Shripat Sheth and Sundari once visited Shri Shilandhar Ächärya
and told him that although both of them observed daily vows such
as reciting Navakär Mantra, and performed Navakärashi,
Sämäyika, etc., their son, Kamalsen, did not observe
Kamalsen's parents were unhappy and anxious about the lack of
devotion and spirituality of their son to their religion. They
requested the monk to give some good advice to their son, so that
he would change for better and he can be happy in this life, as
well as the next. The monk willingly obliged.
reaching home, the merchant said to his son, "Well, my son,
a great teacher is visiting our town. He is a very learned man
and his lectures are worth listening.” Next day they accompanied
their son to the lecture. After paying respects by bowing down
to the Ächärya, they sat down to listen. The Ächärya
talked about many things, including hell, heaven, misery, Kevaljnän,
etc. After the discourse, the parents asked Kamalsen what he felt
about the lecture. Kamalsen replied, "I was too busy watching
the movements of Ächärya’s neck area” His
parents were greatly dismayed and returned home disappointed.
after, another great sage Ächärya Gunasägar-suri
visited the town, and his parents went to visit him with Kamalsen.
This Ächärya told the audience about stories concerning
the nine tastes (rasas) because such stories attract common people.
The boy liked those stories, so he began to attend the Ächärya’s
sermons every day and listened with interest. After a few days,
the Ächärya was leaving town. Kamalsen joined the people
in the farewell ceremony. Many people pledged to observe some
vow in their life. Kamalsen was asked if he would take a vow.
He said, " I will not tell a lie except during day and night.
I will not put the whole watermelon into my mouth, nor will I
eat cow manure.” The Ächärya was embarrassed by
this boy's ridiculous behavior. Hence, to make it up, the boy
vowed not to eat food without looking at the bald head of Simelo,
a potter of the town. The Guruji was very pleased with Kamalsen
for taking a vow, even though it was a very strange vow.
day, Simelo went out to the forest to get some clay and Kamalsen
was about to eat lunch when his mother reminded him about his
vow. He immediately ran to the forest to find the bald potter.
There he saw the potter digging in the ground. While digging,
the potter came across a jar full of gems and precious stones.
At the boy's arrival, he started hiding it underneath the heap
of soil. Kamalsen shouted, "Yes! I have seen it (the bald
head of the potter).” The potter thought Kamalsen meant
the jar and he did not want anyone else to know about the gems.
So he told the boy that he would share half of the pot if he did
not tell anyone else. First Kamalsen did not understand what he
was talking about but later he understood and gladly accepted
his offer and returned home.
thought deeply as he returned home, "A simple vow taken out
of a joke brought me this wealth. Had I taken this vow in seriousness,
I would have been even richer." This incident changed Kamalsen's
life. He then observed many vows, and became very happy.
one takes vows to do something it should require true devotion
and discipline, and require some form of sacrifice, which is consistent
with the principles of Jainism. Taking vows, that do not fit this
profile, is useless and has no meaning. Taking vows and following
through with them benefits one’s soul. These benefits may
be evident in one’s existing human life, or may not be evident
until some future birth. But the vows definitely help disciplining