Kunthunath - The 17th Tirthankar
. Birth and Childhood
. Temples of Bhagavan Kunthunath in India
A Tirthankar is a human being who has attained a highly exalted state due to intense spiritual practices in various lifetimes and signifies the ultimate pure developed state of the soul. Having attained the highest spiritual goal of human life, they help others cross the ocean of Samsara and win freedom against the infinite cycles of birth and death that man has to undergo.
Birth And Childhood
Kunthunath in his earlier incarnation was King Simhavaha of Khadgi town in Mahavideha area. He was highly religious and God loving. After some time he gave up his kingdom and took Diksha from Samvaracharya. He had been undergoing rigorous spiritual penances over several lifetimes and had reached a very exalted state of enlightenment due to which he was reborn as a Tirthankar. He reincarnated in the Sarvarthasiddha dimension of the Gods and then his soul descended into the womb of Queen Shri Devi who was the wife of King Shursen of Hastinapur. The Queen dreamt fourteen auspicious things which were-
1. A large and beautiful white bull entering her mouth.
2. A lion
3. A garland of flowers
4.A giant elephant having four tusks
5.Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus
6.The glorious Sun
7. The full moon shining in the sky
8.A sea of milk
9.A golden urn
10.A Flag which was fluttering
11.A vehicle of the Gods which moves in space
12.A pond filled with lotus flowers
13.A heap of gems
14.A fire without smoke
When she informed the King, he recognised the signs of a Tirthankar and informed her and both of them were overjoyed that they were blessed to be the parents of a Tirthankar. Soon time passed and the Queen was blessed with a son on the fourteenth day of Krishna Paksh of the month of Vaisakh of the Hindu calendar. As the Queen had dreamt of a heap of gemstones known as Kunthu during her pregnancy the child was named Kunthunath. He soon grew up and was married. The King then handed over the kingdom to him and went to the forest for spiritual practices. Soon the disc weapon ’Chakra’ appeared in his armoury and he proceeded to conquer the Kingdoms with his mighty army. All the Kings accepted his sovereignty avoiding any confrontation and without any bloodshed Kuntunath became a Chakravarthi. He returned to his kingdom and to celebrate the joyous event he excused all taxes of his people and took great care of them. Peace and joy reigned everywhere. Time passed by and soon the King began to get restless.
In his prayers he witnessed his past lives and realised the reason for his birth and the goal of his life. He decided to become an ascetic and many of the Kings who were loyal to him also followed him. He continued his spiritual penances and achieved Omniscience on the third day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra under a Tilak tree in Sahasramara jungle outside Hastinapur.
He then began preaching on inner purity, passions and methods to conquer it, principles of Right Conduct, Right Living and Right Action. He wandered from place to place and at Sammed Shikhar attained Nirvana after many years of rigorous spiritual penances and preaching.
Temples of Bhagavan Kunthunath in India
Shri Munigiri Teerth, Kanchipuram Tamil Nadu
Shri Hastinapur Teerth Kshetra, Hastinapur Uttar Pradesh
Dilwara Temples, Jaisalmer Rajasthan
His symbol is goat. Bhagavan Kuntunath exhorted his disciples to follow the path of truth and non violence and realise the goal of their life ie liberation and give up worldly desires and pleasures. He urged them to lead a life of discipline and dedication. Great souls like him are born to redeem mankind from delusion and attachment and help them to cross the ocean of samsara and India is blessed to witness the birth of such great beings.