Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The life of Aparajita and Anantavirya as kings which is the fourth part of chapter II 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 4: The life of Aparājita and Anantavīrya as kings

With Aparājita Anantavīrya ruled the earth, possessing boundless wealth of courage, invincible even to the gods. One day a pure friendship arose between them and a certain Vidyādhara. For there is association of the noble only with the noble. The best of Vidyādharas gave them a powerful magic art and after instructing them, “May you be successful,” went to Vaitāḍhya.

They had two slave-girls, Barbarī and Kirātī, adorned with skill in singing, dancing, et cetera. Singing and dancing more beautifully than Rambhā, et cetera,[1] they delighted the minds of Bala and Anantavīrya. One day, Tālāṅka (Aparājita) and Garuḍadhvaja (Anantavīrya), presiding over the assembly, began to have a fine play acted by them. Just then Nārada, his top-knot waving, carrying an ascetic’s mat, bearing the triple staff, with a rosary and sacred thread, wearing a loin-cloth, fat-bellied going through the air, white like a rājahaṃsa, his feet in golden slippers, carrying a water-jar, roaming about eager to see strife among all the people, quicksilver in instability, came to the assembly.

Rāma and Viṣṇu, their minds absorbed in watching the dancing of Barbarikā and Kirātī did not welcome the sage. Angered, Nārada thought to himself: “These two did not rise to greet me, when I came, from arrogance. They considered the dance of these mere slave-girls important, indeed! but did not even look at me when I came, as if I were a low person. Now I will quickly show them, to whom slave-girls are dear, like leaders of slaves, the fruit of arrogance.”

With these reflections, Nārada went suddenly like the wind to Mt. Vaitāḍhya to King Damitāri. The Vidyādhara-king, Damitāri, like Indra in his splendor, surrounded by hundreds of Vidyādhara-kings, at once hastily abandoned his lion-throne and slippers and rose to greet Nārada when he came, while he was still far away. Damitāri gave him the lion-throne. So great is the welcome of such sages. He abandoned the lion-throne and sat down on his own mat. For such people desire devotion only, not material objects. Nārada said to him:

“O Lord of the province with three parts, overlord of the Vidyādharas, success to you, powerful. May your empire, country, city, clan, relatives, retinue, and everything else in your house prosper always.”

Damitāri said: “Always I have prospered, but henceforth I shall prosper especially from your favor, muni. However, I ask you, have you seen anything marvelous, never seen before, as you have gone through the air at will?” Nārada reflected, “Now my desire is accomplished,” and, his eyes and cheeks blooming with joy, said to Damitāri:

“Today I saw a marvelous thing, which does not exist even in heaven, as the result of wandering over the earth. I went to the city Śubhā today for amusement and saw King Anantavīrya in his assembly. I saw a wonderful play acted before him by Barbarikā and Kirātī. I wander over both worlds, heaven and earth, from curiosity, and I have never seen such a marvelous play. Just as Śakra is the recipient of marvelous objects in Saudharma, so are you in this half-province. What is the use of your magic arts, of your power, of your splendor, of your command, of your kingdom, if you do not have that play brought here?” After Muni Nārada had accomplished his purpose by this speech, like sowing seed in the ground, he departed quickly through the air.

Arrogant from his lordship over the three-part province, King Damitāri sent a messenger to Aparājita’s brother. He went to the city Śubhā, bowed to Anantavīrya and his elder brother and, eminent in discourse, spoke:

“Whatever remarkable object exists in this half-province, all that belongs to the overlord Damitāri, without doubt. Send your two slave-girls, Barbarī and Kirātī, celebrated actresses, to Damitāri. Slaves, et cetera, belong to him who is lord of the entire kingdom. When a house is given, is a mere horse separated from it?”

Anantavīrya said, “Go now, messenger. I shall send the slave-girls soon, after a little consideration.”

The messenger, delighted at this speech of Viṣṇu’s, went quickly and reported to Damitāri, “Your command is as good as done.”

Now Aparājita and Śārṅgin both took counsel, their anger concealed, like fire-pits with hidden fire. “He commands us in this way because of his aerial car and his strength from the acquisition of magic arts, but he is not superior to us. The magic arts, which were given to us formerly by our Vidyādhara-friend, now we shall summon them. Then what is that miserable creature to us?”

While the two brothers were reflecting thus secretly, the magic arts, Prajñapti, et cetera, came, as if they had had an appointment. With a splendor equal to the brilliancy of lightning, adorned with various ornaments, wearing bright divine garments, their hands folded submissively, they said:

“We are those magic arts which you have summoned. Gained in a former birth, now we are present. We shall enter your bodies, like divinities entering a charmed weapons. Now command us, illustrious ones.” They said, “So be it,” and the magic arts shared the nature of their bodies, like rivers that of the east and west oceans. Naturally strong, they became exceedingly so from the acquisition of the magic arts, like lions with armor. They made a pūjā to the vidyās with charming perfumes and wreaths. People of discernment do not neglect pūjā to those entitled to it.

Just then the messenger, instructed by Damitāri, returned in baste and said to them reproachfully:

“Sirs! Sirs! What is this revolt against the master that you, like young rhinoceroses, have undertaken from ignorance? After saying, ‘We will send the slave girls,’ they were not sent. Do you, fools, wish to die? Is he, angry, not known? Indeed, two evil spirits are present to you in the guise of slave-girls. I think, they will not go away without destroying you, root and branch. Do not give much. Give the slave-girls now. Otherwise, the master will seize them and the sovereignty from you.”

