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AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF UPAMITI – BHAVA – PRAPAÑCA – KATHĀ

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CANTO V

The city of Vardhamīnapura was ruled by King Dhavala and his Queen was the Beautiful Kamalasundarī. Their son, Vimala was very intelligent and matured for his age. The people of Vardhamīnapura were very hospitable and generous.

Somadeva was a rich merchant of Vardhamīnapura. He was rich, handsome, brave and intelligent. His wife Kanakasundarī was very beautiful and devoted to her husband. “The Worldly Soul’ was born as Vāmadeva to Somdeva and Kanakasundarī. In this birth he became friendly with Deceit, the sister of Falsehood and Stealing, the brother of Falsehood. In the company of Deceit he nourished the desire to deceive the whole world and by the influence of Stealing he wanted to rob the whole world. So he began to cheat and steal. In course of time he became a great trickster and robber.

The Queen and the merchant’s wife were good friends and so Vimala and Vāmadeva became friends inspite of their opposing natures and characters. Prince Vimala was very simple and straightforward. He had mastered all the arts and skills. But Vāmadeva was very cruel, crooked, perverse and of deceiving nature. Vimala grew up to be a very intelligent, virtuous and handsome youth whereas Vāmdeva grew up to be ruthless and dishonest burglar.

One day when both the friends were enjoying in the garden, they saw two lovers in the vineyard. When Vimala was describing the characteristics of great men and women, two men appeared in the sky with swords in their hands and approached the two lovers. The lover left his mate in the vineyard and fought the two men in the sky. Vimala and Vāmdeva consoled the mate and advised her to be courageous.

When her lover came back he thanked Vimala and Vāmdeva. When Vimal asked him to spell the beans, the cupid began to narrate his tale. He said that he was Ratnachū² the grandson of Vidhyadhara Maṇiprabhā and Kanakaṣikhā and the son of their daughter Ratnaṣikha and Meghanāda. He married his maternal sister Āmramañjarī, much against the wishes of his cousins Acala and Capala. The two men who appeared in the sky were none other than his cousins who came to kill him. After defeating them he returned to his lover and saw Vimala and Vāmdeva.

When Ratnachū²a completed his tale he gave Vimala a precious gem, which could cure all diseases. Then the four of them worshipped the idol of the first Tirthaṅkara (Fordmaker) Lord ṛṣabhadeva in the temple. As a result knowledge of the previous births dawned on Vimala Kumar. Vimala was now all the more inclined to tread on the path of renunciation. But before that he was duty- bound to inspire his parents and relatives. When Ratnachū² told Vimala about Buddhācārya, Vimala asked Ratnachūd to request Buddhācārya to come to their land and preach the true doctrine. After which both the friends departed with a heavy heart.

“The Worldly Soul’ continued his narrative and this time as Vāmadeva he remained unmoved by the enlightening conversation that took place between Ratnachū²a and Vimala. He remained firm as a rock in his own evil thoughts and pondered upon ways to steal the precious gem from Vimala.

On their way home they concealed the gem in the ground and returned home. Powered by Destiny and Stealing (inner friends). Vāmadeva went to the place, dug the ground and took the gem and hid it elsewhere. In its place he kept a stone of the size of the gem and covered the ground. In the night Vāmadeva became very tensed, as he did not get the gem home. So early in the morning he went to the garden and by mistake dug the ground and took the stone instead of the gem and hid it on his person. When Vimala came there, Vāmadeva was speechless. When Vimala went to the temple, Vāmadeva fled from the place. But when he opened the box and found a stone in place of the gem, he cursed his fate and decided to return home.

When he met Vimala again Vāmadeva told him a false story, which he believed it and Deceit was very happy about it. All of a sudden Vāmadeva fell sick and could not be cured by anyone. Then Vimala remembered the precious gem and he himself went to that place and dug the ground to get the gem. But to his astonishment the gem was not there and he returned empty-handed. Just then the Goddess of the Forest appeared and revealed the deceiving nature of Vāmdeva and also the place where the gem was hidden. All the people came to know about Vāmadeva and ridiculed him. Vimala pleaded the Goddess to forgive Vāmadeva and he too forgave Vāmadeva and continued his friendship.

Vimala continued with his daily rituals and worship of the Lord and many people joined him. One day Ratnachū²a and Āmramanjarī came there and exchanged their greetings with Vimala. Ratnachū²a who had become an Emperor of Vidhyādaras informed the same and gave the message of Buddhācārya.

