Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Description of the Upper World (urdhvaloka) which is the thirty-second 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 32: Description of the Upper World (ūrdhvaloka)

Above this Human World, is the Upper World, magnificent, 7 rajjus high less 900 yojanas. In this there are 12 heavens: Saudharma, Īśāna, Sanatkumāra, Māhendra, Brahmaloka, Lāntaka, Śukra, Sahasrāra, Ānata, Prāṇata, Āraṇa, and Acyuta. The 9 Graiveyakas are as follows: Sudarśana, Suprabuddha, Manorama, above those Sarvabhadra, Suviśāla, Sumanas, and above those Saumanasa, Prītikara, and Āditya. Above those are the 5 named Anuttara. Beginning from the east the palaces are named Vijaya, Vaijayanta, Jayanta, Aparājita, and Sarvārthasiddhaka in the center. Twelve yojanas above is Siddhaśilā, 45 lacs of yojanas long and wide. Three gavyūtas immediately above, in the (upper) sixth part of the fourth gavyūta are the siddhas at the end of Lokāgratā.

It is 1½ rajjus from ground-level up to Saudharma and Īśāna; 2½ rajjus up to Sanatkumāra and Māhendra; 5 rajjus to Sahasrāra and 6 up to Acyuta. There are 7 rajjus up to the top boundary of the universe.

Saudharma and Īśāna are round like the moon. In the southern half is Śakra (as Indra) and Aiśāna in the north. Sanatkumāra and Māhendra have the same shape as they have; Sanatkumāra is in the south half, and Māhendra in the north. Beyond them, in the place corresponding to the elbow of the man representing the universe, in the center of the universe is Brahmaloka, and Brahma is its lord. At the end are the Lokāntika gods: Sārasvatas, Ādityas, Agnis, Aruṇas, Gardatoyakas, Tuṣitas, Avyābādhas, Maruts, and Riṣṭas. Above it is Lāntaka-heaven, whose Indra has the same name. Next comes Mahāśukra, whose Indra also has the same name; and next Sahasrāra with an Indra of the same name. Then come Ānata and Prāṇata with the shape of Saudharma and Īśāna. Their Indra, named Prāṇata, lives in Prāṇata-heaven. Above them are 2 heavens, Āraṇa and Acyuta, with the same shape. They have one Indra, named Acyuta, living in Acyuta. But in the Graiveyakas and Anuttaras the gods are Ahamindras (of equal rank).

Of these heavens, the first two are founded on thick water; the next three on (thick) wind; the next three on thick water and thick wind; above those, the heavens rest on space.

The 10 divisions of the gods are: Indras, Sāmānikas, Trāyastriṃśas, Pārṣadyas, Rakṣakas, Lokapālas, Anīkas, Prakīrṇas, Ābhiyogikas, Kilbiṣikas. The Indras are the lords of all the gods, Sāmānikas, etc. The Sāmānikas are the same as the Indras, but lack Indraship. The Trāyastriṃśas are like ministers and priests of Hari. The Pārṣadyas are like companions; the Rakṣakas are bodyguards; the Lokapālas have the place of spies for the sake of protection. The Anīkas correspond to armies; the Prakīrṇas to villagers and townsmen. The Abhiyogyas are like slaves; and the Kilbiṣas like the lowest castes. The Jyotiṣkas and Vyantaras do not have the Trāyastriṃśas and Lokapas.

In Saudharma there are 32 lacs of palaces of the gods. In Aiśāna, Sanatkumāra, Māhendra, and Brahma there are 28, 12, 8, and 4 lacs respectively. There are 50,000 in Lāntaka, 40,000 in Śukra, 6,000 in Sahasrāra. In the pair (Ānata and Prāṇata) 400, and 300 in Āraṇa and Acyuta. In the first three Graiveyakas there are 111, in the middle three 107, in the last three Graiveyakas there are 100 palaces. There are only 5 Anuttaravimānas. So there is a total of 8,497,023 palaces of the gods.

