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 10: Śānti’s samavasaraṇa

Knowing the Lord’s omniscience by the shaking of their thrones, the Indras and the other gods came to the place purified by the Master. The gods, like sweepers, took away dust, sticks, grass, et cetera, for a yojana by means of whirlwinds. They rained fragrant water to settle the dust and divine five-colored flowers knee-deep. They paved the ground with gold slabs beautifully joined and made charming arches in the east and other directions. They made a jeweled platform in the center, fair with four ornamental gates, and erected three walls of silver, gold, and jewels, respectively. They created the caitya-tree, one hundred and eighty bows high, in the interior within the highest wall, the wall of jewels. Beneath it the gods made a dais not to be duplicated and on it they made a lion-throne in the east. Radiant with the thirty-four attributes,[1] the Blessed One entered the samavasaraṇa by the east door. The Teacher of the World circumambulated the caitya-tree and said, “Reverence to the congregation.” For that is the custom of the Jinendras. The Lord sat down on the eastern lion-throne, facing the east, and the gods created three images of him in the other directions. The throng of gods, asuras, and men entered by the proper doors and stood in the proper places, looking at the Lord’s face. The animals stood within the middle wall, free from hostility, and all the (animal) vehicles were within the lowest wall.

Then the gardeners of Sahasrāmravaṇa, their eyes opened wide from joy, came and announced to King Cakrāyudha, “Today you prosper with good fortune, Your Majesty, since now Śānti Svāmin’s omniscience has arisen while he was occupying Sahasrāmravaṇa.” Delighted at hearing this, King Cakrāyudha at once gave them a gratuity and went to the Master. After circumambulating Śānti-nātha and bowing to him, King Cakrāyudha sat down respectfully behind Śakra.

After bowing again to the Master, Śakra and Cakrāyudha began a hymn of praise in a voice choking with joy:


“Lord of the World, today the world has entered a state of happiness through you, a sun of knowledge, causing a festival of happiness (bright weather). Your kalyāṇa-festivals, wishing-gems of happiness, become visible to such as us because of accumulated merit, Teacher of the World. The waves of water of the sight of you wash clean the minds smeared with the impurities of the passions, et cetera, of all creatures, Lord of the World. Because you acquired Tīrthakṛtkarma formerly when you were striving to destroy karma, so your indifference to your own interests is a kindness to others. This samavasaraṇa of yours is a refuge, like a great fortress, to men in the world terrified by terrible saṃsāra, Lord. You know the entire mind of all and are a benefactor to all. Nothing at all needs to be asked; nevertheless, I do ask you: May you not desert my mind, as you desert villages, mines, cities, et cetera, every moment, as you wander over the earth. O Blessed One, by your favor may time pass for me whose mind has become a bee for meditation on your lotus-feet.”

Footnotes and references:


See I, n. II. One of the 19 divine atiśayas, the caitya tree, is omitted.