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1st bhav

King Dhan and Dhanmati

It was during the reign of King Vikramdhan who ruled over Achalpur, located in Bharatkshetra of Jambudveep. His queen was the noble and gentle, Dharini. One night, at mid-night she dreamt a symbolic and divine dream in which she saw a mango tree laden with several fruits and housing cuckoos and bees. Bearing such a mango fruit in his hands, a handsome man told queen Dharini in her dream, “This mango tree is being planted in your courtyard today. With the passage of time, it will come to bear the best quality of fruits and will eventually be planted at different locations nine times”. Having said thus, the handsome man disappeared. The queen spent the rest of the night contemplating over religious thoughts. At dawn, the queen spoke to King Vikramdhan about her special dream from the previous night. Delighted, the King immediately sent for dream readers to interpret the dream. The dream readers said, “Oh King, what we can interpret is that you will be blessed with a great and fortunate son. However, we are unable to interpret what is meant by the tree being planted at different locations nine times. That mystery can be resolved only by the omniscient Lord”. Ecstatic with the interpretation of the dream, the King and the Queen started nurturing the child in the womb with utmost care. After the appropriate gestation period, on an auspicious day when the planets were fortuitously aligned, the queen gave birth to a bright and outstanding, gem like son. The entire kingdom was wrapped in feelings of joy and gaiety. The thrilled King marked the event with mega celebrations and on a felicitous day, the bright child was named Dhankumar. Enjoying his childhood, Dhankumar soon stepped into the throes of youth.

Elsewhere, King Sinh of Kusumpur lived with his good natured queen Vimla. They had a beautiful and well-mannered daughter Dhanvati. Past the innocence of childhood, princess Dhanvati, an expert in the 64 crafts and skills meant for women, attained youth as well.

Once, the princess along with her friends had been to an alluring park for some entertainment. There, she saw an artist with a captivating painting of King Vikramdhan’s son Dhankumar. Princess Dhanvati was instantly enamored by prince Dhankumar in the picture. Upon knowing of his daughter’s feelings for prince Dhankumar, King Sinh sent an envoy to King Vikramdhan with a marriage proposal. Along with the message from her father, princess Dhanvati also sent a personal letter to Dhankumar. In Achalpur, the envoy handed over the proposal to King Sinh and the personal letter to prince Dhankumar. Seeing that the proposal was befitting, King Vikramdhan gladly accepted the proposal from King Sinh. Prince Dhankumar also replied with a personal note, confirming his acceptance. Armed with this acceptance, the envoy returned to his native place and described the events to the King. With great fervor and pomp, King Sinh then got his daughter married and gifted her with ample wealth and sent her to Prince Dhankumar along with some wise ministers. The newly-wed couple had innate love and affection for each other and reminded one of Kamdev and Rati, the god (and goddess) of love. Basking in the glory of unwavering love and complete trust in each other, Dhankumar and Dhanvati spent fulfilling days.

Once, Dhankumar went with his love Dhanvati to an enchanting lake to indulge in fun water activities. There they spotted a Jain monk (muni) with a pleasing demeanor, lying unconscious under an Ashok tree. It appeared that his body had undergone severe physical strain and because he had been walking barefoot, his feet were bleeding. Seeing his agonizing state, Dhankumar and Dhanvati were distressed. With deep devotion and respect for the monk, they tried to revive him and were successful in their attempts. With great compassion in his heart, Dhankumar enquired about the monk’s whereabouts and identity. The Jain monk replied, “My name is Munichandra. I was walking along with my guru (religious teacher) and co disciples, but along the way got separated and lost my way. With no one with me and with no sense of direction I was just wandering. Aggrieved and suffering from pangs of hunger and parched with thirst, I fainted here”. Having thus spoken, he enquired about Dhankumar and Dhanvati. Recognizing that they were well-suited, he preached about the religious tenets applying to householders. Realizing that what they were hearing was exceptional, Dhankumar and Dhanvati accepted the religion. Because he had served the Jain monk with pious thoughts and deep benevolence, the soul of Dhankumar for the first time ever experienced right belief (samyak darshan). Thereafter, Dhankumar became an exemplary Jain male householder and Dhanvati, an exemplary Jain female householder. King Vikramdhan then coronated him as the King of Achalpur and since then Dhankumar not only became a sterling follower of Jain religion, but also a great guardian of his land.

Once a Jain monk named Vasundhar arrived in Achalpur. When queen Dharini described her dream, he said that her son Dhankumar would have 9 reincarnations (current inclusive), each one better than the previous and finally in the 9th incarnation he would be born in Bharatkshetra in the Yaduvansh clan and become the 22nd Tirthankar, Lord Neminath. The gardener informed Dhankumar of respected monk Vasundhar’s arrival in the park. Dhankumar, along with his wife Dhanvati and his entire family, went there to hear sermons from the monk. Upon listening to the sermon of the monk which was laced with thoughts on detachment and about the true nature of the world, Dhankumar and Dhanvati became disinterested in the worldly life and sought the spiritual path. They carried out the coronation ceremony and made their son Jayant the king. Thereafter, Dhankumar and Dhanvati, along with his brother Dhandatt and Dhandev, renounced the world and embraced monkhood under Vasundhar monk.

Dhankumar and Dhanvati remained diligent in the pursuit of their renounced life and eventually decided to fast until death. After a month’s fasting, with great equanimity, their soul left their bodies and reincarnated as celestial beings named Samanik and Mahardik in the Saudharm heaven. Both his brothers also died similarly and were reborn as celestial beings in the Saudharm heaven.

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