Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Kanakashakti which is the seventh part of chapter III 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: Story of Kanakaśakti

Cakrin Vajrāyudha with Sahasrāyudha directed the earth like Sahasrākṣa with Jayanta[1] the sky. One time Sahasrāyudha’s wife, Jayanā, saw in a dream at night a golden spear with projecting rays. She related this to her husband at daybreak and he said, “You will surely have a son of great power, O queen.” At that very time she carried an embryo very difficult to carry; and at the right time she bore a jewel of a son, like the soil bearing grain. As a result of the dream seen by Queen Jayanā the father gave the boy the name Kanakaśakti. When he had gradually passed through childhood and was in his first youth, he married properly in the city Sumandira Merumālin’s daughter, borne by Queen Mallā, endowed with beauty and grace, Kanakamālā.

Now in the excellent city Maśakyāsāra, preeminent in wealth, there was a king, Ajitasena. He had a daughter, Vasantasenā, by Queen Priyasenā, and she was the best friend of Kanakamālā. Vasantasenā’s father, not finding a suitable husband, sent his daughter, choosing her husband herself, to Kanakaśakti. Then Kanakaśakti married her properly and her cousin, the son of her father’s sister, was angry with her because of the marriage.

One time Kanakaśakti was wandering in a garden and saw a man flying up and falling like a cock. Kanakaśakti said to him, “Why do you fly up and fall like a bird, sir? If it is not a secret, tell me.” The man said: “Even a secret must be told to noble men like you. The telling is a virtue. I am a Vidyādhara. I came in the first place from Mt. Vaitāḍhya on some business. On the way back, I alighted in this garden. I remained here a moment, looking at its beauty. When, wishing to fly, I recalled the vidyā for going through the air, I forgot one line of the vidya, just at that time. So I fly up and fall down like a bird whose wing is tied.”

The prince said, “If it is proper to recite the vidyā before another, recite it, noble sir.”

He said, “A vidyā is not recited before ordinary men. It is to be given to noble persons like you, to say nothing of being recited.” The Vidyādhara recited the vidyā lacking one line; and the prince, having an understanding in accordance with the line, recited the line. The Vidyādhara, whose power from the vidyā was restored, gave the prince vidyās. The discerning acknowledge favors. Then the Vidyādhara went away and the prince subdued the vidyās properly and became a super-Vidyādhara. The cousin who was angry at Vasantasenā was not able to injure Kanakaśakti at all. After he (the cousin) had rejected food, drink, et cetera and had died from shame, he became a god, Himacūla.

Kanakaśakti, accompanied by Vasantasenā and Kanakamālā, wandered-over the earth like a wind from the power of the vidyā. One day, going wherever he liked, he went to Mt. Himavat and there he saw a flying muni, Vipulamati. He honored him with devotion, him who was the color of heated gold, like the brilliance of penance embodied, emaciated, by whom Love had been conquered. After he had received the blessing “Dharmalabhā,” he and the queens listened to a sermon that was rain for the forest-fire of existence. Enlightened, Kanakaśakti then left both the queens also, as well as the Śrī of sovereignty, at home and became a mendicant, noble-minded.

The queens also, desiring emancipation, discerning, pure-hearted, took the vow under Āryā Vimalamati. In his wandering Kanakaśakti went to Mt. Siddhipada and stood in pratimā on a rock for a night, resolute. When the god Himacūla, evil-hearted, had seen him motionless as a pillar, he began to make attacks on him. The Vidyādharas angrily frightened away the wretch of a god who was making attacks on him. People are on the side of the good. When he had completed the pratimā, he, a mountain of heaps of penance, went in his wandering to the city Ratnasañcayā. In a grove there, named Sūranipāta, the muni observed a one-night pratimā, like an unshakable mountain. As soon as he had ascended the kṣapakaśreṇi, brilliant omniscience arose from the destruction of ghātikarmas. The gods came and held the omniscience-festival and, when Himacūla saw that, terrified, he went to him (Kanakaśakti) for protection. Vajrāyudha celebrated the sage’s festival properly and, after hearing a sermon from him, went to his own city.

Footnotes and references:


A son of Indra.

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