Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This page describes The sermon of Suri Dharmaghosha which is the third part of chapter I of the English translation of the Adisvara-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Adisvara (or Rishabha) in jainism is the first Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 3: The sermon of Sūri Dharmaghoṣa

Dharma is the highest happiness. Dharma bestows heaven and emancipation. Dharma shows the road for crossing the wilderness of saṃsāra. Dharma nourishes like a mother, protects like a father, pleases like a friend, and is loving like a kinsman. Dharma imparts very fine qualities like a guru. Dharma confers a distinguished position like a master. Dharma is a mansion of bliss. Dharma is a shield in danger from enemies. Dharma is heat for the destruction of cold. Dharma knows the weak points of sins. From dharma a creature could become a king, from dharma a Rāma, from dharma an ardhacakrin, from dharma a cakrin, from dharma a god, and from dharma an Indra. From dharma one attains Ahamindraship in the Graiveyaka and Anuttara heavens.[1] From dharma one attains Arhatship. What is not accomplished by dharma? Dharma is so-called from supporting creatures who have fallen into a bad condition of existence. It is fourfold with the divisions of liberality (dāna), good conduct (śīla), penance (tapas), and state of mind (bhāva).

Now of these, liberality (dāna) is said to be of three kinds: the gift of knowledge, the gift of fearlessness, and the gift of the support of religion. The gift’ of knowledge (jñānadāna) is said to be the gift to those not knowing dharma by teaching, preaching, etc., and the gift of means to acquire knowledge. By the gift of knowledge a creature knows right and wrong, and knows the fundamental principles, soul (jīva), etc.,[2] and acquires renunciation of worldly objects. From the gift of knowledge one attains splendid omniscience and, having favored the whole world, goes to emancipation.

In the gift of fearlessness (abhayadāna) there is the avoidance of injury to living things (jīvas) by thought, word, or deed, by doing, causing to be done, or by approving. Jīvas are known to be of two kinds: immovable (sthāvara) and movable (trasa). (see classification of the jīvas) In both of these there are two divisions, depending on whether they have faculties to develop (paryāpti) or not. There are six faculties to develop, which are the cause of development: eating food and digesting it, body, senses, breath, speech, and mind. Creatures that have one sense, two to four, or five senses, have respectively four, five, or six faculties.[3] The immovable jīvas having one sense are: earth, water, fire, air, and plants. The first four of these may be either fine (sūkṣma) or gross, (bādara).[4] Plants are of two kinds: those that have one soul in one body (pratyeka) and those that have many souls in one body (sādhāraṇa); and those that have many souls in one body are also of two kinds, fine and gross.

The movable souls are of four kinds: two-, three-, four-, and five-sensed. Among these, the five-sensed are of two kinds: rational (sañjñin) and irrational (asañjñin). The ones that know how to learn, teach, and converse, they are rational. They have mind-vitality.[5] Others are irrational. The skin, tongue, nose, eye, and ear are the five sense-organs of which touch, taste, smell, form, and sound are the province. Worms, conch-shells, earth-worms, leeches, cowries, and oyster-shells having many forms, are considered to have two senses. Lice, bugs, termites, nits, etc., are considered to have three senses. Moths, flies, bees, gnats, etc., are considered to have four senses. The remainder that have animal-birth-nuclei, living in water, on land, or in the air, hell-inhabitants, men, and gods, are all considered five-sensed. The gift of safety is the avoidance of injuring them in three ways: destruction of life, causing physical pain, and mental pain.[6] Whoever gives the gift of safety, gives all the objects of life. If one has life, the fourfold object of existence[7] is gained. What is dearer than life to any creature? Certainly not a kingdom, nor universal sovereignty, nor even Indraship of high rank. Fear caused by loss of life is the same to a worm living in impurity on one hand, and to Hari living in heaven on the other hand. Therefore a pious man should by all means be always careful to give the gift of safety desired by the whole world. By making the gift of safety people become charming, long-lived, healthy, with beauty of form, and strong in other births.

