Bhagavati-sutra (Viyaha-pannatti)

by K. C. Lalwani | 1973 | 185,989 words

The English translation of the Bhagavati-sutra which is the fifth Jaina Agama (canonical literature). It is a large encyclopedic work in the form of a dialogue where Mahavira replies to various question. The present form of the Sutra dates to the fifth century A.D. Abhayadeva Suri wrote a vritti (commentary) on the Bhagavati in A.D. 1071. In his J...

Part 3 - Account of Rathamūṣala battle

Q. 147. Bhante! The Arihanta knows, till I am very curious to know about another battle of this war which has been called Rathamūṣala battle. Which party did win and which party lose?

A. 147. Gautama! The Lord of the Thunder (Śakra), Videhaputra (Konika) and the Lord of the Asuras (Camarendra) won the battle, and the Mallas, the Licchavis and their allies lost. Knowing that the Rathamūṣala battle was about to break out, King Konika called the officers nearest to him and uttered similar words as he did before the Mahāśilākaṇṭaka battle, except that the royal elephant now was named Bhutānanda. Śakra, the king of the gods, was at the head of Konika’s army, till the rest as aforesaid. The Lord of the Asuras, Camara, transformed as an iron wall, took care of the rear. In this manner, this time, three Indras were fighting on one side, the Indra of the gods, the Indra of men and the Indra of the asuras.

Q. 148. Bhante! Why is the battle called Rathamūṣala?

A. 148. Gautama! When this battle was raging in its utmost fury, chariots, horses and charioteers were flying helplessly in all directions in a disorderly manner, killing men, destroying men, annihilating men, doing a tremendous havoc and making the soil muddy with human blood. Hence it is so called.

Q. 149. Bhante! How many hundred thousand men were killed in the battle?

A. 149. Gautama! Ninety-six hundred thousand in a clean sweep.

Q. 150. Bhante! These men being devoid of conduct, till fast, where have they been reborn?

A. 150. Gautama! Of these, ten thousand were born from the womb of a fish, one in heaven and one in the world of men and the rest either in the hells or in the world of animals.

Q. 151. Bhante! Why did Śakrendra and Camarendra come to fight for King Konika?

A. 151. Gautama! Śakrendra was his intimate friend in his previous birth (as a merchant named Kārtika), and Camarendra was his brother in faith in a previous birth (as Puraṇa tāpasa). So both came to assist him.

Q. 152. Bhante! Many men say, till affirm, that if a man dies in a battle, big or small, he, along with others so killed, finds a place in one of the heavens. Is it correct?

A. 152. Gautama! This assertion is not correct. I say and firmly assert as fallows:

In that period, at that time, there was a city named Vaiśali. In that city, there lived one Varuṇa who happened to be the grand-son of a man named Nāga. He was very rich and powerful. He was a devoted follower of the śramaṇa path and had a complete knowledge of fundamentals like soul, non-soul, etc., till he used to help the monks with food, etc., and he himself lived by enriching his soul by fasts missing six meals at a stretch.

Now it so happened that by the order of the king, the state and the administration, Varuṇa, the grand-son of Nāga, was to proceed and participate in the Rathamūṣala battle. On that occasion, he extended his fast by a day missing eight meals at a stretch.

Then he called the men nearest to him and said,

“Oh beloved of the gods! Prepare a chariot with four bells with full equipment and horse-drawn which may take me to my destination in four hours, mobilise my four-fold army consisting of the infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariots and report back to me.”

The men carried out his orders, till made a chariot ready with canopy and flag, mobilised the fourfold army and reported back to Varuṇa, the grand-son of Nāga. Varuṇa then went to his bathroom...repeat the details as stated about King Konika. Then being surrounded by many servants and valets, he came out of the bathroom, reached the garrage where stood the horse-drawn chariot with four bells and took his seat on it. Then being surrounded by many followers and valets, and accompanied by a fourfold army as aforesaid, he came to the site of the Rathamūṣala battle.

Before he joined action, he took the vow not to hit or hurt till someone did the same to him, and then to cease thereafter. Having made a mental resolve like that, he entered into the battle arena.

