Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Conquest of northern half of Bharata by Sagara which is the tenth 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 10: Conquest of northern half of Bharata by Sagara

As soon as they had seen Sagara causing humiliation to the sun by the light of his weapons on all sides, making the eyes of the Khecara-women wink especially by the dust from the ground, shaking the earth by the weight of his multitude of soldiers, producing deafness of heaven and earth by tumultuous noises, resembling some one who has appeared unexpectedly from a curtain, or has come down from the sky, or risen from Pātāla, with a dense array of endless soldiers, terrifying by the cakra in advance, like an ocean attacking, Kirātas, named Āpātas, whose attack is painful, haughty from pride in their strength, said to each other angrily and sarcastically: “Oh, all you powerful men, say who is this, seeker of the unsought (death), devoid of dignity, shame, intelligence, and renown, lacking in favorable marks, thinking himself a hero, blind from conceit, who enters this country now, ha! a buffalo into a forest occupied by a lion?”

Saying this, the mighty Mleccha-kings attacked the van of the army of Cakrapāṇi, like the asuras that of Vajrapāṇi. Instantly the army appeared defeated, its elephants disappeared, its horses killed, its chariots with broken axles. When the Cakrin’s general saw his own army defeated by the Kirātas, angered like Yama, he mounted his horse-jewel. After drawing the sword-jewel that was like a comet that had risen, like a powerful wind he rushed against the Mlecchas. He rooted up some Mlecchas, crushed some, and made some fall, like a forest-elephant trees. The Kirātas, broken by him, powerless, ran away for many yojanas quickly, like cotton blown by the wind. After they had gone a long distance and had come to the bank of the Sindhu river, they remained supine on a couch of sand, their clothes removed.

Thinking of their family-deities, the Meghamukha-Nāgakumāras, they, very impatient, commenced a three days’ fast. At the end of the three days’ fast the seats of the gods shook, and they saw by clairvoyance resembling eyes the Kirātas in such a condition. Like fathers, they suffered pain from their pain from sympathy. Approaching them, standing in the sky, the Meghamukhas said: “O children, why are you like this? Tell us the reason without hesitation, so that we may assist you.”

Then the Kirātas said, “Some one came into our country though difficult of access, like submarine-fire into the ocean. We, defeated by him, have come to you for protection. See to it for us that he goes away and does not return again.”

The gods replied, “You are ignorant of him like moths of a fire. For that reason you talk like this, friends. For he is the Cakravartin, Sagara by name, powerful, possessing the power of Śakra, invincible to gods and asuras. He, like the thunderbolt, can be conquered by no one, outside the sphere of weapons, fire, poison, charms, water, spells, magic arts, etc. Nevertheless, at your request we will cause trouble to the powerful Cakrin, like mosquitoes to an elephant.”

Saying this, the Meghavadanas departed, stood over the camp, and spread a terrible rain-cloud. The heavens were filled with such a dense darkness that the people could not distinguish objects, as if blind from birth. They rained on the camp with streams of water the size of a rice-pestle for seven nights, unchecked like a wind. When the Cakravartin saw this ill-omened rain unbroken, he touched the skin-jewel with his lotus-hand. Instantly it grew to the size of the camp and, stretched out horizontally, floated on top of the water. The King with his army got into it like a great boat and, touching the umbrella-jewel, he made it spread out like the skin-jewel. He put the umbrella above the skin, like a cloud above the earth, and set the gem-jewel at the bottom of the umbrella-handle for light. Between the umbrella and the skin the King’s camp remained comfortable, like a crowd of Asuras and Vyantaras within the earth.[1] The steward sowed all grain, vegetables, fruit, etc., at daybreak and supplied them at evening. Such is the power of the jewels.

The Meghamukhas continued to rain unceasingly in the same way with unbroken streams of water, like evilspeaking people with evil speech. Sagara thought angrily to himself, “Who are these who have undertaken to destroy me—the fools!” The sixteen thousand attendant-gods, angered, armored, carrying weapons, approached and said to them: “O villains of little wit, do you not know this is Cakravartin Sagara, invincible to gods, etc.? So, go at once, if you desire your own good. Otherwise, we will cut you into pieces like a gourd.”

The Meghamukhas, so addressed by them, terrified, dispersed the clouds at once, and disappeared somewhere like fish in water. The Meghamukha-gods went then to the Kirātas, the Āpātas, and announced to them, “The Cakravartin is not to be conquered by such as us.” Then the Kirātas, frightened, with their garments put on like women, took a present of jewels and went to Sagara as a refuge. Falling at the Cakravartin’s feet in submission, their folded hands placed to their heads, the Kirātas declared: “We undertook this against you from ignorance, O master, like arrogant śarabhas jumping against a cloud.[2] It was done without reflection. Therefore, pardon us, O lord. For a burst of anger on the part of the noble is terminated by submission. Henceforth we shall remain here as householders, foot-soldiers, or vassals at your command. For our condition depends on you.”

The Cakrin replied to them: “Having become subject to me, remain, paying tribute like the vassals of the southern half of Bharata.” After conversing with them in this way and rewarding them, the King dismissed the Kirātas; and instructed the general to conquer the west district[3] of the Sindhu.

Footnotes and references:


See above, p. 106 f.


Proverbial for wasted effort. Cf. I, n. 302.


See n. 303. This is the north part.

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