Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Shrivijaya’s story which is the seventh 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.

Part 7: Śrīvijaya’s story

Now, the Bala Acala, feeling disgust with existence from grief at Tripṛṣṭha’s death, established Śrīvijaya in the kingdom and became a mendicant. Worshipped by kings, chosen as a husband by the Śrī of victory, Śrīvijaya directed his ancestral kingdom.

One day, Amitatejas went to the city Potanapura, eager to see Sutārā and Śrīvijaya. He saw the town with banners, platforms, and arches, with an empire of joy created, like a palace in Anuttara. Astonished, seeing the royal family especially delighted, he descended there from the sky, like the sun to the ocean. Seeing him at a distance, King Śrīvijaya rose. Honor is suitable for any guest; how much more for such a guest. The brothers-in-law embraced each other; and the king and his sister embraced each other closely, pools of nectar of strong delight. The two sat on costly lion-thrones, like the sun and moon on the eastern and western mountains.

Then Amitatejas, clear-minded, asked him: “It is not the kaumudī-festival;[1] it is not the full moon-day of the month Agrahāyaṇa;[2] it is not summer; it is not spring; it is not the birth of a son to you, king. Because of what festival is the city seen to have joy springing forth?”

Then Śrī vijaya related: “On the eighth day before this, a certain astrologer, acquainted with the future, came here. I questioned him respectfully, ‘Have you come here to ask for something or to tell something?’ and he replied clearly: ‘Even if we live only by alms, king, nevertheless it is not fitting to ask anything from you now. I have come here to tell what can not be told. When it has been told, the remedy would be by dharma, et cetera. On the seventh day from today at noon a resounding thunderbolt will fall on the lord of Potanapura.’ The chief-minister, very disgusted at that speech bitter as poison, said, ‘What will fall on you?’ The astrologer replied: ‘Do not be angry at me, minister. I tell this which has been seen in the śāstras, sir. I have no enemy here. On the contrary, on that day a rain of clothes, ornaments, jewels, and gold, like a stream of treasure, will fall on me.’

I said to the minister: ‘Do not be angry with him, noble sir. He is a benefactor, like a spy, because he tells the truth. But, astrologer, tell where you learned the omen. There is no confidence in the speech of one without authentic knowledge without proof.’

The astrologer replied: ‘Hear, O king. My father, Śāṇḍilya, became a mendicant with Prince Baladeva when he adopted mendicancy. After that I became a mendicant, confused by love for my father. Then I learned the whole collection of omens. Undeviating knowledge may be only from the teaching of the Jinas, not elsewhere. Profit and loss; pleasure and pain; life and death; victory and defeat: I know these eightfold omens.[3]

After I had grown up, one day in wandering I came to an excellent town Padminīkhaṇḍa. My father’s sister, Hiraṇyalomikā, lives there, and her grown daughter, Candrayaśas. Formerly she had given her (in betrothal), when she was a small girl, to me still a boy. The marriage had not taken place because of the obstacle of my initiation. When I saw her, I, infatuated, abandoned the vow like a burden and married her. For how long do those afflicted by love have discrimination? Knowing my own good fortune and your great misfortune by omens, I came here. Do that which you know, O king.’

After saying this, he ceased speaking. The family-ministers, though intelligent, were bewildered at once in regard to the king’s protection. One of the ministers said, ‘There are no bolts of lightning on the ocean, surely. The master should embark on a boat and stay there seven days.’ A second minister said, ‘This does not seem to me a good idea. Who, pray, will ward off lightning falling there? Since there are no bolts of lightning in avasarpiṇī on Vaitāḍhya, our lord should go to a cave on top of it and live for seven days.’ A third minister said, ‘I do not approve of that. For whatever event must take place necessarily will not be changed by any place whatever.

Footnotes and references:


A festival held on the full moon-day of the month Kārttika in honor of Kārttikeya.


Agrahāyaṇa is the name used in Bengal for the month Mārgaśīrṣa. In east India its full moon-day is a popular festival with informal celebration.


Cf. II, p. 193, n. 346.

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