Rushabhdev had two wives named Sumangalä and Sunandä.
By Sumangalä he had 99 sons of whom Bharat was the eldest
and the best known and one daughter named Brähmi. By the
second wife, Sunandä he had one son named Bähubali and
one daughter named Sundari. All of them were given proper training
in different arts and crafts appropriate to them. Bharat turned
out to be a great warrior and a politician. Bähubali was
tall, well built, and strong. He is known for his mighty arm.
In Sanskrit language, Bähu means arm and Bali means mighty.
Because he had very strong arm, he is known as Bähubali.
Brähmi attained very high literary proficiency. She developed
the scriptures, which came to be known as Brähmi scriptures.
Sundari became very proficient in mathematics. After Lord Rushabhdev
attained omniscience, both girls renounced the worldly life and
became his pupils.
a king, Rushabhdev had responsibility for a large geographical
area in his kingdom. At the time of his renouncement, he handed
over Vinitä, also known as Ayodhyä, to Bharat and Taxshilä
to Bähubali. To the remaining 98 sons he gave different parts
of his vast kingdom.
quickly established a firm hold over Vinita. He was an ambitious
ruler and intended to become emperor of entire India. For this
purpose he organized a strong army and started developing different
types of fighting equipment. His army developed a miraculous wheel
called Chakraratna (Chakra means wheel and Ratna means precious
jewel) that would not miss its target. Then he embarked upon his
journey of conquest. In those days there was hardly anyone who
could withstand his well-equipped army. He could therefore easily
conquer the regions round about Vinitä. Then he turned attention
towards his brothers and asked them to acknowledge his superiority.
His 98 brothers saw the futility of fighting with the elder brother
so they surrendered their territories to him and became disciples
of Lord Rushabhdev.
only Bähubali remained. He was of different thought. He was
conscious of his right to rule over the kingdom handed over by
his father. Moreover, he was too proud to surrender and had the
will and capacity to fight any invaders. Therefore when he received
Bharat’s request to accept a subordinate status, he refused
to accept that type of status and began preparations to fight.
Both the brothers were strong and the war between the two was
sure to result in large scale bloodshed. The counselors on both
sides therefore tried to dissuade their masters from resorting
to war but neither of them would give up his ground. The war thus
seemed inevitable and both the brothers brought their armies face
to face with each other. Every one shuddered at the prospect of
the heavy casualty that was going to result by the imminent war.
last, the counselors explained to their masters that the point
at issue pertained to determination of the superiority between
the two. Instead of undertaking the large-scale war for that purpose,
they may better resort to a duel that would avert unnecessary
bloodshed. Since both the brothers were agreeable, they suggested
that they may engage in a straight duel and whoever was found
superior would be proclaimed as the victor. Bharat and Bähubali
both agreed. Accordingly, the duel took place in which Bharat
tried to beat Bähubali by using different types of equipment
at his command. He however was not successful in beating his brother.
How could he bear his defeat, knowing that he intended to conquer
all of India? He became desperate and ignored the rules that were
agreed to for the duel, as he hurled his miracle wheel at Bähubali.
But the wheel was not meant to hurt the persons of the same blood.
It therefore came back without hurting Bähubali.
became mad by Bharat’s violation of the rules of the duel.
He therefore thought of smashing the elder brother with his mighty
fist. As he raised his hand for that purpose, the onlookers trembled
with the idea of Bharat’s imminent end.
But all of a sudden, Bähubali thought, ‘What am I doing?
Am I going to kill my elder brother for the sake of worldly possessions
that my revered father has willingly abdicated and which my other
brothers have forsaken?’ He shuddered at the prospect of
the imminent death of Bharat. Within a moment, he changed his
mind. He saw the evil in killing his brother, whom he used to
respect. As proud as he was, how could he ever turn back his raised
hand? He therefore used it for pulling out his hair (as the monks
do during Dikshä) as a symbol of giving up everything and
of renouncing the worldly life.
then thought that if he went to the assembly of his father at
that time, he would be required to bow to his 98 younger brothers
who had renounced earlier and would as such be considered senior
to him. How would his ego let him do that? He therefore decided
to seek the enlightenment on his own and started meditating on
the very spot where he stood. He stayed so focused on his meditation
that he did not even remember how long he continued it. He remained
so immersed that even creepers began to grow on the support of
his feet. In memory of this event, a gigantic 57 foot statue of
Bähubali stands erected on the hill of Vindhyagiri at Shravanbelgola,
near Bangalore. It has been made out of a single granite rock
and was erected about 1000 years back. Pilgrims and visitors marvel
that the statue under the open sky stands spotless even today.
year passed in that posture of meditation. Bähubali however
did not gain enlightenment. How could he gain it, since he did
not get rid of the ego that was overpowering him? At last, Lord
Rushabhdev, out of compassion, sent Brähmi and Sundari to
bring him to the right path. They came to the place where Bähubali
was meditating. Seeing the mighty brother standing like a rock,
they calmly asked him to get off the elephant. As their familiar
voice reached the ears of Bähubali, he opened his eyes in
all amazement and looked around. But where was the elephant? He
then realized that he was all the time riding the elephant of
ego. He immediately overcame it and decided to go to the Lord.
his long penance, he had overcome all other defiling instincts
and only the ego had remained between him and the enlightenment.
Now ego was gone and humbleness prevailed in its place. Therefore
as he took the first step towards the Lord, he achieved full enlightenment
and became omniscient.
life span had almost reached its end and therefore he soon attained
the ultimate liberation. As such, he is the first person to gain
liberation during the present Avasarpini or the descending half
of the current time cycle.
Bharat had become the undisputed emperor or Chakravarti of entire
India, which from his name came to be known as Bhäratvarsha.
He was the first Chakravarti of the current Avasarpini. He ruled
equitably and in the interest of all. People were happy during
his regime. He himself was happy in every respect. After ruling
as such for a very long time, the ring came off of his finger
while he was in his dressing room one day. He noticed that the
finger looked rather odd without the ring. By way of curiosity
he took all of the other rings off and saw that all the fingers
looked odd. Then he took off his crown and other ornaments that
used to decorate his ears, neck, arms etc and looked in the mirror.
He noticed that he did not look as impressive as he used to look.
set in motion a train of thoughts within himself. ‘I consider
myself as handsome and impressive, but all that impressiveness
merely arises from the ornaments etc. that do not belong to the
body. The body itself is made up of blood, bones etc. which happens
to be despicable but look attractive only on account of the skin
in which they are wrapped. Then, how come I am so enamored of
it? Moreover, the body does not stay forever and is going to decomposed
sooner or later. At that stage I will have to leave every thing.’
He thus realized that nothing in the world inclusive of his body
really belonged to him. In that case he thought, ‘Why not
do away with my attachment of all the temporary things and instead
focus on something that lasts forever like my father?’ Thus,
he developed acute detachment for the worldly life. This led to
the rise of true enlightenment from within and as a result he
attained omniscience in that very room.
The focus of this great story is on ego and self-realization.
Ego and pride builds negative karma and leads one to destructive
behavior as symbolized in the story. Ego also causes anger and
leads one to irrational behavior. Ego and superficial pride must
be overcome on the path to enlightenment and omniscience. A learned
person or a Sädhu should be respected regardless of his age.
We should all strive for cultivating humility, a fundamental principles