Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The attack on Candavega which is the eighteenth 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 18: The attack on Caṇḍavega

After he had dismissed the assembly, the king sent the messenger Caṇḍavega to Prajāpati on some business. The messenger traveled with excellent charioteers and horsemen to Potanapura in a few days, like his master’s splendor embodied. There King Prajāpati, adorned with all his ornaments, accompanied by Acala and Tripṛṣṭha and many vassals; surrounded by distinguished persons, generals, ministers, priests, et cetera, like Pāśabhṛt (Varuṇa) by sea-monsters; magnificent like a god, was staging unconcernedly a concert with dancers engaged in various dance-steps, postures,[1] gestures,[2] and leaps, with the hollow of the sky resounding with the noise of sounding drums, with flutes that had become like restorers of life by the flood of beautiful, clear song, with notes of wide-spread grāmarāgas made on lutes, with songs commenced with harmonious time.

Caṇḍavega suddenly entered the assembly, his course unhindered by the door-keepers, just like a flash of lightning. When Prajāpati with his vassals had noticed that he had come unexpectedly, he rose hastily to greet the master’s messenger like the master. With great respect the king seated him on a seat and asked all the news about the master. The concert was interrupted suddenly by his arrival, like the study of the scriptures merely by the sight of lightning. All the concert-performers went to their respective homes. For there is no favorable opportunity for artists when the master’s mind is engaged elsewhere.

When Tripṛṣṭha saw that he had stopped the show, he was very angry and asked some bystander: “Took! who is this man who does not know the suitable time, an animal in the form of a man, that enters my father’s assembly, without announcing his arrival? Why did my father rise in haste to greet him when he saw him? Why was he not restrained by the door-keeper when he entered?” The man replied to Tripṛṣṭha: “He is certainly the messenger of Hayagrīva, the supreme king of kings. Verily, in these three parts of Bharata, the kings are his servants. Therefore, your father rose to greet his messenger, like himself. Therefore he was not hindered by the doorkeeper who knew what was fitting, since not even a dog that belongs to the master, to say nothing of a man, is attacked. If this messenger is pleased, King Hayagrīva is pleased. By his favor the kingdoms of the kings flourish. If this man is injured contemptuously, Hayagrīva is injured. For kings act in accordance with the view of the messenger. If the master, hard to endure like Kṛtānta, is injured, the kings do not expect even to live, to say nothing of (keeping) a kingdom.”

Tripṛṣṭha said: “No one is master of any one nor servant by birth. That surely is dependent on power. In the meantime we do not attack him with mere words. Certainly praise of one’s self, as well as blame of others, causes shame to the noble. By my strength I will make him, who shows disrespect to my father, lie on his back, and. I will make Hayagrīva into Chinnagrīva[3] at the right time. Now is a suitable time. When he is dismissed by my father, I must be informed in order that I may do what is fitting.” The man agreed to this order even though it was dangerous to the king. For the king’s son is considered to be the king by the king’s dependents. Caṇḍavega told the king’s (Aśvagrīva’s) commands to Prajāpati as if he were his servant. Caṇḍavega was dismissed by King Prajāpati who had agreed and had rewarded him with gifts, et cetera. Satisfied, he set out with his attendants to his own country and left Potanapura in a chariot. Tripṛṣṭha learned that he was leaving and with Acala got in front of him and headed him off completely, like a forest-fire with a wind obstructing a traveler. Tripṛṣṭha spoke as follows:

“Impudent, base villain, although you have only the rank of a messenger, you act like a king, animal! Who else with intelligence, even an animal, who did not wish to die, would interrupt the concert as you did, fool! The king himself, when he comes to the house of a mere householder, enters after announcing himself. That is the custom of the wise. You, splitting open the earth, as it were, came suddenly unannounced. You were wrongly entertained like your master by my father who is naturally artless. Now show that power because of which you are disrespectful. I will show you the fruit of the tree of bad conduct.”

With these words he raised his fist, but before he struck, Muśalapāṇi got in front of him and said: “O prince, enough of striking this worm of a man! For the lion does not slap jackals even though they are howling. Because he is a messenger, he is not to be killed, even though he does improper things; just as a Brahman, even though he says something monstrous, can not be killed because he is a Brahman. Therefore, restrain your anger against this man even if he is rough. The castor-bean plant[4] is not the place for blows of an elephant’s tusk.”

