Once upon a time in the streets of Polaspur, a six-year-old child
named Aimutta was playing with some friends. He was the son of
King Vijay and Queen Shrimati. While playing he saw a monk. The
monk’s name was Gautam-swämi, who was bare-foot and
bald and was out getting alms (food). Aimutta ran to him and invited
him to come to his palace to get food, which would make his mother
and him happy. Gautam-swämi agreed and they left to go to
the palace. Aimutta's mother, Queen Shrimati was standing in the
balcony overlooking the garden. She saw Gautam-swämi and
Aimutta coming to her palace. She was very happy and came down
to receive Gautam-swämi. She welcomed him with full devotion
and said, "Matthaena Vandämi (my salutation to you).”
She introduced Gautam-swämi as a staunch disciple of Lord
Mahävir to Aimutta. She asked Aimutta to go and get his favorite
food to offer to Gautam-swämi. Aimutta brought ladoos and
started putting them in a pot even though Gautam-swämi said
he didn't need that many. Aimutta was very happy offering food
to the monk.
Gautam-swämi started leaving, Aimutta said, "Your bag
is heavy, let me carry it for you."
said, "Aimutta, I can not give it to you, because it can
only be carried by those who have taken Dikshä."
asked, "What is Dikshä?"
Swami explained to him that when someone takes a vow of Dikshä,
he renounces the worldly life, his house, family, and all other
social and economical ties. Then he becomes a monk. People take
Dikshä to avoid accumulation of bad karma. In normal every
day living, people are involved in various activities all of the
time which causes one to accumulate karmas. On the other hand,
a monk does not do those things. Thus monks and nuns can avoid
most of the activities of householders, and therefore avoid accumulating
became curious and asked, "Gurudev, you do not do sins! But
don't you need to eat? Don't you need a place to live? All these
cause sins (i.e. pap karmas)."
Gautam-swämi was pleased with the child's interest to learn
more. So he explained, "We take food, but we do not accept
food, which is made especially for us. We stay in a place, but
we do not own it and, we do not stay there for more than a few
days. We do not keep money and we do not take part in business
or any organizations. This way as a monk we do not have to do
any activity, that causes sins.
said, "Gurudev, in that case, I want to take Dikshä."
and Gautam-swämi walked to a place where Lord Mahävir
was giving sermon. Aimutta joined others to listen to his teachings.
In that sermon, Aimutta learned what life is all about and what
one can do if he or she wants to be relieved of these worldly
sufferings. Aimutta again expressed his desire to accept Dikshä
to Lord Mahävir. Lord Mahävir said, "We can not
give you Dikshä without your parents' permission.”
Aimutta replied, "That is easy, I will go home and get their
permission and come back."
Aimutta went home. He told his mother, "Mom, I want to take
Dikshä. Remember you used to say that our social life is
full of violence and causes sins? Gautam-swämi and Lord Mahävir
also said the same. I want to be free of sins. Therefore, please
give me permission to take Dikshä."
mother was surprised by his words. She was happy in her mind for
his fear of sins and his desire to take Dikshä, because she
was also a religious woman. But she wanted to be sure that Aimutta
understood what "taking Dikshä" meant. So she said,
"My son, to take Dikshä is not a joke. It is a very
hard and disciplined life. You will not have mother or father
to take care of you. How will you be able to handle such suffering?"
said, "Mother, this social life also has a lot of sufferings.
At least we know that as a monk the sufferings will help destroy
the karmas and lead to salvation."
mother was very happy to hear this. But she wanted to test Aimutta’s
determination some more. She said, "Son, why are you in such
a hurry? Wait for sometime. You need to take care of us when we
get old and you will have your own family too."
said, "Mother, I learned from Lord Mahävir that no one
is young and no one is old. I also learned that no one knows what
is going to happen tomorrow. No one knows who will die first or
last. So why wait and miss this opportunity which is available
to me today?”
mother felt very happy that her son fully understood what Dikshä
meant and what his desire was.
said, "Congratulations my son. I am very proud of you. You
will be a good monk. Do not forget that your goal is to attain
salvation and be sure to observe ahimsa (nonviolence) throughout
your life. I give you permission to take Dikshä."
said, "Thank you, Mom. I will remember your advice."
mother blessed him and wished him success in his new life. She
also helped to get permission from his father, King Vijay.
a few days, he took Dikshä and became a monk called "Bälmuni
(young monk) Aimutta."
day while coming back from outside, Bälmuni Aimutta saw some
children playing in a water puddle with a paper boat. He became
excited about playing and forgot that as a monk he can not play
with water. So he ran towards the kids, and asked if he could
play with them. The kids also became excited for a monk to play
with them, and said, "Yes.” He took the lid off the
pot that he had and started playing with it as if it were a boat.
He said, "Look, my boat is also sailing.” Meanwhile
other monks came there and saw him playing with water. They came
to him and said, "Bälmuni, what are you doing? Did you
forget that as a monk you could not play with water? By playing
with water, we cause harm to many water bodied souls. We have
taken a vow not to hurt any living being. This is very bad. You
have violated your vow and accumulated sins."
Aimutta realized his mistake. He immediately started repenting,
"Oh! What have I done? I promised my mother that I would
not do any sinful activity. How sinful I am? How nice these monks
are to remind me of my mistake! What would have happened if these
monks had not seen me?” He was truly regretful for what
he did. He left with the other monks. Every monk has to recite
the Iriyävahiyam Sutra after they come back to their place
from outside. So Bälmuni also recited this sutra. When he
came to the part, "Pänakkamne, Beeyakkamne,Hariyakkamane,Osäuttinga
Panag-Daga-Matti, (if I have hurt any living beings of water,
green grass, clay, then I am asking for forgiveness)" his
repentance had no bound. He was very sorry for what he had done.
He began thinking, "What did I do? I have hurt so many living
beings. How can I be free of these sins? How will I face Lord
Mahävir? Oh living beings, I have caused harm to you. Please
forgive me of my sins. I will never commit these sins again.”
Because of his sincere repentance, all of his bad karmas were
destroyed and he attained Kevaljnän (omniscience or perfect
knowledge). He became Kevali.
this, Kevali Aimutta Muni went to Lord Mahävir’s assembly
and started walking towards other Kevalis. Some senior Munis noticed
this and told him, "Oh, Aimutta!! Where are you going? That
is the place for Kevalis to sit. Come over here where the other
monks are sitting."
Mahävir interrupted them and said, "Monks, you should
not insult a Kevali. Aimutta Muni is no ordinary monk now. While
reciting Iriyävahiyam Sutra, he destroyed all of his Ghäti
(destructive) karmas, and became a Kevali."
monks realized their mistakes, bowed down to him and thought,
"There is no age barrier to be a Kevali."
Nirvana (i.e. death), Bälmuni Aimutta attained salvation.
pursuit and understanding of Jainism has no age limit but is rather
driven by ones’ own true faith, understanding and passion
to learn the principles of Jainism. All of us make mistakes, which
causes karmas. Mistakes can be intentional or unintentional. It
is possible that karmas, which result from unintentional mistakes,
can be eliminated by true and sincere repentance. One should not
intentionally make a mistake knowing that they plan to repent
later. Such repentance will be in vain since it is not true or