by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...
When Anantavīrya’s soul had consumed the fruit of its evil acts, it came out of hell, enlightened, like gold ore out of a fire. In the city Gaganavallabha in the north row on Vaitāḍhya in Bharatakṣetra in this same Jambūdvīpa he became the son, Meghanāda, of the noble Vidyādhara-king, Meghavāhana, by his wife Meghamālinī. Meghavāhana established him in the kingdom, when he had gradually attained youth, and performed his own duties for the next world. Lord of the two rows on Vaitāḍhya, he became gradually the sole resplendent one, like the sun and heaven to earth.
One day he divided a hundred and ten territories among his sons and gave them to them, and went to Mt. Mandara by means of the magic art Prajñapti. There he worshipped in the shrine of the eternal Arhats in the garden Nandana and just then the gods living in the heavens descended to earth there. When the Indra of Acyuta saw him, he enlightened him like a guru from affection for his brother in a former birth, saying, “Abandon worldly existence.” Then the great muni, Amaraguru by name, approached, like the accomplishment of the Vidyādhara-lord’s desires embodied. Meghanāda took the vow at his feet, and observed penance with self-restraint, free from negligence.
One day he climbed the mountain Nandanaparvata and stood in meditation, having undertaken pratimā for a night. His enemy in a former birth, the son of Aśvagrīva, who had reached a demon-birth after wandering through many births for a long time, saw him standing in this way. Angered, because of ancient enmity he made attacks on the great muni naturally resolute, like a buffalo attacking a great tree. He was not able to move him at all from his meditation. Is a mountain shaken at all by the blow of an elephant’s tusk? Astonished, the Asura went away, gloomy-faced; and Muni Meghanāda completed his meditation. Unshaken by attacks and trials, he practiced severe penance for a long time, fasted at the end, died, and attained the rank of a Sāmānika in Acyuta.
Footnotes and references:
A siddhacaitya or °āyatana is a temple to the ‘eternal Arhats.’ There are 4 of these: Ṛṣabha, Vardhamāna, Candrānana, Variṣeṇa. See I, p. 366. They are so-called because there are always Arhats by these names in existence somewhere in the universe.