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...
In that period, at that time, there was a city named Hastināpur [Hastināpura]. Description. To the north-east of the said city there was a garden named Sahasrāmravana which offered fruits and flowers of all seasons. It was as charming as the Nandana garden in heaven. The shade of its trees was cool and pleasant. It was pleasing to the mind, with many tasteful fruits, free from thorns, delight-giving, till beautiful. In the said city of Hastināpur, the ruling monarch was Śiva. He was as great as the Himavān (Himalayas), etc., state all descriptions of the king. Dhāriṇī was his principal consort. Her limbs were tender and graceful. Description. The king had a son from her who was named Śivabhadra. His limbs were also very tender and graceful, like that of prince, Sūryakānta in the Rājapraśnīya Sūtra, till the said prince looked after the kingdom, provinces and the army.
In the last quarter of one night, while ruminating over the affairs of the state, he had a thought in his mind that by the influence of pious karma, acquired in the past, etc., similar to tāpasa Tāmali in S, 3.1.1., I have my progeny, cattle, kingdom, provinces, army, vehicles, treasure, palace, city and harems etc., ever growing. I have ample wealth, gold and diamonds, till objects of worth, which are incessantly growing and because of my pious deeds in the past, I am enjoying pleasures which are perfect. Now, I think, a time has come when, as my treasure is growing, till the vassal kings pay me homage and allegiance, to-morrow as the sun rises in all its brightness, I collect many vessels, pots, laddies, and other objects used by the tāpasa monks, and abdicate in favour of prince Śivabhadra. Then with the aforesaid equipments I go to those tāpasa monks who are living in vāṇaprastha on the other bank of the Gaṅgā, viz., those who worship fire (agnihotrī), those who use cloth, those who lie on the ground, those who offer sacrifice, those who are revered, those who carry khappara, those who carry kuṇḍikā those who live on fruits, those who dive once to finish their bath, those who dive several times, those who remain under water for some time, those who rub clay on their body before bath, ūrdhakaṇḍuka, adhokaṇḍuko, dakṣiṇakūlaka, uttarakūlaka, śaṅkhadhamaka, kūladhamaka, mṛgalubdhaka, hastītāpasa, those who take food after worshipping water, those living in caves, those who live in air, those wearing bark, those who live in water, those who use garments, those who live on water, those who live on air, those who live on moss, those who live on roots, those who live on trunks those who live on leaves, those who live on barks, those who live on flowers, those who live on fruits, those who live on seeds, those who live on fall-outs of trunk, root, bark, leaf, fruits or flower from a tree, those who carry a tall pole, those who live inside the trunk of the trees, those who live in a maṇḍala, or in a forest, or in a cave or those who worship the directions with water, those who expose themselves to five types of heat and reduce their body into a log, as described in the Aupapātika Sūtra, till those who turn their body into a log; and from among these, I go to those who worship the directions with water before they take a fruit dish, and obtain my own initiation into monkhood. and then I take the vow to practise fasts, two days a time, till the end of my life, coupled with a penance named dikcakravāla in which I keep both my hands up. I think, this is worthwhile for me. Such was the trend of thought in king Śiva.
Having had this sort of thought in his mind, king Śiva called the blacksmiths next morning and got the vessels, bowl, and other objects of use by a tāpasa monk manufactured.
Then he called his men and said,
“Oh beloved of the gods! Please sprinkle water inside and outside Hastināpur and clean the city at once”, [till they reported back the fulfilment of the commission.]
Then the king said again,
“Oh beloved of the gods! Arrange at once the coronation ceremony of prince Śivabhadra,”
When the arrangements were complete, king Śiva, accompanied by the tributary kings of different ranks, placed the prince on a grand throne with his face turned towards the east. Then his anointment was performed with 108 golden jars, till 108 earthen jars in grand munificence and to the accompaniment of musical instruments. Then he was wiped dry with a very soft and perfumed towel. Then gosīrṣa [gośīrṣa?] sandal paste was rubbed, on his body, till like Jamāli, he was decorated and adorned like the Kalpa tree. Then with folded hands he wished glory and success for the new monarch and blessed him, as in the case of king Koṇika in the Aupapātika Sūtra with words which were good, pleasant and dear, till wished him a long life and a glorious reign at Hashtināpur [Hastināpura] and the adjoin ing territories supported by his dear men and a very happy life as the head of the family, kingdom and provinces, till shouted his victory again and again. Thus prince Śivabhadra was declared the new monarch. The new monarch soon became the leader of the kings like the great Himavān mountain among the hills. Description.
