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Short Inspiring Jain Story on Ganga Maa

 

The tradition of nagarseth (a respectable citizen of a city) is a glorious chapter of ]inshasan. Seth Shantidas was a generous, highly religious nagarseth. Harkunvar, Ganga maa, Mohini etc. were other names respected in society for their sterling qualities and they all belonged to the respectable family of Seth Shantidas.

Ganga, the wife of Sheth Dalpatbhai, was a highly religious lady. In A.D. 1865, Dalpat bhai had undertaken a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya. Venerable Mulchandra ji Maharaja was a member of the group of pilgrims. Vriddhichandra ji Maharaja had arrived from Palitana. Ganga maa spent almost a fortune in the service of Sadhu-Sadhvi and Shravaka-Shravika.

Ganga Maa listening to the discourse of Acharya Shri Nemisurishwara ji

She symbolized love, compassion and service. She was a true mother to one and all - caring and loving. She was compared to Anupama devi who had built temples in Abu. In A.D. 1911, four Sanghas had undertaken, at her instance, a pilgrimage to Ahmedabad. Shri Ratnavijay ji composed a work to commemorate this memorable event.

Once Ganga maa was absorbed in listening to a discourse by Acharya Shri Nemisurishwara ji. He, in his inimitable style, exhorted people not to spare any effort to protect the pilgrim centers. His speech set Ganga maa thinking.

At that time the British were building a guest house on the mountain of Sammed shikhar ji for tourists and for those who visited the place for the purpose of hunting. Ganga maa disapproved of the idea. “Why this assault on the sacred land of tirthankaras, munis and pious souls?” she wondered. She was determined to do something to prevent the sacred land from becoming profane, a land for merry making and drinking bouts. She began praying Bhagwan Parshwanatha. She also remembered the illustrious line of her ancestors. Seth Shantidas had fought the Aurangzeb, the religious fanatic, to protect the pilgrim-centers. Ganga maa adored Jinshasan and had profound attachment for the places of pilgrimage.

Ganga Maa provoked her son Lal Bhai by placing her bangles in his plate

A place of pilgrimage can inspire one to scale spiritual heights. Ganga maa was a truly devoted soul and her devotion to religion inspired her son to do something for the protection of centers of pilgrimage and thus for the protection of religion •itself. When Ganga maa’s son Lal bhai brought meal for her, she placed bangles in the plate. Lal bhai was baffled. Ganga maa said, “Acharya Nemisurishwar ji is worried about the protection of pilgrim centers. You are a nagarseth, and you have not given even a thought to it. If you are to remain passive, then wear these bangles and give me your authority. I will fight and sacrifice my life.”

These angry words of his mother inspired Lal bhai to do something. He launched a fight against the British government and prevented it from building the guest house on Sammed shikhar ji.

Ganga ma held Sadhu-Sadhvi in high esteem and would see to it that they observed the five mahavrata (vows) scrupulously. She would always set high standards of personal rectitude and piety - a staunch protector of religion as she was.

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Om Namah

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