In the four Anuttara-palaces, Vijaya, etc., the gods are reborn twice,[1] but once in the fifth (Sarvārthasiddha). From Saudharmakalpa up to Sarvārtha the gods become stronger in each successive heaven in respect to duration of life, brilliance, power, purity, soul-color, and happiness, in the sphere of the senses, and in clairvoyant knowledge. In respect to attachment to worldly objects and arrogance, body and marriage, they become weaker and weaker, successively. The gods who have the minimum term of life breathe at the end of 7 stokas,[2] and eat once in two days. The gods, whose life-term is a palyopama, breathe once a day and eat once in several days. The ones whose life is measured in sāgaras breathe at the end of as many half-months as there are sāgaras, and eat at the end of so many thousands of years. The gods usually have pleasant feelings, but if they have unpleasant, it would be only for an antarmuhūrta, not more than a muhūrta.

Goddesses are born up to Aiśāna,[3] and marriage exists up to Acyuta. Ascetics are born up to the Jyotiṣkas. Birth of wandering monks is up to Brahmaloka, and rebirth of five-sensed creatures up to Sahasrāra. Laymen are born up to Acyuta; monks who have wrong belief but have observed the practices are born up to Graiveyakas. Those who knew all the pūrvas (fourteen) are born from Brahmaloka up to Sarvārthasiddha. Monks and laymen of good character are born in Saudharma at least.

Up to Aiśāna, the gods, Bhavanavāsins, etc., have physical marriage. For they have impure karma. Possessing strong affections, embracing in love like humans, they attain delight from pleasure of physical contact. The remainder have marriage of touch, sight, hearing, respectively, in successive pairs of heavens. In the four, Ānata, etc., they have marriage of mind. In the other heavens, Graiveyaka, etc., the gods have no marriage, having the nature of infinite bliss more than the gods with marriage.

With such divisions—lower, middle, and upper—is the universe. In its center is the trasanāḍī with a height of 14 rajjus, 1 rajju wide and thick at top and bottom. Within it are movable and immovable lives, and outside of it only immovable. The universe, 7 rajjus wide at the bottom, 1 rajju at the middle, 5 at Brahmaloka and 1 at the very top, with a well-supported appearance, was made by no one and is supported by no one. It is self-produced, and moreover remains in the sky without support.

The wise man should meditate on this universe, all of it or in part, the cause of obstruction to impure meditation. In dharmadhyāna would arise the state of mind having destruction and subsidence, etc. The soul-colors[4] are yellow, rose, and white, in the order of their purity. In it filled with union with keen disgust with worldly existence there is produced in people a happiness which has spontaneous consciousness, beyond the cognizance of the senses. With (worldly) association abandoned, after abandoning the body, those united with dharmadhyāna become the highest gods in the Graiveyaka, etc.[5] heavens. They attain there a body which has great power and beauty, resembling the autumn-moon in color, adorned with wreaths, ornaments, and clothes. They enjoy pleasure rich in remarkable power and knowledge, devoid of love, pain, and old age, unceasing and unexcelled, for a long time. Enjoying repeatedly the nectar of happiness delightful with all objects produced by (mere) desire, without any obstacles, they do not know that the birth has passed. Falling from heaven at the termination of divine delights, they descend to earth with the best body. Born in a divine family they enjoy manifold pleasures charming with constant festivals, their desires unbroken. Then, resorting to discernment, having attained disgust with all pleasures, their karma destroyed by meditation, they attain the state from which there is no return (emancipation).”

Footnotes and references:


I.e., before attaining mokṣa.


I.e., about every 37 seconds.


‘Up to’ is inclusive, throughout this description.


Leśyā, a psychic color varying according to the karma of the soul. There are 6 of them: black, dark blue, gray, rose, yellow, and white. For a detailed account see Uttar. 34.


And the Anuttara.

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