Previous Births of Shantinath
The account of the earlier incarnations of Bhagwan Shantinath indicates that this
soul had taken the path that lead towards purity of soul. As a result of his upliftment
of the soul as Shrisen and Vajrayudh he got birth as Meghrath, son of King Dhanrath
of Pundarikini town in Mahavideh area. King Dhanrath gave his throne to his son
and became ascetic.
Meghrath was a benevolent and religious ruler. He was compassionate and protected
all living things. Disturbed by the miseries of the mundane life, one day king Meghrath
was doing mediation. He transcended to a very high level of purity. Knowing about
this uncommon purity and determination of Meghrath the king of gods bowed to him
with reverence, "My salutations to you O citizen Yogi! there are but a few in this
world who could reach this level of detachment and purity." Two senior consorts
of Indra, Surup and Atirup did not like this gesture of praise of a mere human.
They both came to disturb the meditation of Meghrath. They made several beautiful
and voluptuous damsels appear before the king. These beauties tried to disturb Meghrath
by a display of dances and inviting gestures. When these night long seductive afflictions
failed to disturb king Meghrath, the goddesses, before returning to their abode,
appeared themselves and asked the king to forgive them.
King Meghrath’s uncommon purity and determination made gods to bow to him with reverence.
King Meghrath, then, crowned his son and took Diksha from Arhat Dhanrath. Due to
his increasing purity in meditation in the face of many afflictions, he earned the
Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. Completing his age he reincarnated in the Sarvarthasiddha
dimension of gods.
Birth of Lord Shantinath
From the dimension of gods, the being that was Meghrath descended into the womb
of queen Achira, wife of king Vishwasen of Ikshvaku clan and ruler of Hastinapur.
It had been raining from continuous seven days in Hastinapur area. The sky was covered
with dense dark clouds and it was thundering along with heavy rain. Everybody was
upset in the town. But this morning, clouds seemed to calm down a little and rain
turned to drizzle. Queen could not control her self this morning and went to meet
the king inspite of the rain outside. She wanted to tell the king about the fourteen
(sixteen according to the digambar jain beliefs) auspicious dreams she saw at the
dawn of the day. King understood that her queen was carrying a pious soul in her
King was sitting in his court when his general, secretary, health minister, religious
leaders all came to him and mentioned about the epidemic spread all over and that
about hundreds of people started dying every day. King was in great tension because
he felt helpless in solving the problem. He took a vow that he will not eat or drink
as long as peace and normalcy does not return to his to his kingdom.
Moved by his this harsh vow, the king of gods himself appeared before the king and
said, “O king! You are unnecessarily disturbed. What can happen wrong in the place
where the wish fulfilling trio of chintamani, kalpavriksha, and Kamdhenu exists?
Remember about the fourteen (sixteen according to the digambar jain beliefs) dreams
that the queen saw. Her glance at the vast expanses of your kingdom all around is
enough to remove all the miseries from wherever it reaches.”
Next day in a beautiful chariot king and queen both started their journey for the
entire kingdom. And wherever they went there was a message of calmness and relief.
On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of Jyeshtha the queen gave birth
to the great and illustrious son.
When queen gave birth to the son, the whole universe, including even the hell, was
pervaded by a soothing glow and a feeling of joy and happiness. Due to this pacifying
influence during the pregnancy of the queen and after the birth of the son, the
new born was named Shanti Kumar (Shanti = Peace).
As a Prince and King
Time passed by and Shantinath became young handsome prince. His beauty, vision,
wisdom, deep thoughts, religious nature was famous. Though he was not interested
in getting married, yet he knew that he had some karmas left to be shed off. So
he was married to several beautiful pricesses. At proper time King Vishwasen handed
over the kingdom to Shantinath and went away on the path meditation in search of
Moksha. After a few years king Shantinath got a son who was named Chakrayudh.
King Shantinath was to be a Chakravarti king that was decided by his stars and it
was what his religious leaders have been telling him and inspiring him. Few years
later a divine disc weapon appeared in the armory. When the traditional worship
rituals of this weapon were concluded, it started moving toward the east on its
own. Shantinath took permission from his mother and followed the weapon. Most of
the kings on the way surrendered. After defeating the remaining few Shantinath became
a Chakravarti. His kingdom was under the influence of peace and calmness allover.