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7th bhav

King Shankh and Yashomati

ShriSen was the king of Hastinapur situated in Bharat Kshetra of Jambudweep. He had a wife named Shrimati who once dreamt of a conch-like bright and lustrous moon entering her mouth. In the morning, she met the king and narrated him her dream. The King called the dream-readers to know the meaning of it. The dream-readers told that, “O great King! The dream indicates that the queen shall give birth to a boy who will eliminate all the darkness of enemies like a moon.” On that night, the soul of Aparjit, after completing his lifespan in Aaran devlok, took birth in the womb of queen. In due course, the queen gave birth to a beautiful baby boy with auspicious markings on the body and was named Shankhkumar (Shankh means a conch) for obvious reasons. Just as the glow of moon amplifies from crescent to full moon, so did the little prince evolve into a young man.. On the other side, the soul of Vimalbodh too, after completing his lifespan in Aaran devlok, was born as the son of of Srisen’s Minister Gunnidhi and was named Matiprabh. Owing to their strong bonding from the previous births, Shankhkumar and Matiprabh became very good friends.

River Shishira used to flow near Chandra range of mountains situated near Hastinapur city. A chieftain of dacoits named Samarketu who dwelled on the banks of that river used to frequently rob Hastinapur city. The people of the city were terrorized by his robberies and urged the prince to help them. Prince Shankhkumar fought Samarketu and defeated him easily. The prince was bringing back Samarketu after defeating him and had to halt on the way due to nightfall. Suddenly in the night, the prince heard a loud mourning sound of a woman. The prince who was sympathetic and kind-hearted by birth immediately moved in the direction of the mourning sound to see the source of it. He saw an elderly woman who was crying incessantly to which Shankhkumar asked softly, “O elder woman! Please do not cry. Please tell me your problem and I will help you with it.” Gaining little composure on hearing the soothing voice of the prince, the elderly woman said, “O Great man! There is a princess by name Yashomati who lives in the city of Champa in Anga country, ruled by King Jitari and Queen Kirtimati. Finding no one suitable to marry her, she grew disinterested towards all the men and refused to marry. Once, she heard the name of Prince Shankhkumar from someone and immediately fell in love with him and she vowed to marry no one else but him. Once Manishekhar, the King of Vidhyadhars, expressed his desire to marry the princess and asked King Jitari for her hand. King Jitari let him know about the vow of the princess that she would marry only Shankhkumar and no one else. This infuriated King Manishekhar and he kidnapped the princess Yashomati and took her along with him. I am the governess of Yashomati and was clung to her when the king took her, but he threw me on the way and left alone with her.”

Hearing this, Shankhkumar began searching for her relentlessly. Once, he came across a cave in a mountain in which he saw Yashomati reiterating Shankhkumar’s name. Shankhkumar fought bravely with Manishekhar and defeated him. Thereafter, he along with Yashomati worshipped the eternal Lord (known as “Shashwat Prabhu”) residing in Siddhayatan. Manishekhar took the prince to his city of Kanakpur. The people of Vaitadhya mountains were taken aback by this gesture. A number of kings, who were drawn towards Shankhkumar due to his valour, qualities and charming looks, offered him their daughters for marriage. But Shankhkumar brought all of them to Champa city. Hearing this news, King Jitari and Queen Kirtimati were elated and organized a grand celebration for the wedding of Princess Yashomati to Prince Shankhkumar. After this, the prince also married daughters of the other Vidhyadhar kings. After some time, Shankhkumar along with all his wives came to Hastinapur. Sur and Som, who were younger brothers of Shankhkumar in his previous birth as Aparajit, and who were along with him in Devlok too, were born as Shankhkumar’s younger brothers named Yashodhar and Gundhar in this birth too. King Shrisen handed over the reins of his kingdom to Shankhkumar and took diksha at the feet of Gundhar Gandhar Bhagwant. Shankhkumar ruled over a vast empire for a long time and made Yashomati his chief queen.

Shrisen, in his monkhood began living an extremely austere life and with the passage of time, he attained omniscience (Keval Gnan). One fine day, he, accompanied with celestial beings, arrived at Champanagari. Shankhkumar along with his family came to hear his sermons. At the end of the discourse, Shankkumar asked, “O Lord! What is the reason behind my deep affection for Yashomati?” The omniscient Shrisen Kevali Bhagwant narrated to him his previous births beginning from the birth of Dhankumar and Dhanavanti and said, “This is your seventh birth since then and from here, you will be born in the Anuttar devlok. Due to the long standing relationship from many previous births, you have developed a deep affection towards Yashomati. And in your last 9th birth, you will become Twenty Second Tirthankar Lord Neminath. Both of your brothers and your minister will become your Gandhars and even Yashomati, who will be born as Rajimati, will have deep affection for you right from un-wedded stage. And she will take Diksha from you and eventually, attain salvation.”
Hearing this from Kevali Bhagwant, Shankhkumar became detached from this world and handed over the crown to his son Pundrik. He took Diksha along with Yashomati, his two brothers and his minister. In due course, Shankh-Muni mastered all the scriptures and undertook severe austerities and penances. And in the end, he undertook Padopgaman anshan (a type of penance) before he left his mortal body. He was born in the Anuttar Devlok named Aparajit. Yashomati and others too followed every step of his and were born in the same Aparajit Devlok.

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