by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Fifth incarnation as Aparajita which is the eleventh part of chapter I of the English translation of the Neminatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Neminatha in jainism is the twenty-second Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.
Now in West Videha in the province Padma there is a city Siṃhapura which resembles a city of the gods. Hariṇandin was king there, delighting the world, dulling others’ brilliance like the overlord of brilliance (the sun). His chief-queen was named Priyadarśanā, dripping nectar with her glance, like moonlight.
Citragati’s soul fell from Māhendrakalpa and descended into her womb, indicated by the great dreams. When the time was complete, Queen Priyadarśanā bore a son pleasing in appearance, like the ground of Pāṇḍuka bearing a wishing-tree. The king named him Aparājita and he grew up gradually, tended by nurses. He grasped the arts in due course and reached youth in due course, a Mīnadhvaja (Kāmadeva) in form, an ocean with water of merit and grace.
He had a friend, a minister’s son, Vimalabodha, dear (to him) because he had played in the sandpile with him and had been a fellow-student. One day they went outside (the city), riding horseback, for amusement; and the horses ran away with them and took them into a large forest at a great distance. When the horses were tired out, they got down from them at the foot of a tree and Prince Aparājita said to Vimalabodha:
“Thank heaven we were carried away by these horses! How otherwise was this earth full of many wonders to be seen? If we had asked our fathers for permission to go, unable to bear separation, they would certainly not have let us go. Now this is a good thing that has happened. This is a grief to our fathers—that we were carried away by the horses. For that very reason we shall roam about to overcome this calamity.”
Just as the minister’s son agreed to this, a man came there, crying “Save me! Save me!” The prince said to him who had come for protection with trembling body and unsteady eyes, “Do not be afraid.” The minister’s son said to the prince: “You spoke without reflection. If he should be a criminal, then that would not be a good thing.”
Aparājita said firmly: “This is always the ethics of the warrior caste. One who has sought protection must be protected, whether he is a law-breaker or law-abiding.”
As the prince was saying this, policemen ran up with sharp swords drawn, crying, “Kill him! Kill him!” While still at a distance, the policemen said: “Go away, travelers. We are going to kill this man by whom the whole city has been fobbed.” The prince said with a smile, “One who has come to me for protection can not be killed by Śakra even, to say nothing of others.”
When the angry policemen attacked, then the prince ran up with a drawn sword, striking them down like a tiger deer. They fled and reported to their master, the King of Kośala; and the king sent an army, wishing to kill the protectors of the thief. Aparājita defeated the soldiers speedily and the king himself came, surrounded by horsemen and elephant-riders. Aparājita turned the robber over to the minister’s son, tightened his belt, and faced his enemy in battle.
Setting his foot on an elephant’s tusk, like a lion, he climbed on the boss and killed the elephant-rider seated on the shoulder. Aparājita fought, mounted on the same elephant; and he was described to the king by a minister who had observed him. The King of Kośala ordered his soldiers to stop fighting and said to him: “You are the son of my friend Hariṇandin. Surely you are my friend’s son because of that strength. Who, indeed, is equal to an elephant except the young of a lion? By good fortune you, powerful, have come from your house to your house,” and, seated on an elephant, he embraced him seated on an elephant. The king, affectionate, had him, whose lotus-face was bowed in embarrassment, mount his own elephant and conducted him, like a son, to his own house. The minister’s son let the robber go and followed Aparājita; and they both remained comfortably in Kośala’s house.
One day the King of Kośala joyfully gave his daughter Kanakamālā to Hariṇandin’s son. After he had remained several days, one day, with the idea, “May there be no obstacle to (my) leaving,” he left in the night with his friend without saying anything about it. As he was going along, not far from the temple of the goddess Kālikā, he heard a cry in the night, “Oh! Oh! The earth is lacking in men.”
Thinking, “A woman is crying,” the hero, an ocean of compassion, followed the sound like an arrow that strikes merely from sound. He saw a woman riding an elephant near a blazing fire and a man with a sharp sword drawn. “Some one, who is a man, protect me from this base Vidyādhara,” she cried again, like a goat in the presence of a butcher.
The prince reviled him, saying, “Stand up for battle, villain. Is this courage of yours (only) against a woman, basest of men?” The Khecara advanced for battle with a drawn sword, saying, “Shall I not hurl my courage against you?” After they had fought sword against sword for a long time, both, expert, escaping each other’s blows, they fought hand-to-hand eagerly. Realizing that Aparājita could not be conquered in a hand-to-hand light, the elephant of Vidyādharas bound him with a magic noose. Prince Aparājita broke the noose, like a rogue-elephant the rope of the tying-post, with great anger. By the power of magic arts the Vidyādhara attacked the prince with many weapons, angry like an Asurakumāra. By the power of the prince’s former merit and the strength of his body, his blows had no effect at all on the prince.
