Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Second incarnation as a twin which is the fourth 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 4: Second incarnation as a twin

As a result of his gift to the munis he became a twin in the Uttarakurus, who have the period of pure happiness present, on the north bank of the river Sītā, to the east of the Jambū tree. There people wish to eat at the end of the fourth day, and have two hundred fifty-six ribs.[1] They are born as twins, are three gavyūtis[2] tall, live for three palyas,[3] bear children toward the end of life, have slight passions, and are free from self-interest. After they have reared their twin-offspring for forty-nine days they die, and are reborn among the gods. Among the Utttarakuras the land is naturally beautiful, with sand as sweet as sugar and waters resembling autumn-moonlight. Ten kinds of wishing-trees,[4] Madyāṅgas, etc., always give to the people whatever they desire without effort on their part. Among these, the Madyāṅgas give wine, the Bhṛṅgas dishes, the Tūryāṅgakas choice musical instruments with various times.[5] The Dīpaśikhās and Jyotiṣkas[6] give a wonderful light, the Citrāṅgas furnish wreaths, and the Citrarasas, in turn, food. Maṇyaṅgas furnish ornaments, the Gehākāras houses, and the Anaṅgas various kinds of divine apparel. These give definite objects, and also indefinite ones; and other wishing-trees there give all things desired. There the jīva of Dhana, like a wishing-tree in heaven, had everything desired and enjoyed pleasures of the senses as a twin.

Footnotes and references:


Karaṇḍaka. The commentators disagree in regard to the exact meaning of the word. In Tri. 10. I. 119, it says Tripṛṣṭha was so named, ‘trikaraṇḍakapṛṣṭhatvāt.’ In Abhi. 3. 359, it says, ‘trayo vaṃśāh pṛṣṭhe ‘sya tripṛṣṭhaḥ,’ so Hem. clearly uses karaṇḍaka as ‘back-bone’ in that case. Here, however, that meaning seems quite impossible. The Praś. (15, p. 81a) explains it as ‘pṛṣṭhapārśvāsthikam,’ i.e., ‘rib.’ In another passage (p. 84a) it is defined as ‘pṛṣṭhāstika.’ In the Aup. (10, p. 19a) it is defined as ‘pṛṣṭhavaṃśāsthika,’ which would apparently mean a ‘vertebra,’ and sometimes this interpretation is taken. The Jamb. (21, p. 117b) says, ‘pṛṣṭhakaraṇḍukāni pṛṣṭhavaṃśavarttyunnatāḥ asthikhandāh paṃśulikā ityarthaḥ.’ This might be taken either way, but ‘rib’ seems more probable.


A gavyūti, in Jain mensuration, is the fourth of a yojana, i.e., it equals two miles.


A palya, or palyopama, is an inestimably long period of time. It is calculated as follows: a vessel, a yojana wide and deep, is filled with the hairs of a new-born lamb—hairs that have grown within seven days. If one hair is withdrawn every hundred years, the time required to empty the vessel is a palyopama. Com. to T. 4. 15.


The kalpa-trees are described in detail in Jamb. 20, p. 99 f. and Pravac. 1067-70, p. 314.


Apparently, they played,in quick, moderate, or slow time.


The Jyotiṣkas also gave heat.

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