Celebrating Women’s Contribution in Jainism Post Lord Mahavir’s Moksh Kalyanak: Anupama Devi

July, 2022 by Virati Jayesh Visariya

Shravika Who Wore Intelligence as her crown and Humbleness as her cape.

Women empowerment, the concept of today? Probably, yes! But that doesn’t mean it had no existence before whatsoever.

As per Jainism, things change as per Dravya (matter), Kshetra (place), Kaal (time) and Bhaav (feelings). Similarly, is it not possible for the concept and definition of empowerment to change over a period of time, the situation and the place?

This is the story of the mighty Shravika, who had incomparable intelligence and munificent personality. Anupama Devi is why India has one of the five world-famous Delwada temples exist.

Daughter of Chandravati village near the foothills of Mt. Abu, Anupama Devi, was married to Tejpal. The younger brother of Vastupal and a famous courtesan of the Veerdhaval, the King of Dholka.

Anupama Devi hardly fitted the beauty standards during those days, one of the major reasons being her dark complexion. This kept Tejpal away from his wife for years. However, her worth in the family was never questioned; her beauty was in her heart and intelligence.

Anupama Devi’s mother-in-law was the first to seek her advice on serious matters, followed by Vastupal and Tejpal. Anupama Devi was usually consulted, whether it was about domestic affairs, politics, or Sangh’s issues.

Were intelligence and generosity the only two qualities that distinguished Anupama Devi from the other Shravikas? Certainly not! She was-

A Leader :

All the qualities that a leader must have been imparted in Anupama naturally. Be it goal setting, the delegation of work, time management, teamwork, or decision making; she knew it all. She was one of the best problem solvers during her time.

Anupama was a master in handling situations. When ghee (butter) accidentally fell from Yati’s hand on her saree, she calmed Tejpal’s anger skillfully. Before he could react to this situation, she said, “Oh! What would be my condition if I had taken birth at a ghee dealer’s home? However, I count myself lucky to get ablution of ghee from guru’s vessels”. Tejpal’s anger vanished when he heard these words.

A boss is a person who orders, but a leader is the one who gets the work done and shares responsibility.

To fulfill the wish of her elder brother-in-law Lunga, she undertook the herculean responsibility of building the intriguing Lungavasahi temple. But how did they select the place to build the temple on Mt. Abu. Thanks to Anupama Devi, who kept the proposal in front of the brothers after seeing the landowner, the land’s acres, its price, and all the other details!

Anupama Devi commenced ekashana when the temple’s construction started till they were finally built. Even while fasting, she managed to care for all the artisans just like a mother.

Woman of Justice and Decorum:

It wouldn’t be unfair to claim that the sculptors displayed the best of their abilities. The part of their credit must be shared with Anupama Devi as well.

The deal was made between the artisans and Anupama Devi that the amount of silver offered to the sculptors would equal the amount of dust they removed while sculpting. This was undoubtedly the best of the rewards the sculptors would receive.

After the first round, when the artisans appeared before Anupama Devi, she offered a deal of paying them in gold equal to the dust they collected after sculpting the sculptures more intricately. The artisans found it to be the best deal and gave their excellent.

Woman of Integrity:

Anupama had the virtue of offering food to people. This act of kindness was not only limited to Jains. Everyone was treated equally and provided with a meal to whoever entered the courtyard, be it a Jain person or a non-Jain person. She even made small talks with them, so they didn’t feel left out or humiliated.

Until she wouldn’t find someone for sadharmik bhakti, as it is called in Jainism, having something wasn’t even a thought in her mind.

A Reformist:

Anupama Devi’s motherland, Chandravati, was under the threat of being attacked by the enemies. When the whole village requested, Anupama’s father wrote to her brother-in-law about taking refuge at Patan. Helping his sister-in-law’s hometown was Vastupal’s responsibility. But when Anupama got to know about this, she requested him to allow her to visit Chandravati as an answer.

When Anupama reached her father’s house, the whole village and her father’s happiness were quite evident. However, she had other plans of her own. When the village council gathered, Anupama questioned the village,

“Is leaving your motherland in the hands of enemies, right? Isn’t it the betrayal of your motherland?”

“Doesn’t it become your prime responsibility to save your motherland?”

Later on, she added,

“If you take refuge, you will be called refugees and paid forceful respect in the society. But if you save your motherland, you will be worshiped as real heroes. The choice is yours.”

After much encouragement and discussion, Anupama finally convinced everyone to fight for their Chandravati.

A Bibliophile: 

Anupama Devi’s love for literature wasn’t a hidden secret. She kept her passion for reading intact her whole life. She read the books that were brought home. Her extensive reading made her a knower of history and current affairs. This knowledge helped her to create reformation the minds of the people of Chandravati to fight back against the enemies. She regarded knowledge and bravery to be the epitome of values. She read all the books her Vastupal wrote till the time she was alive.

Anupama Devi was also known as “Sad-Darshan Mata” or “the mother of six philosophical systems”. In depth knowledge of any system only comes through deep study in the subject.

Such was the personality of our great Shravika. The epitome of temple architecture was a woman’s responsibility taken wholeheartedly. Not only Delwada temples but also temples of Shyamala Parshwanath and gardens at Girnarji, Anupam Sarovar, and Nandishwar Temple at Shetrunjay were built under her management. Apart from temples, she also managed to construct gardens, drinking water ponds, cowsheds, and lakes in different cities.

Such painstaking tasks performed, such excellent management skills, such a rigorous reformist, such an exceptionally clever person and yet so humble, so pious, and so empathetic. ‘Anupama,’ her name itself, signifies her life and character. She would attain moksha from Mahavidehakeshtra in her next birth.


Jhaverchand Meghani, Gujarat no Jay

About Author

Virati Jayesh Visariya


A freelance copywriter by profession and an avid reader by passion. Acquired Master’s Degrees in English Literature, and Jainology and Comparative Religion. She is a Sanskrit teacher and teaching Sanskrit to all age groups. Also associated with an NGO called Sanskrit Bharati. Apart from that also holds a diploma in Handwriting and Signature Analysis.

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