Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Vimala’s initiation which is the sixth part of chapter III of the English translation of the Vimalanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Vimalanatha in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 6: Vimala’s initiation

When thirty lacs of years had passed in the ruling of the earth, he considered the time of initiation to be a boat for crossing the ocean of existence. The Lokāntika-gods, Sārasvatas, et cetera, came and said to the Teacher of the World, “Found a congregation.” For a year he gave beggars gifts according to their wishes with money brought by Jṛmbhaka, like a wish-granting tree on earth. At the end of the giving the Indras made Lord Vimala’s initiation-consecration with water pure as his own mind. After putting on divine ornaments and garments and divine ointment, the Lord got into the palanquin Devadattā. Surrounded on all sides by gods, asuras, and kings, the Master went to the garden Sahasrâmra in the palanquin.

The Blessed Lord Vimala entered the garden whose rows of arbors of vines were occupied by the girl-gardeners afraid of the cold with the same joy as if they were houses; which had a mass of snow borne by the trees—mango, bakula, et cetera, as if practicing penance that would have wonderful beauty in the future; which had the pain from the cold warded off from the wanton couples from the city by fresh well-water and the shade of the banyan trees[1] which had waves of moonlight in the form of smiles of the women from the city at the sight of the guñjā berries[2] heaped up by the monkeys suffering from cold; which was smiling, as it were, with blossoming lavalī and jasmine-buds. After descending from the palanquin and removing his ornaments, wearing a garment of devadūṣya placed on his shoulder, in the afternoon on the fourth day of the bright half of Māgha (the moon being) in his birth-constellation, observing a two-day fast, the Lord became a mendicant together with a thousand kings.

On the next day, Lord Vimala broke his fast with ricepudding in the house of King Jaya in the city Dhānyakaṭa. The gods made the five divine things—rain of treasure, et cetera, and King Jaya made a jeweled platform where the Master had stood. Then the Supreme Lord set out from that place to wander elsewhere in mines, cities, et cetera, as an ordinary ascetic.

Footnotes and references:


This is in accordance with an Indian proverb:

kūpodakaṃ vaṭacchāyā śyāmā strī ceṣṭakālayam |
śītakāle bhaveduṣṇam uṣṇakāle ca śitalam ||

“Well-water, the shade of a banyan tree, a brunette woman, a brick bouse are warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.” (IS 1850)


The guñjā, the Abrus precatorius, has red berries. I am told there is a tradition that monkeys will heap these up with the idea that they give off heat.

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