Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...

Part 7: Śītala’s initiation

Then the Lord’s mind became disgusted with living in saṃsāra, and the thrones of the Lokāntika-gods shook. The gods were enlightened by clairvoyant knowledge to this effect: “In the southern half of Bharata in the continent Jambūdvīpa, the Blessed One, the tenth Arhat, is desirous of the vow. Therefore we shall now urge him, for that is always our duty.” After reflecting so, the gods, the Sārasvatas, etc., came from Brahmaloka, bowed to the Master, and announced: “O Lord, found a congregation from compassion toward all in this ocean of existence difficult to cross in the absence of a congregation, like a forest-stream without a ford.”

After saying this, the Lokāntika-gods went to Brahmaloka and Śītala Svāmin gave gifts for a year.

At the end of this giving, the Indras, whose thrones had shaken, made Lord Śītala’s initiation-kalyāṇa-bath. Then the Blessed Lord, the ornament of the three worlds, anointed, with garments and ornaments put on, supported on his arm by Biḍaujas, his umbrella, chauris, etc. held by other Indras, ascended a jewel of a palanquin named Candraprabhā. Attended by thousands of gods, asuras, and kings[1] he went to a grove of his own city, named Sahasrāmravaṇa. Then the Lord, who wished to cross saṃsāra, devoted to reaching emancipation, at once took off his ornaments, etc., like a burden. Wearing a garment of devadūṣya placed on his shoulder by Śakra, the Lord of the World tore out his hair in five handfuls. When Śakra had thrown the hair in the Ocean of Milk, had returned and restrained the tumult and stood like a doorkeeper with folded hands, the Lord and one thousand kings, observing a two days’ fast, made a promise of abstention from censurable activities, in the presence of gods, asuras, and kings, in the afternoon of the twelfth day of the black half of Māgha, the moon being in Pūrvāṣāḍhā. The Lord’s fourth knowledge, called ‘mind-reading,’ arose. The goḍs, etc. bowed and went to their respective abodes.

The next day Lord Śītala broke his fast with ricepudding in the house of King Punarvasu in Riṣṭapura. Then the five things, the stream of treasure, etc., were made by the gods, and furthermore King Punarvasu made a golden platform there. Observing numerous special vows, enduring trials, Lord Śītala wandered for three months as an ordinary ascetic.

Footnotes and references:


Both MSS. are like the ed., but I strongly suspect that the text should read °narendrāṇām.