Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The appearance of the Sudarshana cakra which is the first part of chapter IV 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 1: The appearance of the Sudarśana cakra

Now, the cakra-jewel, named Sudarśana, arose in King Sagara’s armory, its rim made of gold, its spokes of lohitākṣa; wreathed with a circlet of small bells of variegated gold and jewels; possessing a joyful sound; adorned with spotless gems and pearls; with the hub made of diamond; beautified with a row of little bells;[1] adorned with wreaths of flowers of all the seasons; anointed, standing in the sky, attended by a thousand Yakṣas.

When he saw it appear, terrible with a wreath of flame like the disc of the sun, the superintendent of the armory bowed to the cakra. After he had worshipped the cakra with various wreaths of flowers, delighted, he went quickly and reported to Sagara. Sagara instantly abandoned his lion-throne, foot-stool, and shoes, just as at the sight of a teacher. After taking a few steps, setting the cakra in his mind, he bowed to it. For the ones who live by weapons make divinities of weapons. When he had taken his seat on the lion-throne, he gave all the ornaments on his body as a present to the man who announced the appearance of the cakra. Then the King took an auspicious bath with pure water and put on divine ornaments and garments. The King went on foot to worship the cakra-jewel. For approach on foot is superior to a pūjā even. He was followed by kings, running, stumbling, falling from excessive haste, going on foot like servants. He was followed by men, though unsummoned, carrying the materials for a pūjā. For carelessness in their own duties is cause for fear on the part of servants.

Sagara went to his armory occupied by the cakra and shining with great splendor like a heavenly palace occupied by a god. The King bowed to the cakra-jewel equal to the sun, touching the ground with five parts of the body, merely at its sight. He rubbed it quickly with a woolen brush in his hand, like an elephant-driver a fine elephant when it has risen from sleep. He bathed the cakra like a statue of a god with pitchers of water delivered by men who kept bringing them. The King made tilakas of sandal on it, which resembled the beauty of his own hand given for the acceptance of the cakra. With variegated wreaths of flowers the King made the cakra-jewel a pūjā which resembled a conservatory of the Lakṣmī of victory. The Cakrabhṛt threw perfume and fragrant powdered sandal on the cakra, like an ācārya on a statue at the time of its dedication. The King adorned the cakra, like himself, with valuable clothes and ornaments suitable for gods. He drew the eight auspicious objects before it, like magic circles for attracting the Śrīs of victory of the eight quarters. Like a seventh season[2] the King made a present of five-colored flowers of perfect fragrance in front of it. The King burned incense of camphor and aloes before it, making an ointment of musk with smoke, as it were. After he had circumambulated it three times and had withdrawn some distance, the Cakrin bowed to the cakra, the ocean for the birth of the Śrī of victory.[3] The King made an eight-day festival to the cakra-jewel, as one does to a newly installed statue. A pūjā-festival was made to the cakra by all the citizens with great magnificence, as if to a city- or village-deity. Then the King went to his abode, eager for the expedition of conquest in all directions, as if invited by the cakra.

Footnotes and references:


Apparently it had a circlet of bells around the rim and another on the hub.


There are 6 seasons in India.


See I, n. 89.

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