Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Previous birth of Svayambhu which is the eighth 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 8: Previous birth of Svayambhū

In this same Jambūdvīpa in the city Śrāvastī, the ornament of Bharata, there was a king Dhanamitra. A king, named Bali, who had come as a guest because of friendship with King Dhanamitra, lived in the same city. One day King Dhanamitra, the strength of his intellect undiminished, played akṣadyūta with Bali with gama and cara.[1] They engaged in killing and checking each other’s men like soldiers and developed the game like a violent battle. Longing with their whole souls to defeat each other, the kings bet their kingdoms. Whence do persons blind from gambling have any sense? Then King Dhanamitra lost his own kingdom and became in a moment a poor man’s son, as it were, unlucky and solitary.[2] Wandering about without any money, unclean, wearing old clothes, like one possessed by demons, he was treated with contempt everywhere.

One day, as he wandered here and there, he saw the Ṛṣi Sudarśana and drank in his sermon like a sick man, who has been made to fast, drinking soup. Enlightened, he adopted mendicancy in his presence and observed it for a long time (but) remembered also his contemptuous treatment. He made the nidāna: “As a result of this penance may I be able to kill King Bali in another birth.” With such a nidāna having been made, he died from fasting and was born as a god in Acyuta with a maximum life-period.

Footnotes and references:


Two moves in some game played with dice and men, probably similar to backgammon. See JAOS 66, pp. 260-262.


I think ekāṅga certainly means ‘solitary, alone,’ though it is not cited with this meaning elsewhere. I believe it should have been So translated in 3. 7. 63.

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