Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Ravana’s expedition of Conquest (introduction) which is the first part of chapter II 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.

Part 1: Rāvaṇa’s expedition of Conquest (introduction)

One day Daśamukha and his younger brothers saw King Vaiśravaṇa coming through the air, seated in an aerial car, very magnificent. Questioned by him, “Who is this?” their mother said: “He is the son of my elder sister, Kauśikā. He is the son of a Vidyādhara-lord, Viśravas; and he is the chief soldier of Indra, the lord of all Vidhyādharas. After Indra had killed in battle your grandfather’s elder brother, Mālin, he granted him our city Laṅkā and Rākṣasadvīpa. From that time the desire to recover Laṅkā has existed. Your father is here, son; for that is fitting in the case of a powerful enemy.

Bhīma, the lord of Rākṣasas, gave Laṅkā and Rākṣasadvīpa with Pātālalaṅkā and the vidyā called ‘Rākṣasī’ to King Meghavāhana, the first bulb of the Rakṣovaṃśa, his son in a former birth, for revenge on enemies. As their ancestral capital has been seized by enemies, your father and paternal grandfather stay here like dead men. The thought that ‘Enemies move about in it freely, like bulls in an unguarded field,’ is a living wound in your father always. When shall I, unfortunate that I am, see you, having gone there with your younger brothers, seated on your grandfather’s throne? When shall I, having seen the robbers of Laṅkā fettered in prison, be the crest-jewel among the mothers of sons? Because of these wishes, son, that are like heaps of flowers in the sky, I waste away from day to day, like a flamingo in a desert.”

Then Bibhīṣaṇa, his eyes terrifying from anger, said: “Be depressed no longer, mother. You do not know the power of your sons. Who is Indra compared with the powerful elder brother, Daśakaṇṭha, queen? Who is Vaiśravaṇa? Who are the other Vidyādharas? For this kingdom of Laṅkā to belong to enemies has been endured by Daśāsya because he did not know it before, like the trumpeting of an elephant endured by a sleeping lion. Let the elder brother, Daśagrīva, sit quietly. The elder brother, Kumbhakarṇa, also is able to destroy enemies, even if superexcellent soldiers. Leave aside the elder brother, Kumbhakarṇa. At their command I shall destroy the enemy suddenly, like the falling of a thunderbolt, mother.”

Then Rāvaṇa, biting his lower lip, said: “You are hard as diamond, mother, since you have borne this severe sorrow for a long time. I shall destroy the enemy, Indra and others, with the strength of one hand. Do not speak of sword against sword; for they are really like straw to me. Even if I am able to conquer the enemy by strength of arm, nevertheless, the power of vidyās, which was inherited, is suitable for use. I shall subdue completely the vidyās which are above reproach. With your permission my younger brothers and I shall go to subdue them.”

With these words, he bowed to his parents and, after he had been kissed on the head by them, went to a terrible forest with his younger brothers. Accompanied by his two brothers, he entered the forest whose trees nearby were shaken by the breathing of lizards and pythons, whose ground was burst open by the blows of the tails of arrogant tigers, whose thickets of trees were terrible from the hooting of large owls, which had stones from mountain-slopes falling from the stamping of dancing demons, terrifying even to the gods, the abode of calamities.

Wearing crowns of matted hair like ascetics, carrying rosaries, their glances fixed on the ends of the bridges of their noses, dressed in white, in two watches the three subdued the eight-syllable vidyā which grants all desires. They began to mutter the sixteen-syllable charm, the muttering of which for ten thousand crores of times gives results.

Just then a god, named Anādṛta, lord of Jambūdvīpa, came there with his harem to play and saw them. The Yakṣa-lord sent his girls to make a pleasant attack as an obstacle to their subduing the vidyās. The girls came to disturb them, but they themselves were disturbed by their very fair forms, the instructions of their master forgotten. Seeing their resolute figures, unchanged, silent, they spoke, helpless from the absorption in genuine love. “Sirs! sirs! you are dull from meditation. Look carefully in front of you. Goddesses have become submissive to you. What accomplishment of yours is superior to that? Why this effort to subdue vidyās? Enough of that trouble. What will you do with vidyās? For we, goddesses, are subdued by you. Sport with us at will like gods in different charming spots of the three worlds, as you like.”

Talking lovingly in this way to them possessing much firmness, the Yakṣa-girls became embarrassed. For one can not clap with one hand. Then the Yakṣa, lord of Jambūdvīpa, said to them (the brothers): “What bad conduct is this that you, foolish, have undertaken? I think you have been taught a heresy by some untrustworthy wicked heretic, for the sake of death suddenly. Go, go now, leaving this wicked persistence in meditation. Speak! I, compassionate, shall grant your desire.”