Just then the sun rose on the eastern peak and the prince struck the Khecara on his head with a sword. Unconscious from the blow, the Khecara fell on the ground, and Smara struck the woman with arrows as if in rivalry with the prince. After the prince had restored the Nabhaścara (Vidyādhara) to consciousness again by remedies, he said, “Fight, if you are able now.”
The Vidyādhara replied: “I have been defeated by you completely. I have been saved from a woman’s murder, fortunately, and from hell resulting from that. In the knot at the end of my garment there are a pearl and a root. Put the root on my wound, after rubbing it with water from the pearl.” The prince did so and the Khecara was cured. Questioned by the prince he related his own experience:
“This is the daughter, Ratnamālā, of Amṛtasena, a king of Vidyādharas, lord of Rathanūpura. Her husband was said by an astrologer to be the son of Hariṇandin, young Aparājita, the sole ocean of the jewels of good qualities. She fell in love with him and did not think about any one else.
One day I saw her and asked for her in marriage. She replied, ‘Aparājita may take my hand, or fire may burn my body. There is no other course than these.’ I, son of Śrīṣeṇa, named Sūrakānta, persistent in marriage with her, was angered by her speech. Leaving the city, I subdued magic arts hard to subdue and again asked for her with many devices. When she did not want me—not through any device, I seized her and brought her here. What will those blind from love not do?
‘Let the fire cling to her body; let her vow be fulfilled.’ With this thought, I was eager to crush her and throw her in the fire. You saved her from me and you saved me from a low condition of existence. You are a benefactor of us both. Tell who you are, powerful sir.”
The minister’s son told him the prince’s family, et cetera; and Ratnamālā rejoiced at once at the longed-for meeting. At that time Ratnamālā’s parents, Kīrtimatī and Amṛtasena, came there, following her. The minister’s son, questioned, told them what had happened. They both rejoiced, “Her protector was her husband, no one else.” Aparājita married Ratnamālā given by them; and relief from fear was given to Sūrakānta by their words.
Sūrakānta gave the pearl and the root to the prince free from desire and gave the minister’s son pills that would produce a different appearance. Announcing to Amṛtasena, “Your daughter must be conducted to my house when I have gone (there),” Aparājita departed. Amṛtasena with his daughter and the Khecara Sūrakānta went to their respective homes, recalling Aparājita.
The prince, going ahead in a forest, suffering from thirst, sat down under a mango tree and the minister’s son went for water. When the minister’s son returned after he had gone far and obtained water, he did not see Aparājita under the mango tree. He thought: “Is this not the place? Have I come to the wrong place by mistake, or did the prince himself go for water because of great thirst?”
With these reflections he went to every tree, searching for the prince, and, when he did not see him, fell to the ground in a faint. When he had recovered consciousness and got up, he cried pitifully: “Prince, show yourself. Why do you torment me needlessly? No human is able to carry you off or hurt you. There can be no inauspicious reason for not seeing you, friend.”
Thus lamenting many times, wandering in villages, et cetera to search for him again, he went to the city Nandipura. While the minister’s son remained in a garden outside in low spirits, two Vidyādharas approached him and said: “A Vidyādhara-lord, Bhuvanabhānu, very magnificent and very powerful, lives in a great forest, having created a palace. He has two daughters, Kamalinī and Kaumudinī, and your dear friend was described as their husband by an astrologer. We were appointed by the master to bring him and when we came to this forest, we saw you too. You went to get water and we seized Prince Aparājita and took him into the presence of our master, Bhuvanabhānu.
Bhuvanabhānu rose to greet him like the risen sun and hastily seated him on the best jeweled throne. The Khecara-lord made Aparājita blush by the truthful praise of his merits and asked him about marriage with his two daughters. Grieved by separation from you, the prince gave no answer and has remained silent, like a muni, thinking of you alone. Then we were instructed by the master to bring you. Searching here and there, we came here and now by good fortune you were seen. So get up, illustrious sir, and start to go there quickly. The wedding of the prince with the princesses depends on you.”
