Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Previous births of Dviprishtha and Taraka which is the tenth 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 10: Previous births of Dvipṛṣṭha and Tāraka

Now in the southern half of Bharata in Jambūdvīpa, there is a city named Vindhyapura, productive of all wealth. In it there was a tiger of a king, Vindhyaśakti by name, like the Vindhya Mountain in strength, a strong wind to the cotton of his enemies. Kings trembled at his bow and arms[1] advancing together like cruel planets. He appeared to swallow his enemies, as it were, from their disappearance at his glance which was very inflamed and terrible from his cruel frown. He was resorted to by his enemies also from desire for their own lives. They gave wealth as tribute. One should protect life with money.

One day, attended by all his vassals, ministers, et cetera, he sat in the assembly-hall, like Adribhid in Sudharmā. A spy arrived and was admitted by the door-keepers. He bowed, sat down, and related slowly:

“You know, Your Majesty, that here in the southern half of Bharata there is a city Sāketa, the depository of Ra kṣmī. Its king, named Parvata, is long-armed, with the wealth of a large army, like a general of Ārṣabhi (Bharata). He has a courtesan, Guṇamañjarī, the wealth of Ratipati, a source of humiliation to Ūrvaśī and Rambhā by her own beauty. I think the full moon was made by the Creator from particles left from the creation of her face. Her eyes approach her ears as if to ask, ‘Pray, has any beauty excelling ours ever been heard of?’ The breasts on her chest are so full that they are unique. There is nothing else with which to compare them. Her waist is extremely slender, just as if its width had been handed over to the breasts from friendship arising from dwelling together. Her hands and feet, soft as lotuses, shine, causing fatigue to shoots of the aśoka by their wealth of red color. She is like a cuckoo in song, like Urvaśī herself in the dance and a full sister of Tumburu[2] on the sweet lute. She, who has become a jewel among women, is suitable for Your Majesty alone. Bet the union of you two, which is suitable like that of gold and a gem, take place. What is the use of your kingdom without her, like food without salt, like a face without eyes, like the night without a moon?”

After hearing this speech, the king sent a minister on messenger’s business to Parvataka to ask for Guṇamañjarī. He went quickly to Sāketapura with swift steeds floating through the sky, as it were, and said to King Parvata:

“Vindhyaśakti is the same as you; you are the same as he. The complete unity of you two is like the mass of ocean waves. There is only one soul of you two, though in separate bodies. What is yours is his; what is his is yours. A courtesan of yours, Guṇamañjari, is praised. Vindhyaśakti commands her led into his presence from curiosity. Let her be given to your brother, the equal of yourself, who asks (for her). There is no censure in the giving and taking of courtesans.”

Thus addressed by the minister, Parvataka, his lips trembling from anger, like a snake touched by a stick, spoke:

“How can you call cruel Vindhyaśakti, who asks for Guṇamañjarī who is dearer than my life, a brother? When he wishes to take her without whom I am not able to exist even for a moment, he wishes to take my life also. I will not give even a slave, to say nothing of Guṇamañjarī. Bet Vindhyaśakti be friend or foe in accordance with his strength. Get up! Go! Go and tell him the facts. For kings’ messengers tell the true state of affairs.”

The minister rose with side-long glances, got into his conveyance and went into Vindhyaśakti’s presence. He related the Parvataka-incident in detail, and his master blazed with anger like a fire into which an oblation has just been thrown. Breaking a friendship of long standing, Vindhyaśakti, a mountain of pride, went to Parvata, like the ocean to its shore. Parvata went to meet him with his army and transport. Truly, the meeting of heroes, though unfriendly, is the same as if it were friendly. Then the battle—a herb to cure the disease of itching arms after a long time—commenced between the vanguards of the two armies. The soldiers of the two armies advanced and retreated like elephants fighting each other in the arena. One soldier, threaded on a lance like a jewel threaded on a string, making the sound ‘hum,’ went unstumbling against the enemy. The battle-field with arrows discharged unceasingly by the best of bowmen took on the appearance of forest-grounds with clumps of reeds cut down. The heavens were concealed by falling iron-bludgeons, darts, clubs, and hammers, which destroyed the enemies’ lives, like serpents. Victory, here for a moment, there for a moment, became equal in the two armies, like the diffusion of moonlight in the two fortnights.

Then Parvataka himself, twanging his bow, got into his chariot and set out for battle with all his followers. He covered the enemy’s army with a shower of arrows and simultaneously the air with dust dug up by the army. Instantly he caused great destruction, like a meal for Kṛtānta, in the enemy’s army, like a lion in a herd of elephants. His advance unchecked, he broke down Vindhyaśakti’s forces rapidly, like a wind breaking down trees. Angered by the destruction of his soldiers, Vindhyaśakti, long-armed, rose up to destroy his enemies, like a younger brother of the night of the end of the world. When Vindhyaśakti attacked, he was not withstood by Parvata’s army, like a tiger by antelopes, like a garuḍa by snakes.

Then proud of his bow and strength of arm, he challenged to battle Parvataka who had made a stand when his army was scattered. The two kings, wishing to fight with each other, fought with iron arrows, with tadbalas,[2] with arrows with half-moon heads, like teeth of Yama. They in their chariots destroyed each other’s chariot, horses, and charioteer, as if carrying a debt of defeat (to discharge). Then mounted on other chariots both. Vindhyaśakti and Parvataka approached, like mountains at the end of the world. Then by means of all his power King Vindhyaśakti made King Parvataka weaponless, powerless, like a snake without poison. Defeated by Vindhayaśakti, like a young elephant by a large elephant, Parvataka fled without looking back. Then Vindhyaśakti took the courtesan Guṇamañjari, elephants, et cetera, and other property. For wealth belongs to him who has power. His work done, Vindhyaśakti turned from the ocean of battle, like a full cloud, and went to Vindhyapura.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

It is impossible to reproduce the verbal play on kodaṇḍa and bhujadaṇḍa.

[2]:

The general of the Gandharvas. K. p. 305. See App. I.

[3]:

‘A missile with the shape of a mouse’s tail.’ Abhi. 3. 444.

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