Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Sahasagati as a false Sugriva which is the second 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 2: Sāhasagati as a false Sugrīva

Now the vidyā Pratāraṇī was subdued in a cave of Mt. Himavat by Sāhasagati who had longed for Tārā for a long time.[1] Assuming Sugrīva’s appearance by means of the vidyā, like a god that changes his form at will, he went to Kiṣkindhapura, like a second sun in the sky. Sugrīva had gone at that time to a garden outside for recreation and he[2] went to the women’s quarters adorned by Queen Tārā. The true Sugrīva went to the door and was stopped by the door-keepers saying, “King Sugrīva has gone ahead.” Having seen the second Sugrīva, in doubt the son of Vālin hastened to the door to prevent violation of the women’s quarters. The false Sugrīva was stopped as he was entering the apartments by Valin’s son,[3] like a river’s current by a mountain on the road.

Then fourteen complete armies of soldiers assembled, summoned from everywhere like the whole wealth of the world. The soldiers did not know the difference between the two and half were on the true Sugrīva’s side and half on the false Sugrīva’s side. Then a battle started between the two armies, making the sky seem to have a fall of meteors from the fall of lances. Horseman fought with horseman, elephant-rider with elephant-rider, foot-soldier with foot-soldier, charioteer with charioteer. The earth trembled from the trampling of the formations of the fourfold armies like an innocent girl from meeting a bold lover.

Sugrīva, head erect, challenged the false Sugrīva to fight, “Come! come! You who enter other men’s houses!” The false Sugrīva, having been threatened, gave a loud roar like a mad elephant and faced him in battle. The two great warriors, red-eyed with anger, fought, terrifying the world like brothers of Yama. They cut down sharp weapons with sharp weapons mutually, like cutting grass, both of them skilled in battle. The crowd of Khecarīs was injured by pieces of weapons flying up in the great battle of the two, like a group of trees in a fight between buffaloes. Their weapons being cut down, crest-jewels of anger with each other, they crashed in a prize-fight like living mountains. Leaping up in the air one moment, falling to the earth in another moment, the two of them, crest-jewels of heroes, looked like cocks. Both of them being very powerful, they were unable to defeat each other and withdrew to a distance and stood like bulls. Sugrīva had summoned Añjanā’s son for assistance and fought again with the fictitious Sugrīva of cruel acts. As Hanūmat looked on unable to distinguish the two, the false Sugrīva, ferocious, crushed Sugrīva. Again exhausted by fighting, his body exhausted, then Sugrīva went outside Kiṣkindhapura and took up an abode. The false Sugrīva remained just there, his mind uneasy, but did not enter the women’s quarters because of Valin’s son.

Sugrīva reflected with bowed head: “Alas! who is this enemy of ours, greedy for women, clever in deceit? Even my own people, submissive from the sorcery of the enemy, have become not mine. Therefore that attack was with my own horses. How am I to kill the enemy powerful from the strength of magic? Shame on me whose strength is broken, causing disgrace to the name of Vālin. Vālin was fortunate, powerful, who, his heroic vows unbroken, abandoned the kingdom like straw and went to his final abode.

My prince, Candraraśmi, is more powerful than the world, but, unable to distinguish the two, whom shall he protect, whom shall he slay? It was well done, well done indeed, by Candraraśmi that he blocked that scoundrel’s entrance to the women’s, apartments. To what very powerful person shall I resort to kill him powerful? Enemies must be killed certainly, either by one’s ownself or by another. Shall I turn to Daśānana, the hero of the triad-earth, air, sky, destroyer of Marutta’s sacrifice, in order to slay the enemy? But he is by nature lustful after women, a thorn to the three worlds. After killing him (the enemy) and me quickly, he himself will take Tārā. Such a calamity having been reached, Khara, very harsh, was able to give assistance, but he was killed by Rāghava. Therefore, I shall go and make friends with those two, Rāma and Saumitri. They restored the kingdom to Virādha who made submission at that time. They, strong-armed and competent, are still there in Pātālalaṅkā at the urgent request of Virādha.”

After thus reflecting and instructing himself, he despatched a trustworthy messenger to the city of Virādha. He went to Pātālalaṅkā, bowed to Virādha, told the story of his master’s trouble, and said, “My master has fallen into such great trouble and wishes to seek protection from the Rāghavas through you.” “Sugrīva may come quickly. There is union of good people from merit.” So instructed by him, the messenger went to Sugrīva and reported that. Then Sugrīva set out, making all the directions vocal from the noise of the horses’ necklaces and shortening distance by speed. He arrived at Pātālalaṅkā, like a house nearby, in a moment, approached Virādha who arose to greet him with pleasure.

Virādha, going in front, had him pay homage to Rāmabhadra as protector and explained his trouble. Sugrīva said, “In this trouble you are my refuge. When a sneeze is completely obstructed, the sun is a refuge.”[4] Though in trouble himself, Rāma undertook to remove his trouble. For there is greater effort on the part of the great in others’ affairs than in their own. Informed about Sītā’s kidnaping by Virādha, Sugrīva said to Rāma, his hands joined: “There is no need of an agent for you protecting everyone like the sun giving light to everyone. Nevertheless, I say this, Your Majesty: My enemies being killed by your favor, following you with an army, I shall soon bring you news of Sītā.”

Rāghava set out for Kiṣkindhā with Sugrīva and dismissed Virādha who was following him, after explaining to him. When Rāmabhadra was settled at the gate of Kiṣkindhā, Sugrīva challenged the false Sugrīva to battle. The false Sugrīva came shouting just because of the challenge. For warriors are eager for battle, like Brāhmans for food. Shaking the earth by their steps in battle hard to bear, both fought like mad forest-elephants. When Rāma saw them with the same appearance, he remained for a moment, as if indifferent, in doubt, “Which is ours and which is the enemy?” Then reflecting, “So be, it,” the chief of the Raghus twanged his bow named Vajrāvarta. At that twanging of the bow, Sāhasagati’s vidyā, which made his second form, fled like a doe. Rāma abused him, “Hey, villain, string your bow, you who wish to dally with other men’s wives, bewildering every one by magic.” The descendant of Raghu took away his life with one arrow. There is no second blow of the lion in killing a deer. Rāma established Sugrīva, like Virādha, on his throne and Sugrīva was honored by his people as before.

His hands joined, the lord of the Vānaras offered to give Rāmabhadra his thirteen daughters who were exceedingly beautiful. Rāma said to Sugrīva, “Exert yourself in the search of Sītā. Enough about these maidens or anything else.” With these words Raghūdvaha went to the garden outside (the city) and remained there. Sugrīva entered his own city at his command.

Footnotes and references:


See above, p. 136.


The impostor.




I am told there is a popular superstition that if one looks at the sun when a sneeze is checked, it will become unobstructed.

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