Hastinapur has a very unique place in the history of Jainism, Hinduism and India. So, while we try to read through its history we come across many interetisting facts both from the Jaina point of view and otherwise. In these pages we will concentrate mainly on its Jaina significance with just some passing reference to the other details.
Lord Adinatha & Akshaya Tritiya
It is said that after relinquishing his throne Lord Adinatha entered the life of an ascetic. After some time Lord Adinatha while in his ascetic hood while practicing a sacrament for almost six months decided to take ‘aahara’(food). Since the people were unaware of the procedure to be followed to offer aahara to a Jain ascetic he was unable to get food for 6 months and 13 days and was on his vihara (movement from place to place). He continued his Vihara and happened to cross Hastinapur. During that time Hastinapur was ruled by King Somprabha, his younger brother Shreyansa kumar learnt about Lord Adinath that he is not being offered food since 6 months. He recalled the ‘Aahara Vidhi’ to be followed through his ‘Gnati smarana’ (Past life impressions) and decided to offer food to Lord Adinatha and making way for Lord to end his fast (parana). He offered ‘Ikshu rasa’ (sugarcane juice) as aahara dhana (Dhana means donation/giving) on the Vaishaka Shukla Tritiya day. From then onwards this day is celebrated as ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ across the world. It is said that the very ‘concept of giving / donation’ evolved on this day at Hastinapur. In memory of the parana, Shreyansa kumar built a stupa and installed the foot prints of Bhagawan Adinath. This is popularly called as the parana mandir or Adinath Nishiyaji situated near Gang Nahar (Canal) in Hastinapur.
Furthermore Lord Bahubali (one of the sons of Lord Adinatha) had two sons King Somaprabha and Shreyansa. Somaprabha who was also called as ‘Kuru’ ruled over Hastinapur over a period of time. It is after him that the ‘Kuru Vansha (family)’ & ‘Chandra Vansha (family)’ came into being and subsequently by the time the ‘Kauravas’ and ‘Pandavas’ around whom the entire epic of Mahabharatha revolves.
Land of Panchakalyanas
Hastinapur is the land of Garbha, Janma, Deeksha and Gyana Kalyanas of Shanthinath, Kunthunath and Arahnath Tirthankaras. In Jainism history for Tirthankaras Kalyanas this place is only second to Sammedha Shikharji where highest number of Kalyanas were held. In memory of this, stupas with foot prints of the three Tirthankaras have been built amidst the forests of Hastinapur and are called as Nishiyaji.
Land of Samavasaranas
Hastinapura has also witnessed the Samavasaranas of Lord Mallinatha, Lord Parshwanatha and Lord Mahavira. A Samavasarana is a classic Jain term which refers to the first preaching of a Tirthankara after attaining perfect knowledge (Kevala Gyan). It specifically refers to the assembly place in which the preaching is given. The assembly is termed samavasarana because it offers/provides refuge (sharana) to all (samo) living beings equally.
Jain Stories Related to Hastinapur
here are numerous Jain stories associated with Hastinapur. A few of them are follows –
- During the period of Lord Munisuvrata while the Lord was on his visit to Hastinapura, he is said to have given a religious discourse. Influenced by his discourse a rich businessmen, named Ganga Dutta, renounced his wealth and family and converted himself as a Jain ascetic.
- A Jain Muni Dama Datta while on his vihar happened to pass through Hastinapur and was staying in one of the gardens at Hastinapur. While he was engrossed in deep meditation the Kauravas while passing through the garden scolded the Muni and threw stones. After sometime the Pandavas came over here and pacified the muni and he attained salvation here.
- The popular festival of Raksha bandhana (Rakhi) is said to have originated from this place. It is celebrated here as a memory of rescuing the sangha of Digambar Jain Muni Sri Akampanacharya and 700 odd Jain ascetics by Muni Sri Vishnu Kumar. This is celebrated on the Shravana Shukla Poornima.
- King Gurudatta who ruled over Hastinapur also became a Jain muni at a latter stage as part of Jain history.
Hastinapur was the capital of the Kauravas of the Mahabharata epic. It is near this place that the great battle of Mahabharatha between the Pandavas and the Kurauvas is said to have been fought at ‘Kurukshetra’. Five villages Baghpat, Sonipat, Tilpat (Bijnor), Panipat and Indraprastha (Delhi) which were demanded by Pandavas from the Kauravas through Lord Krishna are found near Hastinapur. This is also the birth place of Hindu Guru Parashuram of the times of Ramayana.