शीतलनाथ भगवान का परिचय
पुष्करवरद्वीप के पूर्वार्ध भाग में मेरू पर्वत के पूर्व विदेह में सीता नदी के दक्षिण तट पर ‘वत्स' नाम का एक देश है, उसके सुसीमा नगर में पद्मगुल्म नाम का राजा रहता था। किसी समय बसन्त ऋतु की शोभा समाप्त होने के बाद राजा को वैराग्य हो गया और आनन्द नामक मुनिराज के पास दीक्षा लेकर विपाकसूत्र तक अंगों का अध्ययन किया, तीर्थंकर प्रकृति का बन्ध करके आरण नामक स्वर्ग में इन्द्र हो गया।
गर्भ और जन्म
इस जम्बूद्वीप के भरत क्षेत्र में मलयदेश के भद्रपुर नगर का स्वामी दृढ़रथ राज्य करता था, उसकी महारानी का नाम सुनन्दा था। रानी सुनन्दा ने चैत्र कृष्णा अष्टमी के दिन उस आरणेन्द्र को गर्भ में धारण किया एवं माघ शुक्ल द्वादशी के दिन भगवान शीतलनाथ को जन्म दिया।
भगवान ने किसी समय वन विहार करते हुए क्षणभर में पाले के समूह (कुहरा) को नष्ट हुआ देखकर राज्यभार अपने पुत्र को सौंपकर देवों द्वारा लाई गई ‘शुक्रप्रभा' नाम की पालकी पर बैठकर सहेतुक वन में पहुँचे और माघ कृष्ण द्वादशी के दिन स्वयं दीक्षित हो गये। अरिष्ट नगर के पुनर्वसु राजा ने उन्हें प्रथम खीर का आहार दिया था।
केवलज्ञान और मोक्ष
अनन्तर छद्मस्थ अवस्था के तीन वर्ष बिताकर पौष कृष्ण चतुर्दशी के दिन बेल वृक्ष के नीचे केवलज्ञान को प्राप्त कर लिया। अन्त में सम्मेदशिखर पहुँचकर एक माह का योग निरोध कर आश्विन शुक्ला अष्टमी के दिन कर्म शत्रुओं को नष्ट कर मुक्तिपद को प्राप्त हो गये।
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.
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).
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.
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.