Vimala led a detached life and took no interest in the worldly affairs. When his parents observed this they became worried and decided to get him married. They told him to take interest in the worldly affairs, get married and make them happy. Vimala replied that he wanted to make everyone happy in his land by eliminating the sorrow from the lives of all the people and then experience happiness. He expressed his desire to build a beautiful rest house and provide shelter and relief to all the disabled, weak and poor people.

Thus Vimala continued his good work for days together. One day a very ugly looking man, who was in debt was presented before the King Dhavala and the Prince. All the people had gathered there to see him. Vimala realised that he was none other than Buddhācārya who came in a disguise to inspire his parents and relatives. Vimala bowed before him and the spiritual adept blessed him. No one else could identify the person and they rebuked him and called him by dirty names.

The person then told the public that they were more ugly and poorer than him. When King Dhavala and Vimala realized his greatness, they prostrated before him. Then the ugly looking person transformed himself and appeared as a powerful and glowing personality seated on a golden lotus. All the people were surprised and could not believe their eyes for a while. Then King Dhavala pleaded him to reveal his identity to the audience. The spiritual adept then said that he was neither a God nor a devil, but an ordinary Jaina monk. The King then asked him to clarify his mysterious remarks of the people being ugly and poor. Buddhācārya then revealed that his disguise represented the poor and ugly conditioning of all “The Worldly Souls’. Due to ignorance, “The Worldly Souls’ do not understand this. He revealed the mystery of his remarks and said that “The Worldly Souls’ who are bondaged by karmas and engrossed in vicious activities and sinful living are ugly in the real sense. They nourish endless material desires and are said to be starved. Though they live in bungalows and palaces, they are lost in the world as they do not know their destination. Passions are the fire which choke them constantly although externally they look very calm and poised. “The Worldly Souls’ are lepers as they are paralized by perverse attitude and pierced by aversion. They are forever old as they have never experienced the birth of right knowledge, the youth of discrimination and the death of the wise. They are affected by the fever of attachment and they are blind by the sensual pleasures, they are dependant on their kith and kin. They owe their existence to the eight types of karmas and so they are the debtors. They are in deep slumber of ignorance although externally they are awake to the world. They are poor and unfortunate as they are devoid of righteousness.

In contrast to the above nature of “The Worldly Soul’, the spiritual aspirants like Buddhācārya are beautiful, rich, awakened and liberated as they have relinquished all material desires, realised their destination and tread on the path of emancipation. He said that the spiritual aspirants experience spiritual bliss as they are married to eleven inner damsels like contentment, faith, happiness, contemplation, intelligence, wisdom, friendship, compassion, indifference, discrimination and spiritual delight. He said that only a person who has experienced such spiritual bliss can comprehend it, but ignorant people rebuke him as they never reflect upon the source of eternal happiness and immortality.

King Dhavala then asked Buddhācārya that when the passions are sorrowful and righteousness is the greatest good, why people do not realise the same? Buddhācārya then narrated the story of Baṭharaguru who did not realize the essence of life.

In a village called World (Bhava) was situated the temple of Śiva which was adorned by precious gems, pearls and its treasury was rich and full of gold, silver, grains and clothes. One Śivācārya named Sāraguru lived with his relatives in the temple, but he was a fool. He was so foolish that he did not have the knowledge of his family members and the rich treasury spread in his house.

Some burglars visited his house and made friends with Sāraguru. When the devotees told him about the thieves and advised him to be away from them, Sāraguru did not heed to their advice, so the people called him Baṭharaguru meaning Fool. When his friendship continued with the burglars, people stopped visiting the temple. The burglars locked his relatives in a room and made him dance to their tune. They became the owners of the treasury and ill-treated Baṭharaguru.

In spite of all humiliation, Baṭharaguru looked upon the shrewd burglars as his true friends and did as they told him. They made him beg in the four colonies namely Most Inferior, Inferior, Good and Best and gave him colourful bowls. Baṭharaguru, was ill-treated in his house and seperated from his relatives. He was no longer in charge of the rich treasury. He was ignorant of the plans of the shrewd burglars.

