Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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...

When the Lord of Laṅkā had told this, Marutta asked his forgiveness for the sin arising from the sacrifice which was made because of his own ignorance. Then King Marutta gave his daughter, Kanakaprabhā, to Daśāsya, and Daśāsya married her. Destroyer of Marutta’s sacrifice, strong like the wind, he went then to the city Mathurā, very powerful. Its king, Harivāhana, came to Daśagrīva with his son Madhu, who had a spear, like Īśāna. Daśakandhara, delighted, talked with him who was standing near with devotion and asked him, “Where did your son get this spear for a weapon?” Madhu, instructed by hiis father by a gesture of his eye-brow, replied gently:

“This was given to me by the Indra Camara, my friend in a former birth. Camara said: ‘In the continent Dhātakīkhaṇḍa in Airāvatakṣetra in the large city Śatadvāra there were a prince, Sumitra, and a boy of good family, Prabhava. They were friends like Vasanta and Madana. In childhood they learned the arts under one teacher and they played together as inseparable as the two Aśvins. When they had grown up, Sumitra became king in that city and he made Prabhava very magnificent like himself.

One day the king’s horse ran away with him and went to a large forest; and the king married the daughter of the head of a village in it. The king returned to his own city with her and she, young and beautiful, was seen by Prabhava. Tormented by love at first sight of her, he became thinner day by day like the moon in the dark fortnight. The king, realizing that he who was not susceptible to charms and spells had become very thin, said, “What is troubling you? Tell me fully, friend.” Prabhava replied, “This can not be spoken which even in my mind amounts to a family disgrace.” Questioned persistently by the king, the well-born youth said, “Love for Vanamālā is the cause of my bodily weakness.” The king said, “For your sake, I would abandon even a kingdom, to say nothing of a mere woman. Take her this very day.” With these words he dismissed him and sent her after him, like a messenger, to his house at nightfall.

She said: “The king has given me, a life-giving herb, to you, suffering. Therefore, command me. The husband’s command is very powerful for me. For your sake my husband would give up his life, to say nothing of a slave like me. Why do you seem indifferent?”

Prabhava said, “Alas! alas for me shameless! He indeed is noble whose friendship for me is such a kind. Even life is given for another, but not a wife. So an evil thing has been done today by him for my sake. There is nothing unaskable, like the improper speech of slanderers, for people like me; and nothing ungivable for people like him, like wishing-trees. By all means, go. You are (like) a mother. Henceforth do not look at this person (me) nor speak to such a heap of evil even at your husband’s command.”

The king had come there secretly and had heard his speech, and was greatly delighted at seeing his friend’s virtue. After bowing to Vanamālā and dismissing her, Prabhava took a cruel sword and started to cut off his own head. Sumitra showed himself and took the sword from his hand, saying, "Do not do anything rash.” Prabhava, his head bowed from shame, as if wishing to enter the earth, was restored to his natural state by Sumitra some way or other. They ruled for a long time, devoted friends as before. Sumitra became a mendicant, died, and became the god Īśāna. Then he fell and became you, the son of Harivāhana, king of Mathurā, named Madhu, strong-armed, son of Mādhavī. Prabhava wandered through births for a long time and became the son of Viśvāvasu and Jyotirmatī, named Śrīkumāra. He practiced penance with a nidāna, died in the course of time, and became I, the Indra Camara, your friend of a former birth.’

After relating this, he gave me this trident, which goes up to two thousand yojanas and returns, after doing its work.” After hearing this, Daśagrīva gave his daughter, Manoramā, to Prince Madhu, conspicuous in devotion and power.

Then Daśakandhara went to worship the shrines in Paṇḍaka on Svarṇādri eighteen years from the day he left Laṅkā. Daśakaṇṭha paid homage to the shrines ardently with concerts, pūjās, and festivals held with great magnificence.