Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Naghusha and Simhika which is the fourth part of chapter IV 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.

Now Citramālā, King Sukośala’s wife, bore a son, Hiraṇyagarbha, the joy of the family. When he, who had been king from the time he was in the womb, grew up, gazelle-eyed Mṛgāvatī became his wife. Mṛgāvatī bore King Hiraṇyagarbha a son named Naghuṣa, like another (Naghuṣa)[1] in form. One day, Hiraṇyagarbha saw a gray hair on his head, which was like a pledge of approaching old age. Feeling disgust with existence immediately, the king installed his son Naghuṣa on the throne and took the vow under Muni Vimala.

Siṃhikā was the wife of the man-lion Naghuṣa and he ruled his ancestral kingdom, delighting in her. One day, Naghuṣa went to conquer the kings in the north country and left Queen Siṃhikā in his own realm. Thinking, “Naghuṣa is not here,” the kings in the south besieged Ayodhyā. Enemies are devoted to trickery. Then Queen Siṃhikā attacked them like a man, defeated and put them to flight quickly. Does a lioness not slay elephants? After conquering the north, Naghuṣa returned one day and heard the news of his wife’s victory. He reflected:

“This action, in which boldness is displayed, difficult even for men like me, is not suitable for women belonging to noble families. Now certainly she is not a good wife. For good wives, whose husbands are their gods, do nothing except service to their husbands, to say nothing of such a thing.”

With this decision the king put aside Siṃhikā quickly, though very dear, like a broken statue. One day, a burning fever developed in Naghuṣa and, like an evil enemy, did not become extinct even from a hundred remedies. To show her wifely fidelity and to destroy her husband’s pain, Siṃhikā took water and went near him. She took an oath, “If I have never looked at any other man except you, may your fever leave you.” Then she sprinkled her husband with water and just then he became free from fever, as if cleansed by nectar. The gods sent a rain of flowers on Siṃhikā and the king esteemed her highly from that time as before.

In the course of time a son, Sodāsa, was borne to King Naghuṣa by Queen Siṃhikā. One day, King Naghuṣa handed over the kingdom to Sodāsa and took mendicancy, the one means to emancipation.

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