Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Description of the Lower World (adhaloka) which is the seventeenth part of chapter III of the English translation of the Ajitanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Ajitanatha in jainism is the second Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 17: Description of the Lower World (adhaloka)

The Lower World is established below the Middle World with a depth of seven rajjus less 900 yojanas. In it are seven earths, one below the other, occupying the lower part, in which are the terrifying abodes of the hell-inhabitants: Ratnaprabhā, Śarkarāprabhā, Vālukāprabhā, Paṅkaprabhā, Dhūmaprabhā, Tamaḥprabhā, Mahātamaḥprabhā; and the height of these is 180,000, 132,000, 128,000, 120,000, 118,000, 116,000, 108,000 yojanas, respectively. The earths, Ratnaprabhā, etc., become wider in succession, one below the other.

In the first earth there are 3,000,000 hells; in the second hell-region there are 2,500,000 hells; in the third, 1,500,000; in the fourth, 1,000,000; in the fifth, 300,000; in the sixth earth, 99,995; in the seventh, 5 hells. Below the earths, Ratnaprabhā, etc., are the Thick Waters, 20,000 yojanas high in the middle. Below the Thick Waters are the Thick Winds, higher in the middle by innumerable thousands of yojanas more than the Thick Waters. The Thin Winds are innumerable yojanas more than the Thick Winds, and space also innumerable yojanas more than the Thin Winds. They gradually decrease from that middle height, the Thick Water, etc., at the top having the shape of a circle.[1]

The diameter of the Thick Water sheath of the earth Ratnaprabhā which has the shape of a circle is 6 yojanas. The diameter of the Thick Wind sheath is 4½ yojanas, and of the Thin Wind is 1½ yojanas. The Thick Water of Śarkarā is ⅓ of a yojana more in diameter than the sheath of Ratnaprabhā. In the Thick Wind 1 gavyūta (=¼ yojana) increase is ascertained, and in the Thin Wind there is ⅓ of a gavyūta increase. This (same) increase to the dimensions of the Śarkarā-sheaths takes place in the diameters of the sheaths of the third earth. In the same way this increase in the dimension of each preceding sheath is made in the sheaths up to the seventh earth. Everywhere, the sheaths Thick Water, Thick Wind, and Thin Wind have a height the same as that of their respective earths. The seven earths supported by Thick Water, etc., are as described.

In these are the hells, the places for experiencing bad karma. The pain (of punishment), disease, body (its size), age, soul-color, grief, fear, etc., must be known as increasing in the hells in succession. In the thickness of the Ratnaprabhā-earth there are 180,000 yojanas. Excepting 1000 above and below, within it are the dwellings of the Bhavanapatis.

Footnotes and references:


I. e., each one of the 7 earths has sheaths of Thick Water, Thick Wind, and Thin Wind. These surround each earth except at the top, where they have the shape of an open circle.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: