Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Description of Nandishvara which is the thirty-first 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 31: Description of Nandīśvara

The diameter of its circle is 1,638,400,000 yojanas. It is a land of delights of the gods, with gardens of manifold designs, beautiful with the visits of gods devoted to the worship of the Jinendras. In its central part, there are 4 Añjana Mountains, the color of antimony,[1] in succession in the directions, east, etc. At ground-level they are more than 10,000 yojanas in diameter and 1,000 yojanas at top. They have the height of the small Merus.[2] Of these, Devaramaṇa is in the east, Nityodyata in the south, Svayamprabha in the west, and Ramaṇīya in the north. On top of them there are temples to the Arhats, 100 yojanas long, half as wide, and 70 yojanas high. In each of these there are 4 doors, 16 yojanas high, 8 yojanas deep, and 8 wide. They are the homes of the gods Deva, Asura, Nāga, and Suparṇa, and are known by their names. Within the temples are jeweled platforms, 16 yojanas long and wide, and 8 yojanas high. On the platforms are daises made of all kinds of jewels, whose length and width exceed the platforms, and on them are 108 statues each of the immortal Arhats named Ṛṣabha, Vardhamāna, Candrānana, Vāriṣena in the paryaṅka-posture, made of jewels, attended each by a beautiful retinue. Each statue has 2 statues each of Nāgas, Yakṣas, Bhūtas, pitcher-carriers, and behind the statues is a statue of an umbrella-carrier. On the platforms there are incense-jars, wreaths, bells, the eight auspicious things, banners, umbrellas, festoons, baskets, boxes, and seats; and sixteen ornaments, such as pitchers full of water, etc. The ground has sand of shining gold-dust.

There are gleaming entrance-pavilions the same size as the temples, theater-pavilions, arenas, jeweled platforms, beautiful stūpas and statues, fair caitya-trees, indra-dhvajas, and divine lotus-lakes in succession.

In the four directions from each of the Añjana Mountains there are lotus-lakes, 100,000 yojanas square: Nandiṣeṇā, Amoghā, Gostūpā, Sudarśanā, Nandottarā, Nandā, Sunandā, Nandivardhanā, Bhadrā, Viśālā, Kumudā, Puṇḍarīkiṇikā, Vijayā, Vaijayantī, Jayantī, Aparājitā. At a distance of 500 yojanas from each of them there are great gardens, 500 yojanas wide and 100,000 long, named Aśoka, Saptacchadaka, Campaka, and Cūta. Within the lotus-lakes are the crystal Dadhimukha Mountains, cylinder-shaped, characterized by terraces, gardens, etc., as decorations. They are 64,000 yojanas high, and 1,000 buried in the ground; 10,000 in diameter at top and bottom.

Between each two lotus-lakes there are 2 Ratikara Mts. so there are 32 Ratikara Mts. On the Dadhimukha Mts. and on the Ratikara Mts., there are eternal shrines of the Arhats, just as on the Añjana Mts. likewise at the intermediate points of the continent there are 4 Ratikara Mts., having a length and width of 10,000 yojanas, and a height of 1,000 yojanas, made of all kinds of jewels, divine, the shape of a jhallarī. In the eight directions on the two southern Ratikara Mts. are the residences of the eight queens of Śakra; on the two northern mountains, those of the eight queens of Īśāna. They are 100,000 yojanas distant from each other, 100,000 yojanas square, and adorned with temples of the Jinas.

Sujātā, Saumanasā, Arcimālī, Prabhākarā, Padmā, Śivā, Śuci, Añjanā, Bhūtā, Bhūtāvataṃsikā, Gostūpā, Sudarśanā, Amalā, Apsaras, Rohiṇī, Navamī, Ratnā, Ratnoccayā, Sarvaratnā, Ratnasañcayā, Vasu, Vasumitrikā, Vasubhāgā, Vasundharā, Nandottarā, Nandā, Uttarakuru, Devakuru, Kṛṣṇā, Kṛṣṇārājī, Rāmā, Rāmarakṣitā respectively, beginning with the east.[3] In them the gods with all their splendor together with their retinues make eight-day festivals in the shrines on the holy days of the holy Arhats.

Other continents and oceans:

Then the ocean Nandīśvara surrounds Nandīśvara; after that Aruṇadvīpa and Aruṇoda. Then come Aruṇavaradvīpa and the ocean by that name; next Aruṇābhāsa and Aruṇābhāsa Ocean. Then Kuṇḍaladvīpa and the ocean Kuṇḍaloda come next; then Rucakadvīpa and Rucaka Ocean. The oceans and continents with these auspicious names are each twice as large as the preceding one. Of these the last is the ocean Svayambhūramaṇa.

In the two and a half continents, the Bharata-zones, the Airāvata-zones, and the Mahāvideha-zones, except the Devakurus and Uttarakurus, are karmabhumis.

Kāloda, Puṣkaroda, Svayambhūramaṇa have water that can be drunk, but Lavaṇa Ocean has salt water. Vāruṇoda is pleasing with varied beverages; but Kṣīroda resembles milk with one-fourth part of ghee mixed with candied sugar. Ghṛtoda has water of freshly boiled cow’s ghee; the others resemble the juice of sugar-cane whose end has been cut off and which contains four fragrant substances. Lavaṇoda, Kāloda, and Svayambhūramaṇa are filled with fish, tortoises, etc., but not the other oceans.

In this continent Jambūdvīpa there are always 4 each of Tīrthakṛts, Cakrins, Viṣṇus, and Balas, at the minimum. At the maximum, there are 34 Jinas and 30 kings, and twice as many in Dhātakī and half of Puṣkara.[4]

Footnotes and references:


Añjana is not really antimony, which is white, but antimony trisulphide, which is black.


I.e., 84,000 yojanas + 1000 underground.


Elsewhere, see K. p. 255, only 16 palaces are named—one for each queen; and 16 of these names belong to the queens themselves. But in this passage it is clearly stated that there is a palace in each of the 8 directions.


The maximum of 34 is reached by one each in the 32 divisions of Videha, and in Bharata and Airāvata. When there are only 4, there is one each in the northern and southern halves of Bast Videha and West Videha. When the maximum is 30, there are 28 in Videha, and one each in Bharata and Airāvata. The maximum number of Viṣṇus, and Balas exists, when there is a mini mum number of Cakrins and vice versa. The ‘kings’ refers to Viṣṇus and Balas as well as Cakrins. Jamb. 172-3.

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