Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Conception of Purushasimha which is the fifth part of chapter III of the English translation of the Sumatinatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Sumatinatha in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 5: Conception of Puruṣasiṃha

A very powerful god fell from heaven and descended into the womb of Queen Sudarśanā who had taken her purifying bath in the afternoon. Then the Queen, asleep, saw a young lion with a ruddy mane enter her mouth. Quickly she arose from her couch in great terror and told the King about the lion entering her mouth. The King said, “That you will have a son powerful as a lion is indicated by the dream, the fruit of the tree of the boon by the goddess.” The Queen was greatly delighted by that interpretation of the dream and stayed awake the rest of the night, engaged in pure conversation. The embryo grew day by day in the Queen’s womb, like a golden lotus in the water of the Gaṅgā.

One day, the Queen described to the King pregnancy-whims that had developed: “I wish to give fearlessness to all creatures. I wish to proclaim non-killing in the cities, etc. I wish to make eight-day festivals in all the temples.” The King said, “O Queen, this pregnancy-whim of yours, originating from the boon of the goddess and the dream, fortunately bestows good things from the power of the embryo. Such a wish as this is because of the magnanimous embryo. For the power of a statue is in accord with its tutelary deity.” So speaking, the King gave at once fearlessness to the fearful and proclaimed non-killing by beating of the drum. He made a splendid eight-day festival in each shrine together with eightfold[1] pūjās and divine concerts.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Jala, candana, puṣpa, dhūpa, dīpa, akṣata, naivedya, phala: water, sandal, flowers, incense, lamp (of ghī), rice, sweetmeats, fruit. I have not been able to find any Āgama reference to the 8-fold pūjā. It is perhaps a later development. It is a commonplace now. A ritual for such a pūjā is given in a pamphlet by Muni Vidyāvijaya, Śrī Vijayadharma Sūri Aṣṭaprakārī Pūjā. Muni Jayantavijayaji refers also to Ratnaśekhara’s Śrāddhavidhi 1. 6.

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