by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Former births of Indushena and Bindushena which is the fourth part of chapter I of the English translation of the Shantinatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Shantinatha in jainism is the sixteenth Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.
While Induṣeṇa and Binduṣeṇa were fighting, a king of the Vidyādharas came in his aerial car. He stood between them, his arm upraised, like the doorkeeper of a friendly deity, restraining them, and said: “Why, princes, do you fight, wanting her for a wife, ignorant of the fact that she is your sister? Hear my story in detail.
In Mahāvideha of this same Jambūdvīpa, on the north bank of the river Sītā there is a very extensive province Puṣkalāvatī. In it there is a lofty mountain, named Vaitāḍhya, the abode of Vidyādharas, like a silver diadem of the earth. In the northern row on the mountain in the city Ādityābha there is a king, named Sukuṇḍalin, like Kuṇḍalendra (Śeṣanāga) in splendor. He has a virtuous wife, Ajitasenā. I am their son, named Maṇikuṇḍalin.
One day I went from that place through the air, like Garuḍa, to the city Puṇḍarīkiṇī to worship the lord of Jinas. After I had worshipped the blessed Amitayaśas, the Jineśvara, with hands placed together, I heard a sermon. At the end of the sermon, I asked the Blessed One, ‘By what action did I became a Vidyādhara?’ He said:
‘In the very magnificent western half of Puṣkara-varadvīpa, on the broad southern bank of the great river Śītodā, in the province Salilāvatī, there is a city Vītaśokā, filled with people free from sorrow, like a svastika of the earth. Once upon a time a cakravartin lived there, named Ratnadhvaja, a Mīnadhvaja (Kāma) in beauty, a Kuliśadhvaja (Indra) in strength. He had two chief-wives, ornamented with good conduct. One of them was Kanakaśrī and the other was Hemamālinī. Kanakaśrī bore two daughters, like intelligence and beauty, indicated by a dream of two shoots of a kalpa-tree in her lap. At a festival equal to a birth-festival the father and mother gave them the names Kanakalatā and Padmalatā. Hemamālinī bore a daughter, delighting the family, named Padmā, indicated by the sight of a lotus-tendril in a dream. They attained the collection of arts and pure youth, like the manifold śrīs of the three worlds brought together in one place.
Padmā became disgusted with existence because of the presence of the nun Ajitasenā and adopted mendicancy fittingly at her feet. One time, with permission of the nun, she performed a penance consisting of one-day fasts. In this there are sixty one-day fasts and two three-day fasts. One day when she had duly finished that severe penance, she was going outside on the highway for care of the body. She saw two powerful princes, eager for love, fighting over the courtesan Madanamañjarī. When she had seen them, Padmā reflected: “Oh, there is some beauty of the girl, since they are fighting on her account, see! By the power of this penance may I have such beauty in another birth.” She made a nidāna to this effect. She observed a fast at the end, died without confessing her nidāna, and became a very powerful goddess in Saudharmakalpa.
Kanakaśrī wandered through existence, became you—a Vidyādhara-king, named Maṇikuṇḍalin, because she had made gifts, et cetera, in the last birth. Kanakalatā and Padmalatā, after wandering through existence, because they had practiced the dharma of gifts, et cetera, many times in former births, became Induṣeṇa and Binduṣeṇa, sons of Śrīṣeṇa, in the city Ratnapura in Bharata in Jambūdvīpa. The soul of Padmā fell from Saudharma-kalpa and became a courtesan, Anantamatikā, in Kauśāmbī in the same Bharata. Now Induṣeṇa and Binduṣeṇa are fighting in the grove Devaramaṇa over Anantamatikā.’ After hearing about the former births, I came here from affection to prevent you from fighting by describing the former births. I was your mother in a former birth; this courtesan was your sister. You should know that everything in worldly existence is blossoming with delusion in this way. Neither father, mother, sister, brother, nor even an enemy, is recognized by people covered by the curtain of a former birth, alas! alas! Throughout life the soul is wound in love, hate, et cetera, originating in the body, like a spider in spider-webs. Therefore, abandoning love, hate, and delusion at a distance, resort quickly to mendicancy, the gate to the city of emancipation.”
They said: “Shame! Shame! What have we, like wild animals because of delusion, undertaken for the sake of enjoying our sister? You were our mother in a former birth, but our guru in this one, since we have been kept from the wrong path by your enlightening us.”
With these words, they laid aside their arms and took the vow together with four thousand kings under the guru Dharmaruci. Then they went to the fortress, Lokāgra, by a very straight road, the thorns on the road in the form of their karma being burned by the fire of meditation.
Footnotes and references:
A Jina in Videha in a past cycle.
I.e., there was a three-day fast at the beginning and end of the fast and 60 one-day fasts with fast-breaking-days after each fast-day, making a total of 128 days. This fast is also called Karmacaturtha. See Tapāvalī, p. 109.
The abode of the Siddhas.