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Bharat and Bähubali « Jainsquare – A Complete Portal on Jainism

Bharat and Bähubali

19 Feb

Lord 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. Bharat became a great warrior and a politician. Bähubali was tall, well built, and strong. He was known for his mighty arms. In Sanskrit language, Bähu means arm and Bali means mighty. Because he had very strong arms, he was known as Bähubali. Brähmi attained a very high level of literary proficiency. She developed the first known script, which came to be known as Brähmi script. Sundari became very proficient in mathematics. After Lord Rushabhdev attained omniscience, both girls renounced the worldly life and became his disciples.

As a king, Rushabhdev had responsibility for a large geographical area in his kingdom. At the time of his renouncement, he handed over the city of Vinitä, also known as Ayodhyä, to Bharat and the city of Taxshilä to Bähubali. To the remaining 98 sons he gave different parts of his vast kingdom.

Bharat quickly established a firm hold over Vinita. He was an ambitious ruler and intended to become emperor of all 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 easily conquered the regions around Vinitä. Then he turned his attention towards his brothers and asked them to acknowledge his superiority. They all went to Lord Rushabhdev to ask for advice. Bhagawän explained about conquering inner enemies (passions) and not the external enemies. He also advised on attaining liberation, a ”True Kingdom”. They all realized the futility of fighting with the elder brother so they surrendered their territories to him, renounced the worldly life, and became disciples of Lord Rushabhdev.

Now only Bähubali remained. He had a different vision. 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 invader. 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 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 seemed inevitable and both the brothers brought their armies face to face with each other. Everyone shuddered at the prospect of the heavy casualties that would result due to the imminent war.

At last, the counselors explained to their masters that the point at issue pertained to determination of the superiority between the two. Instead of going to a large-scale war for that purpose, a fight between the two brothers was better and would avert unnecessary bloodshed. Since both the brothers were agreeable, they suggested they engage in a straight duel and whoever was found superior would be declared 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 upon for the duel, and hurled his miracle wheel, the Chakraratna, at Bähubali. However, the wheel was not meant to hurt a person of the same blood. It therefore came back without hurting Bähubali.

Bähubali became enraged by Bharat’s violation of the rules of the duel. He 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 death.

However, 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 abandoned and which my other brothers have given up?’ 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.

Bähubali 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 decided to seek 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 . He remained so immersed that creepers began to grow on his feet. (In memory of this event, a gigantic 57-foot upright statue of Bähubali stands on the hill of Vindhyagiri at Shravanbelgola, near Bangalore. It is made out of a single granite rock and was erected about 1000 years ago . Pilgrims and visitors marvel that the statue under the open sky stands spotless even today).

One year passed with Bahubali 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 amazement and looked around. However, where was the elephant? He then realized that he was all the time riding the elephant of ego. He immediately let go his ego and decided to go to the Lord.

During his long penance, he had overcome all other defiling passions and only 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.

Meanwhile, Bharat had become the undisputed emperor or Chakravarti of all 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 for a very long time, one day a ring came off of his finger while he was in his dressing room. He noticed that the finger looked rather odd without the ring. By way of curiosity, he took all 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.

This set in motion a train of thoughts within himself. ‘I consider myself handsome and impressive, but all that impressiveness is merely due to the ornaments etc. that do not belong to the body. The body itself is made up of blood, bones etc. Then, how come I am so much attached to my body? Moreover, the body does not stay forever and is going to be decomposed sooner or later. At that stage, I will have to leave every thing. The only ever-lasting entity is soul.’ 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 did?’ 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.

Key Message:
The focus of this great story is on ego and self-realization. Ego and pride build negative karma and lead 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, the fundamental principles of Jainism.

