Bhagavati-sutra (Viyaha-pannatti)

by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 107,351 words

The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It represents an encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue between Mahavira replying to questions asked by his chief disciple Indrabhuti. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his Jinaratnakosa H.D. Velank...

Part 3 - Dialogue with Skandaka

18. In that period, at that time, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra departed from the Guṇaśīla caitya in (the outskirts of) the city of Rājagṛha. Having moved out (from there), he was wandering in the neighbouring villages.

In that period, at that time, there was a city named Kṛtaṅgalā. Description (as before). In the outskirts of that city, at a place between the north and the east, there was a caitya called Chatrapalāśaka. Description. Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, master of supreme kevala-knowledge and kevala vision (arrived)....till congregation. People went out (to listen).

Not far from the city of Kṛtaṅgalā, there was a city named Śrāvastī. In that city of Śrāvastī, there lived a monk of the Parivrājaka order, named Skandaka, who belonged to the line of Kātyāyana, and who was a disciple of Gaddavāla. He was profoundly versed in, and had reached the depth of, the four Vedas, Ṛk-Sām-Yajur-Atharva, fifth Itihāsa (History), sixth Nighaṇṭu (Vedic index), and all literary works based on them. He preserved them in memory, corrected others if necesssary, upheld them9, and attained perfection In them. He was the master of the six Aṅgas, Saṣṭitantra (of Kapila), Gaṇita (Mathematics), Śikṣā (Phonetics), Ācāra (Conventions), Vyākaraṇa (Grammar), Chanda (Prosody), Nirukta (Etymology), Jyotiṣa (Astronomy), and many other profound texts produced by the Brahminical scholarship. Besides, he was very profound in the Nīti-śāstra of the Parivrājaka order.

In the city of Srāvastī, there lived a Vaiśālika-śrāvaka (one who was profoundly devoted to, and interested in, the words of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra), named Piṅgala. This śrāvaka once came to Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line, and having come to him, he asked him with great inquisitiveness as follows:

—Oh Māgadha (one born in Magadha)! Are the spheres10 with limit or without limit? Are the souls with limit or without limit? Is the abode of the perfected beings with limit or without limit? Are the perfected beings with limit or without limit? By what death does a being enlongen his stay in (various) existences, and by what death does he cut short that stay. It behoves thee to explain them.

Thus he submitted.

Being thus asked with great inquisitiveness by the Vaiśālika-śrāvaka Piṅgala, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line was in difficulty (about the answer), was in anxiety (as to how to give a correct answer), was in a split (as to what to say), and was in distress (because of his ignorance about these). So he did not lighten his load by giving a suitable reply to the Vaiśālika-śrāvaka Piṅgala, but remained silent. The said Piṅgala repeated his questions for a second time and then for a third time with the same eagerness:

—Oh Māgadha! Are the spheres with limit...till, by what death does a being enlongen or cut short his stay in (various) existences. It behoves thee to throw light on them.

But on each occasion, being asked by the said Vaiśālika-śrāvaka Piṅgala, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line was in the (same) difficulty, doubt, anxiety, fix, split and distress, and could not throw light on them by giving a convincing reply. So he maintained his silence.

In the said city of Śrāvastī, where three highways meet,...till people moved out in vast numbers and in groups. The said Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line heard (about the arrival of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra) from many people, and having heard like that, he had a flash of idea, a desire, a keenness, a resolve (as follows):

Indeed, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra is staying, inspiring his soul by restraint and penance, at the Chatrapalāśaka caitya outside the city of Kṛtaṅgalā. I go unto him, to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and pay unto him my homage and obeisance. Having paid my homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, having welcomed him, having paid respect unto him, having worshipped (the Lord who is) the embodiment of bliss, happiness, godhood and spiritual treasure, I ask him about the meaning, cause, instrumentality and grammar.

