Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Youth of Ajita and Sagara which is the 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 2: Youth of Ajita and Sagara

Ajita Svāmin himself knew all the arts, law, and other things, such as grammar, etc. For the Jinas. possess three kinds of knowledge naturally. On the other hand, at the King’s command Sagara began to go to a teacher on an auspicious day, which was celebrated by a festival. In a few days Sagara absorbed the sciences, grammar, etc., like the ocean the waters of rivers. Without effort Saumitri (Sagara) took the wealth of rhetoric from the teacher, like a torch taking light from another torch. He made his own speech accomplish its purpose by poems, praises of passionless saints, flowers on the creepers of rhetoric, elixir for the ear. An ocean of learning and intelligence, he grasped unhesitatingly all the works of sacred authority, like deposits made by himself.

Sagara defeated his opponents by unerring quotations from the doctrine of Syādvāda,[1] like Jitaśatru his enemies by arrows. He plunged into the unfathomable ocean of political science which had evil sea-monsters, filled with waves of the application of the six policies,[2] of the (four) means,[3] of regal power,[4] etc. He learned without difficulty the eight-fold Ayurveda[5] also, the torch of knowledge of the strength and effects of all herbs and essences. He acquired the science which is the source of knowledge about concerts, consisting of four kinds of musical instruments,[6] four dramatic styles,[7] and four modes of conveying pleasure.[8]Without instruction he knew the characteristics of elephants complete with bites, states of mada,[9] bodily characteristics, and medical treatment.[10] He established in his heart by study and experience practices about draft-animals and the characteristics of horses and their treatment.[11]

He put in his heart archery and the characteristics of other weapons just from hearing them, as easily as his own name. He attained skill in fighting with the bow, sword and shield, dagger, arrow, axe, lance, javelin,[12] club, kampaṇa (?), staff, spear, pike, plow-share, mace, cudgel,[13] pattiṣa,[14] duḥsphoṭa (?), bhuṣaṇḍhī[15] sling, arrow,[16] trident, dart, and other weapons[17] in conformity with the manuals. He became filled with all the arts like the full moon with digits, and he was adorned with good qualities, reverence, etc., like ornaments.

Holy Ajitanātha was served every moment by Śakra or other gods full of devotion. Some gods came and played with him as companions, eager for the sight of the varied pleasures of Ajita Svāmin. Some, from a desire to drink the nectar of his speech, made him speak by means of repeated jokes and flattering speeches. Others, longing for instruction from the Lord who was not giving instruction, gained wealth from instruction by making wagers in sportive gambling. Some became door-keepers; some ministers; some carried his shoes, while others carried his umbrella; some carried his betel-box; some became servants; and other gods carried his weapons, while the Lord played.

Sagara, after studying the manuals day by day, reported to Lord Ajita, like a minister reporting his duties. Sagara, intelligent, asked the Master about doubts unexplained by the teacher, as Bharata had asked the son of Nābhi. Ajita Svāmin dispersed his doubts quickly by means of sense-, scripture-, and clairvoyant-knowledge,[18] as the moon disperses darkness by its rays. Subduing it by the three controls,[19] furnished with a firm seat, making it advance, he showed him (Ajita) an elephant, even a rogue. Before him he rode horses, even wild ones, with or without a saddle, with five gaits.[20] He exhibited to the Lord the shooting a doll on a wheel,[21] shooting an invisible object by sound, the shooting at a target in water, the shooting a clay-ball on a wheel with arrows. He showed pādagati,[22] carrying a sword and shield, having entered the shield like the moon a cloud.[23] He whirled rapidly a lance, spear, and club, giving the appearance of a fiery streak of lightning, revolving in the sky. He showed him. knife-science[24] with all the knife-positions, expert in all the steps, like a dancer showing a dance. From devotion to his teacher and a desire to be taught by him he showed Ajita Svāmin his skill in other weapons also. Whatever was lacking in Sagara’s arts the Master taught him. For such a man has such a teacher. So both, engaged in activities according to their natures, crossed the first period of life, like travelers crossing the boundary of a village.

Footnotes and references:


See I, n. 4.


See MW, ṣadguṇa; Abhi. 3. 399.


See I, p. 153; Abhi. 3. 400.


Śakti. It has 3 divisions: prabhutva, excellence of treasure and army; mantra, good counsel; utsaha, energy. Abhi. 3. 399.


See I, n. 91.


See I, n. 77.


Caturvṛtti: bhāratī=vāgvṛtti; sāttvatī=manovṛtti; ārabhaṭī=kāyavṛtti; kauśikī=saundāryopayogī vyāpāraḥ. Nāṭyaśāstra (GOS XXXVI) 1. 41 ff. and com.


Abbinaya. See I, n. 235.


See I, n. 339, and Edgerton, pp. 32, 82-85.


Cf. Agnipurāṇa 286.


Cf. Agnipurāṇa 287-88.


Abhi. 3. 449. In I, n. 76, 1 interpreted bhindipāla as ‘sling,’ in accordance with its meaning in M and H. PH, with ref. to Praś and Jiv., defines it as ‘knife’ or ‘dagger.’ For other interpretations, see the lexicons and Meyer, p. 153, whose com. says it is ‘like a kunta with a broad point.’ Agnipurāṇa 251. 15 compares it with a laguḍa.


musalena ca yaṣṭi0. Meyer, p. 154, has the compound musalayaṣṭi (Mörserkolbenstange, Keulenstange). Shamasastry separates the words. Their commentator defines it—or them—as ‘pointed rods of khadira wood.’


PH, ‘a kind of weapon’; PE, ‘a kind of missile.’ Meyer, p. 156, ‘a kind of three-pointed axe.’ Cf. Agnipurāṇa 251. 16 with Meyer’s note. There it is compared with the vajra.


PH quotes bhusuṇḍhi, but defines it merely as ‘a kind of weapon.’ Not in PE. Bate defines it as ‘fire-arm,’ but the word does not seem to be actually in use, judging from its article in the Śabdasāgara. MW also leans to ‘fire-arm.’ Meyer, p. 73, prefers ‘sling,’ rather than ‘catapult,’ as it is sometimes interpreted. The next word, gophaṇa, means ‘sling' (PH, H, and M) and I do not believe ‘catapult’ would be included in a list of weapons such as these. ‘Fire-arm’ seems more suitable here.


Both PH and PE so interpret kaṇaya (deśī). Meyer, p, 155, quotes a description from his com., according to which a kaṇaya is made entirely of metal, triangular at both ends, held in the middle. We already have one ‘arrow,’ if śalya is so interpreted, but that might be some other pointed weapon, or kaṇaya might be a different variety.


See I, n. 76, and Meyer, pp. 153 ff., and Shamasastry, pp. 123 ff. I have not available the original text of the commentaries to the Arthaśāstra. See also Agnipurāṇa, Chap. 251 (252 Dutt).


These 3 are innate in the Tīrthaṅkaras at birth. For ‘knowledge,’ see I, pp. 201 ff.


Voice, foot, and good. Mātaṅgalīlā 12. 8 ff.


See I, n. 304.


Rādhāvedha. See I, n. 360.


One of the 32 fighting-postures. Agnipurāṇa 251.1-4. They are not described.


This is not quite clear to me. Probably a full length shield is involved, but still the comparison is not apt.


I have not located an exposition of the churīvidyā.

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