Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Death of their parents which is the thirteenth part of chapter V of the English translation of the Shri Dharmanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Shri Dharmanatha in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 13: Death of their parents

One day Śiva sent Sīrin, like a divine weapon, to subdue a certain insolent neighbouring king. Puruṣasiṃha followed him several marches from affection. Verily the bond of affection is like cement. With difficulty Balabhadra prevented him from following and Hari remained there, alas! like an elephant lost from the herd. While he was alleviating the pain caused by separation from his brother by various amusements, a man came from his father. Mādhava took on his head a letter from his father which he delivered and saw in it the words, “Come quickly, son.” Disturbed, he said to the man, “Is my mother well? Is my father well? Why this sudden summoning of me?” The man replied, “His Majesty summons you hastily, because a strong inflammatory fever has appeared in his body.” Distracted by the news of his father’s inflammatory fever as if he had smelled a saptacchada,[1] Hari set out. Henceforth there is no pain of the noble.

On the next day Janārdana arrived at his own city. For such pain on the part of the noble is like a forest-fire on the road. Hari, pained by his pain as if assuming his pain, entered the house occupied by his father consumed by fever—the house where servants were busy with many herbs of many kinds which were being mixed, cut up, cooked, and rolled; occupied by the best of doctors, skilled, knowing the juice, strength, and effects of herbs, considering their strength and weakness; with noise prevented by guards by signals with the hand; the physicians being stopped at a distance by the door-keepers by a gesture with the brow.

Hari bowed at his father’s feet, touching them with his hands, bathing them, as it were, with his eyes shedding tears from devotion. Śiva revived greatly from the touch of his son’s hand. There is happiness just from the sight of a loved one, how much more from the touch. King Śiva experienced strong horripilation, as if he were becoming cold, touching his son with his hand again and again. King Śiva said to him, “Why are you lean-bellied and your lips dry like a tree near a fire?” Then Viṣṇu’s man said: “Your Majesty, when he heard of Your Majesty’s dreadful condition, Hari set out at once to see you. He came here in two days without eating, without drinking water, recalling you with devotion, like an elephant the Vindhya Mountains.”

When Śiva heard that, experiencing double pain, he said, “What else have you done that is unsuitable like a boil on the cheek? Go with your attendants and take time to eat. For the body, accomplishing all things, moves by means of food.”

Thus commanded urgently by his father again and again, Viṣṇu ate a little sorrowfully, like a rutting elephant. Without taking any sandal even, without putting on other clothes, like an ichneumon on hot ground[2] because of great pain, as soon as he had barely eaten, Janārdana went on foot to his father’s house with his whole unhappy retinue from his own house.

Footnotes and references:


The Alstonia scholaris. There are frequent allusions to the stupefying odor of this tree, though I have not been able to find anything about it in botanical works. Cf. Raghuvaṃśa 4. 23 and 5. 48. See below, p. 177.


Cf. I, 327 and n. 368.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: