Sunday, September 6, 2009

MAHAVIRA: Omniscience (Keval Gyan)


Bhagavan Mahavira practiced strict austerities and deep meditation for a period of twelve years and a half. During this period he used to reside in parks, forests and deserted places and bore all the obstacles and tortures patiently and bravely. He used to observe fasts commencing from a two-days, fast and gradually going up to a fast lasting for six months. He had now reached the highest state of meditation. He then reached the village Jarmbhika and stayed on the banks of the river Rijuvaluka. At that time he was observing a fast of two days. In order to annihilate the lingering remnants of the destructive Karmas, Bhagavan Mahavira sat down in the "cow-milking" posture, as shown in the illustration. His mind was absorbed in the highest type of meditation and with all the karmas completely destroyed; he attained the absolute knowledge on the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakha. He became omniscient, comprehending and visualizing everything in the whole universe, as well as everything in the past, present, and the future. Being free from all impurities, he now became an Arihanta. After that he delivered his first sermon and his messages is recorded in the Jain texts called Agamas.

LORD MAHAVIRA’S WORDS AFTER ATTAINING OMNISCIENCE ARE ALSO RECORDED IN THE BUDDHIST TEXT:

“I am all-knowing and all-seeing, and possessed of an infinite knowledge. Whether I am walking or standing still, whether I sleep or remain awake, the supreme knowledge and intuition are present with me---constantly and continuously. There are, O Nirgranthas, some sinful acts you have done in the past, which you must now wear out by this acute form of austerity. Now that here you will be living restrained in regard to your acts, speech and thought, it will work as the nondoing of karma for future. Thus, by the exhaustion of the force of past deeds through penance and the non-accumulation of new acts, (you are assured) of the stoppage of the future course, of rebirth from such stoppage, of the destruction of the effect of karma, from that, of the destruction of pain, from that, of the destruction of mental feelings, and from that, of the complete wearing out of all kinds of pain”.

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