Angry, he said to them who were silent after these remarks, “On whom else do you meditate, ignoring me, a god before your eyes?”

The Yakṣa, whose speech was cruel, instructed his servants, who were within the forest, by raising his eye-brow, in regard to molesting them. Then, crying, “Kila! kila!” assuming many forms, some rooted up mountain-peaks and threw them in front of them. Some became serpents and twined around them like sandal trees; some became lions and gave terrible roars in front of them. In the bodies of bears, wolves, tigers, cats, et cetera they performed terrifying acts; but they were not shaken, nevertheless. They created Kaikasī, Ratnaśravas, and their sister, Candraṇakhā, bound them, and threw them before them quickly. The unreal Ratnaśravas and the others then cried in pathetic tones, their tearful eyes upraised:

“We are being killed by these people devoid of pity, who have bound us, like animals by hunters, while you look on. Get up! Get up, son! Protect us, Daśakandhara! How can you, devoted to one purpose,[1] be so indifferent to us? Where is that strength of arm now of him who, a mere boy, put the great necklace on his neck? Where now has your arrogance gone? Kumbhakarṇa, why do you not listen to our words, that you look at us miserable, like one indifferent? Bibhīṣaṇa, you did not become lacking in devotion in a moment; why now are you averted as if by an evil fate?”

They did not move at all from meditation because of them lamenting in this way. Then the Yakṣa-servants cut off their (the relatives’) heads in front of them. Their minds subject to meditation, they were not disturbed in the least, not seeing, as it were, this cruel act even if it took place before them. They made his younger brothers’ heads fall in front of Rāvaṇa and Daśagrīva’s head before them by magic. Kumbhakarṇa and Bibhīṣaṇa were shaken a little from anger. Devotion to the elder was the reason of this, not small purity. Rāvaṇa, knowing the highest good, not considering it worthless, remained motionless like a high mountain, absorbed in preeminent meditation. “Well done! Well done!” was the cry of gods in the sky, and the Yakṣa-servants departed quickly, terrified.

One thousand vidyās, the sky being lighted up by them, came to Daśāsya, saying aloud, “We are subject to you.” Prajñaptī, Rohiṇī, Gaurī, Gāndhārī, Parā,[2] Nabhaḥsañcāriṇī, Kāmadāyinī, Kāmagāminī, Aṇimā, Laghimā, Akṣobhyā, Manaḥstambhanakāriṇī, Suvidhānā, Taporūpā, Dahanī, Vipulodarī, Śubhapradā, Rajorūpā, Dinarātrividhāyinī, Vajrodarī, Samākṛṣṭi, Adarśanī, Ajarā, Amarā, Analastambhanī, Toyastambhanī, Giridāraṇī, Avalokanī, Vahni, Ghorā, Dhīrā, Bhujaṅginī, Vāruṇī, Bhuvanāvadhyā, Dāruṇī, Madanāśinī, Bhāskarī, Rūpasampannā, Rośanī, Vijayā, Jayā, Vardhanī, Mocanī, Vārāhī, Kutilākṛti, Cittā, Udbhavakarī, Śānti, Kauberī, Vaṣakāriṇī, Yogeśvarī, Balotsādā, Caṇḍā, Bhīti, Pradharṣiṇī, Durnivārā, Jagatkampakāriṇī, Bhānumālinī: great vidyās beginning with these were subdued by noble Daśāsya in just a few days because of his former good acts.

Five vidyās, Saṃvṛddhi, Jṛmbhaṇī, Sarvāhāriṇī, Vyomagāminī, Indrāṇī, were subdued by Kumbhakarṇa. Four vidyās, Siddhārthā, Śatrudamanī, Nirvyāghātā, Khagāminī, were subdued by the younger brother of Kumbhakarṇa.

The lord of Jambūdvīpa asked Rāvaṇa’s forgiveness. For humble submission is atonement for a sin against the great. The Yakṣa, expert, made a city, Svayamprabha, for Rāvaṇa, as if wishing to make atonement for hindering. When they heard of his subduing of vidyās, his parents, sister, and kinsmen came there and paid homage. The three brothers remained, creating bliss, a rain of nectar to their parents’ eyes, a festival to their relatives. Then by six one-day fasts Daśāsya acquired the best sword, Candrahāsa, serving for subjugating the quarters.

Footnotes and references:


I.e., meditation.


This may not be a proper name. It is impossible to tell.

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