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...

Introduction to volume 2

The second book of the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra, like the first one, includes the biographies of one Tīrthaṅkara, Ajitanātha, and one Cakravartin, Sagara. The event of importance that occurs also in the Hindu Epic is the destruction of the 60,000 sons of Sagara, described in the sixth chapter. Hemacandra’s version differs markedly from that of the Mahābhārata (3.106-109). Presumably the horse-sacrifice would not appear in a Jain account. Fick, in his “Eine jainistische Bearbeitung der Sagara-Saga” discusses Devendra’s version in his ṭīkā to the Uttarādhyāyanasūtra. Hemacandra follows Devendra generally, though some details differ.

The third book consists of eight chapters, each a separate biography, which do not introduce much in the way of fiction or incidental narrative. In the Sumatināthacaritra there is an example of the ‘Solomon’s judgment’ motif. Four other Jain versions have been discussed by Tessitori in the Indian Antiquary (42, pp. 148ff.). Hemacandra follows Malayagiri in his commentary to the Nandīsūtra.

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