While he was thus inside the arena, a man of very similar limbs and similar skin, armed with similar weapons, and seated on a chariot, came in the presence of Varuṇa and said,

“Oh Varuṇa, the grand-son of Nāga! I challenge thee to hurt me.”

Thereon replied Varuṇa as follows:

“Dear sir! I am under a vow not to take the initiative to hurt anyone till I am attacked first. So I beseech thee to hurt me.”

When Varuṇa had said like that, the other man, his adversary, became blind with anger and passion, picked up his bow, fitted his arrow on it, and then standing at an appropriate angle, he pulled the arrow till his ear and let it go at his adversary. Though severely wounded, in a rage, Varuṇa shot back his adversary with an arrow pulled till the ear so that, like a stone broken into pieces, the man fell dead.

Being thus severely wounded, Varuṇa lost his strength, capacity and energy, and having known that his final moments might not be far, he had his chariot turned back and rushed out of the arena. When the chariot was stopped in a lonely place, he alighted from it and ordered the release of the horses.

Then he spread darva grass as his final bed, took his seat on it facing the east, and with folded hands, fervently prayed,

“I bow to Bhagavān Arihantas who have attained perfection, I bow to my spiritual master and preceptor, Bhagavān Mahāvīra, who is the founder of the church and who has acquired claim to perfection and liberation. To my spiritual master and preceptor, I send my obeisance from here. May the kind and benign Lord cast his glance at me from wherever he is!”

So saying he bowed low and paid his obeisance to Mahāvīra. Having bowed low and paid bis obeisance, he added,

“At first, I renounced before Bhagavān Mahāvīra and took the vow not to kill big forms of life, till not to have a larṛe accumulation of property Now I renounce and take the vow in the name of the same Bhagavān Mahāvīra not to kill any form of life till I reach my end...(repeat all that Skandaka said in S. 2. U. 1)..., with my last respiration, I renounce my body.”

Having said like this, he removed the armour and took out the arrow. Then he confessed, performed the usual pratikramaṇa, and with complete concentration on self, he passed away.

Now an old friend of Varuṇa, a companion from his childhood days, was also fighting in the said Rathamūṣala battle. Being fatally wounded by bis adversary, and being deprived of his strength, power and vitality, he too thought, ‘This body of mine would last no more.’ He had seen Varuṇa being wounded and taken away from the battle field. He also did the same and arrived at the spot where Varuṇa lay, and unyoked his horses.

Then he spread cloth for his bed, sat on it turning to the east and submitted with folded hands as follows:

Bhante! I court the same vows of conduct, of discipline, of renunciation, confession and fast, which have been done by Varuṇa, the grand-son of Naga, who happens to be a friend of mine from my childhood days.”

So saying, he removed his armour, pulled out the arrow from his body and, in due course, breathed his last. Having known that Varuṇa was dead, the Vāṇavyantaras who were living nearby sprinkled fragrant water on Varuṇa’s body, showered flowers of five colours, sang music and sounded their musical instruments.

Having thus seen and known the divine fortune, divine glow and divine influence of Varuṇa, many a man said, till asserted,

“Oh beloved of the gods! Those who die on the battle field are born in heaven.”

Q. 153. Bhante! Where did Varuṇa go after death, where was he reborn?

A. 153. Gautama! He was born in a vimāna named Arunābha in Saudharmakalpa. Here the span of life is said to be four palyopamas. So Varuṇa has acquired a span of life of four paly jpamas.

Q. 154. Bhante! When his life-span, stay and existence in that heaven is exhausted, where will he be born again?

A. 154. Gautama! He will be born in Mahāvideha when he will be liberated, till end all misery.

Q. 155. Bhante! Where did Varuṇa’s friend from his childhood days go after his death, where was he reborn?

A.155. Gautama! He has acquired life in a noble species (as a human being).

Q. 156. Bhante! Having completed his life-span there, where will he be born again?

A. 156 Gautama! He will be born in Mahāvideha, when he will be liberated, till end all misery.

Bhante! Right you are. It is truly so.

Chapter Nine ends.

Notes (based on commentary of Abhayadeva Sūri):

(There is no commentary available for this section).

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