by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes The device of the statue which is the thirteenth 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.
Seeing the thought of the six kings, her friends in a former birth, by means of clairvoyant-knowledge, Malli had made a golden statue of herself and installed it on a beautiful jeweled platform in an interior room in a palace in a grove of aśokas. The statue had lips of ruby, hair of sapphire, and eyes of sapphire and crystal, hands and feet of coral, a stomach with a hollow tube to the palate, a hole in the palate covered with a golden lotus, and exceedingly beautiful limbs. Kumbha’s daughter had six doors with double doors and lattices made in the front wall of the statue’s private room. She had six little private rooms made in front of the doors and one door in the wall behind the statue. Daily she threw a ball of all the foods into the statue’s palate, covered it with the golden lotus, and then ate.
Now the messengers of the six kings arrived simultaneously before the King of Mithilā. The first messenger said: “The lord of Sāketa, whose lotus-feet are rubbed by the heads of many vassals, long-armed, very brave, a Makaradhvaja (Kama) in beauty, a moon in gentleness, a sun in splendor, Bṛhaspati in wisdom, King Pratibuddha asks to marry your irreproachable daughter Mallī. The maiden, must surely be given to some one by her father. You can make him your kinsman by giving her to him.”
The second messenger said: “The king of Campā, young, whose arms are like a yoke, broad-shouldered, faireyed, well-bred, clever, faithful to his word, powerful in battle, learned in all the sciences and practiced in weapons like the moon in light, King Candracchāya seeks Mallī from you. Be pleased to give her to him.”
The third messenger said: “The king of Śrāvastī, the wishing-gem of mortals and the crest-jewel of warriors, the refuge of those seeking protection, the best among the heroic, the play-house of the Śrīs of victory, the garden of the trees of virtues, King Rukmin seeks your daughter. Arrange the union of the suitable, O king, You know what is suitable.”
The fourth messenger said: “The lord of Kāśī, by whom Puṇyajaneśvara (Kubera) is surpassed in wonderful power, eloquent, Kandarpa in beauty, destroyer of the insolence of enemies, a traveler on the path of good conduct, Pākaśāsana in command, his glory as brilliant as a fragment of a conch, King Śaṅkha asks you for your daughter. Give your consent, O king.”
The fifth messenger said: “The lord of Hāstinapura, Hastimalla in strength, light-handed, long-armed, successful in many battles, broad-chested, intelligent, young, a shoot of the creeper of glory, the only Ṛohaṇa of the jewels of virtues, the support of the poor and protectorless, King Adīnaśatru seeks your daughter Mallī. Give her, King of Videha.”
The sixth messenger said: “The lord of Kāmpīlya, unshakable by enemies like a mountain by elephants; adorned by many armies like an ocean by rivers, by generals with invincible powers, like Sunāsīra, King Jitaśatru, all of whose enemies have been conquered, asks through my speech for your daughter. Give her without hesitation.”
King Kumbha said: “Who are they, insolent, seekers of death, foolish villainous kings! Even the gods, Śakra et cetera, are not suitable to marry this jewel of a maiden of mine, the crest-jewel of the three worlds. The wish of your malicious lords is made in vain. So go, base messengers! Leave my city.”
Thus humiliated by the king, they went to their respective masters quickly and told his words, a wind to the ‘fire of anger. The six kings, having been equally insulted, sent messengers to each other and decided on an attack on Kumbha. The six advanced, like the mountain-ranges of the zones in strength, covering the earth with soldiers, and arrived at Mithilā. Expert in blocking the places of entrance and exit, they besieged it, having surrounded it like serpents a sandal tree.
In a few days Kumbha was distressed by the siege and, when he was torn by anxiety, Malli approached. She asked, “Why do you seem so alarmed, father?” and King Kumbha told her the cause of his alarm. Malli said, “Father, inform each one of the six through spies, ‘I shall give Mallī to you.’ At evening they must be brought in succession, concealed by a white garment, to the private rooms in front of my statue.” The king did so and they came so, and they saw the statue of Mallī through the lattices in the doors.
“Ah! She, beautiful, lovely-eyed, was won by my merit,” the kings reflected lovingly, thinking that it was Mallī. Mallī entered by the door back of the statue, screened by the statue, and took off the lotus which covered the palate. Immediately there arose the odor of the putrid food that had been thrown in formerly, unbearable as the odor of filth, hurting the nostrils intensely. It entered their private rooms through the lattices in the doors, splitting the noses of the six kings, as it were.
Covering their noses with their garments, they turned away from the odor, like cowards from enemies.
“Well, sirs, why are your backs turned?” asked by Malli, they replied, “We can not bear that terrible smell,” Malli said: “That is a golden statue. Such an odor comes from the throwing of food into it every day. What shall we say of that which originates in the womb from the semen and blood of the parents; afterwards becomes an embryo, then a fetus; then nourished by a liquid from food and milk made by the mother, plunged in the hell of the placenta, made to live in the excrement of the body? What is the value, even small, of the body originating in this way, the store-house of filth, itself characterized by chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen, the sole channel of urine, a bag of skin for phlegm, having an evil odor, resembling a city-sewer? In this case the means of the funeral pyre, fragrant camphor, et cetera, become dirt, like a rain of nectar becoming salt in saline soil. How can discerning people show the least devotion to this body disgusting inside and outside? Do you, foolish, not recall the penance that you performed with me as mendicants in the third birth (before this)?”
To the kings considering Mallī’s words, the memory of the birth arose. What may not result from the favor of the Arhat? Then Malli opened the latticed doors and the six, enlightened, approached her and said:
“We recall that in a former birth we seven friends practiced severe penance together by agreement. It is well that we have been enlightened by you; it is well that we have been saved from hell. Henceforth, teach what is right. You are our guru, lord.”
“At the right time you must become mendicants,” saying, Malli dismissed the six kings and they went; to their respective cities.
Footnotes and references:
The sandal tree has a special attraction for serpents.
The 7 dhātus, or elements. See I, n. 74.
I.e., the birth next to the last.