Thus he thought, and having so thought, he returned to the abode of the Parivrājaka monks. Having returned, he picked up (all the decorations of his holy order, such as) tridaṇḍa (triple stick), kuṇḍi (small cup), garland made of the rudrākṣa beads, karoṭikā (earthen pot), vṛśikā (cushion), keśarikā (cloth for drying vessels), chaṇṇālaya (?), aṅkuśaka (hook), pabitraka (ring), gaṇetrika (wrist band), chatra (umbrella), bāhana (?), pādukā (sandals), and dhāturakta (saffron robes) and having picked them up, he moved out from the abode of the Parivrājaka monks. With tridaṇḍa, kuṇḍi, rudrākṣa-garland, karoṭikā vṛśikā, keśarikā, aṅkuśaka, pabitraka and gaṇetrika in his hands, and equipped with his shoes and umbrella, and with his saffron robes on, he moved through the city of Śrāvastī, and turned his steps in the direction of the Chatrapalāśaka caitya outside the city of Kṛtaṅgalā where was stationed Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra.

Thus said Śramaṇa Bḥagavāna Mahāvīra to Gautama:

—Gautama! To-day you will meet with your former companion.

Bhante! Whom do you mean?

—Skandaka is his name.

—When, how and after what time-gap (do I see him)?

—Gautama! It is as follows: In that period, at that time, there was a city named Śrāvastī. Description. In that city of Śrāvastī, there lives the Parivrājaka monk, Skandaka by name, who belongs to the Kātyāyana line, and is a disciple of Gaddavāla. He (description as before) has started to come to me. He has come near,...he is very near,...he is on the roacd,...he is now on the approach (to this very place). Gautama! This very day you will see him.

Gautama paid homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra; and having paid homage and obeisance, he made the following submission:

Bhante! Is Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line, the beloved of the gods, coming here to be tonsured, to renounce home in order to couft the life of a homeless mendicant? Oh Lord!

As Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was giving reply to this enquiry by Gautama, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line hurriedly reached that place.

Then Bhagavān Gautama, having known that Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line had come very near, hurriedly got up and advanced (towards him) to welcome him. He reached the place where Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line was, and having reached the place, he welcomed him as follows:

—Skandaka! Welcome to thee, a very hearty welcome Thy coming is good; thy coming portends to great good. Welcome to thee!

(He continued:)

Skandaka! In the city of Śrāvastī, the Vaiśālika-śrāvaka Piṅgala had inquisitively put the questions to thee—Oh Māgadha! Are the spheres with limit or without? (And so on). And indeed you have come here for enlightenment. Is that right?

On this, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line made the following reply to Bhagavān Gautama:

—Gautama! This is very true. But who is that wise man, the savant, who is rich in penance, who has known beforehand the inner thoughts of mine, and (meseems) you are (already) in the know of them?

Then quoth Bhagavān Gautama to Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line:

—Right you are, oh Skandaka! The great spiritual ācārya, the great guide on spiritual matters, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra is the holder of the supreme kevala-knowledge and kevala-vision; he is an Arhat, a Jina, a Kevalī, a knower of the past, present and future, all-knowing and all-seeing. It is he who has revealed your secret thoughts to me. And it is thus, oh Skandaka, I know them.

On this, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line, said as follows unto Bhagavān Gautama:

—Gautama! Let us go to your spiritual ācārya, the great guide on spiritual matters, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and pay unto him homage and obeisance,...till worship him.

—As it pleases thee, oh beloved of the gods! But let us delay not.

Then with Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line in his company, Bhagavān Gautama proceeded towards the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was. In that period, at that time, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra used to take his meal everyday. His physical frame was noble, portending to welfare, safety, grace and happiness, beautiful even without adornment, bearing standard measures, good marks and high traits11, and looking extremely charming. Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line saw the physical frame of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, who was (then) taking his meal everyday, and (whose physical frame) was noble,...till looking exceedingly charming, and seeing (him), he was delighted, happy in mind, pleased, overwhelmed with joy in mind, extremely thrilled and with his heart expanded with glee; and (both) reached the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was. On reaching (near him), he paid his homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra,...till worshipped him.

Quoth Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra unto Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line:

Indeed, Skandaka, in ths city of Śrāvastī, the Vaiśālika-śrāvaka Piṅgala had said unto thee as follows: Oh Māgadha! Are the spheres with limit or without limit? (And so on)...till you have come to me in a hurry. Skandaka, is that right?

Bhante! What you have said is right.