Other posts of the series

  1. Patpade
  2. Pethadsha
  3. Revati
  4. Prasannachandra Rajarshi
  5. Sadhvi Bhadrama
  6. Sadhvi Bansala
  7. Mallavadisuri
  8. Mantungsuri
  9. Mahamantri Abhaykumar
  10. Panchakhya Bharvahak
  11. Rohiniya
  12. Padliptasuri
  13. Mahansinh
  14. Puniya Shravak
  15. Modi's Consort
  16. Sadhvi Bhadramata
  17. Sadhvi Dharmalaxmi
  18. Sadhvi Durgandharini
  19. Sadhvi Ishvari
  20. Sadhvi Kalavati
  21. Sadhvi Madanrekha
  22. Sadhvi Malaysundari
  23. Parshavnath Bhagwan Encounter with Kamath Tapas
  24. Sadhvi Manorama
  25. Sadhvi Mrugavati
  26. Sadhvi Narmadasundari
  27. Sadhvi Padmavati (Chitrasen)
  28. Sadhvi Pahinimata
  29. Sadhvi Poyani
  30. Sadhvi Pushpachula
  31. Sri 108 Acharya Shanti Sagarji Maharaj Videos (6)
  32. Sadhvi Rudrasoma
  33. Sadhvi Rukmini
  34. Sadhvi Rushidatta
  35. Sadhvi Sukumauka
  36. Sadhvi Shiyalvati
  37. Lord Mahävir
  38. Senapati Abhu
  39. Shamsansamrat Shri Vijaynmeisuri
  40. Shayyambhavacharya
  41. Sheth Javadsha
  42. Sheth Shantidas
  43. Shri Hirvijay Suri
  44. Sava Soma
  45. Shri Kundkundacharya
  46. Samprati Maharaj
  47. Shridevi
  48. Siddhasen Diwakarsuri
  49. Sadhvi Yaksha
  50. Marubhuti & Kamath
  51. Sadhvi Devananda
  52. Sadhvi Chandanbala
  53. Sonal
  54. Surasen and Mahäsen
  55. Mairavati
  56. King Hansa
  57. Sage Nandisen
  58. Anand Shrävak
  59. Monk Kurgadu or Kulguru
  60. Ilächikumar
  61. Chandkaushik
  62. Lord Mahävir and The Cow Herder
  63. Andanbälä
  64. Ächärya Kunda-Kunda
  65. Bharat and Bähubali (This post)
  66. Kevali Jambuswämi
  67. Ganadhar Sudharmäswämi
  68. Guru Gautam-Swämi
  69. Tirthankar Mallinäth
  70. Lord Pärshvanäth
  71. Lord Adinäth
  72. Vikaamaditya Hemu
  73. Vanraj Chavda
  74. Vajraswami
  75. Vajrakumär
  76. Meghkumar
  77. Abhaykumar and Rohineya
  78. Shälibhadra
  79. Queen Chelna and King Shrenik
  80. Upadhyay Shri Yashovijay ji
  81. Sushila
  82. Upadhyay Shri Udayratnaji
  83. Tilakmanjari
  84. Trishalamata
  85. Nobility of Savchand and Somchand
  86. Sulsa
  87. Suracharya
  88. Udayan Mantri and His Sons – Ämbad and Bähad
  89. Vimalshä – The Architect of the Famous Delwädä Temple
  90. Subhadra Shethani
  91. Ächärya Hemchandra
  92. Subhadra Sati
  93. Manorma
  94. Sadhvi Sunanda (Rupsen)
  95. Sadhvi Yakini Maha’itara
  96. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (From Devala Carpenter to Multi Millioneer)
  97. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (Blessings From The Goddess)
  98. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (The Dull headed Becomes The Learned)
  99. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (The Wealth Bestowed On Dhanapala)
  100. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (The Lotus Blooms In The Void Lap)
  101. Bhaktamar Stotra Stories (The Scattering Of The Serene Moonlight)
  102. Ächärya Haribhadra-Suri
  103. Sadhvi Taranvati



Leave a Reply


  1. shailesh shah

    May 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    we want to get a printed matter on jain dharm ke hire moti……possible it?how?

  2. Prit Shah

    June 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

    exelent story,i like it very much……