of her son Bharat, Queen Sumangala had seen 14 unclear dreams. This was a sign that the son she would give birth to would be a Chakravati.

Since that was a Yuglik era, people lived a simple and noble life. At that time, there was no need for any kingdom or a king. However, gradually, during the second half of the third aara, people started seeing faults of others and began to become the victims of anger, pride, deceit, and greed. Therefore, the need arose for a king who could settle the differences. On the request of Kulkar Nabhi, Rishabhdev became the first king of the third aara.

With the passage of time, slowly the number of wish-granting trees called Kalpavrukshas started reducing and fruits and vegetables were being available only in limited quantities. As a result, people started eating grains like raw wheat and rice. They did not know how to cook grains. Eating raw food began to affect their health. Therefore, they went to Lord Rishabhdev for help. He then taught them how to use fire to cook food. He also taught people other skills like farming and various businesses.


With the passage of time, as physical, mental, and oral battles began to occur amongst people, King Rishabhdev established a penal system by establishing a framework of laws and regulations to prevent all these crimes. He made arrangements so that people can become self-sufficient in the worldly activities. For the people’s welfare, He gave the knowledge of asi (swordsmanship for protection), masi (trading and business) and krishi (agriculture). The Lord also gave them the knowledge of various other skills and crafts.

Gradually, people started to live a civilized life. Thereafter, He made arrangements so that the kingdom could run smoothly. He even introduced the system of women education. Lord taught alphabets and Mathematics to His daughters, Brahmi and Sundari, who were extremely intelligent and capable.


Bhagwan Rishabhdev continued to impart knowledge for thousands of years. Seeing this, the celestial beings got worried. They wished that the Lord’s attention should come out of these things and lead people towards salvation.


Once, for a dance in the Lord’s assembly, Indra Dev arranged for a celestial being (Devi) whose life was about to end soon. When the Lord was watching the dance, the dancer suddenly disappeared. Now, Lord Rishabhdev was with Mati Gnan, Shrut Gnan and Avadhi Gnan. When He saw in Gnan, He realized that at the time of dance, the celestial being’s lifespan got over. Seeing this, He developed tremendous detachment and recognized that all this is temporary; nothing in this world is permanent.

Finally, the goal of going to Moksha and taking millions of people along with Him arose in Him. Thereafter, He decided to transfer all his responsibilities to His sons and take Diksha. This was how the Lord’s intent was - to reach the state of Omniscience and consequently show the path of disciplined life and spiritual practices to people as well.

Lord Rishabhdev divided the kingdom among His 100 sons. King Bharat was given the prime throne and Bahubaliji also was given another big state. His other 98 sons and 4000 ransom kings of His kingdom, too, took Diksha from Lord Rishabhdev. One of the Lord’s sons became His Ganadhar (the chief disciple of the Tirthankara). After taking Diksha, the Lord, along with His Sangh, started walking in the jungle without eating any food or consuming water and practiced severe austerities.

Lord’s other austerity was silence. During Diksha, He remained silent most of the time. When the Lord’s disciples would face any difficulty, they would ask Him about it, but no answer would come from Him, as he was silent. After taking Diksha, Lord Rishabhdev fasted for one year; this austerity is called Varsitap. People in those times had no knowledge of breaking the fast (known as Paarnu). Bahubaliji’s grandson, Shreyans, was religious-minded and clever. He realized that the Lord was without food and water for one year. Therefore, he offered sugarcane juice to Lord Rishabhdev to help break His Varsitap fast. After breaking the Varsitap fast, the Lord broke His silence too.


Keval Gnan to Tirthankara Adinath Bhagwan

When Lord Rishabhdev attained Keval Gnan (Omniscience), for a moment, eternal bliss got spread in the whole world. Numerous celestial Gods and Goddesses descended from the celestial world to bow down to the Tirthankara. The Gods set up the grand Samovasaran.

After attaining Keval Gnan, Bhagwan Rishabhdev gave Deshna. The celestial Gods arrange the Samovasaran in such a way that people can see the Lord’s face from all four sides. All types of people – the poor, the rich, the king and his masses – all of them sit in the Lord’s Samovasaran.

Where the Lord’s Samovasaran is formed, upto 500 yojan, there is no draught or illness – such is His influence. Animals like cat, lion and goat forget their violent intentions and they sit together in the Samovasaran without any fear. There, all birds and animals (tiryanch beings) sit fearlessly and understand the Lord’s speech in their own language. Such was the influence of Lord Rishabhdev’s speech. After Keval Gnan, Lord’s Deshna transforms people’s hearts. Many, by just listening to His divine speech, while many, by doing only His darshan, attain Keval Gnan.


This side, King Bharat became a Chakravarti, and at the same time, He got the news of His father, Tirthankar Rishabhdev Bhagwan, attaining Keval Gnan. Upon getting this news, Chakravarti Bharat, along with the Lord’s mother Mata Marudevi, His entire family and His masses, went to bow down to the Lord. Marudevi Mata had lost her vision due to the pain of living without her son. Her grandson King Bharat and the celestial beings described to her the significance of Rishabhdev as a Tirthankara Bhagwan. On hearing all this, great reverence arose in the heart of the mother and tears of happiness rolled down her eyes.

As Marudevi came more closer to the Lord, listening to His speech full of detachment, she attained Keval Gnan. The blindness of Marudevi shed and she did darshan of the Lord. Due to her light karmas, from Nigod, she was born to be a Tirthankara’s mother, and after doing the darshan of the Omniscient Lord, she went directly to Moksha. There were no other births in between for her. As per the Jain scriptures, Marudevi Mata, despite being a woman, went to Moksha - this is considered to be one of the 10 wonders of the spiritual world. She became the first to attain liberation in the third aara.

