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...

Notes on penances

These penances, which take the form of fasts, are, with the exception of ekāvali, described in Antagaḍadasāo 8, B. pp. 98 ff., and in Pravacanasāroddhāra 1509 ff., pp. 435 ff. Muni Jayantavijayaji described ekāvali to me, with reference to the Tapāvali (published by Die Kosmographie der Inder R. Jhaveri at Surat), which is not available to me. The fasts are a series of fasts of a number of days with a meal taken after each one. In this connection it is to be noted that Indians themselves do not count as a fast-day a day on which they eat at all. In my note, I, n. 93, I described the more usual fasts, caturtha, ṣaṣṭha, aṣṭama. They are really fasts of 48, 72, and 96 hours respectively, and I translated them accordingly as 2, 3, and 4 days’ fasts. But the Indians themselves do not count at all the preliminary day on which one meal only is taken nor the day on which the fast is broken by one meal. A caturtha is one upavāsa, or a one-day fast, ṣaṣṭha is two upavāsas, etc. For a clear understanding of these fasts the commentary to Pravacanasāroddhāra, pp. 435 ff., is the most useful, but as the commentator himself points out, there are discrepancies between the Pravacanasāroddhāra and the Antagaḍadasāo which should be given the preference because of its seniority. According to the Antagaḍadasāo, the ratnāvali-series is as follows: 1, 2, 3, 8x2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 34x2, 16, 15, 14, 13. 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 8x2, 3, 2, 1. This gives 384 fast-days and 88 fast-breaking days, or a total of 1 year, 3 months, and 22 days to complete the series. The complete penance consists of 4 series, which cover 5 years, 2 months, and 22 days. During the first series, the fast-breaking includes all kinds of delicacies (vikṛti); in the second, they are not permitted; in the third, the food, such as wheat, chick-peas, etc., is without dressing; and in the fourth only ācāmla is permitted (Pravacanasāroddhāra 436a).

The kanakāvali is just the same with the substitution of 8 x 3 and 34x3 in the place of 8x2 and 34x2. One series lasts for 1 year, 5 months, and 12 days and the complete penance lasts for 5 years, 9 months, and 18 days. The Pravacanasāroddhāra exchanges the ratnāvali and kanakāvali. In B.’s calculations in his footnotes he does not distinguish between the fast-days and fast-breaking days, but counts each fastbreaking day in with its fast. The net result is the same.

The ekāvali is the same as the kanakāvali and ratnāvali with the substitution of 8x1 and 34x1. One series lasts for 1 year, 2 months, and 12 days, and the complete penance for 4 years, 9 months, and 18 days. The siṃhaniḥkrīḍita is so called ‘because a moving lion looks over the country he has traveled,’ and this penance is made in similar fashion. The short siṃhaniḥkrīḍita is 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6, 5, 7, 6, 8, 7, 9, 8, 9, 7, 8, 6, 7, 5, 6, 4, 5, 3, 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1. This makes 154 fast-days and 33 fast-breaking days, or a total of 6 months and 7 days for each of the 4 series. The long siṃhaniḥkrīḍita is on the same principle and extends up to a fast of 16 days, making a total of 1 year, 6 months, and 18 days in each series.

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