—So Skandaka, as you have in your mind doubt, thought, curiosity, enquiry, inquisitiveness as to whether the spheres are with limit or without, so, on this, oh Skandaka, do I ordain as follows:

The spheres have to be viewed from four angles, viz., substance, place, time and bhāva.

As to substance, the spheres are one and with limit.

As to place, the spheres are said to be extended over innumerable crores of yojanas in length and breadth, and over innumerable crores of yojanas in circumference, but still with limit.

As to time, the spheres existed in the past, they exist in the present and they will exist in the future. There was, there is and there will be no time when there were no spheres. The spheres did exist and will continue to exist. The spheres are fixed, eternal, permanent, non-depreciating, non-wearing out, ever-existent and without limit.

As to bhāva, the spheres are with limitless colours, smells, substances and touches, with limitless physical structures, with limitless heaviness and lightness, with limitless nonheaviness non-lightness, and without limit.

So, you see, Skandaka, as to substance, the spheres are with limit, and so (i. e., with limit) are they as to place; but as to time, the spheres are without limit, and so also without limit are they as to bhāva.

As to souls, oh Skandaka, you have in your mind,... till whether souls are with limit or without limit. On this, 1 ordain,...till as to substance, souls are one and with limit. As to place, souls are with innumerable space-units, holding innumerable space-units, but still with limit. As to time, there was no time, nor there will be any, when souls did not, do not and will not, exist,... till ever-existent and without limit. As to bhāva, souls are in possession of limitless knowledge, of limitless vision, of limitless conduct, of limitless non-heaviness and non-lightness, and again without limit. So you see, as to substance souls are with limit, and so also as to place they are with limit; but as to time, without limit, and so too as to bhāva (without limit).

And then, oh Skandaka, you have in your mind,...till whether the abode of the perfected souls is with limit or without limit. Oṇ this I ordain, oh Skandaka, that the abode of the perfected souls is to be viewed from four angles, viz., subtatance[?], place, time and bhāva. As to substance,, this abode of the perfected souls is one and with limit. As to place, this abode of the perfected souls extends over an area of 45,00,000 yojanas in length and so also in breadth, and with a circumference which is 142,30,249 hundred-thousand yojanas more or less, but still with limit. As to time, there was no time, nor there will be any, when the abode of the perfected souls did not, does not and will not, exist. As to bhāva, the same as with the spheres. So you see, the abode of the perfected souls is, as to substance, with limit as to place, with limit; as to time, without limit; and as to bhāva (also) without limit.

And then, oh Skandaka, you have in mind...till whether the perfected souls ate without limit...till as to substance, the perfected souls are one and with limit; as to place, the perfected souls are in possession of innumerable space-units and hold innumerable space-units, but still with limit; as to time, the perfected souls are with a genesis but without limit; and as to bhāva, the perfected souls are in possession of limitless knowledge, limitless vision,...till in possession of limitless non-heaviness, limitless non-lightness, still without limit. So you see, the perfected souls are, as to substance, with limit; as to place, with limit; (but) as to time, without limit, and so without limit as to bhāva.

And then, Skandaka, you have in mind,...till by what death does a being enlongen or shorten his stay. On this I ordain: Death has two types, viz., death of the fool and death of the prudent. And what about the death of the fool? Well, it may occur by 12 causes, which are: due to starvation and thirst, due to too much submission to the dictates of the organs of senses, due to inner thorn, death called tadbhava (condemning one to rebirth in same species of existence as man or as animal), death due to a fall from a mountain, or from a tree, due to drowning in water, due to entering into fire, due to taking poison, due to hurt by some deadly weapon, due to hanging and due to piercing by some wild animals. Death due to any one of these causes enlongens stay in the infernal existence, as it does in animal, human and celestial existences. He (i.e., anyone dying due to anyone of these causes) continues to glide back and forth in the wilderness, without a beginning and without end, of the infernal, subhuman, human and celestial existences. Hence he enlongens his stay by dying the death of the fool.