In Deshna, Lord Rishabhdev described the six elements, the significance of Moksha, what and how is Soul (Atma). Lord’s two daughters, Brahmi and Sundari, also had taken Diksha.

Lord Rishabhdev had entrusted only King Bahubaliji and Chakravarti King Bharat to run the kingdom (and not to take Diksha). Upon seeing the Lord’s glory, in Chakravarti Bharat too, rose the desire to take Diksha. However, the Lord advised Him to fulfil His responsibilities as a Chakravarti while following the Shravak Dharma. To King Bharat, He gave such Gnan (Self-Realization) that thereafter, even while fulfilling all his worldly responsibilities and ruling over the kingdom, He could go to Moksha. Thus, through Lord’s words, He attained Samyak Drashti and got Akram Vignan. This is how Chakravarti King Bharat fulfilled all His responsibilities with Right Vision (Samyak Drashti).

Keval Gnan to King Bharat Chakravati in the Palace of Mirrors

bharat chakravarti

Once Bharat Chakravati was sitting in his palace made up of mirrors. Just then, a ring fell from His finger. The king looked at His hand, but He didn’t like seeing the finger without the ring at all. Then, He started removing all His ornaments, such as the crown, earrings, and necklace from His body. He realized that it is these ornaments and makeup on the basis of which the beauty stands. That’s how His wrong knowledge shed, the veils of ignorance and body-consciousness moved, and He attained Keval Gnan in the palace of mirrors.

This is the biggest history regarding attaining Keval Gnan in Akram Vignan. Right from the time Lord gave Samyak Drashti to King Bharat until Keval Gnan, He was extremely vigilant. To maintain this awareness, King Bharat had instructed His gatekeepers around to remind Him frequently at small intervals, “Bharat, beware! Bharat, be warned; remain cautious.” Finally, King Bharat completed His worldly life and attained Moksha in that birth only.

Keval Gnan to Bhagwan Bahubaliji

During the reign of Bharat Chakravarti, there’s a nice story of his brother, Bahubaliji. Gem-like human beings full of virtues were born in the family of Lord Rishabhadev. Like His name, Bahubali was extremely strong. The strength in His arms was so tremendous that nobody could defeat Him in a battle.

Bharat Chakravarti was the Lord’s first son and Bahubali was second in number. Being the first son, Lord Rishabhdev gave the prime responsibility of the kingdom to King Bharat. Giving Bahubaliji a smaller kingdom, He took Diksha and left for the jungles. As King Bharat was a Chakravarti, He won over six continents (khands) and made all the kings subservient to him.

Bahubaliji was the only one who did not agree to surrender to Him. Due to the clash of egos, difference of opinions developed between Bharat Chakravarti and Bahubaliji. Consequently, a war occurred between the two. Knowing that a lot of lives would be lost in the war, the celestial beings requested not to involve the soldiers and confine the war to a fight just between the two of them. So, it was decided that whoever wins the physical battle of wrestling would become a Chakravarti. Bahubaliji won all the rounds against King Bharat.


Finally, in a fierce mood, Bahubaliji raised His fist to kill King Bharat. However, suddenly, a thought triggered in Bahubaliji’s mind, “Ohh! What am I doing? Such a severe sin! I am about to kill my own brother?” There was so much strength in Bahubaliji’s fist that upon hitting anybody, that person would die immediately. However, as Bahubaliji realized that the rule of Chakravarti is all temporary and the Soul alone is permanent, He experienced tremendous detachment and attained Self-Realization. However, as He had not attained Keval Gnan yet, some ego was still left in Him due to which he could not simply put His fist down. Therefore, while bringing His fist down, He pulled His hair. He renounced the world, adopted the words of the Lord and went toward the jungle.


In going to the Lord and taking Diksha, His ego came in his way based on the passion of false pride (maan kashay) He had. On the kramic path, the rule is such that after taking Diksha, one has to bow down before all Monks who are elder to Him in status (i.e., those who have taken Diksha prior to Him).

He was not ready to go to Rishabhdev, thinking that according to the rule, He would have to bow down before His 98 young brothers, as they had already taken Diksha from Lord Rishabhdev before Him. So, Bahubaliji decided that He would go to the Lord only after he attains Keval Gnan. Until then, He will do austerities and attain Keval Gnan on his own. He performed such severe austerities that trees started growing over and around His body; other than His eyes and nose to breathe, the remaining body got hidden behind the trees.

Lord Rishabhdev, by seeing in Keval Gnan, came to know that Bahubali would not achieve Keval Gnan because of His false ego. This is because to attain Keval Gnan, no matter how many austerities one performs, it does not help when laden with ego; for that, one needs the grace of a Self-Realized fully Enlightened being. To bring down Bahubaliji’s intoxicated ego and give Him the right understanding, Lord Rishabhdev sent His daughters, Brahmi and Sundari, to preach Him. Brahmi and Sundari went to Bahubaliji and very humbly said, “Brother! Get off the elephant.” Bahubaliji thought over it, “In this jungle, there is no elephant; and I am standing on the ground.” As He thought deeply, He could see His ultimate mistake, “I am seated on the elephant, meaning ego. I am seated on the elephant of maan kashay and this ego only is preventing me from going to the Lord.” With this right understanding, as He raised his step to meet the Lord, He attained Keval Gnan. Just by changing his understanding, He attained Keval Gnan.


Nirvana of Tirthankara Adinath Bhagwan

After completing the lifespan. Lord Rishabhdev along with several Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shraavaks, and Shaavikas attained Nirvana from the Asthapad Mountain.

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