Addressed thus by Balabhadra, Tripṛṣṭha quickly withdrew his raised fist like an elephant its trunk, and instructed the soldiers: “Take everything, except life alone, from this villainous messenger who interrupted the show.” At the prince’s order the soldiers beat him with clubs and fists like a dog that has entered the house. They took everything, ornaments, et cetera, from him, like guards from a condemned man who has reached the execution-place. Avoiding blows for a long time, in order to save his life, he rolled on the ground like one furnishing amusement for an elephant. His retinue had fled in all directions, avoiding blows, et cetera, saving their lives like crows that have abandoned food. When they had beaten him like a donkey, plucked him like a sparrow, and yelled at him like a rogue, the princes went home.

Prajāpati learned all this from the people’s gossip and reflected with an arrow in his heart, as it were: “Oh, that bad behavior was not suitable for my sons. In whose presence tan I tell that which is like being thrown by my own horse! Caṇḍavega was not attacked, but rather Aśvagrīva was attacked. For these messengers act as the reflections of kings. Before he goes away, he must be conciliated by every means. As soon as fire starts, it must be extinguished then and there.”

With these reflections, the king had him brought by the ministers and appeased him with words gentle from affection. His hands folded submissively, he showed him especial honor—a flood of water for gashing out the stain made by the princes. He gave him fourfold gifts[5] of great price to cool his anger, like a cold treatment to an elephant. The king said: “You know these young princeṣ, because of their fresh youth, are ill-behaved to common people and distinguished persons. The princes are unrestrained, like untamed bulls, because of the success produced by the master’s special favors to me. Even if they have committed a great outrage against you, bestower of honor, nevertheless you must forget that like a bad dream, friend. The imperishable friendship of us two who have always been like full brothers must not be abandoned suddenly in a moment, O you who are skilled in knowing the disposition of my mind. You must not tell Aśvagrīva the mischievous conduct of the princes, blameless as you are. This is the test of the indulgent.”

With the fire of his anger extinguished by the rain of nectar of such conciliation, Caṇḍavega said in a voice gentle from affection: “Because of long-standing love for you, I was not angry. O king, what is to be pardoned here? Your sons are the same as mine. Certainly punishment for the bad conduct of boys is censure which is made known, not reporting to the royal court. For that is the custom among the people. I will not report to the king such conduct of your sons. Water can be thrown, not drawn, from the mouth of an elephant. So, put your mind at rest, O king. I am going. Now give me dismissal. There is not the least evil in my mind.”

Prajāpati embraced the messenger like his own brother, when he said this and, his hands folded submissively, dismissed him.

In a few days the messenger went into Aśvagrīva’s presence; but the story of the attack on him had gone ahead like a chamberlain. At that time (of the attack) Caṇḍavega’s whole retinue, terrified, had gone and reported to the king the whole story about Tripṛṣṭha. The messenger saw Hayagrīva, his head up, red-eyed, like Vaivasvata (Yama) ready to swallow the earth. “I think some one has told the king the story of the attack on me,” the courier thought. For servants know the signs. Questioned by the king, he related the story completely. For in the presence of severe masters one can not lie. Remembering his promise, the courier declared: “Just as I am devoted, Your Majesty, so is King Prajāpati. What the princes did, that was trivial, childish ignorance. Besides, he was extremely disgusted by the behavior of the princes. Just as you are preeminent in power among all the kings, so King Prajāpati is preeminent in devotion to you. The king blamed himself for a long time because of the princes’ fault. He accepted your command and gave this gift.”

The courier became silent after saying this and Hayagrīva reflected:

“The prediction of the astrologer has been demonstrated by one test. If the second test, namely, the killing of the lion, takes place, then I think there is ground for fear.”

Footnotes and references:


See Nāṭyaśāstra 4.61 ff.


There are 32 of these. Abhi. 2.196; Nātyaśāstra 4.176 ff.


‘Horse-necked’ into ‘Cut-neck.’ ‘Neck’ really means ‘head,’ of course: ‘Horse-headed’ into ‘Beheaded.’


A symbol of frailty.


Money, elephants, chariots, horses, according to the Rās Mālā, p. 170. Cf. Triṣaṣṭi0 5.1.185: vastrābharaṇamāṇikyasvarṇavṛṣṭiḥ.

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