Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The seasons which is the twelfth part of chapter VII of the English translation of the Sanatkumara-cakravartin-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Sanatkumara-cakravartin in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Not seeing his friend anywhere, he climbed tall trees and looked in all directions again, like a traveler who has lost the way. He passed the spring, alone, like the son of a poor man, like a sorrowful man among the aśokas,[1] confused among the bakulas, impatient among the sahakāras, weak among the mallikās, scornful among the karṇikāras, pale among the pāṭalas, remote among the sinduvāras, trembling among the campakas, turned away from the winds of Malaya as well as the khalas, his ears bursting from the singing of the fifth note by the cuckoos, his burning pain unallayed even by moonlight.

He spent the hot season wandering alone, parched at every step by the dust heated by the rays of the sun which cooked the nails of his lotus-feet like a scattered fire of chaff; disregarding the burning of his feet, as if making a magic quenching of fire, on the road hard to traverse because of the ashes of forest-fires just extinguished; ignoring the heat of his body from many hot winds like flames of fire, like a mountain-ranging elephant; and drinking the muddy, hot water of rivers, like a sick man medicines.

His heart unshaken by clouds emitting fires in the form of lightning like Rakṣases emitting flames from their mouths, terrifying to all; not bewildered at all, as if he wore armor, though being struck by rain with unbroken torrents like sharp arrows; crossing without effort, like a rājahaṃsa, here and there the forest-streams with trees uprooted by their speed, though they were difficult to cross; traversing the muddy road with ease, like a boar, he spent the rainy season, wandering in search of his friend.

Enduring the terrible heat of Citrā[2] on his head and the hot sand on his feet, as if he were living in the cavity of a fire-vessel; his mind unceasingly on clear water, lotuses, birds, haṃsas, et cetera, crying, “Where are you? Where are you, friend?” going among charging elephants irritated by the saptaparṇa which smells like ichor, like an elephant that had come into the forest; carried forward by the wind fragrant with lotuses like a friend, he spent the autumn, wandering like an autumn-cloud.

The water of ponds and rivers being made into ice by the north wind like a brother of Mt. Hima; the rows of red lotuses, day-blooming white lotuses, night-blooming white lotuses, and blue lotuses in the water being consumed everywhere (by cold), incombustible even by a forest-fire; the Kirātas suffering from cold and even wishing for a forest-fire; he passed the winter, surely possessing a strong determination.

Taking steps fearlessly in old leaves, fallen knee-deep from trees, which concealed snakes and scorpions; unshaken at the roars of lions whose ears were pricked up and who had been awakened by noises painful to hear, as if they knew the weak points of the ears; satisfying his hunger only by eating fresh shoots, he passed the cool weather, though he himself was not cool because of worry about his friend.

Footnotes and references:


In this passage there is verbal play on the adjectives and the names of the trees which can not be reproduced in English.


A nakṣatra, constellation, Spica virginis, in ascendency in the autumn. In Gujarat this season is hot.

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