Bhimadeva was the king of Gujarat. He was so kind and simple that people often cheated him. Very often some people would poison his ears against others and get their work done.
Abhad Vasa lived in Patan. He sacked his accountant as he was very dishonest and used to temper with the accounts and misappropriate money. The accountant wanted to avenge his dismissal and thought of a plan. He went to the king Bhimadeva and said, “See, Abhad is very rich but he does not contribute even ten paise to the state’s coffers. His wealth remains intact; you must do something so that the wealth is spent for the good of the people.”
The king did not know that the crafty accountant was up to some mischief to entrap Abhad. He liked the idea. As per the accountant’s advice the king sent his maid to Abhad. Bhimadev’s maid came to him with a plateful of meat. Abhad was busy in pooja (worship). The maid said, “Festivities are going on in the kingdom and the king has sent the Prasad (food offered to deity and taken by devotees after worship) for you.” Abhad’s daughter Chaampalde took the plate and when she removed the cover, she found, to her horror, meat in it. She was a widow and lived with his father. She was highly religious but a very intelligent woman. She thought, “Why should the king indulge in such an indecent, crude gesture? There is something deeper than what meets the eye.” She, at once, realized that the king must have acted on the advice of the dismissed accountant. She sent with the maid a very precious necklace for the king and gifted a chain to the maid. She then told her father. “The king is acting on the advice of the dishonest accountant and they have an evil eye on our property and wealth. We must be careful. The king wants to grab our wealth but we must turn him into the protector of our wealth.”
Abhad then made an inventory of his property and went to see the king. The king had thought that his act of sending ‘special’ Prasad will enrage Abhad and he would rebel against the king. It will be then easier for him to appropriate his wealth for rebelling against the state. But that did not happen; instead, Abhad was standing in front of him, with no trace of anger. The king realized his folly that it was the accountant who had instigated him to spite Abhad. He called the accountant and reprimanded him severely. He said, “You should not be jealous of Abhad’s wealth. Now touch his feet and ask for forgiveness for your evil designs.” The accountant did as bade by the king. Chaampalde’s cleverness helped the father to retain his wealth which he used for the welfare of the people and he and Chaampalde went to heaven after their deaths.
Jain Shravikas occupy an important place in Jain religion. They often display sterling qualities, character of a high order and an uncanny insight when in difficult situations. Such Shravikas are the true pillars of the religious edifice. Jain religion, therefore, equates shravaks and shravikas with sadhus and sadhvis. There are many shravaks and shravikas who possessed virtues and qualities which one would normally find in sadhus and sadhvis and Chaampalde was one such character whose life is a beacon to other mortals.