Last Calamity: Nails in the Ears
After spending the twelfth monsoon-stay of his period of practices in Champa, Bhagwan Mahavir Swami
arrived outside a village named Chhammani and stood in meditation. It was dusk and a cowherd was
returning home from his farm he said, "Ascetic! Please look after my oxen, I will return in a few minutes", and
The cowherd went into the village and returned a little late. The oxen had drifted away grazing. Not finding his oxen, he asked, "Ascetic, where are my oxen?"Mahavir was in deep meditation and unaware of all this.
The cowherd asked again, and once again he did not get any response. He got irritated and shouted, "You hypocrite! Are you deaf, don't you hear anything?"Mahavir still did not respond. The cowherd lost his temper, "You pretender,-it seems that both your ears are useless. Wait a minute, I will give you proper treatment."
He picked long nail like thorns from a nearby shrub of Kansa grass and pierced the ears of Mahavir deeply by hammering the thorns in.Even such excruciating agony did not move Mahavir from his meditation, neither did it evoke any feeling of anger or aversion in him.Completing his meditation in normal course he went inside the village for alms.
He arrived at the door of a trader named Siddharth. A friend of the trader was sitting with him. He was a doctor. Both of them gave pure food to Mahashraman with due respect.Doctor Kharak told Siddharth, "Friend, the face of this Shraman has a divine glow but there is a shade of tiredness too. Some inner pain is visible in his eyes.
I feel this great sage suffers from some inner agony."Siddharth replied, "Friend, if such a great sage suffers from some kind of pain, we should immediately go and treat him."
After taking alms Mahashraman returned. Taking Doctor Kharak with him, Siddharth followed. Going into the garden, where Prabhu rested, when the two exclaimed him they found the tow thorns stuck in his ears. Kharak shivered with remorse.
Bhagawän Mahävir calmly bearing the pain while the pegs are removed
The friends then arranged for necessary instruments and medicines. They used some medicated oil and forceps and pulled out he thorns. This caused such an unbearable agony to Mahavir that an anguished cry was forced out of him. Blood oozed out of his ears. The doctor dressed the wound with some coagulant.
Mahävir continued to stand there calm and quiet in deep meditation.
In each incident of difficulty, we see the conquest of Mahävir’s soul and mind over his physical pain and suffering. His meditation and penance purified his soul. It helped him to separate himself from perishable and mortal worldly things, and concentrate on the liberation of his immortal soul.