This is the story of the 20th Tirthankara, Munisuvrat Swami. His symbol is tortoise. His Yaksha Dev is Varundev and His Yakshini Devi is Nandgarta Devi. His complexion was black and His height measured 20 bows.
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 what is moksha and how to attain moksha.
In the third-last birth, Lord Munisuvrat was King Surshreshtha. He was highly devotional. Later in his life, he took Diksha, and with his devotional worship, he secured the Tirthankara-naam-gotra karma. His next life was in the heaven as a celestial being.
After completing the lifespan as a celestial being, the Soul of King Surshreshtha took birth as a Tirthankara in the Rajgriha town. King Sumitra was His father and Queen Padmavati was His mother. His parents named Him as Munisuvrat.
He completed His studies, and as He grew young, His parents got Him married. Soon, He was coronated as the King too. Many years later, He took Diksha. After 11 months of Diksha, He attained Keval Gnan.
When Lord Munisuvrat Swami attained Keval Gnan, the celestial gods made arrangements for His Samovasaran. He gave an insightful Deshna describing the true form of this world - the swaroop of this world and elucidating what is Moksha and how can one attain it.
To attain Moksha, the biggest thing is to make this our goal, “My only desire is to attain Moksha!” Until one feels this world is a bondage, the desire for Moksha does not arise. In other words, one may say a lot about Moksha and that it is the ultimate thing; however, internally, one continues to have a deep liking only for the world.
One should actually have the goal of Moksha alone. “No matter how my present behaviour may be; no matter how far I may be from the final destination, but I want to go to Moksha only,” should be one’s firm determination.
“I am a Soul, and by nature, I am liberated, then why should I lag behind in attaining my goal? Why should I allow any negativity to creep in like, “No, Moksha is very difficult, it requires heavy penance and severe austerities to get there. How can I?” The path of Moksha is not difficult. The one who is on this path is always happy and cheerful, and always experiences freedom. One’s body-consciousness makes one feel the other way around, but upon attaining Self-realization, one experiences tremendous peace and bliss. The one on the path of Moksha has enormous happiness inside, always!
There are two stages to Moksha:
One who has attained Keval Gnan experiences a similar happiness as that of the Siddha Kshetra, while on the Earth. For such a person, before going to the Siddha Kshetra, only the four aghati karmas are left to be completed namely, naam, gotra, ayushya and vedniya.
In the Siddha Kshetra, there is no bondage of this human body. One experiences infinite happiness of the Self there, for infinite period of time. This happiness cannot be described in words. Even if one drop of that happiness falls into this world, not a single person will experience any unhappiness; each one will have nothing but happiness all the year round. So just imagine how that infinite happiness would be, which, the one who goes to Moksha experiences?! That’s the reason wise people yearn for Moksha.
Moksha can be attained through knowledge, not through any action. Therefore, to attain it, primarily, knowledge is to be attained. Which knowledge? The knowledge of who am I, the knowledge of ‘I am a Soul’, the realization of ‘I am a Soul’ is required. For this, you must meet a living Gnani who gives comprehensive knowledge to realize it.
A Gnani is the one who leads the path of liberation. He burns our karmas. He knows each eternal element. Our heart-felt obeisance to Him! If you meet Him, then Moksha is not far away. He does exist; you just need to meet Him to realize the Soul and set yourself free from all karmas.
Otherwise, we are so absorbed in this world that we don’t even realize that what a bondage this is. It is because of ‘moha’ that we like this world despite the fact that not even an iota of happiness exists in it. It is only when we realize that the world is a bondage, we are able to move in the direction of Moksha.
Moksha means freedom from all kinds of suffering. Therefore, it is essential to determine to go only to Moksha; finish all worldly obligations and go to moksha. If you maintain this goal, you will succeed in getting there. It is essential to develop oneself and attain the stage where one automatically happens to meet a Gnani. Once you meet a Gnani, the path of Moksha becomes fairly easy.
The path of Moksha is very narrow. What obstructs us in getting through this narrow passage is our own insistence, stubbornness, and obstinacy. Otherwise, there are no hardships as such on this path; there is nothing but happiness, happiness and happiness on this path.
Therefore, it is indispensable to be humble and flexible, open and broad minded, and naïve and straightforward. Then, we will be able to walk through this path fairly easily. We need to be courageous and powerful to kill our internal enemies and walk on this path of liberation. Tirthankaras have shown such courage and, thus, have become an inspiration for those on this path!
Such awesome Deshna of Munisuvrat Swami inspired a lot of people who then took Diksha from him and progressed on the path of Moksha.
Once while Munvisuvrat Bhagwan was giving Deshna, someone asked the Lord, “Oh Prabhu! There are so many people seated here who are attentively listening to your Deshna. Amongst these, who has perceived this Deshna perfectly well?”
The lord replied, “That horse, belonging to one of the kings here, who is sitting right there at the rear end has understood my Deshna perfectly well.”
The lord added, “This horse in his previous life was a Shravak whose bhakti-aradhana was wonderful. He had also constructed a nice and big Jinalay (temple of a Tirthankara) that was very beautiful. Consequently, he bound good amount of merit karmas that helped him develop on the spiritual path. However, on the flip side, he was very greedy. He always used to think of money, due to which he took birth as a horse (from a human, he came into the animal life form), and on the other hand, because of his merit karmas, he found this religion too.”
There is a nice story of the ninth Chakravati, Mahapadma during the time of Munisuvrat Swami!
Mahapadma’s elder brother was Vishnu Kumar and his father was King Padmottar who ruled over Hastinapur. He had one minister named Namuchi, who in his earlier job had, out of hatred, driven out all the Jain Sadhu Munis from the kingdom, following which he was sacked by the king there. Later, he joined in as a minister in this place.
Once, Namuchi helped Mahapadma win a war. Mahapadma then was a prince (yuvraj). He was so pleased with the minister that he offered him a boon. The Minister reserved his right to ask for a wish later, and the king agreed to it.
After a few years, Mahapadma became the king and won the title of Chakravarti. His father and elder brother had renounced the world and taken Diksha. Once, those Sadhus whom Namuchi had driven out earlier, arrived in the kingdom of Chakravarti Mahapadma. This reminded Namuchi of the consequences he was forced to bear due to these Sadhus. Hence, he decided to take revenge.
He requested Mahapadma that as a boon, he would like to rule this kingdom, being a Chakravarti, for a week’s time. Mahapadma honoured his commitment and handed over the throne to him. Coming to power, Namuchi tried to drive away all the Sadhus from the kingdom at once.
The group of Sadhus, using their powers, flew to the residing place of Vishnu Kumar, seeking his help. Vishnu Kumar came to Hastinapur and convinced Namuchi to allow at least three steps place for the Sadhus to stay. Namuchi agreed.
Now Vishnu Kumar, using his extraordinary powers, spread himself far and wide and became so big that he covered the entire world in just two steps. That’s when Chakravarti Namuchi begged for pardon and urged to spare him.
Coming back to the story of Munvisuvrat Swami, He attained Nirvana at the Sammed Shikharji Mountains, and from there, went to Moksha!