Once a devotee took pity on Baṭharaguru and decided to cure him of his illness. The devotee met a doctor who gave him some medicines, by which Baṭharaguru could be cured. When the burglars were fast asleep the devotee lighted a lamp in the temple and gave the medicines to Baṭharaguru. When he took the medicines, Baṭharaguru was instantly cured of his illness and he could visualize the true nature of all things. The devotee gave him a spear with which he bet the burglars and freed his relatives who were held captive by the burglars. He took charge of his treasury. In course of time he again established himself as Sāraguru in another city.

Buddhācārya then revealed the mystery of the allegory of Baṭharaguru and said that Baṭharaguru is none other than “The Worldly Soul’, who is ignorant and caught in the web of transmigration. The world is the village inhabited by “The Worldly Souls’. The temple of Śiva is the nature of the soul which is rich in infinite knowledge, vision, bliss and power. Baṭharaguru is the ignorant worldly soul who is unaware of the treasures latent in him. Attachment and Aversion are the burglars who rob the soul and deprive him of his real possessions and relatives who are none other than his essential characteristics. Due to ignornace and Delusion “The Worldly Soul’ considers Attachment and Aversion as his friends and dances to their tunes in the four existences viz., the colonies of hell (most inferior), plant and animal kingdom (inferior), human existence (good) and heaven (best). The devotees are the aspirants who instruct and advise “The Worldly Soul’ to relinquish the company of burglars. The colourful begging bowls are compared to the age-limits in each existence.

The devotee who cures Baṭharaguru is none other than the spiritual adept (Sa²guru) who preaches “The-True-Doctrine’ and the Path of Righteousnessness and emancipation. They kindle the light of knowledge in the hearts of “The Worldly Soul’ and enable him to visualize his hidden treasures of infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite bliss and infinite power. The master gives him the medicine of Right Faith and the spear of Right Conduct, by which “The Worldly Soul’ drives away Delusion, Attachment, Aversion and other burglars. He experiences the freedom of his natural characteristics which were hither to over powered by the burglars. He relinquishes the world of passions, terminates his worldly sojourn and becomes liberated.

Thus Buddhācārya completed the allegory of Baṭharaguru and remarked that all the people should subdue their passions and lead a detached life as he did. When the King enquired about his past, Buddhācārya narrated his story of inspiration and initiation. He said that “The Sense of Smell’ was responsible for his brother’s untimely death and so he decided to relinquish it completely. He narrated the entire episode in detail and depicted the dreadful nature of “The Sense of Smell’, the battle between Right Conduct and Delusion, he also visualized the families of Right Conduct and Delusion and said that ““The Sense of Smell’’ was one of the five members of the family of Delusion which allured the world like the other four did. He said that each one was capable of overpowering not only “The Worldly Soul’ but the entire world. So it is not surprising to note that the entire world is tamed by the five senses. Buddhācārya realized the same and renounced the world.

Hearing the above narrative of Baṭharaguru and the life history of Buddhācārya, King Dhavala decided to renounce the world. He instructed his son Vimala to become the ruler. But Vimala too was eager to tread on the path of emancipation, so he told his father not to engage him in the activities of the sorrowful world if he loved him dearly, but take him along. So King Dhavala crowned his son Kamala and renounced the world along with his son Vimala, his Queen and many other ministers and citizens, while others accepted the vows of the householder.

But Vāmadeva, the friend of Vimala who was present throughout the entire narration of Buddhācārya remained uninspired due to the presence of Deceit. On the other hand he considered the King and others as fools to abandon the pleasures of the world. He thought that Vimala might force him to come along so he fled from the place to a far away land.

When Vimal did not Vāmdev, he asked Buddhācārya, about Vāmdev future. Buddhācārya then revealed that his inner friend Deceit prevented him from apprehending the right path and his other inner friend kept him tied to the worldly pleasures. He also told that if he associated himself with two beautiful Princesses namely Modesty and Non-Stealing (inner friends) he could be freed from the clutches of Deceit and Stealing. When Vimal heard this he adopted an indifferent attitude towards Vāmdeva.

Vāmadeva fled to Kancanpura and by wicked means took shelter in the house of merchant Simplicity. In course of time, he robbed the merchant’s house, but was caught by the watchman, who saw him stealing. The next day they caught him red-handed and handed him to the King. The King gave orders to hang but the merchant pleaded his release. The King then kept him in captive, but when another robbery took place by an invisible man, Vāmadeva was suspected, assaulted and hanged to death. When he was hanged his good old friend “Good Fortune’ left him and destiny took him to hell. “The Worldly Soul’ wandered endlessly in different existences. Deceit and Stealing accompanied him and caused great sorrow in different lives of “The Worldly Soul’ to relinquish the company of burglars. The colourful begging bowls are compared to the age-limits in each existence.

