Shreyansa Kumar, the son of King Somaprabha in Hastinaapur, and the grand-son of Rishabha, seemed to be an exceptional young man. Once he a dream that he watered a grand golden mountain with a jar of nectar. In that same night a rich man named Subuddhi had a dream in which Shreyansa Kumar made the sun, with its thousands of brilliant rays, shine ever more brightly. Even King Somprabha himself dreamt that a great man was being defeated and he succeeded only with the help of Shreyansa.
The next day all met and discussed the dreams in the council of the State. Dream readers were called to reveal the meaning of the dreams, but even they could not fully comprehend what such images indicated. Nevertheless, all agreed that Shreyansa was destined to become something magnificent.
Thus everyone returned contented to their homes. Shreyansa Kumar, still pondering over his dream, con- sidered what great deeds would be perfonned by him.
By chance he looked at the highway and he recognized a lean figure approaching him as Bhagawan Rishabha. Because of his purity of thought, Shreyansa had achieved Jaatismaran gyan and realized that Rishabha had been performing penance for the last twelve months. Therefore nobody was offering him food.
Rishabha had been offered various types of precious jewels, but no one ever offered him food. In return, Rishabha never asked for food. Upon seeing him who had not eaten anything for the last one year, Shreyansa rushed to meet the Bhagawan.
Shreyansa implored Rishabha to come to his palace, sanctify it and give him the privilege of becoming a worthy donor. Upon arrival at his home, Shreyansa Kumar searched for something to offer in alms and found several jars containing the juice of sugarcane, which was traditionally used to end fasts. He offered this juice to Rishabha with great pleasure. At that time Jain munis did not use pots to eat and drink but instead used their hands as cups. Thus Rishabha cupped his hands and drank the sweet sugarcane juice.
That was the day of Akshaya Tritiya. Now, on that same day each year, many of our Jain followers begin a fast that is observed on alternate days for a full year.