Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Conquest of Prabhasatirtha by Sagara which is the fourth 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 4: Conquest of Prabhāsatīrtha by Sagara

Then the King set out following the path of the cakra-jewel to the west, obscuring the sun by the dust of the army. Quickly putting the Draviḍas[1] to flight, like a garuḍa serpents; blinding the Andhras by his own splendor like the sun blinding owls; causing signs of royalty to be abandoned by the Trikaliṅgas,[2] as well as power; making the Vidarbhas powerless as couches “of darbha-grass; making the Mahārāṣṭras abandon their realms, like beggars in rags; branding the Kauùkaṇas like horses[3] with arrows; making the Lāṭas fold their hands on their foreheads as if they were in pain; making the Kacchas contract on all sides like large turtles; reducing to submission the Surāṣṭras fierce like their country,[4] the King gradually arrived at the shore of the western ocean.

After he had established camp, concentrating on Prabhāsa, observing a three days’ fast, he began pauṣadha in the pauṣadha-house. At the end of the three days’ fast, the King got into his chariot, like the sun, and plunged into Lavaṇoda till the water was up to the hub. After stringing his bow, he made the bow-string resound, resembling the sound of a victory-drum for the success of the journey of the arrow. He discharged the arrow with his name, like a messenger removing all doubt, at the house of the Lord of Prabhāsatīrtha. At the end of twelve yojanas the arrow fell into the house of the god Prabhāsa, like a bird into a tree.

When he saw the arrow, the chief of those acting with circumspection read on it the name of Cakrin Sagara. Collecting gifts and taking the arrow, he approached King Sagara with devotion, as if he were a guru who was a guest. Standing in the air, he gave a crest-jewel, two golden breast-ornaments, bracelets, a girdle, and armlets to the King, and also the arrow. He said to the King of Vinītā respectfully, “In this district, O Cakravartin, I shall dwell henceforth as the executor of your commands.” After accepting the gifts and conversing with him considerately, the King dismissed Prabhāsa like a minister. Sagara went to camp, bathed, worshipped the Jina, and with his retinue broke his three days’ fast. Delighted, the King made an eight-day festival for the Lord of Prabhāsatīrtha, as he had done for the Lord of Varadāman.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

There are puns on the names of all these peoples, impossible to reproduce in translation.

[2]:

The MSS. read °liṅgāni instead of °cihnāni of the ed., which is certainly better, as it supplies the pun. I can find no authority whatever for the ed.’s interpretation of liṅga as ‘bodily humor.’ I have taken asu=prāṇa.

[3]:

Probably an allusion to the fact that some breeds of horses from this part of the country have always been well-known.

[4]:

This comparison seems strange. The people of that part of India are generally spoken of in quite opposite terms, and Surāṣṭra is called ‘the garden of India.’

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