Bhimji Sanghapati was a true devotee, a staunch adherent of truth. Bhimji was a businessman of Cambay and renowned for his business acumen. Acharya Devendrasuri arrived in Gujarat from Malwa. Bhimji met him and said, “What vow should I observe so that I receive God’s grace?”
The Acharya said, “Decide never to tell a lie. Adhere to truth at any cost, and you will be happy.” Bhimji did as bade by the Acharya and vowed to speak the truth always.
Once a robber, Pallipati Bhila, waylaid him on the bank of the river Mahi and demanded to know how much money he had. Bhimji honestly said, “Four thousand rupees.” Pallipati Bhila hid Bhimji in a secret hideout and demanded a ransom of four thousand rupees for his father’s release. Bhimji’s son sent counterfeit coins to Bhila Pallipati. Pallipati realized a rat on seeing the coins that they were not genuine.
He showed them to Bhimji. Bhimji said that they were not genuine. Pallipati was surprised to hear these words. He thought, “How truthful this man is! He is a captive and will be released only if his son sent genuine coins. But he has the courage to call his son a cheat, and did not lie to secure his release.”
Bhimji’s truthfulness struck him deeply and he thought that any harm caused to such a person would be a grievous sin. He, then, released him.
In A.D. 1271 Acharya Devendrasuri ji died in Malwa in Rajasthan. His disciple Vidyanandasuri also died six months thereafter. Bhimji, being a staunch devotee of Devendrasuri, felt sad at the death of his Gurus, and for twelve years he did not eat anything.
Those who observed celibacy, the fifth vrata (vow) were given a silk sari and five expensive pieces of clothes by Bhimji. There were four vratas (vows) before the birth of Mahavira - non-violence, truth, non-stealing and non-possession. The religion comprising these four came to be known as the religion of Parshwanatha. Mahavira added the fifth vrata (vow) i.e. celibacy - brahmacharya - which was given the prime importance. All our woes, he said, could be traced to carnal desires.
Bhimji Sanghapati emphasized the importance of restraint and self-control. It should be self-imposed and Sanghapati Bhimji always loved and respected all those who exercised restraint.
The mantri (secretary) of Mandavagadh Pethadshah and his wife Padmini were also given these robes. Thirty-two year old Pethadshah and his wife decided to observe the vow of celibacy; and performed pooja wearing the robes given by Bhimji. Bhimji Sanghapati is remembered today for his adherence to truth, supreme devotion to his gurus and unshakable faith in the vows.
Bhimji Sanghapati observed scrupulously the vow of refraining from lying. It was the vow of not telling lies about animals and about land. This vow included refraining from misappropriating the deposits, bearing false witness in or out of court, and forging fake documents. The observer of the vow had specifically to bear in mind that if he practiced treachery and fraud in business and, under temptation, indulged in boasting a lie spreading rumors, he put his religion to shame and made it an object of ridicule and mockery. He was not to forget that breach of confidence or trust and giving wrong advice were great sins. In short, he was to understand that the secret of earning wealth was through honesty and morality. And, in morality lay one’s own happiness, peace, mental health and also other’s welfare.