And what about dying the death of the prudent? Death of the prudent may take place in (either of) the two ways, which are, by lying steadfast (till death) like a tree, and by rejecting all intakes (of food). And what about lying steadfast like a tree? This (again) may be of two types, which are, lying in the midst of a human surrounding (such as a town or a village), and lying far away from such surrounding (in an unfrequented, lonely place). (Both these), as a rule, entail a total restraint of movement and care. Even death by renouncing intake of food may be of two types, which are (as before) in the midst of a human surrounding and far away from such a surrounding, (but these) as a rule, allow movement and care. This much about courting death by renouncing the intake of food. By courting, (either of) these two forms of death, the soul may cut down his innumerable glidings back and forth, may wholly surpass limitless stays in the wilderness of infernal and other existences. Thus he cuts short his stay in these. Such is (the outcome of) dying the death of the prudent. So, you see, oh Skandaka, how the living beings by courting one or the other of the two types of death (of the fool or of the prudent) enlongen or cut short their stay (in various existences).

On this, Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line was enlightened. He paid homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagayān Mahāvīra and having done so made the following submission:

Bhante! I am keen to hear from thee the tenets of religion as propounded by the Kevalins.

—Do as it may please you, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

Thereon, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra gave his spiritual discourse to Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line and to the vast audience. Spiritual discourse to be reproduced12. On hearing and assimilating the words of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, Skandaka became immensely happy,...till his heart expanded with glee. He rose from his seat; having got up, he respectfully moved round the Lord thrice, and having done so, he submitted as follows:

Bhante! I adore the nirgrantha prescriptions. Bhante!

I have faith in the nigrantha prescriptions. Bhante! I have taste for the nirgrantha prescriptions. Bhante! I embrace the nirgrantha prescriptions. Bhante! They are correct. Bhante! They are true. Bhante! They are beyond doubt, Bhante! They portend to bliss. Bhante! They portend to great bliss. Bhante! They portend to bliss, gleat bliss. Bhante! So they are, as well ordained by thee.

So saying, he paid homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra. Having done so, he repaired in the north-eastern direction. Having gone thither, he discarded his tridaṇḍa...till saffron robes on a lonely spot. Having deposited them there) he came back to the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was. Having arrived there, he respectfully moved round the Lord thrice, and having done so,...till obeisance, and made the following submission:

Bhante! The world is ablaze. Bhante! The world is burning. Bhante! The world is ablaze and burning because of old-age and death. When a house is ablaze, the householder first takes out to a safer place objects that are precious and light, and thinks that these objects rescued, (from fire) will, hereafter, be of great help, happiness, support, and welfare, and will follow him. Likewise, oh beloved of the gods, my soul is an object coveted, dear, nice, beautiful, delightful, enchanting, supporting, accompanying, enriching, a veritable casket of jewels. Hence I have been protecting it from cold, heat, hunger, thirst, theft, lion, snake, giant fly, mosquito, multifarious diseases and dangers. Protected thus, this soul will, hereafter, be a source of welfare, happiness, goodness, perpetual bliss, and go with me. So desire I, oh beloved of the gods, to be initiated by thee, to be tonsured by thy hand, to be trained in spiritual practices by thee, to be taught the Sūtras and their implications by thee, to be directed by thee in conduct, alms-seeking, humility, conduct arising out of humility, purification of conduct and food, extent of food intake, etc., all in the practice of restraint.

Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra himself initiated Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line....till guided him in religion thus:

—Oh beloved of the gods! Thus ye move, thus ye stand, thus ye sit, thus ye lie, thus ye eat, thus ye talk, thus ye behave with great care and great restraint towards all prāṇas, bhūtas, jīvas and sattas13. There is no room for confusion.

Monk Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line duly embraced the spiritual prescriptions of Śramaṇā Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and practised moving, standing, sitting, lying, eating and talking as prescribed, and behaved with great care and restraint towards prāṇas, bhūtas, jīvas, and sattas, and in these, he never allowed a lapse.

Skandaka of the Kātyāyana line thus became truly homeless. He duly practised the eight precautions regarding movement, speech, begging, regarding placing of articles, particularly live objects, regarding depositing of excreta, etc., precautions regarding mind, word and body and restraint about mind, word and body. He became a complete master of self, and of organs of senses. He became sex-free with three-fold restraints. He became a renouncer, restrained, embodiment of spiritualism, conqueror of sense organs, purifier of vows, devoid of possession, desire and haste, with mind never moving out of restraint, immersed in the most difficult vows of the monks and wholly restrained in his passions. Such monk Skandaka held the prescriptions of the nirgrantha order to the fore and steadily progressed on the spiritual path.