After this, on another auspicious day with favourable stars up in the sky, he got prepared a large variety and quantity of food, drink, dainties and delicacies and invited to dinner friends, relations, neighbours, servants, kings and kṣatriyas of all ranks. Then having taken his bath, as the dinner time approached, he took his seat in the dining hall and dined with his friends, relations, till the kṣatriyas and honoured them. Then with the permission of all, including that of the new monarch, he picked up the equipments of a monk and got himself initiated at the hands of the monks who worship directions called diśāprokṣak on the bank of the Gaṅgā. Then as per his previous resolve, he decided to practise fasts for two days at a time, missing in all six meals, and these fasts were to be repeated.
On completion of his first two days of fast, the monarch-sage Śiva came down from the exposure ground with a view to break his fast. He wrapped his bark-cloth and came to his thatch.
Then with his bamboo bowl etc., he worshipped the East and prayed,
“Oh Mahārajā Soma, the ruler of the East! May you protect me, Śiva, who is now engaged in spiritual deeds and may you permit him to collect roots, trunks, bark, fruits, flowers, leaves, etc., which may be available in the East for his upkeep.”
Having prayed like this, he proceeded in that direction, filled up his bowl with roots trunks, etc., and returned to his own thatch. Having placed the bowl on the ground, he wiped clean and besmeared the altar. Thereafter with a cocoanṇt and small jar in his hand, he came to the bank of the Gaṅgā, and dived inside the water. Then having completed his bath and cleaned his mouth and body, he came back to his thatch and decorated the altar with sand, cocoanut and kuśa and lit a fire on it by rubbing two pieces of sacrificial wood. Then to the right hand side of the said fire, he placed seven objects as follows: sakathā (an object of worship), bark, lamp, bed, water pot, staff and his own body. Then he offered oblation to Vaiśyadeva into the fire with honey, ghee and rice. Then he fed a guest and broke his fast.
After this he performed his second fast for two days missing six meals and having completed it, he descended from the exposure ground, put on his bark-cloth, etc. all as aforesaid, except that this time he worshipped the South and prayed, “OhYama, the ruler of the South! May you save me, Śiva, who am engaged in spiritual practices to elevate my life hereafter,” etc., all as before. Then he broke his fast. After his third fast, he worshipped Varuṇa, the ruler of the West, and prayed as aforesaid. After his fourth fast, he worshipped Vaiśramaṇa, the ruler of the North, and prayed as aforesaid, till broke his fast.
Because of his worshipping the directions combined with two-day fasts, because of the exposure he took and because of his gentle habits, he had traṇquilisation and exhaustion of a particular karma (enshrouding vibhaṅga) and while practising īhā, apoha, mārgaṇā and gaveṣaṇā, one day he was in possession of vibhaṅga knowledge. With this knowledge acquired, he could know and see seven isles (continents) and seven oceans, but nothing beyond these.
Thereon the monarch-sage Śiva lead an idea in his mind,
“Well! I have come to acquire super-human knowledge and faith by dint of which I have realized that this universe consists of seven isles and seven oceans only.”
Having thought like that he descended from the exposure ground, put on his bark-cloth and returned to his thatch.
Then he picked up his equipments and having done so he came to the hermitage of the tāpasa monks at Hastināpur, and then having deposited his equipments in the hermitage, he appeared in the city of Hastināpur and spoke to men on highways, in the parks and squares in part as follows:
“Oh beloved of the gods! I have come to acquire super-human knowledge and faith so that I know for certain that this universe consists of seven isles and seven oceans only.”
On hearing these words of the royal-sage, men talked among themselves as follows,
“Oh beloved of the gods! The royal-sage Śiva says like this, etc., till how do we accept his contention?”
In that period, at that time, Bhagavān Mahāvīra arrived there. People went out, till having heard him, they went back. In that period, at that time, Indrabhūti Gautama, the senior-most disciple of Bhagavān Mahāvīra, while going on a begging mission, as per the description in Book Two, heard people talking among themselves.
They said to one another,
“Oh beloved of the gods! The monarch-sage Śiva claims that he is in possession of super-human (occult) powers till in the universe, there are only seven isles and seven oceans, and nothing more beyond these. How do we accept this thesis?”
Having heard these discussions, Gautama had some doubt, curiosity and inquisititiveness enkindled in him. Having come back to his lodge, he submitted to Bhagavān Mahāvīra in part as follows:
Q. 49. Bhante! The monarch-sage Śiva claims that in the universe there are seven isles and seven oceans, and nothing more beyond these, etc. How is that?
