Sultān Pārśvanāth

In the 13th century, Delhi’s Sultan, Alauddin Khalji was on his way to attack Patan, the capital of Gujarat with a cavalry of 14000 and infantry of 20000 soldiers. Khilji was against idol worship and plundered towns and temples along the way. When they reached Siddhpur, a major city of Gujarat established by Rājā Siddharāj Jaysimha, they noticed the grandeur and wealth of the city. They started ransacking the monuments and grand temples and came across a group of Bhojak’s (devotional singers) protecting an ancient temple dedicated to Shri Pārśvanāth Bhagwān. When the army generals came to know that it was a Jain temple constructed by Siddharāj’s minister, Alingdev, in the 11th century, they decided to destroy the temple completely (to prove their loyalty to Khalji, as he hated idolatry). The Bhojak’s begged with folded hands to stop the massacre and leave the temple. Despite repeated prayers, when the general’s army did not stop destructing the temple, some devotees rushed to Allaudin Khalji and requested him not to destroy the idol of Lord Pārśvanāth as it was not merely a stone idol, but the Lord himself. The Sultan, full of arrogance and pride ordered the devotees to show the proof of divinity or else witness the destruction of the idol. The Bhojak’s finding no other solution, agreed to go through the test of their faith and requested the Sultan to visit the temple in the evening. As Khilji arrived inside the remains of the temple ruined by its army, the Bhojak’s placed 99 unlit lamps filled with ghee in front of the lord and prayed humbly. After offering their respects to the Lord, they started singing a devotional hymn in Raag Deepak with their emotions and sentiments deeply emerging from their alāpa. With the musical raag (notes) of the veena, tanpura and bansuri the cool breeze suddenly turned considerably warmer and the temperature became stiflingly hot. Beads of perspiration appeared on the Khilji’s forehead as the Bhojak’s continued to sing engrossed in a trance. As the composition reached its peak, Khilji suddenly saw a flash of light in the midst of complete darkness as one lamp lit by itself! The Sultan’s eyes grew wide with amazement as all the 99 lamps started burning one by one.

However, still not convinced by the divinity of the idol, Khilji believed the incident as a part of the singing prowess of the Bhojak’s and decided to destroy the idol to satisfy his ego. As he pulled his sword from its sheath, a hooded cobra appeared out of nowhere and did not allow Khilji to take a step ahead. Despite repeated attempts to move forward, the Sultan could not move an inch as though the cobra had trapped him in an invisible cage. Realising his mistake, Khilji bowed down before the Lord and repented for his sins and announced in his deep baritone “This Lord is the Sultan of the Sultans!”

Since then, this divine idol has been named as Sultan Parshwanath. Idol of Shri Sultān Pārśvanāth along with the other idols were re-installed in a grand temple located on the National Highway in the outskirts of Siddhpur on 29th November 2017 under the guidance of Achāryā Vijay Rājshekhar Surishwarji Māhārāja.