Rushabhdev Bhagwan was the first Tirthankar of the present set
of twenty four Tirthankars. Let's read the events of one of his
previous births. This instance is of his fourth incarnation after
he gained 'divine vision'.
A son was born to King Satbad & Queen Swayamprabha. They
named him Mahabad & his strength was synonymous to his name. He
had also mastered in various arts. The prince who had been brought
up with lots of love & splendor was now a young man & his
parents had deep faith that he was capable of handling the
Therefore, the King & the Queen took initiation under the
guidance of God & departed for penance in the forest.
Consequently, Mahabad came to be the King.
King Mahabad had five to six ministers. Other than one minister
named Swayambuddh, the rest of the ministers were under bad
influence. They spent their lifetime enjoying worldly pleasures,
all of which influenced King Mahabad as well & he too started
accompanying them & started enjoying these activities. With the
King getting into bad company, there was chaos in the kingdom.
Minister Swayambuddh could not bear to see all this.
He was very pious & religious man. He had attained 'divine
vision' & was living with the goal of attaining Moksha while
fulfilling his duties as a minister.
One day, minister Swayambuddh went to pay his respects to a
monk. The monk had 'avadhignan' which means he could see all the
previous events as well as future events to come (such a gnan was
possible in satyug).
The minister shared his concerns with the monk. He described the
King's way of life & wondered where the kingdom was headed. All
of this weighed heavily on him. With the help of 'avadhignan', the
monk looked into the future & replied, "Your King will have a
change of heart & he will soon become a divine soul. He has
only one more month of his life span left to live". On gaining this
knowledge, the minister bowed to the monk & immediately made
his way to the King.
He gathered the courage to counsel the King amongst all the
courtiers in the court & told, "Oh King! You are committing a
great blunder by leading this materialistic life. All these
temporary pleasures shall soon come to an end. So, please follow
the path of self-realization". To this, the King replied, "I shall
do that when I grow old. Right now, let me enjoy my youth". The
minister therefore related the entire episode of his talk with the
Upon hearing that his end was not far, the King & his other
ministers were shocked. The King realized his folly. All his
misdeed & sins started floating before his eyes. Wondering how
he could be free of his sins, the King fell into a dilemma.
Minister Swayambuddh who himself had 'divine vision' reasoned
the King & told, "Oh King! Don't worry. It is possible to be
free from all sins, if one repents wholeheartedly & ask for
forgiveness for each misdeed. Thus, the King started 'pratikraman'
for the sins he had committed. He sincerely asked for forgiveness
by recalling each person involved & thus, became free of his
sins. He passed away after a month & was born as a Deity in the
Moral: So friends, don't remain in the
false understanding that one should follow the path of salvation
only after growing old; death can come at any time. It is possible
to wash away all the misdeeds & sins one has committed by
wholeheartedly asking for forgiveness for them.