Lord Shree Neminath was the twenty second Tirthankar of the present cycle of twenty four Tirthankars. His father was Samudravijay and his mother was Shivadevi. Lord Shree Krishna was his paternal cousin.
Once when Lord Neminath was still a small boy, he happened to wander into Lord Krishna’s armory (weapons storage area). He playfully examined the various weapons and other articles lying there. He casually picked up a conch and blew it out of curiosity. Lord Krishna, who was a ‘Vasudev’, was surprised to hear this sound. This conch could only be blown by a Vasudev. Anyone with less strength than a Vasudev would not be able to sound the conch.
As time passed by, Nemikumar reached the age of marriage. He got engaged to princess Rajmati, the daughter of King Ugrasen of Dwarika. The wedding day had dawned and groomsmen gathered to accompany the bridgegroom. Celestial beings and humans flocked to see the immense beauty and grandeur of Nemikumar’s wedding procession.
On the other hand, King Ugrasen had organized a grand welcome for the wedding procession. Deers, rabbits and various other animals had been caged on one end of the kitchen for the wedding feast. The imprisoned animals were shrieking in fear of death. Exactly at that time, Nemikumar’s wedding procession arrived near the kitchen. Nemikumar’s heart shuddered to hear the cries of the animals. He enquired the reason for their confinement and learnt that, “The animals have been captured for the feast. They are all going to be slaughtered for the wedding feast.”
Nemikumar felt intense sorrow to hear this and said, “All these innocent animals are to be killed for the sake of my wedding? Then what is to be gained from such a marriage? I do not want to be instrumental in the death of thousands of innocent animals.”
With this thought, Nemikumar ordered his charioteer to open the door to the enclosure, free all the animals and then turn back towards home. The family elders tried to reason with him in various ways but the Lord refused to marry.
Turning the chariot around, Nemikumar returned to his home. At the same time, Celestial Gods and Goddesses descended and as per custom, requested the Lord to renounce wordly life and accept initiation into monkhood for the salvation of mankind. The Lord gave ‘Varshidaan’ (donations for one year) and took renunciation along with a thousand kings.
On the other hand, Rajmati also felt detached from worldly life. She also took renunciation with the blessings of Lord Neminath and set onto the path of salvation.
After a lot of difficult penance, Lord Neminath arrived atop of Mount Girnar where he attained ‘Kevalgnan’. Here, many worthy beings benefitted from the Lord’s preaching. The Lord duly completed his lifetime on the earth doing ‘vihaar’ (the Lord does not reside for long at any one place, but goes from one place to another) and attained salvation (Moksh) on Mount Girnar.