Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Shreyamsa’s samavasarana which is the twenty-sixth 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 26: Śreyāṃsa’s samavasaraṇa

With these two always near him, the Supreme Lord in the course of his wandering arrived one day at the best city, Potanapura. There the Marutkumāras cleaned the ground for a yojana for the Master’s samavasaraṇa and the Meghakumāras sprinkled it. The Vyantaras paved it with gold and jewels and threw down five-colored flowers knee-deep. They made ornamental arches in each direction, like frowns of the directions, and made a pure jeweled platform in the middle of the ground. Below it the Bhavanādhipas made a silver wall with a gold coping, like a head-wreath of the earth. The Jyotiṣkas made a second wall of gold with a jeweled coping as if made of their own light. The Vimānapatis created a third wall made of divine slabs of jewels with a coping of gems. In each wall there were four doors with festoons and to the northeast within the middle wall was a dais. A caitya-tree, sixty-nine bows tall, was created by the Vyantaras in the center of the ground inside the walls. Below it on the surface of the jeweled platform they made a dais and on it a jeweled lion-throne with a foot-stool facing east. Whatever else had to be done there, the Vyantaras did it. They, devoted, excelled even servants in freedom from carelessness.

Then Lord Śreyāṃsa, shining with a triple umbrella in the sky; being fanned with chauris by Yakṣas at his sides; adorned with an Indradhvaja preceding him; with blessings recited by the drum sounding of its own accord, like a bard; with a halo, like the eastern mountain with the sun; attended by a crore of gods, astir as and men; setting his lotus-feet on nine golden lotuses which were moved forward in turn by the gods; the Lord entered the samavasaraṇa, the front of which was presided over by a shining dharmacakra, by the east door. Then the Lord of the World circumambulated three times the caitya-tree which welcomed him, as it were, with the sound of humming bees. Saying “Homage to the congregation,” the Lord, facing the east, adorned the lion-throne, the pericarp of the lotus of the dais.

The Vyantaras made images of the Master seated on jeweled lion-thrones in the other directions. Entering by the east door, the monks sat down in order, the Vaimānika-women and nuns stood. Entering by the south door and bowing to the Arhat, the Bhavanāpati-, Jyotiṣka-, and Vyantara-women stood in the southwest. Entering by the west door, bowing to the Arhat, the Bhavanādhipas, Jyotiṣkas, and Vyantaras stood in the northwest. Entering by the north door, bowing to the Blessed One, the Vaimānikas, men, and women, stood in order in the northeast. So within the third wall stood the holy fourfold congregation, the animals inside the middle wall, and within the lowest wall the draft-animals.

Then the royal agents reported joyfully to the Ardhacakrin, Tripṛṣṭha, that the Master had stopped in the samavasaraṇa. Rising from the lion-throne at once and taking off his shoes, standing facing the direction of the Master, Hari did homage to the Master. Seated (again) on the lion-throne, the younger brother of Acala gave thirteen crores of silver to the men who announced the Master’s arrival. Accompanied by Balabhadra, Śārṅgabhṛt went with great magnificence to the samavasaraṇa, the refuge of all creatures. Entering it by the north door, after bowing to the Arhat properly, he and Muśalapāṇi sat down behind Śakra.

After bowing to the Master again, Indra, Tripṛṣṭha, and Bala began a hymn of praise as follows in voices penetrated with devotion:


“O Supreme Lord, to you who cause a stream of great joy, who have become the cause of emancipation, to you homage for the sake of emancipation only. Just at the sight of you, a person, forgetting other actions, would become devoted to the supreme spirit. How much more from hearing your sermon? Have you, an Ocean of Milk, appeared? Or, a kalpa tree, grown up? Or, a rain-cloud, descended in the desert of saṃsāra? You, the eleventh Lord Jina, lord of the kevalins, are the protector of the world suffering from cruel actions which must result in evil.[1] By you the Ikṣvāku-family, naturally pure, has been made extremely pure, O lord, like crystal by water. Your feet, O Lord, surpass all shade by the removal of all pain in the three worlds. Delighted to become a bee at your lotus-feet, I am eager neither for enjoyment nor for emancipation, O Jina. I seek your feet, my protection in every existence, O Lord of the World. What does service to you not accomplish?”

Footnotes and references:


So Muni Jayantavijayaji interprets it. The editor of the text takes jyotiṣmatām patiḥ to be ‘moon,’ in which case asadgrahaiḥ would certainly mean ‘cruel planets.’ (Cf. I, n. 136). There could be a double meaning throughout the śloka.

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