After this, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra set out from the Chatrapalāśaka caitya in the city of Kṛtaṅgalā and started wandering in the outside villages. Monk Skandaka learnt sāmāyika, etc., and all the eleven Aṅgas from Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra and other senior monks. Having learnt them, he went to the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was. Having gone there, he paid his homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and having done so, he made the following submission:

Bhante! If you kindly permit, then, with your permission, I desire to embrace and practise the monthly bhikṣu-pratimā14.

—Do as it may please thee, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

Thus permitted by Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, monk Skandaka was pleased,...till paid obeisance and embraced the monthly bhikṣu-pratimā. Thereafter the said monk Skandaka practised the monthly bhikṣu-pratimā as per the Sūtras, as per sanctions, as per path, as per fundamentals, with equanimity, and touched duly by his body. He performed, adorned himself with, completed, fulfilled, sang in praise of followed, performed as per sanctions,...till duly touched by his body,...till adored (and thereafter) returned to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, paid homage and obeisance to him and made the following submission:

Bhante! If you kindly permit, then, with your permission, I wish to perform the two-monthly (course of) bhikṣu-pratimā.

—Do as it may please thee, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

(This was done, and in this manner he completed) three-, four-, five-, six- and seven-monthly bhikṣu-pratimā, (and then) the first course of seven day-nights, second course of seven day-nights, third course of seven day-nights, a whole day-night, a whole night (in all a course of 12), and having done bhikṣu-pratimā for a night as per the Sūtras,...till having adored it, he repaired where Śramaṇa Bhagāvan Mahāvīra was,...till paid obeisance, and made the following submission:

Bhante! If you please permit me, then, with your permission, I desire to embrace and practise guṇa-ratna-saṃvatsara15.

—Do as it may please thee, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

After this, being permitted by Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra,...till having paid obeisance, monk Skandaka started practising guṇa-ratna-saṃvatsara. This was as follows:

In the first month, fast on alternate days, i. e. fast missing four meals16, (then break, and fast again missing four meals), sitting during the day-time on exposed ground in utkaṭuka posture with face turned towards the sun, and bearing the cold blast at night, wholly unclad and sitted in vīrāsana posture.

During the second month, a two-day fast, missing six meals, (followed by a break, and missing six meals again), and so on, sitting during the days on exposed ground in the utkaṭuka posture with face turned towards the sun, and bearing the cold blast during the nights, wholly unclad and sitted in vīrāsana.

With other conditions as aforesaid, in the third month, (three-day fasts) missing 8 meals, in the fourth month, (four-day fasts) missing 10 meals, in the fifth month, (five-day fasts) missing 12 meals, in the sixth month, (six-day fasts) missing 14 meals, in the seventh month, (seven-day fasts) missing 16 meals, in the eighth month, (eight-day fasts) missing 18 meals, in the nineth month, (nine-day fasts) missing 20 meals, in the tenth month, (ten-day fasts) missing 22 meals, in the eleventh month, (eleven-day fasts) missing 24 meals, in the twelfth month, (twelve-day fasts) missing 26 meals, in the thirteenth month, (thirteen-day fasts) missing 28 meals, in the fourteenth month, (fourteen-day fasts) missing 30 meals, in the fifteenth month, (fifteen-day fasts) missing 32 meals, in the sixteenth month, (sixteen-day fasts) missing 34 meals (and during all these months, as aforesaid), sitting during the days on bare ground in utkaṭuka posture, with face turned towards the sun, and bearing the cold blast during the nights, wholly unclad and sitted [seated/sitting?] in vīrāsana.

In this manner, monk Skandaka performed the penance as per the Sūtras, as per prescriptions,...till adored it, and thereafter came to the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was, and having come there, he paid his homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and having paid his homage and obeisance, he continued to progress (on the spiritual path) by undertaking fasts for two, three, four, five days, for a month (at a time), for a fortnight, and in many other ways.

