Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Shanti’s birth which is the third part of chapter V 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.

Now Megharatha’s soul, immersed in pleasure, completed its life in Sarvārthasiddha, the best palace in Anuttara. On the seventh day of the dark half of Nabhasya, the moon being in Bharaṇī, he fell and descended into the womb of Queen Acirā. During the last part of the night, while the queen was comfortably asleep, the fourteen great dreams were seen entering her mouth in succession. An elephant, asking permission to enter her mouth, as it were, by the sound of the bees intoxicated by the fragrance of flowing ichor; a bull spotless as a crag of Kailāsa that had become alive, stealing the beauty of an erect white lotus by the color of its body; a lion, resplendent with its tail held aloft, a brother to a red lotus in bud on an erect stalk; Mahālakṣmī, being sprinkled by elephants at her sides, with a divine form, like another form of herself (Acirā); a large wreath entwined from divine five-colored flowers, resembling a rainbow, an ornament for the Śrī of the sky; a full moon with an unbroken circle of light, with a spotless ground like a silver mirror of the heavens; a sun, showing the splendor of day even when it was night, the sole bulb for the sprouting of shoots in the form of rays; a tall flagstaff, like the sole house of the dance with its dancing pennants, the abode of rest for the eyes; a wide full pitcher, the mouth covered with blooming lotuses filled with fragrance, like a seat of the goddess Śrī; a fine pool filled with water, like another Lake Padma, fair with fragrant blooming lotuses; an ocean, boundless, raising its hands in the form of waves, as if wishing to embrace the bank of clouds in the sky; a palace, without a duplicate, resembling a heavenly palace with finials of various jewels and a row of pennants; a heap of jewels, like a heap of the materials for creation of the heavenly bodies, the sun, et cetera, covering the surface of the sky with its broad rays of light; a smokeless fire, devouring the mass of darkness with lofty flames like many tongues.

The queen arose from sleep and related the dreams to King Viśvasena, and he interpreted them as follows, “You will have a son, chief-queen, of superior qualities, distinguished, able to protect the three worlds, according to these dreams.”

The astrologers, questioned at daylight, said, “Your son will be either a cakrin or dharmacakrin, according to these dreams.” The king rewarded the interpreters of the dreams and dismissed them; and the queen, like the earth, carried a jewel of a son.

At that time there were many unfavorable conditions, which had originated earlier, in the country of the Kurus, causing distress, disease, pestilence, et cetera. The people, knowing means, employed various means to allay them; but they did not subside at all, like submarine fire from water. But merely from the Blessed One becoming an embryo in Queen Acirā, these unfavourable conditions subsided. For the power of the Arhat has no limit.

Then in nine months, seven and a half days, on the thirteenth day of the dark half of Jyeṣṭha, the moon being in Bharaṇī, the planets being in exaltation, Acirā bore a son, marked with a deer, gold color, like the east bearing the (deer-marked) moon. Then for a moment there was a light in the three worlds and comfort, never experienced before, to the hell-inhabitants.

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