Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Negotiations which is the fifth part of chapter VII 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.

“Saumitri is alive,” spies informed the lord of Rākṣasas and he took counsel with the chief-ministers. “This was my idea: ‘Saumitri, struck by the spear, will die at dawn. Then Rāma also, crushed from affection, (will die). The Kapis will flee and my brother and sons, Kumbhakarṇa, Indrajit, and others, will come here to me, themselves.’ Now Lakṣmaṇa is alive from the contrariness of fate and how are Kumbhakarṇa, and the others to be released by me?”

The ministers replied to him: “There is no release of the heroes, Kumbhakarṇa and others, except by the release of Jānakī, but, on the contrary, misfortune. Master, so much having passed, protect, protect your own family, There is no other means in this case except conciliation of Rāma.”

Scorning them, Rāvaṇa sent a vassal as a messenger to Rāghava, with instructions about conciliation, bribery and punishment. He went, was announced by the doorkeeper, bowed to Padmanābha surrounded by Sugrīva and others and announced in a firm voice: “Daśāsya says to you: ‘Free the group of my relatives, permit Jānakī (to stay), and take half my kingdom. I shall give you three thousand maidens. Be satisfied with this. If not! you will not have all this and you will not have your life.’” Padmanābha said: “There is no gain to me from sovereignty nor from enjoyment, even great, of a throng of other women. If Rāvaṇa will send Jānakī, having treated her well, then I shall free his brother and sons, not otherwise.”

The vassal said again: “Rāma, this is not fitting for you, that you put your own life in danger for the sake of a mere woman. If Saumitri has been restored one time after being struck by Rāvaṇa, how will he stay alive now, or you, or these Kapis? Rāvaṇa alone is able to kill all these. His speech is worthy of respect always. Consider the consequences, yourself.”

Angered by his speech, Lakṣmaṇa said: “Bisten, miserable messenger! Even now Rāvaṇa does not know his own power nor others’ power. His retinue of kinsmen having been killed, left with only wives, he makes a pretence of heroism. What impudence is that on his part! Like a tree of which all the branches have been broken off by a club and the root alone remains, how long will Rāvaṇa, alone, stand? So, go! Arm Daśakandhara for battle. My arm is ready, like Kṛtānta, to kill him.”

Reviled by Lakṣmaṇa in this way, he, intending to reply, was expelled by the Vānaras who got up and seized him by the neck. He went and told Rāvaṇa everything said by Rāghava and Rāvaṇa said to the ministers, “Say what is to be done now.” The ministers said: “The surrender of Sītā is suitable in this case. The result of contrariety has been seen. Consider the result of agreement, lord. Every action is considered from the viewpoint of agreement and contrariety. How have you fared from contrariety alone, Daśānana? Now your many kinsmen and sons are uninjured. Prosper with glory together with them set free by the return of Sītā.”

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