Bhagavān Mahāvīra interrupted:
A. 49. This is wholly incorrect. Oh Gautama! I assert like this, till establish that Jambūdvīpa and other isles and Salt ocean and other oceans being round in shape are similar, but in width, each is twice the isle preceding it and hence are different, etc., as described in the Jīvābhigama-Sūtra, till, oh long lived monks, in this world of beings, till the ocean named Svayambhūramaṇa, there are many isles and oceans.
Q. 50. Bhante! Are the objects in Jambūdvīpa, with or without colour, with or without smell, with or without taste, with or without touch, bound, touched, and related to one another?
A. 50. Yes, Gautama, they are.
Q. 51. Bhante! Are the objects in Lavaṇa Samudra with or without colour till related to one another?
A. 51. Yes Gautama! They are.
Q. 52. Bhante! Are the objects in Dhātakikhaṇḍa, till Svayambhūramaṇa, with or without colour, till related to one another?
A. 52. Yes, Gautama, they are.
On hearing these words of Bhagavān Mahāvīra and having accepted them at heart, the whole assembly was highly delighted and pleased, the people paid their homage and obeisance to Bhagavān Mahāvīra and went away.
In the city of Hastināpur, in the parks till on all the high ways, many people talked among themselves in part as follows:
“Oh beloved of the gods! The claim of the monarch-sage Śiva that he has come to acquire super-human power by dint of which ho establishes that there are seven oceans and seven isles, and nothing more beyond that, is wholly wrong. Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra asserts like this, till establishes that (because of incessant fasts lasting for two days each, he has come to acquire distorted extra-sensory knowledge which extend upto seven isles and seven seas only, but not beyond them, which is not a correct account. In reality,) besides Jambūdvīpa and others, in all, seven isles and salt oceans, there are innumerable isles and oceans.
On hearing the above discussion among many people, the monarch-sage Śiva was afraid, alarmed, doubtful, uncertain, confused, and his vibhaṅga knowledge disappeared at once.
That he had a thought like this in his mind,
“Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra who is the re-giver of the spiritual tenets, reformer of the church order till all-knowing, all-seeing, whose movement is followed by the spiritual wheel in the sky, is at this moment camped, with a suitable mental resolve, in the park named Sahasrāmra. When the hearing of the name and the line of such a great person is the giver of a great merit, the merit acquired in going before him, in paying him homage and obeisance, all as stated in the Aupapātika Sūtra, must be immensely more, till when a single spiritual word heard from him is a giver of great merit, then what to speak of the outcome of hearing his whole sermon. Hence it is necessary that I go to Śramaṇa Bhagavān Mahāvīra, pay homage and obeisance to him, till worship him. This will surely do me good not only in this life but in the life ahead.”
Having thought like this, he came to the lodge of the monks. Therefrom he picked up his belongings and stepped out. Deprived of his vibhaṅga knowledge, monarch-sage Śiva paced through the city of Hastināpur, and arrived at the Sahasrāmra park, in the august presence of Bhagavān Mahāvīra. He moved round him thrice and paid his homage and obeisance to him, and then, standing not very near not very far, till with folded palms worshipped him
Bhagavān Mahāvīra spoke before the great assembly and the monarch-sage Śiva, concluding,
“In moulding one’s conduct life this, one becomes truly a devotee.”
Having heard the words of Bhagavān Mahāvīra, till having accepted them, the monarch-sage Śiva like Skandaka earlier, moved to some distance in the north-east, till deposited all the belongings of a Tāpasa monk at one place. Then he himself plucked his hairs five times, and came back near Bhagavān Mahāvīra and like Ṛṣabhadatta (Bk. 9 Ch. 33) took shelter in his spiritual order. He studied all the eleven Aṅgas. till was liberated of all the miseries.
Having paid his homage and obeisance to Bhagavān Mahāvīra, Indrabhūti Gautama submitted as follows:
Q. 53. Bhante! In what sort of structure is a soul fit enough to attain perfection, and be perfected?
A. 53. Gautama! It is perfected in the structure called vajraṛṣabhanārāca, etc., all as stated in the Aupapātika Sūtra, state structure, shape height, life-span and stay, till the boundary of perfection (siddhigaṇḍikā)...a soul fit enough to attain perfection enjoys eternal bliss, state up to this.
—Bhante! So it is, you are correct.
Chapter Nine ends.