by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Conquest of Varadamatirtha by Sagara which is the third 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.
Then the Cakrin’s cakra-jewel, equal to bail for the winning of the Śrīs of victory of all directions, set out to the south. Following the cakra, the Cakrin advanced by a southwest path, making the earth with its mountains move, as it were, by his soldiers. Rooting up some kings like a wind trees; digging up some like clumps of rice and replanting them; setting up some new ones just like pillars of glory; releasing others after making them bow, like a river-flood bending cane; cutting off the fingers of some kings; making others give tribute of jewels; making some abandon elephants and horses, and others umbrellas, Sagara arrived gradually at the bank of the southern ocean with the firm resolution to conquer all the world.
Descending from the elephant’s shoulder in the camp made instantly, the Cakrabhṛt dwelt in a house like Vajrabhṛt in a heavenly palace. In the pauṣadha-house there the King made a three days’ fast, and continued to observe pauṣadha, thinking of Varadāman. At the end of the three days’ fast, Sagara, the pauṣadha completed, mounted his great chariot which seemed to be cut from the sun. Sagara plunged into the ocean with the chariot till the water was up to the hub, like plunging into a churning of milk with the churning stick. Fastening the bow-string to the top of the bow, he made it hum, being heard by the sea-animals with drooping ears, distressed by fear.
Then the King drew from the quiver an arrow terrifying even to the terrifying, like a snake-charmer drawing a serpent from a hole. After he had set it on the middle of the bow, the King brought the arrow near his ear like a servant wishing to make a request. The Cakrabhṛt discharged the arrow at the house of the Lord of Varadāman, like Vajrabhṛt a thunderbolt at a mountain. The arrow, resembling an unexpected blow from a hammer, fell before the Prince of Varadāman who was present in the assembly. Saying, “Whose (name)-leaf has been turned up unexpectedly by Death?” the Lord of Varadāman himself got up and took the arrow. When he saw King Sagara’s name, he grew quiet like a serpent at the sight of nāgadamanī.
He explained to his assembly, “In Bharata of Jambūdvīpa, the second Cakrabhṛt, Sagara by name, has arisen. He is to be worshipped, with costly and varied garments and jeweled ornaments, like a divinity that has come to the house.” Saying this, he took a respectful gift quickly and, standing in the air, approached the King in his chariot. He delivered to the King diadems, jewels, pearl wreaths, armlets, bracelets, etc., like a keeper of a treasury, and the arrow. The Lord of Varadāman said, “Henceforth, I shall be the executor of your commands even in my own country allotted (for rule) by Śakra.” The King, knowing what was proper, accepted his gifts, agreed to his speech, rewarded him, and dismissed him. Then the Cakrin turned, following the path of the cakra, his chariot-horses neighing at the sight of jalavājins. Returning to the camp, he got out of the chariot, bathed, worshipped the Jina, and broke his fast of three days. Sagara held a big eight-day festival in honor of the Prince of Varadāman. For lords show honor to their devotes.
Footnotes and references:
Artemisia vulgaris, or wormwood, considered an antidote for snake-bite.
Coomaraswamy identifies this creature as one with the head of a horse and the tail of a fish. See Yakṣas, II, pl. 43, fig. 2.