Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Reincarnation of Vaishravana (fifth of Malli’s six former friends) which is the eleventh 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 11: Reincarnation of Vaiśravaṇa (fifth of Malli’s six former friends)

Vaiśravaṇa’s jīva fell from Vaijayanta and became King Adīnaśatru in Hastināpura. Now Malli’s younger brother, named Malla, had a picture-gallery painted by painters out of curiosity. Among them one excellent painter had the art of painting the body as it was from the sight of one part, creating amazement by his painting. After he had seen Malli’s toe through the screen, he painted her figure just as it was with all the limbs and minor parts.

Malla went there to play, saw Malli in the picture and, thinking that it was Malli in person, left hurriedly in embarrassment. Questioned by the nurse, “What is it?” the prince said, “My sister Mallī is present. How then can I play here?” The nurse investigated carefully and said, “She must be recognized not as Mallī herself, but in a picture. So do not go away.” Prince Malla, angered, banished the painter of the picture, after cutting off the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. He went to Hastināpura, told the story to King Adīnaśatru, and described Mallī as follows:

“There is no beautiful woman, a digit of the moon of the sky of the whole world, except Malli, never was, and never will be. A man, who would look at another girl after seeing her, would look at a piece of glass after seeing a fine sapphire. She alone is first of women, like the Jāhnavī of rivers, because of her beauty, grace, gait, and other gestures.”

After giving this description of her, the best of painters pulled out the painting and showed her in the picture. After seeing her, astonished and eager from his former affection, he sent his agent to King Kumbha to ask for her.

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