Akbar was astonished at the fact that one could survive without food for as many as six months; since he knew too well as to how extremely difficult it was to observe roja’ (a fast observed by muslims) for a month despite the permission for a meal at every night.
The royal servants added to Akbar’s astonishment as they said that the shravika named Champa had never taken a meal either during the day or at night for six long months.
Akbar thought it to be impossible; hence he decided to test its veracity. Champa shravika was invited to the court with utmost respect. Akbar told her that it was impossible that anybody could undertake such fasts. Champa shravika replied that the strength of religion would make everything possible. Akbar added that he would believe Champa shravika if she would undergo fast in the palace under the watch of his guards.
Champa shravika agreed to the proposal. She stayed at the palace with full respect and honor and guards were posted outside the palace. On expiry of the time limit, Akbar wanted to know about her fasts and he was told that she had not taken any food either during the day or at night. Akbar’s surprise was genuine. He had banned killing of any living creature for the days for which Champa shravika had gone on fast. Akbar praised and complimented her. Champa shravika said politely that it was possible because of the impact of the religion, the gods and the guru.
Akbar, the emperor, became interested and wanted to have detailed knowledge about the Jain religion. In all humbleness he requested Acharyashri Hirvijaysuriji to come to the palace for the purpose. After Bhagwan Mahavira, it was Champa shravika who had performed such a rare penance by undergoing six months fast. These fasts created great reverence in Akbar’s mind for the Jain religion, the Jain Acharyas and the Jain shravaks and shravikas. As a result he abolished the poll-tax levied on the Jain pilgrims. He acquainted himself with the significance of non-violence from Acharyashri Hirvijaysuriji – all this was the result of the most extraordinary penance of Champa shravika.
Akbar issued orders as was desired by Suriji. Moreover Akbar added 4 days on his own accord to the 8 days of Paryushan festival and ordered to stop the killing of animals for a total of 12 days. The mandate was also conveyed throughout his empire including Gujarat, Malwa, Ajmer, Delhi, Fatehpur, Lahore and far upto Multan. The Emperor also issued a mandate not to indulge in any sort of animal-killing in the vicinity of pilgrim places like Girnar, Taranga, Shatrunjaya, Kesariyaji, Abu, Rajgruhi and Sametshikharji. In Vikram Samvat 1640 Suriji was honoured with the title of Jagadguru (universal preceptor). Subsequently, Suriji toured Agra, Gwalior and other places and propagated Jain religion. As a result of his efforts, thousands of Hindus and Muslims gave up non-vegetarianism and alcoholism.