Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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 , t...

Part 2: Śānti’s parents (king Viśvasena and queen Acirā)

The king in this city was Viśvasena, moon to the ocean of the Ikṣvāku-family, a festival for the eyes, by the moonlight of whose glory the earth was brightened. He was a house of adamant for those seeking protection, a wishing-tree for beggars, a friendly meeting-place of the goddesses Śrī and Vāc. His boundless accumulation of glory, like another ocean, absorbed the fame of enemies, like the ocean long rivers. When all the enemies had been subdued by the power of him, the only king, weapons were unused, like goods that had been stored away. He put his foot on the throats of those fighting and his hand on the backs of those seeking protection, as if impartial to both. His sword, drawn from its scabbard on the battle-field, became itself a treasury for the Śrī of victory who had come. Law was his brother; fame his sweetheart; pure virtues his friends; majesty his footman. So there was a retinue originating in his body. He, enjoying an exalted rank, bestowing delight on the world, had a wife, named Acirā, like the lightning of a cloud. Just as the queen was the crest-jewel of women, so good conduct was chief among her virtues, courtesy, et cetera. The first among good wives, day and night she put her husband inside her heart as an ornament, like a pearl-necklace on the outside. At the sight of her beauty, even goddesses seemed created, as it were, from particles left over from her creation. She, honored by the world, purified the earth by her footsteps as she walked, like the Jāhnavī by its stream. Her neck bent from modesty, she always looked at the ground alone, as if from affection at the thought, “It must be protected by my husband.” All the virtues of women shone in a high degree in her, like species of flowers in the row of gardens in Saumanasa. Some time passed for King Viśvasena and Queen Acirā absorbed in the pleasure of sovereignty, rejoicing, like Indra and Indrāṇī.