Sheshavati, Śeṣavatī: 2 definitions


Sheshavati means something in Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Śeṣavatī can be transliterated into English as Sesavati or Sheshavati, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Sheshavati in Jainism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Śeṣavatī (शेषवती) is the mother of Datta: the seventh Vāsudeva (“violent heroes”) according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Since they enjoy half the power of a Cakravartin (universal monarch) they are also known as Ardhacakrins. Jain legends describe nine such Vāsudevas usually appearing together with their “gentler” twins known as the Baladevas. The legends of these twin-heroes usually involve their antagonistic counterpart known as the Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes).

The stories of queen Śeṣavatī, king Agniśikha and their son, Datta are related in texts such as the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

1) Śeṣavatī (शेषवती) refers to one of the eight Dikkumārīs living on the southern Rucaka mountains (in the Rucakadvīpa continent), according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism.

Accordingly, “[...] Eight Dikkumārīs [viz., Śeṣavatī], living on the southern Rucaka Mountains, came there, impelled by joy like a whip. Having bowed to the Ford of Jinas and his mother and having introduced themselves as before, they stood on the right, singing, with pitchers in their hands. [...].”.

Note: In the continent Rucakadvīpa is a circular mountain-ranges Rucaka. On this in the four directions are 4 temples, and on both sides of each temple are 4 mountain peaks, making 8 peaks in each direction. Each peak is inhabited by a Dikkumārī [viz., Śeṣavatī].—(cf. ‘Die Kosmographie der Inder’ pp. 257f).

2) Śeṣavatī (शेषवती) is the mother of Datta: one of the nine black Vāsudevas, according to chapter 1.6. Accordingly: “[...] There will be nine black Vāsudevas, enjoyers of three parts of the earth, with half so much power as the Cakrins. [...] In the same interval between Jinas, Datta, the son of Śeṣavatī and Agnisiṃha in Vārāṇasī, twenty-six bows tall, will go to the fifth hell, when he has completed a life of fifty-six thousand years”.

According to chapter 6.5:—“Now in this southern half of Bharata in Jambūdvīpa there is a city Vārāṇasī sought by the Gaṅgā like a friend. Its king was Agnisiṃha of the Ikṣvāku family, like a fire in brilliance, like a lion in strength. [...] He had two wives, Jayantī and Śeṣavatī, surpassing all the women of the world in beauty. [...] Lalita fell from Saudharma and became the son of Śeṣavatī, whose incarnation as a Kṛṣṇa had been indicated by seven dreams, named Datta. [...]”.

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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