Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The birth-bath of Sambhava which is the sixth part of chapter I of the English translation of the Sambhavajina-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Sambhavajina in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 6: The birth-bath of Sambhava

Then the thrones of the Indras trembled, just as if wishing to go near the Master’s lotus-feet. Knowing the Jina’s birth from clairvoyant knowledge, Śakra rose, removed his shoes, took seven or eight steps, and paid homage to the Lord of Jinas. Śakra was surrounded by gods assembled by the general’s proclamation and. the sound of the bells, eager for the Jina’s birth-festival.

Śakra got into Pālaka with the gods and his retinue and, after going to Nandīśvara, went to the Master’s house. He circumambulated the Master’s house, riding in his car, and then Hari got out of the car and left it in the northeast. Purandara entered the Master’s house and at the very sight of him bowed to him with devotion. He circumambulated the Blessed One and his mother three times, and again bowed, touching the surface of the earth with five members. After giving a sleeping-charm to the Queen and placing an image of the Lord at her side, Śakra himself became fivefold. Then one Śakra took the Lord, and another an umbrella, two carried chauris, and one went in front brandishing a thunderbolt. Surrounded by the gods crying, “Long live! Long live!” Śakra took the Master and went in a moment to the top of Meru. Vāsava sat on a lion-throne on the rock Atipāṇḍukambalā, holding the Teacher of the World on his lap.

"Because of the trembling of his throne just then, the Indra Acyuta immediately employed unobstructed clairvoyant knowledge, and Prāṇata also, and Sahasrāra, Makāśukra, Lāntaka, Brahma, Māhendra, Sanatkumāra, Īśāna, Camara, Bali, Dhāraṇa, Bhūtānanda, Hari, Harisaha, Veṇudeva, Veṇudārin, Agniśikha, Agnimāṇava, Velamba, Prabhañjana, Sughoṣa, Mahāghoṣa, Jalakānta, Jalaprabha, Pūrṇa, Avaśiṣṭa, Amita, Amitavāhana, Kāla, Mahākāla, Surūpa, Pratirūpaka, Pūrṇabhadra, Māṇibhadra, Bhīma, Mahābhīma, Kinnara, Kimpuruṣa, Satpuruṣa, Mahāpuruṣa, Atikāya, Mahākāya, Gītarati, Gītayaśas, Sannihita, Samānaka, Dhātṛ, Vidhātṛ, Ṛṣi, Ṛṣipālaka, Īśvara, Maheśvara, Suvatsaka, Viśālaka, Hāsa and Hāsarati, Śveta, Mahāśveta, Pavaka, Pavakapati, the Sun and Moon—these sixty-three Indras and their retinues in magnificent style, hurrying to the peak of Meru for the Jina’s bath, came together as if staying in a neighbor’s house.

At the command of the Indra Acyuta Ābhiyogikas made pitchers of gold, silver, jewels, gold and silver, gold and jewels, silver and jewels, gold, silver, and jewels, clay, one thousand and eight of each; and the same number of ewers, mirrors, bowls,[1] boxes, vessels, dishes, and flower-baskets. The gods brought water from the oceans, the Ocean of Milk, etc., and from other tīrthas also, and clay and lotuses to delight Śatamanyu’s mind. The gods brought there also herbs from Himādri and saffron from Bbadraśāla, etc., and other fragrant substances. Throwing all the fragrant substances into the water immediately, they perfumed the tīrtha-water from devotion.

Acyuta bathed the Master with the pitchers handed by the gods together with handfuls of flowers from the coral tree, etc. The Master’s bath was made by the Indra Acyuta to the accompaniment of the delighted gods engaged in beautiful playing, singing, and dancing. The lord of Āraṇa and Acyuta devotedly made the divine anointing, pūjā, etc. of the Dord of Jinas and paid homage to him fittingly. The other sixty-two Indras, except Śakra, bathed the Lord of Three Worlds in the same way, which was the means of purifying the earth.

Then Īśāna became fivefold, like Śakra. One held the Lord on his lap, another took the umbrella, two held the chauris, and another stood in front. Śakra, alone clever in devotion, made four long-homed crystal bulls in the four directions from the Lord. Delightful streams of water spurted up from their horns; separated at the bottom, united at the top, they fell on the Master’s head. In this way the Indra of Saudharmakalpa, from excessive devotion to the Lord Jina, made a bath which was different from the baths made by the other Indras.

After he had destroyed the bulls, śakra made the anointing, the worship, etc. of the Teacher of the World and then, after bowing joyfully, recited a hymn of praise.


“Homage to thee, Blessed One, Lord of All, Protector, Lord of the Third Congregation, endowed with many powers, difíering from mankind by three kinds of knowledge and four supernatural powers present at birth, with one thousand and eight clear marks. This birth-kalyāṇa of yours, causing the destruction of negligence of the always negligent, is for the happiness today of people like me. O Lord of the World, this entire night is worthy of honor, in which you, a moon with an unspotted body, were born. Now may the earth too be like heaven because of gods coming and going to worship you, O Lord. Henceforth, enough of old nectar for the gods whose minds are satisfied by enjoyment of the nectar of your sight. O Blessed One, lotus of the best pool of Bharatakṣetra, may I, like a bee, have the highest satisfaction in you. These mortals also are blessed who see you constantly. The festival of your sight surpasses the kingdom of heaven, O Supreme Lord.”

After he had recited this hymn of praise and had become fivefold, he took the Master with one form and repeated his acts with the others as before. Instantly, he placed the Lord adorned with clothes and ornaments by the side of Senādevī, and fastened a śrīdāmagaṇḍaka to the canopy. He put a pair of bracelets and two fine garments on the Lord’s pillow; and took away the sleeping-charm and the Arhat’s image. Then Śakra had the Ābhiyogikas proclaim to the gods, the Kalpavāsins (Vaimānikas), Bhavanādhipatis, Vyantaras, and Jyotiṣkas: “If anyone thinks anything wrong of the Lord or his mother, his head will burst into seven pieces.” Then he injected a stream of nectar in the Lord’s thumb. For Arhats do not nurse, but suck their own thumbs when hungry. Śakra appointed five Apsarases as nurses to discharge all the nurses’ duties for the Lord always. When Sutrāman had done this, he bowed to the Arhat and then went away; but the other Indras went from Meru to the continent called Nandīśvara. After they had made an eight-day festival to the eternal images of the Arhats all the gods and asuras went to their respective abodes.

Footnotes and references:


Supratiṣṭha (erroneously translated as an adj. in 1. 2. 479) is an ‘earthen bowl,’ according to PE; pātraviśeṣa (PH). Karaṇḍaka is a ‘bamboo box,’ but in this instance all these objects are made presumably from all the different materials of which the pitchers are made. Cf. 1. 2. 480. Of the references given in PE for supratiṣṭha, I can consult only Jamb. 130 (p. 410b) which does not specify ‘earthen,’ but uses the adj,. ‘citra.’

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