Continued from last month’s issue…..
Continued from last month’s issue…..
iii. Agam literature (Acharang Sutra, Avashyak Churni Kalpasutra, Bhagwati sutra) and Trishahstishalakapurush-charitra states that after taking Diksha, Lord Mahavir Swami meditated for 48 minutes and then immediately started his Vihar journey to reach Kurmargram by evening (where he faced his first upsarg- prevented by Shakrendra). Post that he visited Kollag (where he broke his fast of 2 days) and Morak Sannivesh (where Lord Mahavir spent 15 days of his first chaturmas). All these places have been identified in the vicinity of Kundghat (within the radius of 30 kilometers). Kurmargram is now known as Kumar (13 kilometers from Kundghat); Kollag is now known as Konag (18 kilometers from Kumar; 21 kilometers from Kundghat) and Morak Sannivesh is now known as Maura (28 kilometers from Kundghat).
Note: Attempts were also made by historians and scholars to identify similar places near Basukund (Vaishali) which resulted in identification of Kaman Chapra as Kurmargram (43 kilometers from Basukund) and Kolhua as Kollag (49 kilometers from Kaman Chapra and 5 kilometers from Basukund). While the location of Morak Sannivesh could not be identified, it is also not possible that Lord Mahavir could have covered a distance of 43 kilometres from Kundgram (Basukund) to Kurmargam (Kaman Chapra) within a span of few hours (as Lord Mahavir had reached Kurmargram in the evening of the day of diksha itself).
Further, Kalpasutra states that there were 4 towns which were known as Kollag during the ancient ages. They were (1) Kollag near Kshatriyakund (2) Kollag near Vanijyagram, Vaishali (3) Kollag near Rajgruhi and (4) Kollag near Champa. (The Kollag towns near Rajgruhi and Champa have not yet been identified) Therefore, the location of Kolhua identified as Kollag by the historians was the town Kollag near Vanijyagram, Vaishali and not the one near Kshatriyakund.
iv. Lord Mahavir’s mother, Queen Trishala belonged to the Licchavi clan, which governed the Vaishali region. King Siddharth established a new town for her entourage of Licchavis (bridesmaids, servants etc.) near Kshatriyakundgram. In due course, the town came to be known as Lacchuar, which is 6 kilometers away from the birthplace considered by the Shwetambar Sect.
v. Bhagvati Sutra and Trishashtishalakapurush charitra state that post Kevalgyan, Lord Mahavir arrived at the kingdom of his birthplace, i.e., Kundpur thrice. At Brahmankundgram he gave diksha to his Brahman parents, Rishabhdatt and Devananda and at Kshatriyakundgram he gave diksha to his son in law, Jamali and daughter, Priyadarshana. In all the three visits, Samavasarans were created at three different places in Brahmankundgram and Kshatriyakundgram. Today, three mountain valleys in the Kundghat village are jointly known by the name of ‘चक्कणाणि‘ (Chakkanani). The word ‘चक्कणाणि’, is derived from Ardhamagadhi language which can be explained as – चक्क (chakra, i.e., Dharmachakra) + णाणि (gyani); This gives an assumption that the name of the hills was based on the fact that a ‘gyani’ (knowledgeable person, i.e., Lord Mahavir) who had established the Dharmachakra (establishment of Dharma-Sangh) had visited this place.
vi. Acharya Hansasomsuri in his Tirthmala composed in 15th century AD stated that the distance between Janmasthan of Lord Mahavir and Kakandi Tirth (birthplace of Suvidhinath Bhagwan) was 5 Kosa (i.e., 17 kilometers). The current walking distance between the Janmabhumi (as believed by the Shwetambars) and Kakandi is nearly 16 kilometers.
vii. Muni Saubhagyavijayji in his Tirthmala composed in 17th century AD stated that Brahmankundgram and Kshatriyakundgram were situated in middle of hills.
3. b. Literary evidence NOT in favour of KUNDGHAT in Jamui Hill Range, (near Lachhuar):
i. There are no references in the scriptures that the birthplace of Lord Mahavir was situated in a hilly region; The birthplace of Lord Mahavir, identified by the Shwetambar sect, i.e., Kundghat is located within the Jamui hill range.
ii. Most of the Jain texts locate the birthplace of Lord Mahavir in the Videha region. Kundghat was a part of Anga region and not Videha region.
B. ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE:
While the literary evidence can at the most, guide us towards the facts; it is the archaeological evidence that show us the tangible proofs. Therefore, on my survey of all the three designated birthplaces, I collected the following archaeological evidence:
1. Archaeological evidence in favour of VASOKUND/ BASUKUND in Vaishali District –
i. During the excavations by David Spooner undertaken between 1903-14, a seal was excavated from Vaishali which had an inscription – ‘Vaishalinaamkunde’ (वैशालीनामकुण्डे) engraved over it. This suggests, that Kundgram was a part of Vaishali. The excavations also revealed the ruins of Governor Chetak’s palace in Vaishali. These ruins are situated nearly 5 kilometers from Basukund and the Buddhist stupa of Licchavi’s in Vaishali is also situated around 6 kilometers from Basukund. Both this evidence suggest that Vaishali was governed by Chetak of Licchavi clan and raises a probability that Kundpur was a suburb, situated 5 kilometers from Vaishali.
ii. In a village named Bauna Pokhar, situated around 6 kilometres from Basukund, an idol of Lord Mahavir was found from a local pond. Although the local populace dates it back to 2,500 years, historians have dated it to 12th century AD.
iii. Other idols, preserved in the Chyawan Kalyanak and the Diksha Kalyanak temples in the base of the Kundghat hill and in the temple of Lachhuar also date back to 10th century AD.
As stated above, I have reserved my opinion on the abovementioned evidences and facts; Therefore, I would hope the readers would have identified the birthplace of Lord Mahavir based on the evidences provided.
The article can be read at:
Arpit Shah is an avid history researcher, devotional singer, and a Jain “vidhikarak” based out of Kolkata. He is a CS and MBA by qualification and works full time at a MNC. He has authored 3 critically acclaimed books (“Dharma Saarthi”, “Prabhu Tamara Pagle Pagle” and Jin Puja – Itihas ke Panno se”) along with 50+ articles on Jain Heritage.