Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Shatrughna’s capture of Mathura which is the seventh part of chapter VIII 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 7: Śatrughna’s capture of Mathurā

When Bharata became a mendicant, the kings of earth and air begged Rāma urgently to be consecrated (as king). “Consecrate Lakṣmaṇa as Vāsudeva,” Rāma instructed them and they did so quickly. They consecrated Rāma as Baladeva and the two ruled the kingdom, the eighth Bala and Śārṅgin. Padma gave Bibhīṣaṇa his ancestral Rakṣodvīpa, Sugrīva Kapidvīpa, and Hanumat Śrīpura. He gave Pātālalaṅkā back to Virādha, Ṛkṣapura to Nīla, and Hanupura to Pratisūrya, Devopagītanagara to Ratnajaṭin, and the city Rathanūpura on Vaitāḍhya to Bhāmaṇḍala.

After he had made such gifts to the others, Rāma said to Śatrughna, “Take whatever country is pleasing to you, son.” “Give me Mathurā,” asked by Śatrughna, Rāma said: “The city Mathurā is very hard to conquer, dear fellow. A spear which was given in the past to King Madhu by Camara, destroys the entire army of an enemy at a distance and returns to his hand.” Śatrughna said: “Your Majesty, death to the family of Rākṣasas, I am your brother, indeed. Who is his protector in a battle with me? Give me Mathurā and I myself shall find a remedy for Madhu, like a good physician for a disease.”

Knowing that Śatrughna was exceedingly persistent, Rāma ordered him, “You must fight Madhu when he is deprived of his spear and careless.” With this advice, Rāma gave him two quivers with indestructible arrows and instructed the general, Kṛtāntavadana, at the same time. Lakṣmaṇa, hoping for a complete victory for him, gave him the bow Arṇavāvarta with worm-tipped and fire-tipped arrows.[1] Then Śatrughna set forth and went with unbroken marches to the vicinity of Madhu’s resting-place and camped on the river-bank.

There spies were sent out first and they returned and reported to him that Madhu had gone to the garden Kubera to the east of Mathurā. ‘He is now amusing himself with his wife Jayantī. His spear is in the arsenal. This is the time to fight him.’

Then Śatrughna, expert in trickery, entered Mathurā at night and he himself blocked Madhu, when he was entering, with his army. At the beginning of the battle he killed Lavaṇa, Madhu’s son, just as Nārāyaṇa had killed Khara at the beginning of Rāma’s battles. Angered by his son’s death, twanging his bow, Madhu, best of charioteers, advanced and fought with the charioteer, Dāśarathin. Cutting down each other’s missiles, the two of them fought for a long time, weapon against weapon, like a god and demon. Daśaratha’s fourth son recalled the bow, Samudrāvarta, and the agnimukha- and śilīmukha-arrows which Saumitri had given him. The hero struck down Madhu, after stringing the bow which approached when he recalled it, with the fire-arrows, like a hunter striking down a tiger.

Bewildered by the arrow’s blow, Madhu thought: “My spear has not come to my hand. Lakṣmaṇa’s younger brother has not been killed. My birth has passed in vain, since the Lord Jina has not been worshipped,, shrines have not been ordered built, gifts have not been made to suitable persons by me.”

Madhu, having taken initiation by these meditations, died while engaged in the namaskāra, and became a powerful god in Sanatkumāra. The Vaimānikas rained flowers on Madhu’s body and chanted, “hong live the god Madhu.”

The spear assumed the form of a divinity and told Camara about Śatrughna’s slaying of Madhu which had taken place through trickery. Then Camara, angered by his friend’s slaying, started out himself. Questioned by Veṇuḍārin, lord of the Tārkṣyas (Suparṇas), “Where are you going?” he explained, “I am going to kill my friend’s slayer, Śatrughna, living in Mathurā.” Veṇudārin said again: “The spear, which was received from Dharana by Rāvaṇa, was overcome by Saumitri, an Ardhacakrin of maximum merit. He killed Rāvaṇa. Of what importance was Madhu, Rāvaṇa’s footman? Śatrughna killed Madhu in battle at Lakṣmaṇa’s order.” The Indra Camara said, “At that time the spear was overcome by Saumitri through the maiden Viśalyā’s power. Now her power has gone, as she is not celibate. All the more for that reason I shall go to kill my friend’s slayer, lord.”

Camara said this angrily and went to Śatrughna’s territory and saw all the people there happy with good government. With the idea, “I shall attack Madhu’s enemy first with calamities among the people,” he spread numerous diseases among the people. Informed by his family-divinity of the cause of the diseases, Śatrughna went to Ayodhyā to Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. At that time Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, and Śatrughna paid homage to Deśabhūṣaṇa and Kulabhūṣaṇa who had come there. Rāma asked, “Why was Śatrughna so determined on Mathurā?” and Deśabhūṣaṇa said:

Footnotes and references:


Śilīmukha is defined as an arrow with a point like a śilī (Abhi. 3. 442), which is a worm (Abhi. 4. 269).

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