Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Incarnation as Mahabala which is the second part of chapter VI of the English translation of the Shri Mallinatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Shri Mallinatha in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 2: Incarnation as Mahābala

In this same continent, Jambūdvīpa, there is a city Vītaśoka in the province Salilāvatī in the West Videhas. Bala was its king, like a large army in strength, an elephant for rooting up the forest of a hostile army, like a god in appearance. A son, named Mahābala, having complete power, indicated by the dream of a lion, was borne to the king by his wife Dhāriṇī. When he was grown, Mahābala married on one day five hundred princesses, Kamalaśrī and others. He had childhood-friends, Acala, Dharaṇa, Pūraṇa, Vasu, Vaiśravaṇa, and Abhicandra. One day King Bala listened to religion in the presence of munis who had come to the garden Indrakubja in the northeast direction outside the city. He was permeated with disgust with existence, established Mahābala in the kingdom, became a mendicant, and attained emancipation.

A son, indicated by a dream of a lion, Balabhadra, was borne to Mahābala by the chief-queen, Kamalaśrī. After he had grown up in course of time, Mahābala made him his heir-apparent like another form of himself.

With his six childhood-friends King Mahābala listened to the religion of the Arhats because of friendship from the same nature. One day he said to his friends, “Listen! I am afraid of existence. I am going to become a mendicant. What will be your course in the future?” They said, “As we have enjoyed together worldly pleasures, so we shall enjoy together the bliss of emancipation in future.” Then Mahābala installed Balabhadra on the throne; and each one of the friends installed his son on his throne. Then powerful Mahābala and his six friends became mendicants at the feet of Muni Varadharma. The seven noble men made an agreement, “Whatever penance one of us performs, the rest of us must do.”

So they, this agreement having been made, equally eager for the fourth object of existence, practiced equal penance, one-day fasts, et cetera.

From a desire for superior results Mahābala deceived them, making excuses such as, “Today my head hurts; today my stomach hurts; today I am not hungry,” et cetera, did not eat on the day to break fast, and performed superior penance. Because of penance mixed with deceit, he acquired woman-inclination-karma[1] and also the body-making-karma of a Tīrthakṛt because of the sthānas, devotion to the Arhats, et cetera.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Strīveda, i.e., he would be born as a woman.

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