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...

Notes on Vaikriya-samudghāta

The whole theory of samudghāta is very complicated. To begin, there are 5 kinds of bodies:

  1. audārika, the ordinary human body of all creatures in this world;
  2. vaikriya, the outer body of gods and hell-inhabitants. It can also be acquired by men by penance and can be changed in form at will by those possessing it;
  3. āhāraka, which can be acquired by one who knows the 14 pūrvas. By means of it, which leaves his earthly body, he may consult Arhats in other worlds about difficult points in the Scripture;
  4. taijasa, magnetic body, also belonging to all souls who have not attained emancipation. It is from this body that the hot and cold flashes emanate;
  5. kārmaṇa, karmic body composed of the karmic matter which, is inseparable from all unemancipated souls.

Each one of these bodies is finer and lighter than the preceding one.

A samudghāta is a process by which a jīva makes emanate soul-particles, together with the karmic matter which is inseparable from them, for some particular purpose. There are 7 kinds of samudghātas;

  1. vedanīya,
  2. kaṣāya,
  3. vaikriya,
  4. māraṇāntika,
  5. taijasa,
  6. āhāra,
  7. kevalisamudghāta.

The vaikriyasamudghāta is performed when a strong new vaikriya-body is wanted for a special work. A soul that has the vaikriya-power (gods and hell-inhabitants and some humans) makes emanate soul-particles (jīvapradeśa) which take the form of a staff with the breadth and thickness of the body, but many yojanas long. The length is to collect new matter. Then he (the jīva) destroys the coarse matter of the old vaikriya-body and retains the fine. Then new matter consisting of all kinds of jewels is collected, of which the coarse part is rejected and the fine retained, to make a new vaikriya-body. The commentators note the difficulty that jewels are audārika-matter, whereas only vaikriya-matter can be used here. They explain it, therefore, as ‘matter as precious as jewels,’ or that audārika-matter is transformed into vaikriya-matter. See Pravac. 1311-16, p. 384b. Lp. 3. 213 ff. KSK I. 27, p. 41a. Pra. 343, p. 596. Bhag. 126, p. 154.

In the case in our text the vaikriyasamudghāta is performed to attract the superior matter for making the pitchers.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: