Nitin H.P.

Concept of Yaksha & Yakshi in Jainism
The only goal of Jainism is to conquer ourselves from worldly sufferings, inner passions and attain liberation. As per Jainism Jina/Arihanta/Tirthankara is a liberated soul that is freed of the worldly sufferings and inner passions and reside in the top of the world called as Siddhaloka. The Jains worship these Jinas/Arihantas/Tirthankaras due of the following reasons: As they have liberated themselves by conquering their inner passions and attained moksha, they have expounded the path of liberation and to get an inspiration to attain their state.

It is believed that Yaksha and Yakshi’s were entrusted by Indra to look after the well being of Tirthankaras. Jains believe that the Tirthankaras are looked after by the Yaksha and Yakshi’s. Usually they are found in pairs flanking the Tirthankara idol with the Yaksha on the right and Yakshi on the left as guardian deities. They are regarded as the devotees of the Jinas with supernatural powers. They are also referred to as the Shasanadevatas and Shasanadevis. The Jains worship them for providing protection to the Tirthankaras.

They are believed to go through the cycles of birth and deaths just like any other worldly souls but have supernatural powers. As the Jinas are liberated from the worldly sufferings they cannot reward the worship of devotees. As already mentioned the Yaksha and Yakshi’s are known to have supernatural power and are known for bestowing upon the devotees and fulfilling their desires. Hence for immediate returns a section of the Jains looked at them and gave them a place in the temple. Some of them were known for bestowing worldly desires such as boon for children, wealth, etc and hence the concept of Yaksha and Yakshi’s became very popular in Jainism.

Goddess Padmavati
Goddess Padmavati is the Yakshi of Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism. She along with Dharanendra Yaksha protected Lord Parshwanath from Kamata’s upasarga.

Decorated idol of Goddess Padmavati, Padmavati Temple, Hombuja.Goddess Padmavati, Padmavati Temple, Hombuja.

She is known for protecting her devotees from many problems. The story of Goddess Padmavati protecting Vanamale’s husband owing to her devotion & protecting King Jinadattaraya from many of his problems are some of the related stories.

Mythological Story Related to Hombuja Padmavati
Hombuja has a mythological story attached to it. It starts with Jinadatta, the prince of Mathura. He had fled to south India leaving his home town due to family reasons. He meets the Jain monk Muni Siddhantakeerthi and according to his guidance he carried the idol of Godess Padmavati on the horse back and wandered the southern parts of India. When he reached Hombuja he decided to stay over night at this place under the shelter of a Lakki tree. He dreamt an inspiration from Goddess Padmavati to install the idol over here and that he will get all the support from the localites and the Goddess mentioned to him that she will be staying over there. She further instructed him that when iron is touched to the feet of the Padmavati idol it will be converted into gold and by the wealth gained through this means he can convert the place into a town and make it his capital. The next day he decided to construct a temple dedicated to Goddess Padmavati and Lord Parshwanath. He further moved ahead with establishing his capital at Hombuja. His Guru Siddanthakeerthi and his mother setteled at Hombuja along with him. Further he married the princess Manoradhini of the Kingdom of South Mathura.

Later he continued ruling the kingdom happily without any hassles. After a few years Goddess Padmavati wanted to test Jinadatta’s devotion and hence created two pearls (called as Muttu in Kannada) situated at a pond located a few meters away from the temple. Since then this pond is called as Muttina Kere (Kere means tank in Kannada). Of the two pearls one of them was pure and the other was eroded a bit. One of persons in the kingdom who found the pearls handed them over to the king. The King got two nose rings made of pearls. He gave a ring with the pure pearl to his wife and offered the other ring with the eroded pearl to the Goddess.

But when he visited the temple, he was astonished to find the ring with the pure pearl on the Goddess. At this point he heard a divine voice of Goddess Padmavati, saying that the idol will loose its divine power of converting the iron into gold and will fall into the well besides the temple. At this juncture Jinadattaraya realized his mistake and pleaded the Goddess for forgiveness. In response to this the divine voice mentioned that he should install another idol at that place and promised with the following things/incidents so that the existence of Goddess Padmavati was felt:

  • The Lakki tree will never dry
  • The Muttina Kere will never dry
  • The water will be constantly oozing out from the point of origin of river Kumudvati
  • Whenever a devote asks for blessings from Goddess Padmavathi, the flowers will fall from the right side of the idol.