Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Conquest of Magadhatirtha by Sagara which is the second 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 2: Conquest of Magadhatīrtha by Sagara

Sagara went to the bath-house and bathed with pure water like Airāvata[1] in the stream of the Gaṅgā. His body polished like a jeweled pillar with a divine cloth, the King put on two divine spotless garments. Perfumers anointed the King with gośīrṣa-sandal essence clear as moonlight. The King adorned his ornaments by contact with his body. Even ornaments gain luster by being in the best place.

At an auspicious moment, after an auspicious ceremony had been performed by the family-priest, the King mounted the elephant-jewel, carrying the sword-jewel, for the expedition of universal conquest. Mounting the horse-jewel, carrying the staff-jewel, the general-jewel set out in front of the King. The priest-jewel, resembling the sun for removing the frost of all calamities, set out with the King. The steward-jewel, able to provide meals for the army at every camp, like a living Citrarasa wishing-tree,[2] set out with them. The carpenter, resembling Viśvakarman turned into a jewel, possessing power competent to make cities, etc., at once, went along. The umbrella- and skin-jewels, which expand from a touch of the hand, like clouds from the touch of a favorable wind, went along. The gem- and cowrie-jewels,[3] able to destroy darkness, resembling the suns of Jambūdvīpa diminished in size, accompanied him. The women of his household, like the shadow of the Cakrin’s body, went along, like a retinue of many slaves that had come from the Amazonian kingdom. The cakra, like the King’s prestige, went ahead toward the east, its conquest of the heavens not repelled, lighting the sky from afar.

Causing the sky-elephants to flap their pricked-up ears by the sounds of the marching-drums resembling the sound of a mass of Puṣkarāvartaka-clouds; soon making heaven and earth one thing, like a hemispherical bowl and its cover, by the dust raised by the hooves of the horses advancing in a circle; making the sky resemble the ocean with its sea-monsters by the skeat-fìsh and makaras on the chariot- and elephant-banners; producing a rainy day, as it were, by the masses of troops of elephants shining with sevenfold[4] dripping streams of mada; covering the earth completely with a crore of foot-soldiers leaping with joy as if wishing to ascend to the sky; resplendent with the cakra-jewel going in front like a general with irresistible magnificence and with unblunted power at all times; the earth, rough from high places, etc., made level by the general with the staff-jewel like a harrow; traversing the road with an easy gait like a bhadra-elephant, with a yojana’s march every day; equal to Prācīnabarhis, in a few days he arrived at the Māgadha-country[5] in the east, the only tilaka on the face of the Gaṅgā.

Then the carpenter-jewel, at the command of Cakrabhṛt Sagara, made a camp like a younger brother of Vinītā, with many extensive lofty elephant-houses, with horse-stables like huge caverns by the thousand, with mansions thinking themselves palaces of the gods and pavilions thinking themselves clouds, with markets of equal shape as if made from one model, provided with highways and rows of embellishments of triangular places, etc., nine yojanas wide and twelve long.

There in the pauṣadha-house,[6] the King observed a three days’ fast, placing the prince of Māgadhatīrtha in his mind. All his ornaments removed, reclining on a couch of kuśa-grass, his weapons laid aside, observing continence, he kept watch continually. When the three days’ fast was finished, the King left the pauṣadha-house and bathed with pure water. The King got into his chariot covered with light-colored banners and filled with various weapons like the ocean with sea-foam and sea-monsters, adorned with four divine hells hanging at the sides, like Meru with four suns and moons, equipped with horses entirely equal to Uccaiḥśravas, their necks free from yokes.

Adorned with his fourfold army—elephants, horses, chariots, and infantry—like his own polity with the four expedients (npāya), shining with the umbrella over his head and chauris at his sides like three bulbs of the vine of glory extending through the three worlds, carrying in his hand a bow with the bow-string stretched, Sagara then plunged into the ocean until the water was up to the hub of the chariot-wheel. With his hand the King twanged the stretched bow-string, the prologue to the play of the Śrī of victory, and drew an arrow from the quiver like a jewel from a treasury. At the center of the bow the King set the arrow resembling the Iṣvākāra Mts. in the center of Dhātakīkhaṇḍa. The King drew to his ear the powerful arrow, which attained the rank of an earring, golden, marked with his own name. He discharged the arrow, which sounded with its hissing feather like a new Garuḍa in the sky, at the Lord of Māgadhatīrtha. It crossed twelve yojanas of the ocean in a twinkling and fell in the council of the Prince of Māgadhatīrtha.

When he saw the arrow like an unexpected stroke of lightning, the Lord of Māgadha at once became angry, terrifying by his frown. After he had reflected a little, he arose and took the arrow himself, and saw Cakrin Sagara’s name on it. Holding the arrow, he sat down again on his lion-throne and said to his own assembly in a deep voice: “In the country named Bharata in Jambūdvīpa, the second Cakravartin, Sagara by name, has arisen now. Verily, gifts are necessarily made by past, future, and present lords of Māgadha to the cakravartins.”

After speaking in this humble manner, he approached respectfully Cakrin Sagara with gifts, like a servant. Standing in the air, he gave the King the arrow, ornaments—necklace, armlets, earrings, bracelets, etc.,—and devadūṣya-clothes. The Prince of Māgadha gave water from Māgadhatīrtha to the King, like a physician giving mercury. Folding his hands submissively to resemble exactly a lotus-bud, the Lord of Māgadha said to the King, “In this Bharata-zone in the east, I am always the executor of your commands like a vassal dwelling on the border.” Then the King accepted him as a servant and dismissed him, after he had rewarded him, like a fortress-governor of his own. Like a rising sun Sagara left the water of the ocean, veiling the sky by his own great splendor. Then the elephant of kings went to his camp; and with his retinue broke his fast, preceded by a bath and worship of the gods. Then the Cakrin made an eight-day festival for the Lord of Māgadhatīrtha. For servants have dignity given by their masters.

Footnotes and references:


Or perhaps indrakuñjara is an inverted cmpd. here, rather than Airāvata.


See I, p. 30.


See I, pp. 233 ff., and notes 295 and 296.


The 7 streams flow from the kara (2), kaṭa (2), meḍhra (1), and netra (2). See Mallinātha’s com. to the Raghuvaṃśa 4. 23.


I.e., of Māgadhatīrtha.


See I, notes 281 and 270.

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