Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Bahubali’s preparation which is the seventh part of chapter V 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 7: Bāhubali’s preparation

Then Bāhubali bathed and went to the temple to worship the god. Great men are never in doubt about their duties. There with devotion he bathed the image of Ṛṣabha Svāmin with fragrant water, like Vāsava at the birth-bath. Free from passion, he polished it with a divine fragrant reddish cloth, like a good layman his own mind with faith. Then he anointed the image with yakṣakardama-ointment[1] as if making a jacket of divine doth. The King worshipped the Jina’s image with varied wreaths of flowers, resembling in fragrance wreaths of flowers from the trees of heaven. He burned divine incense in a golden incense-burner, making a pūjā with its smoke like a pūjā of blue lotuses.

Then he, wearing his upper garment, like the sun in the sign of Capricorn,[2] took the light-vessel brilliant with light, like the sun gaining brilliance. After he had put down the light vessel, Bāhubali bowed with folded hands and recited a hymn of praise with devotion to Ādinātha.


“Disregarding my own ignorance, O All-knowing, I praise you. For my feeling of devotion, hard to restrain, makes me speak. O first Lord of the Tīrtha, the light from the nails of your feet is victorious, forming a secure refuge for creatures terrified by the enemy existence. O God, fortunate people hasten daily, even from afar, to see your lotus-feet, like a king-goose (to lotuses). O God, you alone are made a refuge by the discerning, suffering from the terrible pain of saṃsāra, like the sun by those suffering from cold. For those who look at you, O Blessed One, with eyes unwinking from joy, an existence devoid of winking[3] will not be hard to attain in another world. O God, the stain of men’s karma goes away by the words of your teaching, like the stain of orpiment from linen clothes by water. O Master, your name ‘Ṛṣabhanātha’ whispered becomes a charm for the attraction of all the magic powers. There is no thunderbolt for dividing, no spear for cutting those creatures who have the armor of devotion to you.”

After praising the Blessed One in these words, and having his hair erect from happiness, the crest-jewel of kings left the temple. He took adamantine armor adorned with gold and rubies, just like a garment for the wedding of the Śrī of victory. With that shining armor, the King looked like the lord of sea-monsters (the ocean) with a dense mass of coral-trees. The King put a helmet on his head, which resembled the beauty of a cloud-pavilion encircling a mountain-peak. On his back he fastened quivers filled with iron arrows resembling a chasm of Pātāla filled with a lot of serpents. On his left arm, the King carried a bow resembling the staff of Yama raised at the time of the destruction of the world. Blessed first by the chief family-priests saying “Success!” greeted by cries of “Long live! Long live!” by the old women of his clan; hailed with “Rejoice! Rejoice!” by his old friends; acclaimed with loud cries of “Long be victorious!” by bards, the King ascended the great elephant, supported by the driver’s hand, like Indra the peak of Meru.

Footnotes and references:


Ointment consisting of camphor, aloes, musk, sandal, and kakkola.


There is, of course, a play on the double meaning of uttarāsaṅga. The sun enters Capricorn at the time of the winter solstice, and begins its journey to the north of the equator at that time. The uttarīya is put on in a special way.


I.e., as a god. Gods do not wink.

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