Girnar Bhakti
Shwetambar Jain Mahatirth, Girnar
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Existing Temple of Lord Neminath History of The Existing Temple of Lord Neminath
In the state of Gujarat, the grandeur at the city of Patan was at its peak. Under the inspiration of Acharya Hemchandra Suriji, a religious tour on foot was organized from this majestic city to the unblemished mountains of Girnar as well as Siddhachal. The conjugation of pilgrims along with Acharya Hemchandra Suriji halted on the outskirts of the village of Vanthali. The pilgrims after bathing, dressed in extraordinary garments and precious jewellery, prayed and performed devotional rituals with deep gratitude in their hearts.
The head of the congregation of pilgrims was wealthy, enthusiastic and devotional. On observing all this the emperor of Saurashtra, King Ra-Khengar’s mind was filled with envious thoughts. He thought of fleecing the citizens of Patan and attaining their abundant jewellery, wealth and other valuable things.

Just as a monkey finds a ladder to climb to his destination, King Ra-Khengar found wrong advisers who encouraged him to rob the pilgrims of Patan city. They said “It is your good luck that the wealth and riches of the city of Patan have entered your territory, don’t loose this golden chance. Ensure that the affluent pilgrims are robbed off their wealth which will in turn enrich our treasury”. King Ra-Khengar was afraid of violating the law and feared defamation on being caught for robbery. Nevertheless, he was highly influence by the words of his malicious advisors. After a little while he conspired a plan in favor of the robbery. King Ra-Khengar coaxed the pilgrims of Patan to extend their stay by a day in Vanthali, before proceeding towards Siddhachal, but unfortunately someone from King Ra-Khenger’s family passed away the following day. Aware of the King’s intention, Acharya Hemchandra Suriji took this opportunity to meet King Ra-Khenger and preached him on the principles of human virtues and morality. Thus the congregation of pilgrims along with Acharya Hemchandra Suriji proceeded towards Siddhachal without being looted and returned safely to Patan.

In 1114 AC King Siddharaj of Patan defeated King Ra-Khengar and conquered the state of Saurashtra . He imprisoned King Ra-Khengar, after gaining information of his malpractices and evil intention to loot the pilgrims from Patan and other such activities. At the very same time, King Siddharaj’s minister, Minister Sajjan was travelling from Undira village to Khambhat. He stayed at the house of Bhavsar in the village of Sakapur. He noticed Bhavsar using gold coins along with coal in order to create fire in the stove. Bhavsar was obivious to the fact that the coins were made of gold and assumed them to be other forms of coal. Minister Sajjan asked him,”Bhavasar,why have you kept these gold coins here?” Bhavasar did not know what to say and was unaware of the place of its origin. Nevertheles, he considered Minister Sajjan a virtuous and noble person and gave the gold coins to him. Minister Sajjan had taken an oath not to retain wealth that did not belong to him and thus on returning to Patan he offered those gold coins to King Siddharaj. This genuine gesture of Minister Sajjan impressed the King and thus he decided to give Sajjan an important position in his state administration. After King Ra-Khengar’s death, on advice of his Chief Minister Bahad, King Siddharaj appointed Sajjan as the Chief Minister of the state of Saurashtra. He had faith in Sajjan’s righteousness, honesty and loyalty.

Sajjan was diligent, hardworking, farsighted, skilled and completed the tasks he took on hand. The citizens of Saurashtra were pleased to have him as the Chief Mininister. He made the city of Junagadh as the center of all key operations to be made in the state of Saurashtra. Due to his constant efforts, he succeeded in making Saurashtra a developed and a prosperous state. Once he happened to make a pilgrimage trip to the eminent mountain, Girnar, in Junagadh. He was shocked and devastated to see the extremely poor, dilapidated conditions of the temples which once upon a time shone like bright pearls on the green carpet like mountain. He was shattered and grieved on being a witness to such a horrible sight. He wondered how the temples could be in such a pathetic condition under the reign of King Siddharaj. Thus on the advice of Acharya Bhadreshwar Surji of Raj Gachha, he made an absolute decision to renovate the deteriorated main wooden temple of Lord Neminath.

The renovation of the temples, started on an auspicious day. Proficient architects, along with a team of skilful sculptors and other workers, offered their finesse and started restoring and re building the various temples. The ruined temples were being transformed into masterpieces of a kind. Sounds of hammers and chisels echoed on the peak of the mountain. Minister Sajjan gave every ounce of his time, energy and effort to ensure that everything went smoothly and the glory of the temples of Girnar was restored to its original form. He was working round the clock. On one hand, were the governing responsibilities of the state and on the other the renovation of the temple on the pious mountain Girnar, which was going on under his supervision He was constantly worried regarding the funds that were required for the ongoing renovation process. Due to the lack of time, he could not personally go to different towns and cities to raise funds. Therefore, he temporarily decided to use the previous three years’ revenues from the treasury of Saurashtra for the ongoing work and then replace the funds at a later date by raising funds from the citizens of Saurashtra. In Vikram Samvat 1185 (1129A.C) he spent a sum of 72 lakh dramms (name of the currency) for the renovation of the temple.

It is rightly said that every good work faces difficulties. In the same way some people could not endure Chief Minister Sajjan’s great work and thus went ahead and filled King Siddharaj’s ears against Chief Minister Sajjan. They informed him that Sajjan had not deposited a single penny earned from the revenue generated from Saurashtra into the King’s treasury, for 3 consecutive years. To conspire against the minister, they falsely claimed that something had grossly gone wrong in his governance. Seeds of suspicion were sowed in the King’s mind. King Siddharaj was highly disappointed and to cross check the information he got, he decided to personally visit Junagadh and audit the accounts and administration work of Saurashtra. King Siddharaj lost all the faith and confidence that he had in his Chief Minister Sajjan and his attitude towards him turned bitter. It was now beyond anyone’s control to explain to King Siddharaj, the real situation. Clever Chief Minister Bahad understood the situation and sent a messenger to warn Sajjan of the forth coming difficulty. Sajjan was smart enough to understand the situation. He immediately started thinking of ways to earn back the revenues designated for the treasury. He remembered the prosperous shravakas(male householders who practices janism) of Vanthali, a pilgrimage place, who were always eager to serve the holy place, Girnar - physically or monetarily.

He immediately proceeded towards Vanthali to acquire the money he had spent on the renovation of the temples from the state treasury. Chief Minister Sajjan gathered the respected businessmen, wealthy shravakas and bankers of Vanthali, discussed the expenses made for the renovation process and explained the urgent requirement of money. Everyone eagerly accepted his proposal and started noting down large contributions that they wished to make. Sajjan heaved a sigh of relief. In the meanwhile, a man in soiled clothes was noticed making his way through the crowd. Struggling to come forward, he bumped in to a few rich businessmen. One of the few businessmen insulted him as he proceeded and condemned him of his monetary status by saying “What work do you have out here? Funds are being raised to cover the expenses for the time of renovation of the temples on the holy mountain Girnar. Do you have the potential to contribute even two rupees for the cause?” But this did not discourage the man and he pushed himself amongst the crowd and reached the first line of people. He directly approached Chief minister Sajjan, went close to his ear and said “Oh Minister! I am ready to give everything I can for this wonderful and auspicious mountain, Girnar. Why are you straining yourself and raising funds for such a petty amount? Why are the funds from the state treasury at stake? Please have pity on my poor soul and let me be the beneficiary of the entire amount required for this cause!“ Chief minister Sajjan was in little disbelief for a couple of minutes. He was stunned to see such a bagged man say these words. “Who is this man?” He thought to himself and asked the man in soiled clothes, “May I know your name?” The man humbly replied, “Bhim Sathariya Minister”. These affluent men are fortunate enough to receive several opportunities to make such donations. I would be highly obliged if you permit me to make this donation and do some good deed and earn punya. Saying these words,he expressed his wish to everyone present, touched the minister’s feet and begged for his consent.

