Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Initiation of Vajrayudha which is the eighth 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 8: Initiation of Vajrāyudha

One day Lord Kṣemaṅkara, attended by gods, asuras, and kings by the crore, stopped there in a samavasaraṇa. Servants came and announced to Vajrāyudha that the Master, Lord Jina Kṣemaṅkara, had stopped in a samavasaraṇa. He gave them twelve and a half crores of gold and went with his retinue to Tīrthaṅkara Kṣemaṅkara. After he had circumambulated him three times and had bowed to him with devotion, he seated himself behind Śakra and listened to the sermon.

At the end of the sermon Cakrin Vajrāyudha bowed to the Lord and said: “Master, I am afraid of the ocean of existence difficult to be crossed. Wait here to give me initiation, Lord, until I come, after establishing Sahasrāyudha in his sovereignty.” The king, told by the Master, “Negligence must not be shown,” went to the city and installed Sahasrāyudha in his kingdom. When his departure-festival had been held by Sahasrāyudha, he got into the palanquin and went to Jina Kṣemaṅkara. Accompanied by four thousand queens and crowned kings and seven hundred sons, he took the vow. Devoted to manifold resolutions, enduring trials, Ṛṣi Vajrāyudha went in his wandering to Mt. Siddhi. With the idea, “I will endure attacks,” he, pure-minded, observed pratimā for a year on the pillar, Virocana.

Now Aśvagrīva’s sons, Maṇikumbha and Maṇiketu, after they had wandered through the forest of existence for a long time, performed foolish penance once upon a time, were born as asuras, came there just then in the independent wandering they had begun and saw the great sage. Then they began to attack the muni, like buffaloes a tree, because of hostility in his birth as Amitatejas. Becoming lions, they scratched his body on both sides with nails sharp as blades of adamant. Then, having become elephants, they beat him like an antarvedi,[1] with blows with their trunks, with blows with their tusks, with blows with their feet hard to endure. Again, becoming serpents, they hung on the sage’s sides, firmly bound, like the traces of a cart. Taking a sharp knife resembling their own teeth, becoming Rākṣasas, they attacked the muni. While they were attacking the muni in these various ways, the wives of Biḍaujas went to worship the Arhat. The goddesses Rambhā, Tilottamā, et cetera, saw the gods making attacks on the muni.

“Oh, wretches! What are you doing to the best of munis!” saying, they descended quickly from the sky. When they saw them descending, the alarmed gods trembled. How long do owls remain in sunlight? The goddesses, Rambhā, et cetera, performed with devotion a play before the best of munis like Indra. Considering themselves purified, after they had paid homage to the great muni, the goddesses with their retinues returned to their separate places. After he had completed his pratimā lasting a year the great sage wandered over the earth with unequaled vows and restrictions.

King Sahasrāyudha, adorned with rows of kings, enjoyed the Śrī of sovereignty like a princess whom he had married.

One day the gaṇadhara Pihitāśrava, surrounded by various groups of munis, stopped in his city. Sahasrāyudha, filled with devotion, came and paid homage to the great muni and listened to his sermon that was like nectar to the ear. Knowing instantly that saṃsāra was worthless like magic, the king at once placed his son Śatabali on his throne. He himself became a mendicant under Pihitāśrava and wandered over the earth, after taking twofold discipline.

One day in his wandering Muni Sahasrāyudha joined the royal sage Vajrāyudha, like Budha (Mercury) the Moon. Father and son, united, always devoted to penance and meditation, enduring trials, indifferent to their own bodies, rich in forbearance, wandering through cities, villages, forests, et cetera, not stopping, passed a long time happily like a day. Then the munis ascended the mountain Īṣatprāgbhāra and observed the fast pādapopagama.

Footnotes and references:


Antarvedi seems to be the low wall that is sometimes in an arena for elephant-fights. One elephant is on one side, one on the other. There is a photograph of such an arena in the History of Rajputana, I, p. 167. Fighting elephants are not always so separated.

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