Now, monk Skandaka, because of that (severe) penance which was attachment-free, enormous, permitted (by the Master), and performed without lapse, performed with great devotion and sincerity, which portended to welfare, safety, wellbeing, bliss and beauty, which was greatly difficult and progressively increasing (in intensity), which was great, good, expansive and with great effect, became very ematiated, without flesh, a bare structure of bones, rattling when (the monk) moved, weak, with arteries and veins succinctly visible. He could move or stand only by dint of the power of the spirit. He became so weak that after speaking, or in the course of speaking, or when he thought that he would have to speak, he had a weakness and a feeling of pain. Like a cart laden with (dry) leaves, sesamum or any other dry object, or a cart laden with eraṇḍa twigs, or a cart laden with charcoal, when such a cart, with the objects on it wholly dried up, moves, the objects (oṇ it) make a rattling sound, and so they do even when the cart is standing still; in the same manner, when the monk Skandaka moved, his bones rattled, as they did even when he stood still. But he was enriched through penances. His flesh and blood had no doubt been reduced, but like fire covered with ashes, he looked exceedingly graceful because of his penances and spiritual powers, shining brilliantly

In that period, at that time, congregation assembled in the city of Rājagṛha... till people dispersed. After this, one night, at the last quarter, as monk Skandaka was keeping a spiritual vigil performing dharma-jāgaraṇā, he had in mind such thought...till resolve:

I have, because of penances, become...till weak, with arteries and veins succinctly visible. I move and stand only by the power of my spirit...till feel pain, and weakness,... till I rattle as I move, I rattle as I stand. (But) upto now, I have endeavour, activity, strength, energy and sel-fexertion,...till my spiritual teacher and spiritual guide, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, lives on this earth like a mighty elephant, it is worthy of me that, as this night is lifted up, at day-break, when the sun, who helps the lotuses to blossom, who shines red like the red aśoka flower, red like the kiṃśuka flower, or the beak of the parrot, or the red half of the guñjā fruit, who helps the cluster of lotuses to open, who holds a thousand rays, brilliant with glow, I go to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, and pay homage and obeisance,...till worship him, and with his permission, courting by self the five Great Vows, forgiving and being forgiven by the monks, I go slowly up, in the company of capable senior monks, atop Mount Vipula, which has the hue of the clouds, and on which gods descend, whereon I select a slab of stone, spread my last darva bed, rid my soul of all passions, cut down bondage of karma, give up all intake of food and water, and lie in wait, without hankering for death, fixed in pādapopagamana (tree-like) end.

Having decided in this manner, the next day, at dawn...till the sun was brilliant in its glow, (monk Skandaka) came to the place where Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra was... till worshipped him.

Thus said Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra to monk Skandaka:

—Skandaka! Indeed, in the last quarter of the night,...till while in vigil,...till resolve, that because of this penance, which was attachment-free, enormous,...till without hankering for death, fixed in pādapopagamana end, (you decided)...till having decided, to-morrow, at dawn,...till brilliant in its glow, and so you have come to me. Tell me, Skandaka, is this correct.

Bhante! Perfectly so.

—Do as it may please thee, oh beloved of the gods, but delay not.

Thus permitted by Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, monk Skandaka was happy and pleased,...till exceedingly happy, and he got up, and having got up, he moved thrice round Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra,...till having paid his obeisance, Imposing on self by self the five Great Vows, and forgiving and seeking forgiveness of the fellow monks and thereafter, in the company of capable senior monks, he went up slowly atop Mount Vipula, which had the hue of the clouds, and on which gods descended, cleaned a stone slab, selected a place for depositing excreta, spread his last darva bed, sat in the paryaṅkāsana with his face turned eastward, placed his folded palms with ten fingers on them on his head and prayed as follows:

—Bow I to Bhagavān Arihanta...till already liberated.

—Bow I to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra...till already entitled to liberation.

—Bow I from this place to Bhagavān (Mahāvīra), who is there.

—May Bhagavān from there cast his glance (on me who am) here.

So saying, he paid his homage and obeisance, and added:

—Formerly, in the presence of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, did I renounce, till life, all harm to living beings,...till renounce, for good, the nail of perverted faith.

—At this moment, in the proximity of Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, do I renounce, till life, all harm to living beings,...till renounce, for good, the nail of perverted faith.

—For life, I give up the four intakes of food-drink-dainties-delicacies.

