by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...
“King, in Rājapura there is a king, named Marutta. He is a heretic and makes sacrifices, influenced by wicked Brāhmans. I saw innocent animals, crying out, bound, being led by his Brāhmans like butchers for slaughter in a sacrifice. Then I, compassionate, descended from the sky and questioned Marutta who was surrounded by Brāhmans, ‘Look! What is taking place?’ Then Marutta said: ‘This is a sacrifice ordered by the Brāhmans. The animals must be sacrificed here in the sacrificial ground to please the gods. This is a well-known righteous act for the sake of heaven. Therefore I shall make a sacrifice ‘today with these animals, sir.’ Then I said to him: ‘The body is the sacrificial ground; the soul is the sacrificer; penance is the fire; knowledge is said to be the ghī; karma is the fuel; anger, et cetera are considered the animals; truth is the sacrificial post; protection of all living things is the fee for the sacrifice. If a sacrifice has been made in accordance with the Vedas, with the understanding the three Vedas are the three jewels, by a different means, the attainment of emancipation results. The people who, like Rākṣasas, make a sacrifice by killing goats, et cetera, will remain in a terrible hell, suffering pain, for a long time after they have died. You spring from the best family; you are intelligent and wealthy. O king, turn from that crime suitable for hunters. If heaven were possible for people by the killing of living creatures, then this world of the living would be empty in a few days.’
At hearing this speech of mine, the Brāhmans flamed with anger like the fires of a sacrifice and started up with staves and boards in their hands. Then I was beaten by them, escaped, and reached you, like one injured by the current of a river reaching an island, Rāvaṇa. Protect the Innocent animals who are being killed by these human-animals. I, on the other hand, am protected just from seeing you.”
Then Daśāsya descended from his car with the intention of looking at that (the sacrifice), and was honored by the king with water for the feet, the lion-throne, et cetera. Daśānana, angry, said to King Marutta: “Sirrah! Why is this sacrifice being made by these men facing hell? For how can dharma taught by the omniscients benefiting the three worlds to be from non-injury result from a sacrifice consisting of injury to animals? Do not make this sacrifice hostile to the two worlds. If you make it, you will dwell in my prison in this world and in hell in the next.” Then King Marutta stopped the sacrifice at once. For Rāvaṇa’s command, terrifying to every one, is not to be transgressed. Daśāsya asked Nārada, “How did these sacrifices consisting of slaughter of animals originate?” and Nārada related;