Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Founding of Malli’s congregation which is the fourteenth 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 14: Founding of Malli’s congregation

Told by the Laukāntikas, “Found a congregation,” Mallī gave gifts for a year with, money supplied by the Jṛmbhakas. When she was one hundred years old, twenty-five bows tall, her departure-festival being held by King Kumbha, Indras, et cetera, Mallī got into the jeweled palanquin, named Jayantī, and went to the best garden, Sahasrāmravaṇa. The Teacher of the World entered the garden which was adorned with fields of dark sugarcane[1] in some places, like the rising dark half of the moon; in some places with fields of white sugar-cane, like the bright half of the moon being up; marked with the ripe fruit of orange trees like rubies, shining with marjoram all over as if paved with sapphires,[2] with well-water being sipped and banyan trees being frequented by travelers suffering from cold, because of (their) warmth like a woman’s breast,[3] adorned with blooming jasmines like the laughter of the Lakṣmī of winter.[4]

After a three-day fast Lord Malli became a mendicant with proper ceremony with a thousand men suitable for an outside retinue and three hundred women suitable for inside attendants on the eleventh day of the bright half of Mārga in the afternoon, the constellation being Aśvayuj. Malli’s mind-reading knowledge arose just then, and on the same day omniscience arose at the foot of an aśoka. The samavasaraṇa was made by the gods, Śakra, et cetera, adorned with a caitya-tree three hundred bows high. Malli entered by the east door, circumambulated the caitya-tree, and said, “Reverence to the congregation.” She sat on the eastern lion-throne, facing the east, and the Vyantara-gods made images in the other directions at once. The holy fourfold congregation stood in the proper places, and Kumbha and the six kings sat down behind Śakra.

The king of the gods (Śakra) and King Kumbha bowed to the Teacher of the World and praised him joyfully, their souls cleansed by faith.


“By good fortune the rays from the nails of your feet are like tilakas of protection on the foreheads of those bowing (before you), terrified of existence. Because of celibacy from birth, there was initiation on your part even at birth. I think even your birth resembled the repetition of vows. Of what use is heaven where there is no sight of you? This earth is better, purified by the sight of you. Your samavasaraṇa is a citadel for men, gods, and animals terrified of the enemy of existence, a place of refuge, Lord. Other actions, except bowing at your feet, are bad actions by which karma alone is produced, the cause of continuing in existence. Other meditations, except the meditation on you, are evil meditations by which the soul is firmly bound like a spider by its own web.[2] Stories, except the story of your virtues, are poor stories, by which one comes to disaster, like a partridge by talking.[3] May there be cessation of birth by the power of attendance on your lotus-feet, Teacher of the World; or may there be devotion to you in existence after existence.”

Footnotes and references:


Kṛṣṇekṣu must be the dark purple cane.


Neither of these comparisons seems very felicitous, but cf. I, n. 213.


See III, n, 137.


Kunda, Jasminum pubescens, blooms in winter.


See III, p. 337.


I have not been able to find a specific story to which this might refer. The partridge calls frequently and so would attract the attention of hunters.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: