Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Birth of Padma (Rama) and Lakshmana which is the ninth 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.

Then Aparājitā one day saw the elephant, lion, moon, and sun in a dream, which indicated the birth of a Bala, in the last part of the night. Then a powerful god fell from Brahmaloka and descended into her womb like a marāla into a lotus-bed. Then Aparājitā bore a son with all the favorable marks resembling a white lotus in color, a white lotus among men. The king rejoiced exceedingly at the sight of this lotus, the jewel of a first son, like the ocean at the sight of the full moon. The king gave gifts to beggars, like a wishing-gem. For imperishable gifts are the custom of the people, when a son is born. Then the people made a great festival themselves, for they rejoiced more than King Daśaratha. The citizens brought auspicious dishes, full dishes, together with durvā, flowers, fruits, et cetera. Everywhere melodious songs were sung, everywhere piles of saffron, everywhere rows of festoons were made in the city. Then presents from kings, sent unexpectedly, came to the king from the power of his son. The king gave the name Padma to his son, a lotus abode of Padmā (Lakṣmī), and he became known by the name Rāma also.

Sumitrā saw an elephant, lion, sun, moon, fire, Śrī, and ocean in a dream at dawn, which indicated the birth of a Viṣṇu. Then a powerful god fell from heaven and descended into Queen Sumitrā’s womb. At the proper time Sumitrā bore a jewel of son, the color of a rainy-season cloud, with all the favorable marks, a friend of the world. Then the king made an especial eight-day pūjā accompanied by bathing (of the images) in all the shrines of the holy Arhats in the city. The king released the captive enemies imprisoned. Who does not live happily, at the birth of superior men? Not only did the king bloom with his people but the goddess earth quickly expanded. The king held a bigger festival than he had at Rāma’s birth. Who becomes satiated with joy? The king gave him the name Nārāyaṇa; he became known over the earth by another name, Lakṣmaṇa.

The two infants gradually reached a distinguished childhood marked by pulling their father’s beard. The king looked at them, cherished by their nurses, again and again with extreme joy, as if they were other arms of his own. They passed from lap to lap of the councilors, raining nectar, as it were, on the laps of the kings by their touch. Gradually they grew up, always dressed in blue and yellow, and wandered about, shaking the earth with their footsteps. They acquired all the arts gradually, the teachers of the arts made into (mere) witnesses, like heaps of merit embodied. Very strong, they split mountains with a light blow of their fist as easily as a dish of snow. When their bows were strung on the drilling-ground, the sun trembled and remained high from fear of being hit. Considering as straw the power of enemies because of their strength of arm, they looked upon their own expertness with weapons just as a diversion. The king considered himself invincible to gods, asuras, et cetera, because of their great skill in weapons and missiles and strength of arm.

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