by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Winning of the woman-jewel which is the twentieth 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.
There one day Sagara, a depository of all the arts, mounted a spirited horse and went to the riding-ground to ride. There he exercised the clever horse, and gradually taught it better and better gaits. When it had acquired the fifth gait, it flew up in the sky, ignoring signals of the bridle, etc., as if supported by evil spirits. The horse, like a Rākṣasa in the form of a horse, carried off Sagara, and unhesitatingly dashed forward rapidly into the great forest. By pulling on the bridle angrily and pressing on its sides with his thighs, Sagara stopped the horse, and jumped down. The horse fell helpless on the ground, and the King started out on foot.
When he had gone a short distance, he saw a large pool like moonlight fallen to the ground, overcome by the rays of the sun. He bathed in it to remove fatigue, like a forest-elephant, and drank the water, sweet, clear, fragrant with lotuses, and cool. He left the pool, stood on the bank, and saw before him a maiden like the goddess of the water. Seeing her with a face like a young lotus, with eyes like a blue lotus, with the water of loveliness with high waves, with breasts like a pair of cakravākas, beautiful with proud hands and feet like blooming red lotuses, the Lakṣmī of the pool embodied, he thought: “Is she an Apsaras, a Vyantarī, a Nāga-maiden, or a Vidyādharī? For such as she could not be an ordinary woman. The water of the pool does not make such joy in the heart as the sight of her, like a rain of nectar.”
Then she looked at the King with lotus-petal eyes like love that had been inspired at that very time. Afflicted by love at once she was led by her friends, who supported her with difficulty, to her abode, faded like a cluster of day-blooming lotuses at evening. As he was walking slowly on the bank of the pool, pining with love, Sagara was addressed by a chamberlain, who came, bowed, and spoke with folded hands:
“O master, on Mt. Vaitāḍhya in this same Bharatakṣetra there is a city Gaganavallabha, a favorite of good fortune. In it there was a Vidyādhara-king, Sulocana, resembling Trilocanasakha (Kubera) in the city Alakā. There is a son of his, Sahasranayana, judicious; and this daughter, Sukeśā, a crest-jewel of all woman-kind. When she was born, she was described by an astrologer, ‘She will be a woman-jewel, the chief-queen of a Cakravartin.’ And now, again and again she has been demanded in marriage by Pūrṇamegha, the King of Rathanūpura, who is in love with her. When her father did not give her to him, Pūrṇamegha, thundering like a cloud, came to fight, wishing to seize her by violence. After fighting for a very long time, Pūrṇamegha, powerful, sealed Sulocana’s eyes in a long sleep.
Taking his sister like a miser his wealth, Sahasranayana came here with his retinue, noble sir. While she was playing in the pool here, she saw you. Love taught her a painful passion quickly. Perspiring as if distressed by heat, transfixed like a puppet, her hair erect as if afflicted by cold, her voice stumbling as if she had a cold, trembling as if terrified, colorless like a sick person, shedding tears as if plunged in grief, absorbed in indifference like a follower of yoga, she reached a state of collapse at once from the sight of you. Comfort her, O comforter of the world, that she may not perish.”
While the chamberlain was saying this, Sahasranayana came there through the air and bowed to the Cakrin. After asking for permission, he led Cakrin Sagara to his own abode and delighted him by the gift of the woman-jewel, Sukeśā. Then Sahasrekṣaṇa and the Cakrin went in an aerial car to Mt. Vaitāḍhya to the city Gaganavallabha. After establishing Sahasranayana in his ancestral kingdom, the King made him overlord of all the Vidyādharas.
Footnotes and references:
Five gaits were recognized. See I, n. 304.
See I, p. 175.