Concealing his anger, Viṣṇu, though powerful, wise, his lips blooming with the moonlight of a smile, said to him calmly:

“King Damitāri must be satisfied by making gifts of valuable jewels, money, trained elephants, and horses. If Damitāri is satisfied by these slave-girls, take them now and go in the evening.”

The messenger, so instructed by Viṣṇu, went to the house assigned, thinking that the messenger’s art, as well as himself, had its purpose accomplished. They (the two brothers) put the weight of the kingdom on good ministers, like the weight of a house on pillars, like the weight of a cart on oxen. Saying, “What kind of a person Damitāri is must be seen,” from curiosity they became Barbarikā and Kirātī by means of a magic art. The two men-slave-girls went to the messenger and said, “We are sent now to Damitāri by Aparājita and Anantavīrya.” The messenger, delighted, went with the slave-girls to Mt. Vaitāḍhya and announced to Damitāri:

“Just as the Asuras do not transgress the command of Camara, the gods that of Śakra, the serpents that of Dharana and birds that of Garuḍa, so kings in this half of the province Ramaṇīya do not transgress your command, O you with cruel commands. In particular, Aparājita and Anantavīrya, submissive to you, always take your command, like a diadem, on their heads. These slave-girls, Barbarikā and Kirātī, jewels of actresses, have been delivered at once by them to you as presents.”

Damitāri looked at the slave-girls with a gentle glance. Merit that has been heard of, even through popular report, causes devotion on the part of the connoisseurs. Damitāri instructed them to perform a play. Verily, the desire to see something new can not endure delay. Then they, in the roles of actresses, went on the stage immediately and delivered the preliminaries with their parts, beating of the drum, et cetera.[2] The stage-director made the stage-pūjā with handfuls of flowers and the troop of female singers, et cetera sat down in the proper directions. An actor recited the invocation (nāndī) with a musical accompaniment suited to the invocation.[3] At the end of the invocation he portrayed the prologue with its parts. The singers, wearing various costumes, behind the scenes sang the introductory verse with jātirāgas,[4] et cetera, introducing the characters. Then they began to act a drama, an ocean of the sentiments, charming from the combination of the elements of plot, situations, component parts of the divisions (of the play), and the divisions (sandhi).

At times there took place the representation of peace and war in Smara’s kingdom with lovers’ meetings, rivers of nectar of pure bliss, and with separations (of lovers), sources of various painful situations, with various devices for the union of lovers by atonement for improper acts.

Sometimes even the sophisticated townsmen were made to laugh, like the villagers, by fat men, men with projecting teeth, lame men, hunchbacks, flat-nosed men, men with disheveled hair, bald men, one-eyed men, and other deformed men; by ash-colored men; by men with buttock-bells,[5] by musicians of the arm-pit[6] and the nose, by dancers of the ear and brow, by imitators of the speech of other people; by people deceitful and at the same time simple-minded, such as the buffoons and boon-companions.

Even wicked men, softened by speeches off-stage, by reproaches to fate, by shedding tears, by unsuitable requests, by rolling on the ground, by lamentations, by leaps from precipices, by hanging from trees, by entering into fire and water, by swallowing poison, et cetera, by blows with weapons, by beatings on the heart, frequently caused by the destruction of wealth and murder of the beloved, shed tears at times.

Sometimes men, though very self-possessed, were made to tremble (with anger) by biting the lips with the teeth, by redness of the eyes, by frowns, by palpitations of the cheeks, by rubbing together the fingers, by tearing up the ground, by drawing weapons, by drawing blood, by quick attacks, by fights, by blows, by trembling of the limbs, by shedding tears, caused by the kidnaping of women, the abuse of slave-girls, et cetera.

Men, timid by nature, had courage produced at once by dignity, resoluteness, courage, skill and by various other very excellent virtues, liberality, et cetera, originating in valor toward the enemy and in exertion in good conduct, et cetera.

The people in the audience were sometimes reduced instantly to a state of terror by dryness of the palate, throat, and lips, by glances from rolling eyes, by trembling hands, hoarseness, change in color, and shedding tears, caused by seeing manifestations of ghosts, et cetera, and by hearing sounds from them, et cetera.

Sometimes the audience was exceedingly disgusted instantly by contractions of the body, palpitations of the heart, screwing up of the nose and mouth, spitting, crushing of the lips and fingers, et cetera, caused by seeing, hearing, et cetera of bad smells, vomiting, and worms from wounds.

Sometimes the audience was astonished suddenly by the wide-opening of the eyes, by glances without winking, by the appearance of perspiration, tears, horripilation, by exclamations of “Well done,” et cetera, caused by the sight of the supernatural, attainment of desires, exhibitions of magic, et cetera.

Sometimes the people, greedy for the enjoyment of sense-objects, were made tranquil by meditation on the mūla- and uttaraguṇas, by thinking of texts concerning the Supreme Spirit, by attendance on good gurus, by pūjās to the gods, and other such things, arising from disgust with existence, fear of worldly existence, knowledge of the Principles, et cetera.

Just as all the sentiments were portrayed by the actors, so all the spectators became composed of them. The actors looked like characters (themselves) who had come, because of dramatic actions, conveyed by expressions, et cetera, properly portrayed.[7]

Footnotes and references:


See I, p. 141.


For the numerous technical dramatic terms in this passage, see the works on dramaturgy: the Nātyaśāstra, the Bhāvaprakāśana, the Daśarūpa, and Keith’s The Sanskrit Drama.


Nātyaśāstra (Chap. V) deals with the nāndī in great detail.


See I, n. 415.


Cf. JAOS 59 (1939), p. 132 for the wearing of buttock-bells.


I am told that children put the hand under the arm and, by pressing down the arm, make a noise similar to a handclap.


See I, n. 235.

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