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01.Calamity by Ants

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Chapter -1

Calamity by Ants

Calamity: Pious Saints consider it as a pious step of “Karma Nirjara” i.e. shedding of karmic matter with a feeling of pleasure in struggle and equanimity in unfavorable situations.

Calamity: is darkness prior to dawn after which sun rays invite fresh light of life.

Calamity:is a criterion to assess the extent to which our senses and mind are in our control.

Calamity: is a firm resolution of keeping patience in un­expected crisis to elevate ones life.

Digambar ascetics engaged in carrying out great vows and Achharyas take calamity as testing time of their religious consid­erations and become “patient” (forbearing) by enduring it with their capacity, equanimity and quality of remaining calm and un­perturbed.

Calamity: is a perpetual spring of endurance.

One day Achharya Shanti Sagar Ji Maharaj sat in a state of meditation in a lonely place of a temple situated in a jungle to carryout “Nidra Vijaya Tapa”, a penance to conquer sleep. It was evening time when a priest of the temple came to kindle a lamp. While pouring oil in the lamp some of the oil spilled over and spread all around the place. After doing his work the priest left the place leaving the spilled oil on the floor. After some time, smelling the oil, lines of ants began to come and with in a very short time a flock of innumerable ants gathered there. By and by these ants began to creep on the body of this great saint. Creeping on the lower portion of his body, buttocks etc., they began to bite him. As a result, after some time blood began to exude from the lower portion of his body. How unbearable is the stinging pain of the ants-bite, no one can say except the one who happened to fall victim of it himself? Only bearer knows where the shoe pinches. The ants kept on biting his tender private parts through out the night. But Achharya Shri showed a great courage in calmly en­during the unthinkable strait crisis, firmly sticking to his sacred vow of Jain monks, unmoved, unshaken, totally engrossed in meditation and with equanimity. His mind perhaps must be passing through the mo­ments of misfortune, anguishes and pains of the hell and must be pre­suming that these pains and distress were not greater than those of the hell. Filled with great thought of the theory of ‘Discrimination sci­ence’ , Achharya Shri endured this affliction throughout the night. He had full faith in great spiritual power of the ‘Discrimination science’, which embodies that the soul and body are two different entities. Both are mixed up like milk and water with each one retaining its own entity. Each is distinguishable from the other. Our body is mixed with the soul as long as the Karmas are clung to it. But as soon as one separates or destroys these Karmas with the power of austerity, the soul rests in eternal peace and in never-ending omniscience, omnipo­tence, perfect conation and super human pleasures free from all kinds of infatuations and attachments.

In fact, those whose divine steps of self realization advance for the inner journey from body to bodiless become totally indifferent to the world and the body and keep focusing their mind on the un­imaginable power of “Siddha Bhagwan” (the emancipated soul who has developed the perfection)In short, that passionless head of Saints remained absorbed in his devotion, like a person of Sankhya philosophy that remains detached from the world like lotus-foliage in water observing the acts of nature.

Although in this dark night of affliction the priest had a dreadful dream and he woke up with shudder, however because of the lethargy of his companion and fear of lions at night in the jungle, both of them slept again waiting for the dawn. While on one hand this terrible disturbance of innumerable small ants con­tinued, on the other hand, this incarnate monk went on cleansing and purifying his austerity in the flames of affliction.When the groups of people gathered in the morning and witnessed the scene, they were shocked and “their sympathies began to weep” (wept with sympathy). What was left for them except shedding tears in repentance? Some sugar was scattered in the vicinity of Achharya Shri to attract the ants so that they may leave his body, as it was very necessary that ants should go out of the body of the monk on their own. Any willful attempt to separate them from his body would have been detrimental to the ants, an act of violence, which a Jain Muni would not and can not approve, as it was contrary to the principle of Jain philosophy. There was no alternative other than waiting for the ants to leave, on their own, the body of the distressed saint in the greed to enjoy the taste of sugar, which was more pleasant and sweeter than that of the oil. One can imagine how long those moments of waiting would have been? Even a fraction of second ap­pears to be too long in such moments. All remorseful hearts watching that pathetic scene, were witnessing silently the absolute calm dispo­sition of the great ascetic. It was a unique and incomparable incident of conquering pain and anguish and the energy of the penance.

Being empirical with reflection of loneliness and seclusion, the title of “Charitra ChakarvartC (i.e. the sovereign in the field of right conduct having intrinsic activity of spiritual entity) seemed evidently to be accurate and appropriate. (Chakarvarti is called the sovereign of all the six parts of the “Bharatkhanā’ or “Aryavrita". Thus, he re­mains a monarch of earth. However, Charitra Chakarvarti is the conqueror of all the six organs of the body (5 senses and one mind) and earns the respect and salutation from even the Chakarvarti).The conqueror of senses focuses his attention on cognitive body restraining from the physical one, by virtue of which layers of the mystery of the soul begin to unfold one by one.

An ignorant fool has interest in body whereas a person well- versed in spiritual knowledge tries to be indifferent from his body meditating extreme power and strength of his soul.

Really praiseworthy is this extra-ordinary accomplishment of penance and indescribable tale of the conquest over affliction by Achharya Shanti Sagar Ji Maharaj.This arduous spirit of determination to bear agony is on that celestial height of conduct where all measurement of grandeur seems to be trifle.