Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Birth of Ravana which is the third part of chapter I of the English translation of the Jain Ramayana, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. This Jain Ramayana contains the biographies of Rama, Lakshmana, Ravana, Naminatha, Harishena-cakravartin and Jaya-cakravartin: all included in the list of 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

One day in a dream Kaikasī saw a lion, in the act of tearing an elephant’s boss, enter her mouth. At dawn she related the dream and Ratnaśravas interpreted, “You will have a son, who will be arrogant to all, powerful.” From the time of that dream the wife of Ratnaśravas constantly made offerings in he shrines and carried her very precious embryo. From the time of the embryo’s conception Kaikasī’s speech became very harsh and her body firm, free from fatigue. She looked at her face in a sword, even if a mirror were at hand; she began to give orders fearlessly even in dominion over the gods. Without any cause she spoke harshly with contemptuous expressions. She did not bow her head at all even to gurus. For a long time she wished to put her foot on the heads of the wise. From the power of her embryo she acquired cruel characteristics such as these.

She bore a son, who made the seats of his enemies shake, with a life-term of more than twelve thousand years. Leaping about on the birth-couch, very strong, shaking the earth, resting on his back, with a proud red lotus of a foot, with, his hand he drew a necklace made of nine rubies from a casket standing near, a necklace which was a present in the past from Indra Bhīma.[1] From inherent arrogance the child put the necklace around his neck and Kaikasī and her attendants were amazed. She told Ratnaśravas: “The necklace which the king of the Rākṣasas gave to your ancestor, King Meghavāhana, in the past and which has been worshipped like a deity by your ancestors up to this time, which could not be lifted by others, which was made of nine rubies and guarded by a thousand Nāgas—this necklace has been seized by your child and put around his neck.” At once Ratnaśravas gave him ‘the name ‘Daśamukha[2] because his face was united with the nine rubies. He related the following: “A certain sage was questioned by my father Sumālin when he had gone to Meru to pay homage to the shrines. The possessor of four kinds of knowledge said, ‘Whoever shall lift your ancestral necklace, made of nine rubies, he shall be an Ardhacakrin.’” Kaikasī bore another son, indicated by the dream of a sun, named Bhānukarṇa, and also called by another name, Kumbhakarṇa. Kaikasī bore a daughter, named Candraṇakhā, because her nails were like the moon. She was called Śūrpaṇakhā by the people. After some time had passed Kaikasī again bore a son, named Bibhīṣaṇa, indicated by the dream of a moon. The three full brothers, full sixteen bows tall, played agreeably day by day, fearless, in play suitable for their ages at that time.

Footnotes and references:


The Indra of the Rākṣasas. See II, p. 165.


I.e., ‘Ten-faced.’

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