Räjgruhi there was a wealthy merchant named Rushabhadatt
who was also known as Arhadas. His wife Dhärini alias Jinmati
gave birth to a very handsome son in 542 BC. The boy was named
Jambu. He turned out to be very bright and intelligent. Every
one liked him. As he grew up, many families were eager to get
him married to their daughters. Since it was the age of polygamy,
his parents selected 8 girls of reputed families and Jambu was
duly engaged with them. Prior to the marriage Jambu once went
to the assembly of Sudharmäswämi and was very much impressed
by the sermon. He developed a very high sense of detachment and
decided to renounce his worldly life. His parents were of course
not happy about his renouncing at such a young age. Parents of
the girls he was engaged to were also very perturbed. They were
worried about their daughters, since no one else would accept
them because of their being already engaged to him.
of them pressed Jambu to give up his intention. They pointed out
the rigors of ascetic life that he would not be able to face.
They also told him that it is very hard to lead the life of a
monk and advised him lead a comfortable family life. However,
he remained firm. The parents thought that he would change his
mind, if he gets married. They therefore insisted upon his getting
married before renouncing. Jambu agreed on the condition that
he should be allowed to renounce the day after his marriage. Since
the girls to whom he was engaged were very beautiful and attractive,
every one thought that he would surely gain attachment for them,
once he is married. The elders therefore accepted that condition.
wedding took place on a grand scale. Jambu’s parents and
those of the girls vied with one another in show of their prosperity.
No effort was left out to make the wedding a memorable ceremony.
Highly distinguished guests graced the occasion. Jewelry and other
precious gifts that were adorned upon the newly weds, were the
envy of the city. Räjgruhi had rarely witnessed such pomp
and splendor. Every one congratulated Jambu for getting such beautiful
and glamorous wives and wished him perfect happiness. At night
Jambu was in elegantly decorated bedroom along with his wives
and the elders heaved a sigh of relief.
was however not at all affected by the glamour nor was he overcome
by the beauty of those lovely girls. He had made up his mind to
renounce the next day and wanted to make use of the night for
orienting those girls for the purpose. He sat in front of them
and started explaining the purely temporary and transitory character
of life and everything pertaining to that.
that time in the vicinity of Räjgruhi, there was a burglar
named Prabhav. He had been a prince of Vindhya but had a falling
out with his parents on the issue of some property. He therefore
left the place and had taken up burglary. He had gathered with
him 500 colleagues who were willing to undertake any sort of adventure
at his command. He had acquired a device to put any one to sleep
and he could break any type of lock. He came to know of the fabulous
treasure accumulated on the occasion of Jambu’s wedding
and had decided to grab it.
dead of the night he came to the place along with his followers
and saw that every one had gone to sleep because of the exhaustion
of the ceremony. He asked his colleagues to pick up the valuables
as he proceeded towards Jambu’s bedroom for the jewelry
on the bodies of newly weds. From a little distance, he heard
Jambu talking to his wives. He could not believe that the newly
weds were still awake. He came close to the door and tried to
listen expecting exciting love gossip. To his utter astonishment,
Jambu was talking about the true nature of life. His words were
so forceful that Prabhav could not stop listening.
Jambu’s talk was appealing not only to his wives but also
to Prabhav. He started thinking that he had fallen out with his
parents and others for the sake of some possessions and was leading
the nasty life of a burglar, while here was a young boy planning
to give up everything that he had effortlessly gained. Jambu’s
talk was still going on. The more Prabhav listened, the more he
hated himself. His men came to him with bundles of valuables,
pointing out that it was getting dawn and they should leave. But
Prabhav was not listening to them. He had developed disdain for
his current life and was keen to change it. Ultimately he told
his followers to leave him alone, because he had decided to give
up burglary. They could therefore go on their own. All of them
were exasperated at that. They said that they would not go anywhere
without him. If he was giving up the occupation, they were also
willing to give it up.
that time Jambu had finished. His wives were convinced of the
futility of the worldly life and had decided to renounce with
him. Then Prabhav came inside and said that he had come up for
the burglary but had decided to renounce after listening his talk
to his wives. He and his 500 followers made up their mind to be
Jambu’s pupils. In the morning, news spread everywhere that
Jambu was going to renounce that day along with his wives. His
parents were disappointed that their intention did not materialize.
They did not have any incentive to continue the household life
and decided to renounce. And so was the decision of the girls’
parents. A spectacular procession was organized leading all those
500+ people to the assembly of Sudharmäswämi. Jambu
became his pupil and Prabhav and his colleagues became Jambu’s
as he became known henceforth studied the entire teaching of Lord
Mahävir. Most of Jain scriptures are composed in the form
of dialogue from Sudharmäswämi to Jambuswämi. He
became the head of the religious order when Sudharmäswämi
attained omniscience. He himself attained it at the age of 36.
He was the last omniscient of the current time cycle. He attained
Nirvana at the age of 80.
firmly believed in renouncing the worldly life from the start.
In fact, his words/sermons were so powerful that it ultimately
led hundreds of others to follow him in the pursuit of omniscience
through the disciplined life of an ascetic. He realized that marital
happiness, and enjoyment of physical beauty (of his 8 wives) is
all superficial and temporary. The key is to focus on purifying
the soul and helping others do the same.