The gift of supporting dharma (dharmopagrahadāna) is fivefold: purity of giver, receiver, gift, time, and thought. Whatever a giver, who has lawfully acquired wealth, is learned and pious, gives without desire and without regret, in that there is purity of giver. A giver thinks? ‘I have attained my desire, I to whom the wish, the object to be given and a suitable person have come at the same time.’ That gift would have purity of receiver, whose receiver is such a man as has ceased censurable activity, is lacking in three vanities,[8] has three controls,[9] observes the five kinds of carefulness,[10] is free from love and hate, has no attachment to towns, dwelling, body, clothes, etc., cheerful in observing the eighteen thousand laws of good conduct, possesses the three jewels,[11] is resolute, considers gold and a clod to be equal, is firm in the two kinds of good meditation, has subdued his senses, takes food only for his stomach (i.e., enough to live), is unceasingly devoted to various and manifold penance according to his ability, keeps the seventeen kinds of self-restraint unbroken,[12] and practices the eighteen kinds of chastity.[13] A thing given, drink, food, fruit, a sweet, clothing, bed, etc., that is free from the forty-two faults[14] is pure. Whatever is given at a suitable time to a suitable person is pure in respect to time. Whatever is given without desire and with faith has purity of intention. Dharma cannot exist without the body, nor the body without food, etc. Therefore the gift of support to dharma should be practiced constantly. Food, drink, etc., to suitable persons by way of support to dharma make continuation of the order and obtain emancipation.

Good conduct is defined as the rejection of sinful activities. It is twofold: partial (deśavirati) and total (sarvavirati).[15] The five lesser vows (aṇuvrata), the three meritorious vows (guṇavrata), the four disciplinary-vows (śikṣāvrata) are considered the twelve-fold partial rejection. Among these, avoidance of injury, lying, stealing, impurity, and possessions in their grosser forms are called by the Jinas the ‘lesser vows.’ The three ‘meritorious vows’ are: the limitation of travel, the limitation of things of single and repeated use, and the limitation of purposeless injury. The four ‘disciplinary vows’ are tranquillity, limitation to one place, fasting, and living like a monk, the distribution of alms. This partial-rejection belongs to those householders who possess the attributes of a desire to hear, etc.,{GL_NOTE:16} devoted to the duties of monks,[16] desiring to take food benefiting dharma, who have attained right belief characterized by tranquillity (śama), desire for emancipation (saṃvega), indifference to worldly objects (nirveda), compassion (anukampā), and faith in the principles of truth (āstikya), who are entirely free from false belief, noble-minded, devoid of the maturing of permanent anger[17] by destruction of conduct-deluding karma.

The avoidance of injury, etc., both gross and otherwise (i.e., fine), that is total rejection (of sinful activities), the stairs to the palace of emancipation. This belongs to noble-minded munis who have slight passions by nature, are indifferent to the pleasures of existence, and devoted to the qualities of reverence, etc.

That is called penance (tapas) that burns away karma. Outer penance is fasting, etc., and inner is confession and penance, etc. Fasting (anaśana), partial fasting (aunodarya), limitation of food (vṛtteḥ. saṃksepaṇa), giving up choice food (rasatyāga), bodily austerities (anukleśa), and avoidance of all useless motion (līnatā) are, called outer penance. Confession and penance (prayaścitta), service to others (vaiyāvṛtta), study of sacred texts (svādhyāya), reverence (vinaya), indifference to the body (vyutsarga), good meditation (śubhadhyāna) are the sixfold inner penance.

State of mind (bhāvanā=bhāva, 152) is devotion solely to the possessors of the three jewels, service to them, only pure thoughts, and disgust with existence. This fourfold dharma, producing boundless fruit must be observed with care by those who fear wandering through births.”

Dhana said, “Master, I had heard of this dharma long ago. For so long a time, I have been deceived by my own karma.” After he had paid homage to the guru’s lotus-feet and to the other munis, considering himself blessed, the merchant returned to his own abode. Absorbed in deepest joy from this sermon on dharma, Dhana passed the night like a moment.

When he arose from sleep at dawn, the panegyrist, charming with a tone of voice deep and sweet like a conch-shell, recited: “Night, gloomy from the darkness of clouds, thief of the beauty of the lotuses, has passed like the rainy season, the thief of men’s exertions. Dawn with the sun with its increasing splendor, aiding men’s exertions, has now appeared, as well as the autumn. The waters of pools and rivers have become clear from autumn, like the minds of wise men from enlightenment by the supreme principles. The roads have become very easily passable with their mud dried up by the sun’s rays, like the scriptures with their doubts resolved by instruction from ācāryas. The rivers flow between their banks very slowly, like trains of carts inside wheel tracks. Now the roads show hospitality, as it were, to travelers by ripe millet, wild rice, cucumbers, jujube fruit, etc. The autumn announces, as it were, by the sound of the thickets of sugar-cane rocked by the wind, a suitable time for the effort of departure for those intent upon departure. The autumn-clouds at once become umbrellas for travelers burned by the sun’s rays. The oxen of the caravan crush the high ground with their humps, as if to destroy the unevenness of the earth to make traveling easier. The rivers on the road, which appeared formerly roaring and flooding the earth, have disappeared like the clouds of the rainy season. Now the roads provide travelers with provisions without effort by means of their creepers bent with fruit and clear water at every step. The merchants here with their minds filled with energy, hasten to go to foreign countries like king-geese.”[18]

