Sunday, 12 January 2014 07:46

Akshay Tritiya

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This is a holy day in the Jain calendar. 

People who observe the year-long alternative day fasting, finish their Tapasya (time of austerity) this day. 

The day is worshipped and said to be


auspicious in Jainism because on this day the very first "ahar charya", a methodology to prepare and serve food to Jain Monks, was established. 

King Rishabhdev divided his kingdom between his one hundred sons and then denounced the worldly pleasures.  The most prominent of these sons is Gommateshwara Bahubali.   King Rishabhdev meditated without any food and water for six months and when he attained enlightenment, set out to accept food.  He was the first Jain monk of this Era. Jain monks do not own anything and do not even cook their own food.  When they get hungry or thirsty, only once a day, they set out to accept accept food that is offered to them without asking. 

King Rishabhadev also went to people to accept food.  However, because he was the first monk of the Era, the people of that time did not know anything about the lives and disciplines of monks. The people of Ayodhya offered him gold, jewellery, gemstones, elephants, horses, expensive garments and even their daughters to honour their beloved king. All King Rishabhadeva wanted was some food, but nobody offered it to him.  Nobody understood that he was looking to receive food to ensure that the monks that would come after him would get food and water so that they could lead an ascetic life.

Because people did not understand, he fasted for an entire year before his grandson, Shreyansha Kumara, understood what he needed.   Finally, Shreyansha Kumara offered the king sugarcane juice, and this allowed King Rishabhadeva to end his fast after a year, on this day. 

The Jains believed that religious gifts presented on this day become inexhaustible.  Jains still observe a fast to commemorate this story and end their fast with sugarcane juice.

Read 1874 times Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:39
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