Recognized by the symbol of Vajra, Kunthunath Bhagwan is the 17th Tirthankara. He was also the sixth Chakravarti of this time cycle. So, He had two statuses in the same birth, one of the Tirthankara and other of Chakravarti. Each of these statuses is considered to be the topmost in the real and the relative realm, respectively!
His complexion was golden and His height measured 35 bows. He had 35 Gandharas (chief disciples of a Tirthankara). Yaksh Gandharva Dev is His Shaasan Dev and Yakshini Bala Devi is His Shaasan Devi.
Let’s now go through the life stories of the Lord’s past two births, prior to His birth as Tirthankara. Finally, we will go through the story of his last birth as a Tirthankara in which He gave Deshna on the purification of mind.
In Vijaykhand Nagri of Arhat area in Jambudweep’s Purva Videh Kshetra, there was King Simhavah, who was a very pious, skilful and powerful ruler. He ruled his kingdom for a very long time. Later, as he got detached from all the worldly things, he took Diksha.
After taking Diksha, King Simhavah spent his time in vigorous penance and did true worship, due to which he bound the most prestigious Tirthankara-naam-gotra karma. After completing his lifespan of several years, he reincarnated as a celestial being.
After completing his life as a celestial being, the Soul of King Simhavah took birth as a Tirthankara in Bharat Kshetra. He was born to King Shur and Queen Shri in the Hastinapur Nagri. Queen Shri saw 14 dreams, which signified that she was carrying the Soul of a Tirthankara in her womb!
In her dream, the queen saw a big pearl called Kunthu. Therefore, on birth, the child was given the name, ‘Kunthunath’. When a Tirthankara is born, the Devas and Devis take very good care of each and every arrangement. They take the baby to Mount Meru and give Him the first shower.
When He grew young, Kunthunath’s parents got Him married. Later, His father, King Shur, handed over the responsibility of the kingdom to Him and retired.
Kunthunath Bhagwan was too powerful. He won over other kings in the world and attained the status of a Chakravarti, meaning the leader of the entire Universe! Also, as King Simhavah, He had bound the most prestigious Tirthankara-naam-gotra karma. Hence, He became a Tirthankara as well!
Even after attaining the status of a Chakravarti, He renounced the throne, the kingdom, His rule over the entire Universe, His name, His fame, and everything else, and took Diksha! After 16 years of Diksha, Kunthunath Swami attained Keval Gnan.
As Lord Kunthunath attained Keval Gnan, the celestial beings created Samovasaran for Him. He got seated in the Samovasaran and gave beautiful Deshna.
The powerful speech of a Tirthankara, which is in the form of Deshna, moves thousands of people’s hearts; it removes all impurity lying in there and purifies the heart. It inspires so many people to renounce the world with the intent of taking Diksha!
Kunthunath Bhagwan gave beautiful Deshna on purification of mind. We can progress only if there is purity of mind, or else with a maligned mind, one remains stuck.
The Gnanis have a very unique way of purifying the mind, while we people try to concentrate our mind, which, by its inherent nature, is restless. In order to control our mind, it is important to know how our mind is.
The Gnanis tell us that the mind is separate from you; so, keep it separate; only then it wouldn’t rule over you. This is the key they give to conquer the mind.
We always say, “My mind.” Do we say, “I am mind”? You refer to the thoughts that arise in the mind as “my thoughts;” do you say, “I am thoughts”? So, ‘I’ and ‘my’ are always separate. ‘I’ means Atma, i.e., the Soul also known as the real Self, and ‘my’ means the relative self. Mind, intellect, consciousness, ego, and body all fall under ‘my;’ they are not in ‘I’.
‘I’ is separate from all of this; it is absolute; it is pure. Mind has been impure, not the Soul. Your Soul is pure, it was, it is and it will remain pure forever. The mind that is impure is separate from what you are. So, you need not be scared of the mind nor is there any need to control it. You just have to keep it separate!
When unusual, weird thoughts arise in mind, don’t we keep them separate? For instance, if our neighbour expires at the age of 60, a thought may occur in your mind, “Oh, he expired at the age of 60. I too have completed 60 years; is it my turn now?” Such a thought could come, couldn’t it? But do you get involved into it?
Ideally, no! How would you keep it separate? You will not allow such thoughts to affect yourself; you would immediately shun them saying, “No, no, I am a healthy person. The neighbour suffered a heart attack. However, my heart is perfectly strong and healthy.” This means you have the power within to keep the mind separate and not listen to it.
That’s what you have to do in every matter; you have to keep it separate. When the mind shows something beneficial, you may agree with the mind. However, when it doesn’t help your goal, you bind karmas because of it and when it makes you worry, keep it separate.
If you get involved with your mind, it will rule over you. However, it will not rule over you or harass you if you maintain separation with it by saying, “I’m not interested in what you are saying. Show me something beneficial, then I’ll listen to you. But if what you say is going to harm me, is going to bind me, then you get out.” So, converse with your mind in this manner.
The problem is that the moment mind yells, you immediately get one with it and start thinking, “Oh! Now what will happen? What will happen?” However, if you keep it separate and converse with it, the mind will immediately calm down and will not make you bind karma.
It is natural for thoughts to keep arising in mind. However, to agree or disagree with those thoughts is in our hands. Mind is like a radar. Just like the radar provides information, mind is giving us information. For instance, while driving a car, the mind may trigger a thought, “Yesterday, here an accident took place. Today, what if I meet with an accident again over here?”
The radar only displays the information. What action is to be taken based on this information is the job of the Superintendent Officer. Likewise, when the mind triggers the thought that what if my accident happens, the intellect reads this thought and the ego endorses it with its signature by saying, “Oh yes! What if my accident happens?” This results in suffering.
