Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Mahapadma’s adventures in voluntary exile which is the sixth part of chapter VIII of the English translation of the Shri Mahapadma-cakravartin-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Shri Mahapadma-cakravartin in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 6: Mahāpadma’s adventures in voluntary exile

Then a chariot for the Arhat’s statue was made by Jvālā, Mahāpadma’s mother, like a karṇīratha,[1] for crossing the ocean of births. The mother of a co-wife, a wrong-believer, named Lakṣmī, had made a chariot for Brahmā, wishing to do something in opposition to her. Lakṣmī asked the king, “Let Brahmā’s chariot go through the city first and then the Arhat’s chariot.” Jvālā said to the king, “If the Jain chariot does not make the first procession in the city, then I shall fast.” Beset by doubts, the king stopped the procession of both chariots. What other course was there for an impartial person? Then, much troubled by his mother’s grief, Mahāpadma left Hastināpura at night while the people were asleep. As he went along at random, his face upturned, he came to a large forest and, wandering in it, he saw a hermitage. Being hospitably entertained by the ascetics who enjoyed the arrival of guests, Mahāpadma decided to stay there like his own house.

Now King Janamejaya in Campā was besieged by King Kāla, fought with him, and perished. The city was breached and the women of the harem scattered like deer in a forest-fire, confused about directions. Nāgavatī, the wife of the King of Campā, fled with her daughter Madanāvalī and came to that hermitage. Padma and Madanāvalī, missiles of love for each other, saw each other and love developed immediately. Knowing that she had fallen in love, her mother said: “Daughter, do not do anything rash. Remember the speech of the astrologer. You were told by the astrologer, ‘You will be the chief-queen of the lord of six-part Bharata.’ Then do not fall in love with just any man. Be restrained. At the right time the cakrin will marry you.”

Afraid of misfortune to her, the head of the hermitage said to Padma, “Son, go back where you came from. Peace be with you, good sir.”

Hearing (what had been said), the prince thought, “There cannot be two cakrins at the same time. I alone am a future cakrin here. So she will be wife.” With these reflections, Mahāpadma left the hermitage and came to the town Sindhusadana in his wandering. At that time the women of the town were engaged in various sports in a garden outside at a spring-festival, occupied with the commands of Kandarpa. Hearing the tumult of their sport, King Mahāsena’s elephant pulled up his post like a piece of a plantain tree.[2] Throwing off the two riders at once like dust clinging to a bed, not enduring the touch of the wind even on his body, his hair erect, freed from the elephant-drivers unable to do anything from a distance, he went instantly to the vicinity of the townswomen. They could not run away but stood rooted to the spot from terror and screamed very loud like marālīs seized by a crocodile. Seeing them screaming, Padma ran toward him from compassion and scolded him, “Oh! rogue-elephant, arrogant from ichor, look this way.” The rogue-elephant turned facing the prince, angrily, shaking the earth as if hollow with blows from his feet. “To protect us some noble man has thrown himself in front of the elephant like Yama’s face,” the women said. Just as soon as the rogue-elephant came near him, facing him, Padma tossed up a piece of cloth. A trick is advantageous sometimes. The elephant tore the clothing repeatedly with the idea that it was the prince. Anger alone (leads) to blindness. How much more when augmented by pride.[3]

Then the people of the town collected because of the loud tumult and King Mahāsena with vassals and generals. Mahāsena said to Padma: “Go away quickly, brave man. What is the use of inopportune death from this enraged elephant?” Padma said: “That is a proper thing for you to say, O king, but it would be a source of shame to me if I abandoned something I had undertaken. Watch this rogue-elephant being checked by me, made submissive as if it had been tame from birth. Do not be timid from kindness.” The elephant, whose head was lowered to tear up the garment, was struck by the prince with the thunderbolt of his fist. When the elephant rose up to seize the prince, he mounted him with a leap as quick as lightning. Moving about on the front and sides in different positions, the frog-position, et cetera, he harassed him. By slaps on the boss, blows on the neck, and kicks on the back he was bewildered by Padma. The people watched him in astonishment, saying “Well done!” and the king described his heroism like a brother. The first among elephant-drivers, the prince made the elephant walk about and made him furnish amusement, as he liked, as easily as if he were a young elephant. He turned the elephant over to another driver and holding to a girth, putting his foot on another, he dismounted.

The king conjectured, “He is from a high family, judging by his strength and beauty,” and led him to his own house. The king married his hundred daughters to him. For such a bridegroom, come to the house, is gained by merit alone. Even though he was enjoying pleasures with them day and night, the memory of Madanāvalī was like a constant wound in the prince.

One day as he was sleeping at night on a couch, like a haṃsa on a lotus, he was kidnaped by the Vidyādhari, Vegavatī, swift as the wind. Saying, “Why did you kidnap me, wretched girl, destroyer of sleep?” the prince raised his fist like a ball of adamant. She said: “Do not be angry, powerful one. Listen patiently. There is a city named Sūrodaya on Mt. Vaitāḍhya. Its king is Indradhanus, lord of Vidyādharas. His wife is named Śrīkāntā, and they have a daughter Jayacandrā. Because no suitable husband had been found, Jayacandrā became a man-hater. For women without husbands are dead while alive. I painted on canvas the pictures of the kings in Bharatakṣetra and showed them to her but none pleased her.

One day I had painted your picture and showed it to her and quickly a home was made in her heart at will by Love. Formerly hating men, then she hated life, thinking you a husband hard to win. ‘Either Padma, the son of Padmottara, becomes my husband or death is my refuge,’ she vowed to me. I told her parents that she was in love with you, and they were instantly delighted at the desire for a suitable husband. I, Vegavatī, possessing a great vidyā, was sent by them to bring you, lord. To console her in love with you, I said: ‘Fair maiden’ be at ease. I shall go there today. I shall bring you Mahāpadma, sun to the lotus of the heart, or I shall enter the fire. Control your grief.’ Comforting her with these words, I came here and am taking you, a depository of nectar, for her comfort. You are conferring a benefit. Do not be angry.” Then, permitted by him, she took him to Sūrodaya with speed almost equal to the chariots of the Ābhiyogya-gods. Honored at dawn like the sun by the Lord of Sūrodaya, he married Jayacandrā like the moon, marrying Rohiṇī.

Two sons of Jayacandrā’s maternal uncle, Gaṅgādhara and Mahīdhara, possessing great vidyās, insolent from pride in their vidyās and from pride in their arms, heard of her marriage and at once became very angry. For the desire for one object is the cause of great hostility. The heroes came together to Sūrodaya with all their army to fight Jayacandrā’s husband. Padma, with a retinue of Vidyādharas, his strength of arm irresistible, left the city, eager for battle without trickery. Terrifying some, striking some down, beating some, he overcame easily the enemy-soldiers, like a lion elephants. When the Vidyādhara-lords, Gaṅgādhara and Mahīdhara, had seen their armies destroyed, they fled to save their lives.

Then the jewels, the cakra, et cetera, having appeared, the son of Padmottara, powerful, conquered six-part Bharatakṣetra. The magnificence of the cakrin was complete except for the woman-jewel, like the fullness of the fourteenth day of the bright half of the moon except for one digit. Recalling the woman-jewel, Madanāvalī, whom he had seen before, Padma went again to the hermitage as if in sport. The hermits entertained him and King Janamejaya,[4] who had come there in his wandering, gave him Madanāvalī.

Footnotes and references:


Abhi. 3. 417, a kind of litter.


Noted for its frailty.


With reference also to the rut-fluid.


Her father.

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