Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

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

Part 14: Story of Mṛgāvatī

When some time had passed after Acala’s birth, Queen Bhadrā conceived an embryo like a ketakī[1] conceiving a blossom. At the completed time the king’s wife bore a daughter endowed with all the favorable marks, like the Jāhnavī bearing a lotus. The king named her Mṛgāvatī because of her moon-face and her eyes like a young deer’s. Going from lap to lap, the gazelle-eyed maiden grew up without difficulties, like a gazelle belonging to ascetics. The nurses looked like pillars of a house with jeweled puppets as they walked in the courtyard with her on their hips. Gradually traversing childhood, she attained youth distinguished by beauty of body, which is a life-giving herb for reviving Smara. Her face was like an earring of the moon under the guise of arched eyebrows; her black and white eyes were like white lotuses with bees. Her beautiful neck was like the stalk of her lotus-face; her hands with straight fingers were like quivers of Kama. Her breasts were like cakravākas[2] of the river of the loveliness of her body; her waist was very small as if from weariness from the weight of her breasts. Her navel was endowed with depth like a pleasure pool of Smara. The very large surface of her hips was like the slope of Ṛatnācala. Her thighs were like pillars of plantain, gradually rounding; her feet with straight lower legs were like lotuses with erect stalks. With her limbs thus endowed with the fresh beauty of youth, she looked like the supreme goddess of the Vidyādhara-women.

As Mṛgāvatī’s youthful beauty increased, likewise Bhadrā’s anxiety in regard to a suitable husband increased. With the idea, “The king, as well as I, should think about her husband,” one day Queen Bhadrā had her brought before him. As if he did not know that she was his own daughter because of the agitation produced by the arrow of Love, Ripupratiśatru thought in his heart: “Oh, here is loveliness of the body, a conquering arrow of Manobhu, wayward from the ease of victory over the women of the three worlds. Sovereignty of the earth is easy to acquire and even sovereignty of heaven, but this girl, dear to my heart, is very hard to acquire. She is at hand because of my merit acquired in other births, excelling even the merit of gods, asuras, and kings.”

With these reflections, the king at once took her, dear as life, on his lap with affectionate words. Fixing her in his affection by touches, embraces, and kisses, he had her taken to the women’s quarters by old chamberlains.

Summoning the citizens together with the ministers in order to avoid censure from the people, the king asked, “Any jewel that is found in my country, in villages, cities, or elsewhere, whose jewel is it? Decide.” The people said, “Whatever jewel is produced anywhere in your country, you alone are its master. No one else can be.” After he had obtained this decision three times, the king quickly showed them his daughter Mṛgāvatī. He said to them again, “This is my jewel of a daughter. Now I shall marry her myself with your consent.” The citizens went to their own homes, ashamed at this speech. The king married her with a Gandharva-marriage. Because he was the husband of his own daughter, the name Prajāpati for the king spread over the earth.

When she heard of this new stain on the family which would be ridiculed by all the people, causing great shame to her husband, Bhadrā was very much ashamed. She went to the Dekhan with her son Acala. That is a fine country where evil gossip is never heard. Like a new Viśvakarman Acala founded a city, Māheśvarī, in the Dekhan for his mother. The Baladeva Acala had it filled with gold, like Kubera Ayodhyā, taking it (the gold) from everywhere. He left his mother there, like the goddess of the city incarnate, surrounded by high-born ministers, body-guards, and slaves. Bhadrā, the crest-jewel of women, a faithful wife with the ornament of good conduct, devoted to the six duties[3], worship of the gods, et cetera, remained in the city. Baladeva, devoted, went to Potanapura. The father, whatever he may be, must be honored by the noble. Acala continued obeying his father as before. The wise do not blame the conduct of persons who should be honored. The king established doe-eyed Mṛgāvatī in the rank of chief-queen, like the moon Rohiṇī.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The Pandanus odoratissimus, the screw-pine, a favorite tree in India.

[2]:

See I, n. 318.

[3]:

devapūjā gurūpāsti svādhyāyaḥ saṃyamastapaḥ |
dānaṃ ceti gṛhasthānāṃ ṣaṭkarmāṇi dine dine ||

Worship of the gods, attendance on gurus, study, self-restraint, penance, liberality. Upadeśataraṅgiṇī, Arcopadeśa 45, p. 225 of Benares edition.

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