Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Restoration of Patalalanka to Viradha which is the first part of chapter VI 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.

Part 1: Restoration of Pātālalaṅkā to Virādha

Now Rāma, carrying his bow, arrived quickly at the place where Saumitri was making sport of fighting with enemies. When he noticed Rāma approaching, Saumitri said, “Why have you come here, sir, leaving your lady alone?” Rāghava replied, “I came here, Lakṣmaṇa, summoned by your lion’s roar, which was a signal of distress.” Lakṣmaṇa said: “A lion’s roar which was heard by the elder brother was not given by me. Therefore, we have certainly been deceived by some one. Certainly you have been led away because of a scheme to kidnap your lady. I think there was no reason at all for giving a lion’s roar. Therefore, go quickly, sir, to protect your lady, powerful one, until I follow you, after killing my enemies.”

So advised, Rāmabhadra went to his own place, did not see Jānakī there, and fell to the ground in a swoon. When he became conscious and got up, Rāmabhadra saw Jaṭāyus on the point of death and, sharp-witted, he thought: “My wife has surely been kidnaped by some one practicing deceit. This noble bird, angry because of* the kidnaping, has been killed by that man.” Then as compensation for the layman Jaṭāyus Rāma reciṭed the formula of homage which is provender for the journey to another world. He (Jaṭāyus) died and became a chief-god in the heaven Māhendra. Rāma wandered here and there in the forest in search of Sītā.

Now, the hero Lakṣmaṇa set out alone to fight with Khara who had many soldiers. There is no friend of a lion in battle. Just then Triśiras, Khara’s younger brother, a soldier, restrained his elder brother, “Why a challenge on your part to this man?” Then the younger brother of Rāma slew the Rākṣasa, Triśiras, as he was standing in his chariot, eager for battle, esteeming him like a moth.

Then Virādha, son of King Candrodara, lord of Pātālalaṅkā, came there with an army all equipped. Wishing to propitiate Rāma’s brother, Virādha said: “I am your soldier, hostile to these enemies of yours. O powerful one, after expelling my father, Candrodara, these soldiers of Rāvaṇa seized Pātālalaṅkā. Who is a friend of the sun in the destruction of darkness? Or of you in the destruction of enemies? Nevertheless, command me for battle, lord, because I am a mere servant.”

Smiling, Lakṣmaṇa said, “Watch these enemies as I slay them. Victory from the assistance of others would be to the shame of the powerful. From today my elder brother, the scion of Raghu, is your master. Today you have been installed in the kingdom of Pātālalaṅkā by me, sir.”

Seeing him obstructing his own quarrel in the presence of Lakṣmaṇa, Khara very much angered, approached with his bow strung and said: “Where is my son, Śambūka, you slayer of the unsuspecting? Why are you protected now by your friend, the miserable Virādha?”

Saumitri smiled and said: “Your younger brother, Triśiras, longing for his nephew, has been sent after him by me. If you have a very strong longing for your son and brother, I am ready with my bow strung to lead you there. Your son was killed by me by a careless blow like a small insect by a footstep, fool. There was no valor of mine in that. If now, considering yourself a soldier, you satisfy your desire, I, bestowing gifts even in a forestdwelling, shall give delight to Yama with you.”

The Rākṣasa Khara began to attack harshly Saumitri talking this way, an enemy, like an elephant attacking a mountain-side. Instantly Lakṣmaṇa covered the sky with arrows by the thousands, like the sun with rays. A very fierce battle between them took place, terrifying to the Khecaras, the sole festival to the god Yama. There were words in the air, “Khara, whose strength is such in battle with Viṣṇu, is superior to a Prativiṣṇu.” Saumitri himself, ashamed from impatience, thought, “Time is being wasted in killing him,” and cut off Khara’s head with a sharp knife instantly. Dūṣaṇa and his army, ready to fight with Lakṣmaṇa, were destroyed like an elephant and its herd by a forest-fire. Then Rāma’s brother returned with Virādha; and a twitching left eye surely announced bad fortune to the two gentlemen. After going a long distance, he saw Rāmabhadra among the trees; and when he had seen him without Sītā, he became extremely dejected. The chief of the Raghus (Rāma), not seeing Saumitri standing before him, wounded by the arrow of separation from Sītā, said in the empty space:

“While wandering over this forest, I have not seen Jānakī. Have you seen her? Tell me, goddesses of the forest. Leaving Sītā alone in this terrifying forest filled with demons and wild animals, I have gone to Lakṣmaṇa, alas! Leaving Lakṣmaṇa alone in a battle with a thousand Rākṣasa-soldiers, I have come here again. Shame on the sense of stupid me! Oh! Sītā, how could I leave you in this unpeopled forest, my dear! Oh! dear Lakṣmaṇa, how could I leave you in the danger of a battle!”

With these words, Rāmabhadra fell to the ground in a swoon, powerful, seen by the birds even with lamentations. Lakṣmaṇa said to him, “What is this! Here is your brother, Lakṣmaṇa, before you, after conquering the enemy.” Rāma regained consciousness from that speech, as if sprinkled with nectar, saw his younger brother before him, and embraced him. Weeping, Saumitri said, "This kidnaping of Sītā by some sorcerer was certainly the reason for the lion’s roar. I intend to take away Jānakī together with his life. Let us try now to get news of her. Install Virādha in his ancestral kingdom of Pātālalaṅkā. For I promised him that in the battle with Khara.”

Virādha despatched Vidyādhara-soldiers to bring news of Sītā, wishing to propitiate the two lords. The two Kākutsthas remained there, devoured by the fire of grief, sighing and biting their lips in anger, again and again. The Vidyādharas, sent out by Virādha, went a long distance and did not find any news of Sītā. They came there and stood with downcast faces. Knowing the facts from their depression, Rāma said: “You have tried as well as yon could in the master’s business. That news of Sītā was not obtained, what fault of yours, soldiers, is in that? When fate is adverse, who are you, or who is any one else!”

Virādha bowed and said: “Do not despair, lord. Freedom from despair is the root of glory. I am your servant, certainly. Come to install me now in Pātālalaṅkā. There news of Sītā will be easy for her husband to obtain.” Then Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa went with Virādha and his army to territory near the city Pātālalaṅkā. There Khara’s son, the Rakṣas Sunda, crusher of enemies, came, attended by a large army, ready for battle. Angry at his father’s slaughter, Sunda made at once a terrible fight with the leader Virādha, his former enemy. When Kākutstha took part in the battle, at the command of Candraṇakhā Sunda fled at once from Laṅkā and went to Rāvaṇa for protection. Then the two chief Raghus entered Pātālalaṅkā and installed Virādha in his ancestral rank. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa lived in King Khara’s palace and Virādha, like a crown prince, in Sunda’s house.

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