However, like the Superintendent Officer, we, i.e., as the Pure Soul will say, “That person’s lifespan had finished; hence, he died. But who knows whether my lifespan remains or is over? If I have a long life, I will continue to live, and in case I don’t, I would die even while at home, getting a heart attack lying on a bed. So why worry?”
If you counter your mind in this manner, it will become quiet; it will not overpower you. So, you ought to tackle your mind in this way. In case you try to control, it will just worsen. So, the mind, like a radar, will keep triggering thoughts; whether to agree or not with them is in our hands.
Mind is neutral; whereas, you, as the Soul, are the strongest. It is only because you do not come into your role and exercise your power that the mind takes you for a ride. Today, you are in the control of your mind. But now, you have to gain control over your mind with Gnan (the real knowledge) because mind can never be overpowered by exercising control over it, suppressing it or oppressing it.
Just like you need a vessel to contain water, you need knowledge to contain mind. What kind of knowledge? The knowledge of “I am a Soul. I am totally separate from this mind, speech and body, such a Pure Soul I am.” With this knowledge, the mind will surely be contained.
It’s due to ignorance that one feels helpless and fearful in front of one’s mind. Do not fret. Mind is very weak and you are the one with the supreme strength. Mind is naturally restless; the thoughts keep changing every now and then.
Thoughts arise and they pass away! It is just like a banner that keeps displaying ads one after another, first of a saree, then of a shampoo, then of a cosmetic and so on and you keep watching each of them without any interest.
Just then there is an ad that gets flashed saying, “Heavy discount on shirts!” Now this triggers interest in you; so, you get involved in it to such an extent that the ad is in your mind all the time. Similar is the case with the thoughts.
You catch hold of the thought that is of your interest and then get dragged by it as you get deeply involved in it. So, you get caught in that thought! However, here, if you allow the thought to pass away, then nothing will happen; it will wither away!
Hence, it is because of ignorance that the mind overpowers us. If you remain alert, then mind cannot exercise any power on you. So, this is the way you can win over your mind. If you have deep interest in food and keep getting thoughts like, “I want to eat this; I want to eat that,” then you can win over that as well.
If more thoughts keep coming regarding some specific matter/subject, it means the tuber of that matter is quite big within. For instance, if all the day long, you keep getting thoughts of food, it means the tuber of eating is quite extensive within.
Similarly, when one keeps getting thoughts of earning money from here and there, it means the tuber of greed is very big inside. Similar is the case with tubers of lust and pride. These are the different tubers that make up the mind. The Soul is totally separate from it.
In the past life, based on your knowledge and vision, you charge parmanus (the smallest, most indivisible and indestructible particle of inanimate matter). In this life, these charged parmanus collectively gather and reside around the Soul.
Until all these parmanus exhaust, the tuber will keep sprouting, and when it sprouts, it manifests as a thought. The thoughts can be read, based on which you can identify the kind of tuber that’s lying within. The thoughts that come the most call for more awareness.
Thus, you have to study the mind. Every day, just sit for an hour and introspect within that what all thoughts arose, note them, and assess which type of thoughts came the maximum, which type of thoughts came next and so on.
For a month, you should sit and note these things to get an overall graph ready. This helps in identifying the largest tuber within, whether it is of greed, pride or lust. Thereafter, whenever a thought sprouts from that tuber, you should immediately get aware. Otherwise, its force could be so empowering that it could overwhelm you.
For instance, despite having enough money to live well the whole life, if you keep getting thoughts of earning money from here and there, by hook or by crook; it means that the tuber of greed is large. You can cut through this tuber of greed in either of the two ways:
The first option to handle the tuber of greed is a better one rather than incurring a loss and then getting aware. This is because donating money for a noble cause frees you and helps progressing on the path of ultimate liberation.
Another tuber could be of pride. You can demolish the tuber of pride by going through the insults with equanimity. If you digest every insult by remaining equanimous, the tuber of pride dissolves, but if you choose to keep protecting your pride one way or the other, then the tuber will evolve further and grow stronger.
In case one fears insults a lot, then that too is indicative of a large tuber of pride. Hence, it is sensible to learn to digest insults.
How to digest insults? When someone insults John (please insert your name here), at that time, you should realize, “Whom is this person insulting? He is insulting John. John is merely a name to identify this body; whereas, I am really a pure Soul.” If this awareness prevails (which can happen only after attaining Self-Realization), then the insult would not touch at all!
Finally, who are the parents of mind? Opinion is the father of the mind and language is the mother of mind. So, if you break all your opinions, then new mind will not form. Hence, never form opinions.
The moment someone narrates something to you regarding some third person, upon listening to it, immediately an opinion is formed, “Oh, this person (the third person) is very cunning!”
We casually form such opinions, which do not leave for several lives. However, if we recognize that this is opinion and that it is a tuber lying within, it becomes possible to retrace our steps, i.e., not going ahead agreeing with the opinion and reverse the opinion saying, “No, my opinion is wrong; he is a gentleman, and more importantly, he is a Pure Soul”.
By doing so, the opinion is washed off, and hence, the new mind is not created. Therefore, the Gnanis always repent for their opinions and see the Pure Soul in that person for whom opinion was given; they do pratikraman and break all opinions.
Kunthunath Bhagwan was a Tirthankara. Hence, by getting rid of each and every tuber of anger, pride, deceit, and greed, He had attained the state of ‘Nirgranth’ (absolutely free from all tubers). Only a Nirgranth, a totally pure being, is capable of attaining liberation!!!
Later, He attained Moksha along with thousands of Sadhus and Sadhvis from the Sammed Shikharji Mountain.