Previous Births of Sheetalnath
The being that was to be Bhagavan Sheetalnath, in his previous but one birth was the king Padmottar of Sushima town in the Pushkarvar island. When his son reached adulthood the religious king gave his kingdom to the son and took Diksha from Tristadha Muni. Vigorous spiritual practices and worship of the pious souls as mentioned in the scriptures resulted in his acquiring the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. Completing his age he reincarnated as the king of the Pranat dimension of gods.
Birth of Lord Sheetalnath
In Bhaddilpur town in the sub-continent of Bharat, ruled king Dridhratha. In the womb of his queen, Nanda, descended the being that was Padmottar, when he completed his age in the dimension of gods. One day when early in the morning King Dridhratha was busy in his work when a dasi (maid) of queen came and asked if queen can come and meet him now. Dridhratha, agreed and asked her to come in his study. The queen went in there and quietly stood beside the king. He was lost in a book. King asked her the purpose of coming so she added that she had seen some very auspicious dreams early in the morning. It was like a chain of fourteen (sixteen according to the Digambar Jain Sect) great things. King immediately said that these dreams were like the same as Bhagvan Suvidhinath’s mother saw. This meant that she was going to give birth to a pioused soul who would become Tirthankar. On the tweflth day of the month of Magh (according to Hindu Calendar), Nanda Devi gave birth to baby boy.
One day during the pregnancy of queen, due to some strange ailment, king Dridhratha had high fever and acute burning sensation in his body. All the medicines, mantras, ointments were applied but Dridhratha could not feel a inch better. Queen was standing by his side and crying because she could not see the pain of her husband. Out of anxiety she put her hands on the head of the king and as if a miracle had happened. The moment queen pressed his head he got relief and he asked her put her hands on his shoulders too. To his own and everybody’s surprise wherever the queen touched, Dridhratha got relief. After this incident the king decided to name the new born as Sheetal (cool/calm).
Sheetalnath as king
From his childhood, Sheetalnath was a very decent child and very simple one. But he was famous for his obedience towards his parents. When he grew older he married at the request of his parents. He used to spend a lot of time in meditation and in the devotional works. One day King Dridhratha coronated his son as king and went in jungles to become an ascetic. King Sheetalnath was known for his planning and administration. All the neighboring kings use to come to him for advise and in the same process use to take some religious knowledge also.
Path of Renunciation
One day King Sheetalnath was sitting alone and was lost in deep thoughts when he realized who he was in his past life and that he has come down to earth from the dimensions of the god. He felt upset that for how long will he keep on coming and going in the world. He decided to take diksha and achieve his ultimate target i.e. Nirvana/Moksha. He took permission from his mother, who already knew the day would come.
Sheetalnath transfered the responsibilities of the kingdom to his next generation and moved on his true ways. After a year’s donation of wealth he came out of the castle and removed his hair with his fist, removed all the worldly possessions, uttered the words “Namo Sidhanam” and disappeared in the crowd. Along with him thousands of other men and women, kings and servants did the same. The whole atmosphere was fragrant, musical and magical.
Omniscience and Nirvana
He spent three months continuously under a Pipal Tree and on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Paush he attained omniscience (kevala gyana). For a long time he went place to place spreading knowledge and preaching people.
On reaching Sammed shikharji he announced his one month fast, on dark half of the month of Vaishakh (according to the Hindu Calendar) he completed his fast as well as the circle of his life and death, he attained Nirvana.