Chief Minister Sajjan was left wth no option but to accept Bhrim Sathariya’s request and expressed his inability to accept funds from every one present at the fund raiser event. Chief Minister Sajjan then returned to Junagadh and got news about King Siddharaj’s arrival in Junagadh very soon. A huge procession was arranged to welcome King Siddharaj. After humbly gracing the event with his presence, King Siddharaj entered the royal palace. Seeing him, Chief Minister Sajjan bowed down with respect and asked about his well being. King Siddharaj had fallen to prey to all sorts of rumours with respect to Sajjan’s disloyalty to the state governance and his negligence in administrative matters. He angrily asked Minister Sajjan “How can I be doing well in the presence of traitor like you handling the administration. Where are the previous 3 year’s accounts showing the revenue generated from the state of Saurashtra? “Chief Minister Sajjan had anticipated Siddharaj’s anger and replied politely, “Dear King! I have documented accounts for every penny of the revenue of the state. If you please, rest for some time. I shall have the accounts ready for you.

King Siddharaj’s exasperation subsided on hearing Chief Minister Sajjan’s fearless reply. He repented for his fruitless anger because he had heard praises of Sajjan’s dedication towards the administration work as well as the fabulous work regarding the restoration of Jain temples on Girnar. In the evening, King Siddharaj called Chief Minister Sajjan and expressed his intense desire to climb Girnar on the following day, to witness the splendid work that was on the verge of completion.

At the crack of dawn, King Siddharaj along with Chief Minister Sajjan started ascending Girnar. The sight of the majestic temples soaring high in the sky took Siddharaj’s breath away and he said,” Fortunate are the parents who gave birth to such marvellous souls who built such spectacular temples on this holy mountain.” On hearing this Chief Minister Sajjan replied , “Oh Master! Blessed are your parents who gave birth to a virtuous soul like you who is the pioneer in restoring these temples.”

This statement took King Siddharaj by surprise. Nevertheless, he remained silent. After a few moments of silence Chief Minister broke the ice and said, O master! Blessed are Karnav Dev and Minal Devi who gave birth to you. All credit goes to them for giving birth to a powerful, loyal and virtuous son like you. These amazing temples have been renovated with the help of the revenue generated over the past 3 years from the prosperous land of Saurashtra which is under your reign. Hence Karnav Dev and Minal Devi are blessed to have a noble and powerful son like you. The temple ‘Karnavprasad’, named after your father enhances the existing splendor of this sacred mountain, and thus your father’s name will go down in history. Lord, there is a shravak by the name of Bhim Sarthiya, in the nearby village of Vanthali, who is single handedly willing to sponsor all the expenses made. You have the choice of accepting that money and replacing the past 3 years’ money spent from the state treasury or take this wonderful opportunity of adding virtues to your soul by financing the restoration of such awesome temples. The Final decision lies in your hands.”

King Siddharaj’s joy knew no bounds and he told Sajjan, “If I were to get the extremely valuable chance of restoring and renovating such sacred and glorious temples, then I am not worried about the three years revenue. Chief Minister! You have done an incredible job. Your intelligence, diligence and loyalty towards your responsibilities and work has made me extremely proud of you today. I sincerely appologise for having doubts in your intentions and work. Nevertheless, I am lucky to have a Minister like you!” On other hand, Bhima Sathariya was anticipating Chief Minister Sajjan’s command to send money across. He grew restless with every passing moment and wondered as to why were there no news from Chief Minister Sajjan. He was worried, thinking that he would lose the chance of performing such a noble act. Losing his patience, he went to Junagadh and questioned Chief Minister Sajjan’s non responsiveness. Chief Minister Sajjan broke the news to him and said that it was King Siddharaj’s decision and nothing could be done to revoke it. Bhima Sartiya could not accept the fact that he lost such a worthy opportunity and fainted on hearing these words. After regaining consciousness, he requested Chief Minister Sajjan, “O Minister! I have kept aside the money, I was going to give you for restoration and renovation of the temples. This money is now futile to me. I sincerely request you to keep the money and use it wherever you feel is appropriate.

Several bullock carts from the village of Vanthali, filled with Bhima Sarthiya’s wealth arrived in the courtyard of Chief Minister Sajjan. Chief Minister Sajjan wisely used the wealth to build a Jain temple by the name of ‘Merakvasi’ and built a huge reservoir called ‘Bhimkund’ near the temples situated on the peak in the memory of Bhima Sarthiya. Go to Top

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