PRESIDING DEITY AND LOCATION :
Sri Vishalnath Swami in a lotus posture, in white color and of height 60Cms in a shrine in the city of Patna in Bada Gali (Shve)
ANTIQUITY AND SALIENT FEATURES :
Todays Patna city was known in ancient times as Kusumpur,Pushpapur etc., The grandson of king Shrenik Sri Udayan, after the death of his father (Kunik) Ajathashatru founded the city in the year 444 before Vikram era i.e 388 B.C. One opinion is that the city was founded even before this period of Sri Ramachandra Bhagwan. King Udayan was a follower of Jainism and the city was the capital of the state of Magadh.King Udayan got constructed here a Jain temple, Gajshala, Ahsvashala, Aoushadshala, Poushadahshala, Shastrashala etc. The city has grown beyond its limits. King Udayan was called by several names such as Ajaya, Udasi, Udayi etc.
After king Udyan, king Mahapadmanandan came into power here and he too was a follower of Jainism. During this period, Jainism had spread far and wide. King padmanand had brought to this city Jain idols after invading upon and conquering the state Kaling and the idols were kepr here for long thereafter when finally king Khareval invaded Magadh, defeated its king and carried the idols back to Kaling state. All this has been described in the inscription in the Hathi caves found on Mounts Khandagiri and Udayagiri.
Sri Yashobhadrasurishvarji, the disciple of Sri Jambuswami who was the last one who had attained Keval Gnan during the period of king Mahapadmanand was born at this place. Sri Sambhutivijayaya and Sri Bhadrababu Swami, his disciples also lived here. King Mahapadmanandan had two ministers named Sri Shakatal and SriVaruruchi and of the former there were two sons, Sri Sthulbhadra and Sri Sriyaka. Sri Sthulbhadra was very modest but highly intelligent and his mind remained all the time engrossed in passion and ambitions of lower nature. He used to live at the house of a dancer named Koshi for most of the time in this city. One day as chance would have it ,Sri Sthulbhadra in an understanding that the worldly life of gross material pleasures was in the end both frustrating and disappointing in attaining real and lasting happiness took Diksha at the hands of Muni Sri Sambhutivijayji and when as per tradition various disciples asked for permission to spend Chaturmas at various places suitable to them, Sri Sthulbhadra asked permission to live the period at the house of this dancer Koshi. Strangely enough the permission required was given to him and he went to the dancer’shouse and spent the chaturmas in the Palace of her paintings provided to him near Gulzar Bag in the city. The dancer Koshi was extremely happy with this happening.But Sri Sthulbhadra had made one condition to which the dancer had willingly agreed. The condition was that the dancer at all times should be three feet away. She had agreed this with al gestures and means at her command she tried her utmost to tempt Sri Sthulbhadra but all was in vain. The saint was truly a man transformed into a superman. The dancer Koshi was ashamed of herself. With an illustrious example of determination, faith and soul-force! She later herself became a Shravika and accepted to observe all the twelve vows as prescribed in Jain religion.
After the Chaturmas all the disciples gathered at the feet of their preceptor Acharya Sri Sambhutivijayji who welcomes them one by one himself being seated in his place but when Sri Sthulbhadraji arrived, he charged with emotion and happiness, got up from his seat, took a few steps ahead and embraced him in recognition of the most difficult austerity practices so successfully.
In the course of time, kings of the Mourya dynasty succeeded king Mahapadmananda and king Chandragupta came to the throne. It is believed that when the great famine lasting a period of twelve years overtook this area, Sri Bhadrabahu Swami and thousands of his saint disciples went away from here in an exodus to the south and settled permanently on Mount Chnadagiri in Shravenbelgola. Even king Chandragupta went with them.
Arya Sthulbhadra had lived with Acharya Sri Bhadrabahu for a considerable length of time and had completed the study of ten Purvas. Owing to famine in this area, the tradition of retaining in memory all the Jain scriptures was getting lost day by day and therefore Sri Sthulbhadraji who had retained these scriptures in his memory having learnt them from Sri Bhadrabahu collected the whole of Jain community, both saints and householders and systematized entire knowledge of Jainology by arranging it in 11 Angas and this effort was considered as the first effort at systematizing the whole knowledge of Jain scriptures.
Digamber tradition mentions that Sri Bhadrabahu with 12,000 saint disciples left this area owing to famine and went to the south and having settled in Mount Chandragiri near Shravanbelgola lived there till the end of his life. They also believed that since the time of Shwetamber and Digamber came into existence, Arya Sthulbhadraji died in the year 311 B.C.
Thereafter during Maurya period Arya Suhastasuriji the preceptor of Emperor Samprati, in first century B.C Acharya Vajraswami, Arya Sri Rakshitasuri and Acharya Sri Padaliptasuriji and other highly learned Acharyas had visited this place and were involved in many activities leading to the expanse of Jain religion. From records it is found that till 7th century A.D, Jains here were an extremely affluent community.
The prosperity however declined in the latter period. During 17th Vikram century, when Kunvarpal and Sonpal of Agra, the two brothers had visited this place having brought with them a very large Jain organization, only Mahatihan section of the Jains lived here. During 18th century, the jewelers of Jahengir Badshah, the family of Jhevari Sheth Hirachand lived here. This family had got constructed one Jain temple and also Data Sri Jinaduttasuriji’s Dadawadi. Today Patna is once again the capital of the state Bihar. The city was established by King Udayan, thereafter King Mahapadmanand, king Chandragupta etc., All the kings were Jain followers.
Sheth SUdarshan died in this city. The memorial erected to commemorate him is still in existence. A legend is prevalent that here he was raised on a Shuli which metamorphosed into a throne on his incantation of Navkar Mantra. After Champapuri and Rajagrihi, Magadh state had its capital in this city. Arya Sthulbhadrasuriji took his birth and also died in this holy land. His Chaturmas at the house of the dancer Koshi is note-worthy and appropriate memorials are still standing here which remind one of the power of faith and soul force. It was while living here that SrI Arya Takshitusuriji divided the entire jain literature of scriptures into broad four divisions of Kathanuyoga, Charankarananuyoga, Dravhanu-yoga and Ganitanuyoga. Sri Umaswatiji also managed to compose his “Tattvarthasutra” at this place. Acharya Padaliptasuriji converted king Mururnda to Jainism here by curing his malignat malady of the land. Also it is here that Arya Sthulbhadra Swami systematized all jainology in Eleven ANgas and that it was the first of such efforts.
An ancient idol of Sri Parshvanath Bhagwan in this temple is just superb,. The idolsin Digamber temples too are extremely beautiful. The state Museum and collections of jalan and Kanodia contain many jain idols of ancient time which are worth seeing.
Besides this temple, the other worth seeing temples include one Swetamner temple. 5 Digamber temples, Gulzarbag, and the two memorials of the bank of the lake. Those smarak of Sri Sudarshan Sheth and of Arya Sthulbhadra Swami all worth seeing.
APPROACH – ROUTE :
From Patna city stationthis temple is almost a Kilometer away. Buses and cars can ply upto with 200 meters of the temple gate. In the city taxis,autos etc., are available. The memorial structures in Gulzarbag of Sheth Sri Sudarshan and SriSthulbhadraji are about 1Km from Patan city.
AMENITIES FOR JAIN PILGRIMS :
There is a small facility for lodging near the temple with water and electricity facility.
Managed By :
Sri Patna Group of JainSwetamber Temples
P.O. Patna city – 800 008. (Bihar)
Tel : 0612-645777