Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Kidnaping of Bhamandala which is the twelfth 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.

At that time the sage Piṅgala died and became a god in Saudharma. With clairvoyant knowledge he looked for his enemy Kuṇḍalamaṇḍita of a former birth, and he saw that he had become the son of Janaka. Angered because of his former hostility, he seized him as soon as he was born, and reflected:

“Shall I kill him quickly by crushing him on a stone? And yet I experienced in many births for a long time the fruit of the evil deed which I committed in a former birth. By chance having become an ascetic, I have reached such a rank. How shall I go through endless births again by killing the child?”

After these reflections the god decorated the child with ornaments, earrings, et cetera, so he had the appearance of a falling star, and dropped him gently in the garden. Nandana, as if on a cushion, in the town Rathanūpura in the southern row on Vaitāḍhya. Candragati saw him and thought in bewilderment, “What is this?” and went to the garden Nandana as a result of the child’s fall. He saw there the child adorned with divine ornaments and the Vidyādhara-lord, who had no son, took him himself and made him his son. He delivered the child to his wife Puṣpavatī and had a proclamation made in the city, “The queen has borne a son today”. The king and the townsmen held a great birth-festival and named him Bhāmaṇḍala from the presence of a halo. Tended by Khecarīs, he began to grow, the moon to the lotus-eyes of Puṣpavatī and Candragati.

Now, when her son had been kidnaped, Videhā, crying pitifully, plunged her kinsmen into an ocean of despair. Janaka sent men in every direction and had a search made, but did not get news of him anywhere, even after a long time.

Maithila (Janaka) gave the name of Sītā to his daughter, born as a twin, with the thought, “Here is the shoot from the grain of many virtues.” In the course of time their grief became dulled. Men’s grief and joy in this worldly existence come and go. Sītā grew up with a wealth of beauty and grace. She became gradually full of arts, like a digit of the moon.[1] When she was grown in the course of time, lotus-eyed, she looked like a river with waves of virtue and beauty, like a daughter of the lord of rivers (ocean).

“Who will be a suitable husband for her?” her father, King Janaka, pondered day and night. Examining each prince through the eyes of a spy, he debated with his ministers, but not one was satisfactory.

Footnotes and references:


With a play on the meaning of kalāpūrṇa, ‘moon.’

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