When he heard that, the merchant thought, “He has proclaimed the time suitable for departure,” and had the departure drum sounded. At the sound of the drum filling heaven and earth, the caravan set out like a herd of cows at the sound of a cow-herd’s horn. The Sūri set forth then also, surrounded by sādhus, like the sun by rays, engaged in awakening the lotuses of souls capable of emancipation. The caravan-leader Dhana set out, after he had himself provided for protection of the caravan by guards in front, at the rear, and at the sides. After the caravan had crossed the great forest, the best of ācāryas took leave of the caravan-leader and went elsewhere to wander. Then the merchant, traveling without hindrance, arrived at Vasantapura, like the current of a river at the ocean. In a short time he sold his merchandise and took exchange-goods. For the wise work quickly. Heavily laden with it, like a cloud from the ocean, Dhana returned to the city Kṣitipratiṣṭha. In the course of time, when the term of his life was completed, he died.

Footnotes and references:


In these two heavens, the highest, the gods have no distinction of rank, and all are called ‘Ahamindras.’ Bṛhat. 3, p. 4b. K. p. 302.


The nine categories. See App. IV.


Bat the five-sensed creatures without intelligence (asañjñin) are considered to have only 5 paryāptis, as mind is lacking; or only a little mind-substance is present Lp. 6. 109 ff. For further discussion of the paryāptis see KG I. 48, p. 46.


Bādara is when something can be grasped by any of the senses. E.g., air can not be seen, but can be felt.


In addition to the paryāptis, jīvas have prāṇas (vitalities).

One-sensed jīvas have 4 prāṇas: body, breathing, term of life, touch.
Two-sensed jīvas have 6 prāṇas: taste and speech added.
Three-sensed jīvas have 7 prāṇas: smell is added.
Foursensed jīvas have 8 prāṇas: sight, is added.
Five-sensed jīvas without intelligence have 9 prāṇas: hearing is added.
Five-sensed jīvas with intelligence have 10 prāṇas: mind is added.


Duḥkhotpāda and saṅkleśa, respectively. This is a Jain distinction, not inherent in the words themselves.


The conventional dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa.


Gaurava. The three are rasa, ṛddhi, and sāta, choice food, riches and high position, and pleasure. Sam. 3, p. 9a. Uttar. 31. 4.


Gupti. Control of mind, body, and speech. Uttar. 24- 19-25.


Samiti. Īryā-, care in walking not to injure any living thing; bhāṣā-, care not to injure any one by speech; eṣaṇā-, care to eat only pure food; ādānanikṣepana-, care in regard to handling possessions; pratiṣṭhāpana-, or utsarga-, care in regard to sanitation. Uttar. 24. 1-18.


Saṃyag-darśana, -jñāna, -caritra.



1-9. Abstaining from causing injury to 9 forms of life life in earth, water, fire, wind, and vegetables, and beings with two, three, four, and five sense-organs.
10. Non-possession of much gold, money, clothing, vessels, books, etc.
11.. Careful examination of places, equipment, etc., (to see if free from life).
12. Employment of any kind of activity (yoga) for observing restraint.
13. Carefulness in regard to sanitation.
14. Cleaning utensils, etc.
15-17. Restraint of mind, speech, and body.

Sam. 17, p. 33b. Kan. p.61 gives a slightly different list.


Brahmacarya. See 3. 625 and n. 266.


The last five in the list of 47 faults for food are omitted in reference to other things.


Obligatory for laymen and monks, respectively.


Yatidharma. These are binding on the layman also, proportionately. They have been enumerated in n. 38 to 179. They are defined in Tri. 3. 3. 81. ff. Jñāta. p. 7.


Anubandha, the worst degree of anger, or of the other passions. It lasts all this life, or even into another birth.


Haṃsas can not bear the sight of turbid water. When the rains begin, they return to their native place, Lake Mānasa, and migrate at the end of the rains. Cf. Meghadūta I. 11.

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