In A.D. 1157, Mahamatya Vahad undertook the restoration of original jinalaya in Shatrunjaya Tirtha, the well-known centre of pilgrimage. Celebrations were on. Poverty stricken Jain Bhima of Timana Village, in tattered clothes, was also there to take part in the celebrations. He used to sell ghee (purified butter). He was having two rupees, out of which he spent a rupee in buying flowers to perform the pooja (worship). Bhima, after performing the pooja, desired to have a glimpse of mahamatya Vahad, but was hesitant; he was too poor to go near him. Vahad could see the devotion on his face and made him seated beside himself. Bhima told him everything about his life and his present state.
Vahad, then said, “Bhima we are fellow-travelers. You are a devotee and so am I. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.”
Bhima felt overwhelmed at these words of Vahad.
At that time, the administrators of the restoration project came to Bhima and asked for his contribution. Bhima had a very small amount left with him but he contributed every penny he had and felt happy. It was a gesture of utter devotion, his love for religion.
Mahamatya Vahad highly appreciated Bhima’s gesture and told the people gathered there, “This is what I call sacrifice. Whatever, he had earned; he spent on buying flowers for worship and the remaining money he donated for religion. He is not worried about what he will eat tomorrow. This is called as selfless devotion.”
Vahad gave three silk robes and a certain amount to Bhima but he refused to accept the clothes and money. He said, “Mahamatya, I cannot barter my punya (noble, good deeds) for what you offer me. I cannot part with my accumulated punya in exchange for these worldly possessions. I cannot indulge in this deception.”
This pleased Vahad much and honored him by offering him a betel leaf as was the custom.
Bhima, then, went home. He was apprehensive about his wife who was a tart-tongued woman, quarrelsome by nature. But he found her very happy as she told him about her discovery of four thousand gold coins. She had found them while digging up the land. Bhima exclaimed, “How wonderful! It is the reward for what I did for the god. We must spend the money for the restoration work in Shatrunjaya.” Next day he met Vahad and offered the gold coins to him which he refused to accept.
At night Yaksha Kapardi appeared to him and said, “The money belongs to you. You had pleased the god by offering flowers from your meager earning. Keep it and use it for your own well-being as well as for god’s worship. You will be prosperous forever now.” Bhima, next day, performed the pooja of god Rishabha dev with flowers and precious jewels. Bhima of Kundaliya village built a Bhimakunda (water-tank) in Shatrunjaya Tirtha.
God wants utter devotion from a devotee. A man who donates a huge sum but has no true devotion or love for the people does so out of either vanity or ego. On the other hand, another person donates a very small amount but does it with no ulterior motives except sincere devotion. The second one is better as it is not the sum that is important but the sentiment, the bhava (feeling) attached to it. Bhima Kundaliya’s life symbolizes selfless devotion and love.