Lord Shantinath’s soul in his previous incarnation was Meghrath, son of King Dhanrath of Pundarikgiri town in the Mahavideh area. King Dhanrath gave his throne to his son & became ascetic.
Meghrath was a religious ruler. He was very compassionate & protected all living beings. Being a kshatriya & a warrior, he had the courtesy to sacrifice all he had in order to protect those in trouble.
One day while observing the partial renunciation vow (Paushadh), he was about to start a discourse on the religion propagated by Tirthankars. All of a sudden a pigeon, trembling with fear, fell in his lap & uttered in choking human voice, “Save me, O King! Give me refuge; take me under your protection!” The compassionate King comforted the bird & took it under his protection.
The pigeon was followed by a falcon who too uttered in human language, “O King! This pigeon is my food, leave it alone”. The King tried to explain, “It has taken refuge with me, as such I am duty bound to protect it. I will give you any type of food you want; why do you want to kill a living thing just to fill your stomach?”
The falcon insisted, “If you will not leave it, I may die of hunger. I am a carnivore. If I die, you will be responsible & bear the sin.”
When the falcon didn’t yield, Meghrath said at last, “O falcon! As long as I exist, I will not allow you to die. I will cut out flesh from my body equivalent to the weight of this little pigeon & give it to you. You may satisfy your urge to eat but under no circumstance I shall allow you to kill the bird that has taken refuge with me.”
The falcon agreed to this proposal & the King put the pigeon in one pan of balance & in the other started putting pieces of flesh cut out from his own body. Everybody present on the scene was spellbound & full of tears.
Surprisingly, the weight of the pigeon continued to increase & the King continued putting flesh in the pan. Witnessing this pathetic scene, the Queens & the members of the assembly were moved to tears. They requested the King not to sacrifice his precious life for a mere pigeon but the King denied. The falcon was also requested relent but he too declined.
The King continued to cut flesh from his body & put it in the pan of the balance. At last, when the pieces of flesh were not enough, the King got up from his seat & sat down in the pan. Everyone present was dumb struck at this lofty compassion & chivalry displayed by the King.
Suddenly, there was a flash of divine light & a divine personage appeared. The pigeon & the falcon disappeared. The God addressed the King, “Maharaj! The King of Gods was praising your compassion & courage in his assembly. I could not contain & came around to test you myself. All this was my creation. You come out with flying colors. You are worthy of the praise bestowed on you by the King of Gods. Please forgive me.” The God filled Meghrath’s wounds instantaneously & left for his abode.
Whenever there is a talk about chivalry & compassion, King Meghrath’s name is taken with respect. King Meghrath’s uncommon purity & determination made Gods to bow to him with reverence.
Moral: So friends, did you notice that what could be an outcome of your purity, compassion & dedication to fulfill your promise? Non-violence is the central concept particularly relevant to compassion & that would lead to you achieve anything one wishes