In ancient times King Shrenik ruled in Rajagrihi. He had a son named Abhayakumar. The Prince was very clever and a good politician.
King Shrenik had a wife called Dharini. She was chaste and Faithful to her husband. One day, the Queen was fortunate to give birth to a son. Being born in the monsoon, he was named Meghakumar.
In course of time, the Prince was imparted good education and skills in arts. As he grew up he was married to eight beautiful and worthy girls.
One day Lord Mahavir visited Rajagrihi where King Shrenik ruled. Prince Meghakumar also went to hear the discourse of the Lord. He was impressed by the words of the preceptor, and, therefore, he asked his parents to allow him to become a monk. Though they were unwilling, they allowed the Prince to accept monkhood. Lord Mahavir duly initiated him.
The Prince then began to pass his days with other fellow-monks. At night he had to sleep on a mat spread by the door of the monastery. During the night some monks passed by the place where Meghakumar lay asleep. Consequently, dust from their feet used to trouble the sleeping monk, hence, he thought, “How terrible! These Sadhus don’t allow me to have an undisturbed sleep!” He, therefore, thought of giving up his initiated life. So he went to the Lord to narrate his troubles. But the Lord had known before-hand what was in Meghakumar’s mind and told him that in his previous birth he had suffered for the sake of the happiness of others.
The Lord began to narrate the story of the past birth of Meghakumar and said; “You were an elephant in the past life. In summer, a fire broke out in the forest where you were living with other group of elephants. Many animals were burnt in the forest fire. You also ran away to save yourself from the encircling flames of fire, and then fell into a pond full of slush due to smog. Here another elephant rushed at you and wounded you by the thrusts of his sharp tusks. You suffered from the wounds for seven days due to sharp tusks and died in the end. You were then reborn as an elephant in the Vindhya Mountains. Again a fire broke out in the forest. So a large area was cleared off the trees, by your fellow elephants. But again another fire broke out in the forest. So, many small animals took shelter in the clearing. A frightened rabbit also arrived there to seek protection from the fire. Meanwhile, your skin was itching and you raised your foot to scratch the itching part, and that rabbit took refuge in the vacant space under your foot. Seeing the poor animal, you did not put your foot down but kept it raised out of pity for it. The fire lasted for more than two days, consequently, your foot got swollen and you collapsed and died on the spot. After death, you were born as the son of King Shrenik and now you are here as a monk.”The narration of the story of his past birth opened his eyes and he regretted the idea of giving up his monkhood. Bow, he decided to serve his fellow-monks more devotedly.
He then began to lead a life of an ideal Sadhu. He devoted his time in securing sacred knowledge and practicing austerities. He practiced very hard penances then and gave up his life after observing a fast for a month. He was then born as Ahamendra god. He would be emancipated in course of time.
Moral: – Compassion towards all is a great force. This is exemplified in the life of Meghakumar.