—I dedicate this, my physical body, so dear, coveted, and object of love, which did I preserve against all ailments, to final respirations, inhales and exhales.

—May I court the vow of eradicating passions and cutting the bondage of karma, of giving up the intake of food, drink, etc., and of staying, without hankering for death, fixed in pādapopagarnana end.

After this, monk Skandaka, who had read the eleven Aṅgas under senior monks who were almost equal to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra himself, who had Spent twelve years without break in the śramaṇa order, passed away while in a trance, after having enriched his soul by a month-long fast, missing in all sixty meals, after having discussed (lapses and sacred things) and after having said the pratikramaṇa. When the monks (attending on him) realised that monk Skandaka had passed away, they themselves performed the kāyotsarga meditation to celebrate his (Skandaka’s) liberation. Then having picked up his robes and vessels, they slowly came down Mount Vipula, and reached the place where was Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, paid homage and obeisance unto him, and having paid homage and obeisance, they made the following submission:

(Bhante!) Thy disciple, Skandaka by name, a monk, beloved of the gods, was gentle by nature, polite by nature, quiet by nature, with little pride-anger-attachment-greed, full of softness and humility, always living in the protection of his Master, gentle and polite. Being permitted by thee, (the said monk), the beloved of the gods, who had planted on self by self the five Great Vows, who had forgiven and begged to be forgiven, went with us atop Mount Vipula,...till has passed away by fasting. Here are his (earthly) belongings.

(At this point), Bhagavān Gautama paid his homage and obeisance to Śramaṇa Bhagavāna Mahāvīra, and having done so, he made the following submission:

Bhante! Thy disciple, monk, Skandaka by name, the beloved of the gods, who has passed away on the completion of his time here (on this earth)—whither is he gone, and where is he born?

Addressing Gautama and others, Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra ordained:

—Indeed, Gautama, my disciple, monk, Skandaka by name, gentle by nature,...till having been permitted by me, planted on self by self the five Great Vows,...till passed away after discussing, and after saying pratikramaṇa, and has acquired a celestial life in the Acyuta-kalpa. Therein some of the inmates spend a span of 22 sāgaropamas, as per which Skandaka too will spend a span of 22 sāgaropamas there.

—And, Bhante! Having exhausted his span, stay and existence therein, where will he go and where will he take birth?

—Gautama! In Mahāvideha will he (take birth and) be perfected, enlightened and liberated, and (then) enter into liberation and terminate all misery.

Skandaka story17 ends.

Chapter one ends.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

9. Sāraye, Sanskrit smāraka—one who retains in memory; vāraye—one who prevents a reader from making mistakes; dhāraye—one who upholds his learning and has it done by others; pāraye—one who has seen the end of them or attained perfection in them.

10. Spheres include in one block the infernal regions at the bottom, the worlds of men and lower animals at the centre and the celestial regions at the top. At the crest of this compact block and slightly separated from it is the abode of the liberated souls. The rest is, non-sphere, limitless and beyond measure.

11. On ‘standard measure’, we have the following:

jaladoṇam addhabhāram samuhāī samūsio u jo ṇavao
māṇummāṇapamāṇam tiviham khalu lakkhaṇam eyam

Three measures are indicated which are:

(a) When, from a big tub full of water, one droṇa (about 64 pounds) of water is thrown out by the entering of a man, then the man is said to have a standard measure (māṇopeta).

(b) When measured on a weighing machine, if the body-weight is equal to ardha-bhāra (about 4000 tolās), then the man is said to have a standard measure (unmāṇopeta).

(c) When a man has, by his own fingers, a height of 108 fingers, then he is said to have a standard measure (pramāṇa).

So signs (lakṣaṇas) are three—māṇa, unmāṇa and pramāṇa. They are acquired at birth and are permanent till this body lasts. Marks are acquired after birth, and they change from time to time. Traits include good fortune.

12. The Lord told the gathering how living beings tied themselves with karma bondage by excessive preoccupation with the mundane life, and how they could be liberated through renunciation.

