Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...

Thirty-six weapons

Thirty-six weapons seem to be the conventional number for a full equipment, with Jain authors. In the Prabandhacintāmaṇi there are two references to a man learning the use of thirty-six weapons (Tawney, pp. 32, 120). But apparently the number only was fixed, not the weapons. I have found two lists of 36 in Jain works, but the names vary. As so little has been done in this field, I append a list taken from the commentary to the Dvyāśrayakāvya (11. 51), where Hem. refers to the ‘thirty-six weapons.’ It is carious to note that the two mentioned in the text are not included in the commentator’s list.

  1. cakra, discus,
  2. dhanus, bow,
  3. vajra, thunderbolt,
  4. khaḍga, sword,
  5. kṣurikā, knife,
  6. tomara, javelin (Hindī),
  7. kunta, lance,
  8. triśūla, trident,
  9. śakti, spear,
  10. paraśu, axe,
  11. makṣikā?
  12. bhalli, a kind of spear or lance (PH s. V.). This is also the vernacular meaning, though MW quotes ‘a kind of arrow.’
  13. bhindimāla, sling. Occurs in Marāṭhī (bhiṇḍīpāla).
  14. muṣṭi, hilt?
  15. luṇṭhi?
  16. śaṅku, dart,
  17. pāśa, noose,
  18. pattiśa, ‘spear with sharp edge or some other weapon with three points’ (MW),
  19. ṛṣṭi, ‘spear, lance, sword,’ (MW),
  20. kaṇaya (kanaka), arrow (PH deśi),
  21. kampana?
  22. hala, plough-share,
  23. muśala, mace,
  24. gulikā, a ball as a missle,
  25. kartarī, knife. (H. katar),
  26. karapatra, saw,
  27. taravāri, one-edged sword,
  28. kuddāla, pick-axe (H and M),
  29. dusphoṭa?
  30. gophaṇi, sling (PH),
  31. ḍāha? perhaps a fire-arm of some kind,
  32. ḍaccūsa?
  33. mudgara, hammer,
  34. gadā, club,
  35. ghana, ‘iron club, mace, weapon shaped like a hammer’ (MW),
  36. karavālikā, ‘a cudgel, short club, or wooden sword, a sword or one-edged knife’ (MW).

In the Prācīnagurjarakāvyasaṅgraha (GOS XIII, pp. 106-107) there is another list of 36, which also contains quite a number with unknown meaning. The Lekhapaddhati (GOS XIX, p. 97) gives a list of 40 weapons, and the Ratnakośa (ms. in the Baroda Oriental Institute, p. 17) gives a list of 30. These are all the Jain lists I have found.

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