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 9: Śītala’s samavasaraṇa

Then the Indras of the gods and asuras made a samavasaraṇa with three four-doored walls made of jewels, gold, and silver. The Lord entered it by the east door and circumambulated the caitya-tree which was one thousand and eighty bows high. Saying, “Homage to the congregation,” the Lord seated himself on the eastern throne, and the gods placed his images in the other directions. Then the others, the gods, etc., stood in their proper places, as eager for the Master’s voice as peacocks for thunder.

Then Vajradhara (Śakra) bowed to Śītala Svāmin, touching the ground with his head, and recited a hymn of praise, his hands folded submissively:


“O Lord of the Three Worlds, they are fortunate who purify themselves by bathing repeatedly in the water of the copious light from the nails of your lotus-feet. This Bharata is adorned by you like the sky by the sun, like a pool by a haṃsa, like a city by a king. In the interval between two congregations dharma was overcome by wrong belief, like light by darkness in the interval between the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon. This world has become blind, its eyes devoid of discernment, and goes on wrong paths everywhere, as if confused about direction. False dharma has been adopted by the perplexed people with the idea that it is dharma, false gods with the idea that they are gods, and false gurus with the idea that they are gurus. You, an ocean of compassion by nature, because of its (accumulated) merit have descended to this world ready to fall into the pit of hell. The serpent of wrong-belief has been powerful in the world for a long time (but) only until the nectar of your speech flows out. Now the world will have right-belief by the departure of wrong-belief, O Lord, just as you had omniscience by the destruction of the destructive karmas.”