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Jain Stories
Surasen and Mahasen


In the city of Kshitipratisthit, there lived a king named Virsen. He had two sons, Surasen and Mahasen. Both brothers grew up with deep love for each other.

Once Mahasen developed a boil on his tongue. It grew in size, became more painful, and would not let him rest. The King tried all treatments but nothing worked. Everybody felt sorry for the Prince’s suffering. All attempts to cure him failed and at last, doctors declared it as an incurable problem. After a while, disease advanced so much that he had a horrible bad breath. No one could come close to him because they could not tolerate the odor. But his younger brother, Surasen would not leave him alone. He always sat by his bed. One day, he decided not to eat any food till his brother was well. Later that evening, it struck him to recite the holy Namokär Mantra.

Surasen brought a cup of water to his brother's bedside. He recited the holy mantra and sprinkled the water on his brother's tongue. To his and his brother's surprise, there was some immediate relief. After continuing this for several days, his brother's tongue became better. The odor and the boil disappeared. Everyone felt happy and developed a deep faith in Namokär Mantra.

After a while, Ächärya Bhadrabähu came to that city. He was blessed with Avadhi Jnän (clairvoyance) The two brothers came to pay him homage. After the sermon was over, Surasen approached him and asked if he could explain them why his brother had to suffer.

The Ächärya told them how his past life caused this to happen.

"In the Bharat Kshetra, there is a city called Manipur. Madan, a warrior lived there. He was a strong believer of the Jin path. Madan had two sons, named Bhir and Vir. One day on the way to a park, two boys saw a monk lying in the street and found out that the monk was in the meditation when a poisonous snake bit him. The snake had, however, escaped into his hole. Upon hearing this Vir became very upset and asked, "There were so many people here and why nobody killed the snake?"

Bhir said, "Brother, the snake could escape because of his good karmas. But why are you wishing for such a sinful act?"

Vir said, "Bhir, can't you understand that the snake has committed the grave sin by biting a holy righteous monk? Therefore killing a snake would not be a sinful act."

Bhir replied, "No, two wrong acts do not make one right. Wrong is wrong. You should not get emotional and justify your thinking. You should repent for what you just said."

Vir was still upset and said, "No."

The monk continued to tell Surasen, "Bhir is reborn as you and Vir as your brother. Since he wished to hurt the snake and did not repent, he had to suffer by having a boil on his tongue. By the time you started reciting the holy Namokär Mantra his bad karmas were depleted and it seemed as if you helped him cure his illness."

They were enlightened by listening about their previous. They decided to renounce the worldly ties and became monks. From there on, they lived a spiritual life.


Key Message:

Theory of karma is explored here. Things happen to one based on the bad or good karma that has accumulated. There is no luck or misfortune, but instead, one is guided by one’s karma. Reciting the Navakär Mantra and/or deep meditation are methods of destroying bad karmas. Due to our one- dimensional vision and lack of knowledge, we don’t always understand why bad or good things happen to us.