The devotee who cures Baṭharaguru is none other than the spiritual adept (Sa²guru) who preaches “The-True-Doctrine’ and the Path of Righteousnessness and emancipation. They kindle the light of knowledge in the hearts of “The Worldly Soul’ and enable him to visualize his hidden treasures of infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite bliss and infinite power. The master gives him the medicine of Right Faith and the spear of Right Conduct, by which “The Worldly Soul’ drives away Delusion, Attachment, Aversion and other burglars. He experiences the freedom of his natural characteristics which were hither to over powered by the burglars. He relinquishes the world of passions, terminates his worldly sojourn and becomes liberated.

Thus Buddhācārya completed the allegory of Baṭharaguru and remarked that all the people should subdue their passions and lead a detached life as he did. When the King enquired about his past, Buddhācārya narrated his story of inspiration and initiation. He said that “The Sense of Smell’ was responsible for his brother’s untimely death and so he decided to relinquish it completely. He narrated the entire episode in detail and depicted the dreadful nature of “The Sense of Smell’, the battle between Right Conduct and Delusion, he also visualized the families of Right Conduct and Delusion and said that ““The Sense of Smell’’ was one of the five members of the family of Delusion which allured the world like the other four did. He said that each one was capable of overpowering not only “The Worldly Soul’ but the entire world. So it is not surprising to note that the entire world is tamed by the five senses. Buddhācārya realized the same and renounced the world.

Hearing the above narrative of Baṭharaguru and the life history of Buddhācārya, King Dhavala decided to renounce the world. He instructed his son Vimala to become the ruler. But Vimala too was eager to tread on the path of emancipation, so he told his father not to engage him in the activities of the sorrowful world if he loved him dearly, but take him along. So King Dhavala crowned his son Kamala and renounced the world along with his son Vimala, his Queen and many other ministers and citizens, while others accepted the vows of the householder.

But Vāmadeva, the friend of Vimala who was present throughout the entire narration of Buddhācārya remained uninspired due to the presence of Deceit. On the other hand he considered the King and others as fools to abandon the pleasures of the world. He thought that Vimala might force him to come along so he fled from the place to a far away land.

When Vimal did not Vāmdev, he asked Buddhācārya, about Vāmdev future. Buddhācārya then revealed that his inner friend Deceit prevented him from apprehending the right path and his other inner friend kept him tied to the worldly pleasures. He also told that if he associated himself with two beautiful Princesses namely Modesty and Non-Stealing (inner friends) he could be freed from the clutches of Deceit and Stealing. When Vimal heard this he adopted an indifferent attitude towards Vāmdeva.

Vāmadeva fled to Kancanpura and by wicked means took shelter in the house of merchant Simplicity. In course of time, he robbed the merchant’s house, but was caught by the watchman, who saw him stealing. The next day they caught him red-handed and handed him to the King. The King gave orders to hang but the merchant pleaded his release. The King then kept him in captive, but when another robbery took place by an invisible man, Vāmadeva was suspected, assaulted and hanged to death. When he was hanged his good old friend “Good Fortune’ left him and destiny took him to hell. “The Worldly Soul’ wandered endlessly in different existences. Deceit and Stealing accompanied him and caused great sorrow in different lives of “The Worldly Soul’.

‘Right-Insight’ could grasp the essence of the narration whereas Prince ‘Good-Spirited’ could not comprehend it completely. ‘Innocence’ wondered at the narration and continued to stare at ‘The Worldly-Soul’. ‘The True Doctrine’ knew the entire story, so he remained quiet and indifferent. Then destiny sent him to the next existence along with ‘Good Fortune’ and ‘Greed’.

CONCLUSION OF CANTO V

At the end of the fifth chapter the author remarks that only the evil minded who are engrossed in Deceit, Stealing and “The Sense of Smell” experience infinite sorrow and throeas of Death. If this is the condition, how can they cross the ocean of worldly sojourn? He instructs his readers to understand the essence of the allegory and relinguish Falsehood, Deceit, Stealing and The Sense of Smell.

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