Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Previous birth of Anjana which is the third part of chapter III 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.

Lamenting so, Añjanā was led by her friend, who informed her first, and she saw Muni Amitagati in meditation in a cave. Bowing to the flying-ascetic with reverence, they sat down on the ground in front of him and he finished his meditation. Raising his right hand, he gave the blessing ‘Dharmalābha,’ which is ṭhe sole water-channel to the great garden of happiness of meditation. After bowing again with devotion, Vasantatilakā told him all of Añjanā’s trouble from the beginning.

Asked by her friend: “Who became her embryo and because of what act has she been reduced to such a wretched condition?” the muni related the following story:

“In Bharatakṣetra of this very Jambūdvīpa in the town Mandara there was a merchant, Priyanandin. By his wife, Jayā, he had a son, Damayanta, devoted to self-control, a depository of arts, like the moon. One day as he was playing in the garden, he saw monks engaged in study and meditation and, pure-minded, listened to dharma from them. He accepted right-belief and took numerous limitations and gave a suitable irreproachable gift to the monks. Grounded in penance and self-control, he died in the course of time and became a magnificent god in the second heaven.

When he fell, he became the son, Siṃhacandra, of King Haricandra, lord of the city Mṛgāṅka, by Priyaṅgulakṣmī. He professed the Jain faith, died in the course of time and attained divinity. When he fell, he became the son, Siṃhavāhana, of King Sukaṇṭha and Kanakodarī in the city Vāruṇa on this same Vaitāḍhya. After enjoying sovereignty for a long time, he took the vows tinder Muni Lakṣmīdhara in the congregation of Śrī Vimala. After practicing severe penance, he died, and became a god in Lāntaka. Then he fell and descended into your friend’s womb. Her son will be a powerful Vidyādhara, the abode of virtues, having his last body, irreproachable.

Furthermore, in the city Kanakapura there was a king, named Kanakaratha, crest-jewel of great warriors. He had two wives, Kanakodarī and Lakṣmīvatī, and Lakṣmīvatī was always an ardent laywoman. She set up a statue of the Jina made of jewels in the house-shrine, had pūjās made to it and worshipped it twice a day daily. Crazy from jealousy, Kanakodarī took the Arhat’s statue and threw it into the impurity of a trash-pile. At that time Jayaśrī, the head of a group of nuns, came there in her wandering, saw that, and said to her: ‘Why are you doing this, honored lady? By you, throwing here the Arhat’s statue, this soul (of yours) has been made the receptacle of the pains of many births.’

At these words, remorsefully she took the statue, cleaned it, asked forgiveness, and set it in its proper place. From that time, possessing right belief, she observed the Jain faith, died in time, and became a goddess in the heaven Saudharma. Then she fell and became Mahendra’s daughter, your friend, the result of her throwing the Arhat’s statue in an improper place. In that birth you were her sister and approved of that act and experience its consequences with her. The consequences of that evil deed of hers have been experienced for the most part. Adopt the Jain religion. It has favorable results in birth after birth. Her uncle will come suddenly and take Her to his house, and soon a meeting with her husband will take place.”

After telling this, the muni confirmed them both in the religion of the Arhats and flew up in the air like Garuḍa. They saw a young lion approaching, bursting open the ground with blows with his tail, as it were, with the thickets in all directions filled with roars, terrible with the blood of elephants, his eyes blazing, his fangs like a vajrakanda,[1] his teeth cruel as a saw, his mane like a flame, his nails resembling iron goads, his breast like a slab of stone. While they stood trembling, as if wishing to enter the ground, like does running away, Maṇicūla, a Gandharva, lord of the cave, created by magic the figure of a śarabha and destroyed the lion. After destroying the śarabha and resuming his own form, he and his wife sang a hymn in praise of the Arhats’ virtues for their delight. Comfortably established in a cave in the vicinity which he presided over, they set up a statue of the god Munisuvrata and worshipped it.

Footnotes and references:

1.

I have been unable to find any indications of the identify of vajrakanda (a bulbous plant). The Pravac. 236 includes it in a list of underground plants, but gives no information.