Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Passage through Tamisra which is the ninth 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 9: Passage through Tamisrā

Sagara remained in that camp for a long time, attended by kings who had come from afar, like the ocean by rivers. One day, he instructed the general, carrying the staff-key, to open the leaves of the south door to Tamisrā. He went near Tamisrā and made a three days’ fast with reference to the god Kṛtamāla. For the gods are generally won by penance. At the end of the three days’ fast, after he had bathed and put on clean garments and ointment, taking an incense burner, he went to the cave like a divinity. Bowing at the sight of it, the general stood at the door like a door-keeper, like a policeman. After he had made an eight-day festival to it (the cave) and had drawn the eight auspicious things, the general struck its doors with the staff-jewel. Making the creaking-sound, ‘sarat, sariti,’ the doors opened at once like the halves of a dry pod. He reported to Sagara the opening of the doors announced by the noise of ‘sarat, sariti.’

The King mounted the elephant-jewel and, attended by the fourfold army like one of the Dikpālas, went there. He placed the gem-jewel on the right frontal boss of the elephant-jewel, like a gleaming lamp on a lamp-stand. Then, following the cakra, the Cakrin, with unstumbling gait like a lion, entered the cave Tamisrā fifty yojanas long. As he went, the King drew circles with the cowrie to destroy darkness, forty-nine of them, a yojana apart, alternating on the two walls of the cave, five hundred hows in length and width. The door of the cave remains open and the circles inside the cave remain as long as the Cakrabhṛt lives. A light was produced in the cave by them resembling the row of suns and moons at the boundary of Mānuṣottara.

In the middle he arrived at two rivers, named ‘Unmagnā’ and ‘Nimagnā,’ flowing from the east and west walls of the cave, going to the Sindhu.[1] Even a stone thrown in Unmagnā floats, but even a gourd thrown in Nimagnā sinks. The King with his army crossed them as easily as a house-stream by a road paved at once by the carpenter-jewel. Gradually he arrived at the north door of Tamisrā. Its leaves opened of their own accord like a lotus-bud. Sagara, seated on an elephant’s back, left the inside of the cave like the sun the ocean, with his retinue.

Footnotes and references:


See I, p. 235.

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