Avanti Pārsvanāth Tirth

This ancient tirth in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh has an intriguing history.

The main murti (idol) is that of Bhagwan Avanti Pārśvanāth in the Padmāsana posture. It is 120 centimeters high, black in colour with an umbrella of 7 hooded snake over its head.

Ujjain was formerly known as Avantikā Puskarandini and was the capital of Malwa. During the reign of King Sudhanva it was named Ujjain.

King Samprati was a devout Jain and an august patron for the numerous ancient temples across the continent was born in this city. He had a made a resolution to build a new Jain temple daily with the blessings and inspiration of Acharya Suhasti Suri who was a great seer. There was a severe famine and the Acharya keeping the prevailing conditions in mind made substantial changes to rules of seeking alms for the ascetics.

Once Acharya Suhasti Suri came to Ujjain and took refuge at Bhadra Sethani’s residence. Her son, Avanti Sukumal was on the 7th floor of their palatial mansion and heard the monks reciting some hymns and prayers. He recollected his previous life and realised that he was a celestial God of “Nalini Gulm Vimana”. Immediately at midnight he sought permission from his parents to become a monk and also took permissions from his Guru to take Santhara (equanimous death). He went to a nearby pond and and stood in deep meditation. Due to past karmas and previous enmity, a fox killed the monk. His son, Māhākāl upon guidance from Achārya Suhasti built this stunning temple in memory of his father about 250 years after Lord Māhāveer’s nirvana.

With the passage of time, during the reign of King Pushyamitra who was a devotee of Shiva this temple became Māhākāl Māhādeva (Shiva) temple.

During the reign of King Vikramāditya, there was a Jain Achārya Vriddhivadisuri who was displeased with his disciple Kumudchandra (that was his child name and later would become the eminent Āchārya Siddhasen Diwākar) and advised him to travel to distant places to atone for his sins. Kumudchandra came to Mahakal Mahadeva temple and slept with his feet facing the Shivalinga. The King ordered his guards to beat the monk for showing disrespect. All the beatings and blows on the monk were in fact felt and experienced by the Queen. The King repented for his folly and asked the sage the reason for this miracle. In response, Kumudchandra recited the Kalyan Mandir Stotra. When he got to the 11th verse, a magnificent murti (idol) of Parsvanath Bhagwan appeared from the Shivlinga.

Another great historical significance of this tirth is that Shripal and Mayanasundari worshipped and did Navpad Oli here and Shripal was cured of his disease.

1. Internet
2. Acharya Siddhasen Diwakar’s Story in Gujarati