13. They have been used here in the same sense as in S.1.U.10.

14. Bhikṣu-pratimā is a penance performed by the monks. It has two courses to complete. From the first month till the seventh runs the first course of seven pratimās. The second course starts with three pratimās of a duration of seven day-nights each, then one of a duration of a day-night, and the last one of the duration of one night only. A monk courting the pratimās frees himself of all attachment to the body and bears with perfect calm and unconcern hardships inflicted by celestial, human and sub-human agencies. He begs small quantity of food from unknown households. If he finds a man, an animal, a śramaṇa, a brāhmaṇa or a beggar already standing at a householder’s door, he will not enter into that house for begging. During the practice of this penance, the monk is required to obey elaborate prescriptions regarding begging, intake of food and drink, speech, movement, behaviour, place of residence, etc. If in the monthly pratimās, the food intake is at a minimum, i.e., one datti (handful) per day during the monthly pratimā, two dattis during the two-monthly pratimā, three dattis during the three-monthly pratimā, and so on till the seven-monthly pratimā, the weekly course is mostly completed by fasting, with food intake reduced to a negligible quantity, by living in seclusion, and by lying or sitting in a particular posture. The monk is to be in meditation, bearing with perfect unconcern all dangers and hardships, and not usually moving except on very urgent business. The weekly course is repeated thrice. Then there is a single course of a day-night, which is to be utilised in the practice of kāyotsarga in a lonely place outside the village or city. The last course is for a night only. On due completion of the pratimās, the monk acquires superior knowledge, avadhi, manaḥparyāya or kevala as the case may be. This is a very severe spiritual practice which can be performed only by advanced monks.

15. In Sanskrit, guṇa-rayaṇa-saṃvacchara may be re-written in two ways, viz.:

(i) guṇaracana-saṃvatsara which has been explained as follows:

guṇānām nirjarā-viśeṣāṇām racanam saṃvatsareṇa satribhāga-varṣeṇa yasmin tapasi tad guṇaracanam saṃvatsaram.

[A penance lasting for a year and a third of the year, i.e., 16 months, which gives rise to a similar force leading to karma exhaustion.]

(ii) guṇaratna-saṃvatsara which has been explained as follows:

guṇā eva vā ratnāni yatra sa tathā guṇaratnaḥ. Guṇa-ratna-samvatsaro yatra tadguṇaratna-samvatsaram tapaḥ.

[Where penance is a gem, it is gunaratna. When such penance is practised for a year, it is guṇaratna-samvatsaram tapaḥ:]

Practised over a period of 16 months, it entails 407 days of fasting and 73 days of breaking the fast. The following which gives the details about the penance has been explained in the text above:

paṇṇarasa visa cauvvīsa ceva cauvvlsa paṇṇavīsā ya
cauvvīsa ekkavīsā cauvīsā sattavīsā yaī 1
tīsā tettīsā vi ya cauvvīsa chavvīsa aṭṭhavīsā ya
tīsā battīsā vi ya solasa-māsesu tava divasā 2
paṇṇarasa dasaṭṭha cha paṃca c.aura paṃcasuya tiṇṇī tiṇṇī tti
pañcasu do do ya tahā solasa-māsesu pāraṇagā 3

(details given in the text)

The above may be written in a tabular form as follows:

fasting days

16. The commentator gives the following meaning of cauttham cauttheṇam:—

cauttham cautiheṇam tti caturthabhaktam yāvat vaktam tyajyate yatra taccaturtham iyam copavāsasya saṃjñā evam ṣaṣṭhādikamupavāsadvayāderiti.

[The meaning of the word catturtha-bhakta is to miss four full meals. As used here, it is a proper noun to signify the name of a fast which lasts for a day plus half day preceding and half day following.]

17. The life which monk Skandaka worthily lived on this earth may in brief be restated as follows:—

“A vedic scholar of great fame and a profound master of the entire range of the Brahminical scholarship, Skandaka had a complete turn in the course of his life when he came in touch with Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra. Skandaka not only embraced Jainism but entered into the Jaina holy order wherein he was initiated by the Śramaṇa Bhagavān himself. He read eleven Aṅgas under the Master and other senior monks, and was permitted to complete two great penances, viz., bhikṣu-pratimā and guṇa-ratna saṃvatsara. In the end, he entered into liberation by courting a fast unto death at the holiest of holy places, Mount Vipula”.

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