Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

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

Part 7: Refusal to marry

Seventy bows tail, marked with all the favorable marks, the Lord attained youth—the instrument for conquering women. One day, Vasupūjya and Queen Jayā spoke affectionately to Vāsupūjya who was averse to the pleasures of worldly existence:

“When yon were born our desires and those of the world were fulfilled. Nevertheless, we shall speak. Who gets enough of nectar? All the existing kings, among men and the Vidyādharas, who are of good family, capable, heroic, wealthy, famous, possessing the fourfold army, known for guarding their subjects, free from blemish, faithful to engagements, always devoted to dharma, in Madhyadeśa, Vatsadeśa, the Gauḍas, the Magadhas, Kosalas, Tosalas and also the Prāgjyotiṣas, the Nepālas, Videhas, Kaliṅgas, Utkalas, Puṇḍras, Tāmraliptas, Mūlas, Malayas, Mudgaras, Mallavartas, Brahmottaras, and other countries which are the ornaments of the eastern quarter; in the Dāhalas, Daśārṇas, Vidarbhas, Aśmakas, Kuntalas, Mahārāṣṭras, Andhras, Muralas, Krathas, Kaiśikas, Sūrpāras, Keralas, Dramilas, Pāṇḍyas, Daṇḍakas, Cauḍas, Nāśikyas, Kauṅkaṇas, Kauveras, Vānavāsas, on Mt. Kolia, among the Siṃhalas and in other countries in the southern quarter; and in other realms, the Surāṣṭras, Trivaṇas, Daśerakas, Arbudas, Kacchas, Āvartakas, and also the Brāhmaṇavāhas, Yavanas, Sindhus, and other realms in the west; Śakas, Kekayas, Vokkāṇas, Hūṇas, Vānāyujas, Pañcālas, Kulūtas, and Kaśmīrikas, Kambojas, Vālhīkas, Jāṅgalas, Kurus, and other realms in the north; and various other peoples of the two rows on Mt. Vaitāḍhya resembling a boundary ridge of the southern half of Bharatakṣetra:[1] these now, son, beg us constantly through messengers, who are sent bearing valuable gifts, to give their daughters to you. Let their ardent wish and ours be fulfilled by the sight of the wedding-festival of you and their daughters. Take this hereditary kingdom. Henceforth, the taking of the vow is suitable for us in our old age.”

Prince Vasupūjya replied smilingly: “This speech of yours which is in accordance with affection for your son is indeed suitable. But I am exhausted now, like an ox in a caravan, after wandering repeatedly in the forest of existence. There is no country whatever, no city whatever, no village nor mine whatever, no forest nor mountain whatever, no female nor male river whatever, no continent nor ocean whatever, in which I have not wandered with various changes of form for endless time. I shall cut loose from saṃsāra which is the abode of wandering in various birth-nuclei. Enough of marriage and sovereignty, pregnancy-whims of the tree of worldly existence. My father and the world will have festivals at my mendicancy, omniscience, and emancipation, just as at my birth.”

King Vasupūjya replied with tears in his eyes: “Oh, I know you are eager to cross saṃsāra. You have attained this birth like the shore of the ocean of existence. That is shown by those great dreams indicating the birth of a Tīrthakṛt. Beyond doubt you have crossed the ocean of existence; certainly the festivals of initiation, omniscience, and emancipation will take place. Nevertheless, I wish this intermediate festival of yours. It has been observed by our ancestors striving after emancipation. For instance, the blessed Ṛṣabha, the first of the Ikṣvāku-family, married Sumaṅgalā and Sunandā on his father’s advice.[2] Just because of his father’s command, he took the kingdom and governed it, and adopted mendicancy at the right time, after enjoying pleasures. The Lord attained emancipation afterwards by taking initiation. Emancipation is easy to reach, like a village close-by, by people like you. Others, from Ajita to Śreyāṃsa, married, and supported the earth at their father’s advice and then attained emancipation. Do you do this. Follow your predecessors by accomplishing marriage, sovereignty, initiation, and nirvāṇa.”

Prince Vāsupūjya said respectfully: “Father, I know the lives of all my predecessors. But, in this path of saṃsāra the same karma of two persons is never found, neither in their own family nor in another. They had karma which had pleasure as its fruit surviving. Therefore they, possessing the three kinds of knowledge, destroyed it by pleasure. To me no karma at all with pleasure as its fruit remains. So please do not command this thing which is an obstacle to emancipation. Malli, Nemi, Pārśva, three future Jinas, will become mendicants for the sake of emancipation, without marrying or ruling. Śrī Vīra, the last Arhat, will become a mendicant and attain emancipation after marrying because of a little pleasure-karma, but without ruling. Considering, ‘There is no one path for the Arhats because of the difference in their karma,’ give consent. Do not be cowardly from affection.”

Footnotes and references:


This long list of countries and peoples contains some names that are not in Kirfel’s lists, though most of them are.


See I, pp. 138 ff.

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