Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Marriage with Kaikeyi which is the eighth 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.

Maithila and Aikṣvāka wandering together, united, in the same condition, friends, went to the north country. They heard of a svayaṃvara of Kaikeyī, the daughter of King Śubhamati in the city Kautukamaṅgala, borne by Pṛthvīśrī, sister of Droṇamegha, a depository of the seventy-two arts, and they went to the pavilion. They sat down on the platform in the midst of the kings headed by Harivāhaṇa, like haṃsas on a lotus. Kaikeyī, a jewel among maidens, decorated with jeweled ornaments, came to the svayaṃvara-pavilion like Lakṣmī in person. Leaning on the arm of a woman door-keeper, looking at the kings in turn, like a digit of the moon looking at the constellations, she passed by many. She came in turn to Daśaratha, like the Gaṅgā to the ocean, and stood on the same spot like a ship whose anchor has been dropped in water. At once, her body horripilated, joyfully Kaikeyī threw her groom’s garland, like the tendril of her arm, on him. The kings, Harivāhaṇa, et cetera, thinking themselves humiliated, proud, blazed with anger, like a blazing fire.

“This wretch, solitary, ragged, was chosen by her. How will he protect her, miserable girl, if she is carried off by us?”

Talking at length in this way angrily, they went to their camps and all put on their armor with their whole heart. King Śubhamati armed himself eagerly with his fourfold army on Daśaratha’s side. “Wife, you act as charioteer that I may crush the enemy,” Rāghava (Daśaratha), alone at that time, said to Kaikeyī. Kaikeyī took the reins and got into the chariot. For she, wise, was learned in the seventy-two arts. Carrying his bow and quiver, armored, King Daśaratha got into the chariot, esteeming his enemies like grass, though alone. Kaikeyī alone joined rapidly his chariot with the chariot of Harivāhana, et cetera, each one separately just as if simultaneously. Shooting rapidly, Daśaratha destroyed their chariots one by one, his strength unbroken like another Ākhaṇḍala. Thus he put to flight all the kings and married Kaikeyī like a living earth.

King Daśaratha, charioteer, said to his bride, “Ask for a boon, queen. I am delighted by your charioteering.” “I shall ask at the right time, master. Let my boon be kept on deposit,” Kaikeyī said and the king agreed. The king went to Rājagṛha with Kaikeyī like Śrī, with the enemies’ soldiers taken by force, accompanied by innumerable attendants. King Janaka went to his own city. For when the wise know it is the right time, they do not delay. King Daśaratha conquered the Lord of Magadha and remained there, but did not go to Ayodhyā because of fear. The king had his own harem, Aparājitā and others, brought there. The kingdom of the powerful is everywhere. Sporting with the queens, the king remained there in the city for a long time. For the earth itself is gained especially for the delight of kings.

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