Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Sermon on dharmadhyana which is the fifteenth 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.

“This saṃsāra devoid of merit is considered to have merit, just as glass is considered to be cat’s-eye, by the simple-minded, alas! Saṃsāra grows from creatures’ manifold karma which is produced every instant, like a tree from pregnancy whims. By the non-existence of karma the non-existence of saṃsāra logically arises. Therefore, every intelligent person must always strive for the destruction of karma. The destruction of karma is from good meditation, and that meditation is four-fold: on ājñā, apāya, vipāka, and saṃsthāna.[1] Ājñā is the teaching of the Arhats, and it is established as two-fold; of these the first is āgama and the second hetuvāda. Āgama[2] is that which gives knowledge from the words only of the categories. Hetuvāda is named from conformity with another authority.[3] There is equal authority of these two from agreement because of the characterization of ‘authority’ as ‘originating from a source free from any fault.’ The faults—love, hate, delusion—do not exist in an Arhat. The speech of the Arhats is authority originating from a faultless source, perfect with its aspects[4] and means of acquiring knowledge,[5] unobstructed by priority and posteriority, not to be refuted by other doctrines even though very powerful, the ocean to the rivers of the many divisions—Aṅgas, Upāṅgas, Prakīrṇas, etc.,[6] adorned with the Śrī of sovereignty over subjects in the form of many supernatural powers, very difficult to grasp by those who are not fit for emancipation, and very easy to grasp by those capable of emancipation; to be highly praised constantly by men and gods because of the Aṅgas. When one has resorted to this ājñā and with the addition of the law of Syādvāda has firm faith in objects as perishable and imperishable in accordance with substance and modification and as having a real form in reference to their own form and having an unreal form in reference to other forms,[7] that meditation is called ājñāvicaya.

There are difficulties (apāya) by the thousand of those by whom the path of the Jinas is untouched, to whom the Supreme Lord is unknown, and by whom the future is unconsidered. What impure acts have not been committed by the soul subjected to the intense darkness of deceit and delusion? Or what calamity has not been experienced?

‘Whatever pain I suffered among hell-inhabitants, animals, and humans,[8] this is negligence of myself alone, ignorant. Even after attaining the highest knowledge, I myself have made a fire burn on my head by evil deeds arising from activities of mind, speech, and body. Even though the path to emancipation has been at your disposal, alas! O soul, by you alone I myself have been made to fall into calamities by searching for wrong paths. Just as a fool goes begging alms even when a good government has been obtained; so, even though emancipation was at your disposal, you have wandered about for worldly existence.’

That is regarded as ‘apāyavicaya-meditation’ in which one reflects thus on calamities arising from love, hate, and delusion.

The fruit of karma is called ‘vipāka,’ and it is good and bad. It is experienced in many aspects through the totality of substance, space, etc. Among these good (fruit) is experienced from enjoyment of substance, such as women, wreaths, food, etc.; bad is experienced from snakes, weapons, fire, poison, etc. Good is experienced from living in space, such as a palace, heavenly palace, garden, etc.; but bad from living in a cemetery, jungle, forest, etc. Good is experienced from enjoyment in time neither hot nor cold, spring, etc.; bad from wandering in the heat and cold, summer and winter, etc. There would be good fruit in a state of mind such as tranquillity of mind, contentment, etc.; there would be bad in a state of mind such as anger, conceit, cruelty, etc. It would be good in a birth as a good divinity, in a human birth in the Bhogabhūmis, etc.;[9] but bad in a birth as an inferior human, animal, hell-inhabitant, etc.

Footnotes and references:


These are the divisions of dharmadhyāna. See I, n. 8.


I.e., the canon of scriptures.


I.e., when a statement in āgama is supported by something else, such as a reference to a book on medicine, that constitutes hetuvāda. See I, n. 8.


Naya. See T. r. 34 ff. and Jhaveri, P.J.P., pp. 49 ff.


Pramāṇa. There are 2 kinds of pramāṇa in this sense: parokṣa, indirect, i.e., it depends on other things; and pratyakṣa, direct. This kind of pramāṇa consists of the 5 kinds of knowledge. Mati and śruta are parokṣa; avadhi, manaḥparyāya, and kevala are pratyakṣa. See T. 1. 10 ff.


Chedasūtras, Sūtras, and Mūlasūtras constitute the ‘etc.’ See I, n. 250.


The illustration given me was that a pot was real as a pot, unreal as a piece of cloth.


In these forms.


The bhogabhūmis, or akarmabhūmis, are 30, namely, Haimatavarṣa, Harivarṣa, Devakuru(s), Uttarakuru(s), Ramyakavarṣa, and Hairaṇyavatavarṣa in Jambūdvīpa, Dhātakīkhaṇḍa, and Puṣkaradvīpa, in the last two of which there are two of each name. In the bhogabhūmis the inhabitants are twins, and everything is supplied by wishing-trees. Pravac. 1054 f., P. 311.

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