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 , the t...

Part 4: Birth-rites of Śānti

Then the seats of the Dikkumārīs shook. They knew of the Arhat’s birth by clairvoyant knowledge and rejoiced. Then the eight Dikkumārīs from the Lower World came to the Arhat’s house, bowed to the Jinendra and the Jinendra’s mother according to rule. After introducing themselves to the queen and saying, “Do not be afraid,” they cleared away the dust for a yojana with a whirlwind. Not too near and not too far from the Jinendra and his mother, they stood singing their virtues, like professional singers. The eight Dikdevīs came from the Upper World, after the same ceremonies, created water, sprinkled the ground and stood singing in the same way. The eight goddesses came from east Rucaka, holding mirrors, bowed to the Jina and the Jina’s mother, and stood in the east, singing. Eight goddesses came from south Rucaka, carrying golden vases, bowed to the Arhat and his mother, and stood in the south, singing. Eight goddesses came from west Rucaka, bowed to the Jina and Acirā and stood in the west, singing their virtues, holding fans. Eight goddesses came from north Rucaka, bowed to them, and stood in the north, singing their virtues, holding chauris. Four Dikkumārikās came from the intermediate points, bowed as before and stood, singing, in the intermediate points, holding lamps. The four living in the center of Rucakadvīpa came, bowed to them, and cut the Jinendra’s navel-cord, except for four fingers’ length. After they had dug a hole, they deposited it there, like depositing money, filled the hole with jewels and diamonds, and paved a seat (over it) with dūrvā. They created plantain-houses of four rooms in the east, north, and south of the birth-house. They conducted the Arhat and Queen Acirā to the southern plantain-house and seated them on the jeweled lion-throne in the midst of the four rooms. They anointed them both with divine fragrant oils and rubbed them with fragrant substances. The goddesses led them to the eastern plantain-house, seated them on the lion-throne, and bathed them with perfumed water, flower-juices, and pure water. They put divine garments and ornaments on the two, led them to the northern plantain-house and seated them on the lion-throne. They had gośīrṣa-sandal brought by the Ābhiyogikas from Mt. Kṣudrahima, burned it, and fastened amulets on both of them. Saying aloud, “May you have a life as long as that of a mountain,” they struck together jeweled stone balls near the Jinas ears. They conducted the Jina and his mother to the birth-house, placed them on the bed, and stood singing the Blessed One’s virtues.