Delighted, the minister’s son, like joy embodied, went with them at once into the prince’s presence. The prince married the princesses on an auspicious day, remained for a while, and went away as before. They reached the city Śrīmandira and stopped there, their wishes being fulfilled always by the pearl given by Sūrakānta.
One day an unusual noise of a tumult arose in this city and soldiers, wearing armor and with raised weapons, were seen roaming about. The minister’s son, questioned by the prince, “What’s this?” found out from the people and reported: “Suprabha is king here. He has been struck with a knife by some man who gained admittance by a trick. The king has no support of the kingdom—no son, et cetera. For this reason the people, becoming a body-guard, confused, roam about the whole city. This great tumult is theirs.”
“Alas! He has been struck by some evil warrior, an enemy.” Aparājita remained with his face downcast from compassion. The king’s injury grew worse even with treatment and the chief-courtesan, Kāmalatā, said to the king’s ministers: “There is a foreigner in town, a second self, noble, pious, truthful, like some god in form. Since he has all his wishes accomplished, devoid of occupation, very powerful, there must be here some magic herb.”
The ministers investigated and conducted the prince to the king. The king considered himself well just at the sight of him. The prince, compassionate, looked at the wound first and, feeling great pity, took the pearl and the root from his friend. He had the king drink the water from the washing of the pearl, rubbed the root with the water, and put it on the king’s wound. The king was cured and said to the prince, “Whence did you, a brother for no reason, come here, ocean of compassion?”
The minister’s son narrated everything and the king spoke again: “He is the son of my friend, King Hariṇandin. Shame on negligence that I did not know him, though the son of my brother; however, this wound of mine was the fruit of negligence.”
After this speech the king, won by his merits, insisted on giving him his daughter Rambhā, like another Rambhā in beauty. After he had passed some time sporting with her, the prince left as before, accompanied by the minister’s son.
He went to the city Kuṇḍapura and saw a muni, an omniscient, seated on divine golden lotuses there. After circumambulating him three times, bowing to him, and seating himself, he listened to a sermon from him that was like a rain of nectar for the ears. At the end of the sermon Aparājita bowed to him and asked him, “Am I capable of emancipation or not?” The omniscient told him:
They both rejoiced at hearing this and they remained there comfortably for several days, serving the muni and practicing dharma. The muni went elsewhere to wander and they also went from place to place, worshipping shrines.
Now Jitaśatru was king in the city Janānanda and his chief-queen was Dhāriṇī, wearing good conduct. Ratnavatī fell from heaven and descended into her womb. When the time was completed, she bore a daughter, named Prītimatī. She grew up gradually and acquired all the arts, and reached full youth, the life-restorer of Smara. Even a learned man became ignorant before her exceedingly learned in the arts. So her eye did not become at all enamored of any one. Her father thought, “If I marry her, learned as she is, to just any husband whatever, she will die.”
After these reflections, he asked her privately, “Daughter, whom have you considered as a husband?” She replied, “Whoever surpasses me in the arts, let him be my husband.” The king agreed to this and the promise became widely known. Kings and princes practiced the arts assiduously.
One day King Jitaśatru had platforms built outside and summoned kings and princes to a svayaṃvara. Kings, earth-dwellers and sky-dwellers, came with princes, with the sole exception of Hariṇandin grieved by the separation from his son. They seated themselves on the platforms like gods in palaces. By chance Aparājita came there in his roaming. He said to Vimalabodha: “We have come at the right
time. We shall see the examination in arts of the experts and we shall see the girl. We must see that no acquaintance recognizes us.”
Along with him (Vimalabodha), he assumed a very commonplace appearance by means of a pill. They both went to the svyaṃvara-pavilion, like gods assuming fictitious figures for amusement. Prītimatī came there like another goddess Lakṣmī, wearing priceless clothing like a goddess come to earth, fanned by chaurīs, surrounded by friends and slave-girls, the people in front being driven back by the body-guards and door-keepers.
A friend of hers, Mālatī, pointed with her finger and said: “These men, earth-dwellers and Sky-dwellers, have come here, thinking themselves superior. That is the King of Kadamba, famed throughout the world, a hero named Bhuvanacandra, the face-ornament of the eastern quarter. This man, courteous by nature, the tilaka of the southern quarter, is Samaraketu, a Mīnaketu (Kāmadeva) in beauty of the body. This Kubera of the northern quarter, named Kubera, unwearied of his enemies’ wives, is a cluster of flourishing creepers of fame. This is King Somaprabha, by whose fame the brilliance of the moon is surpassed. The others also, Dhavala, Śūra, Bhīma, et cetera, are kings. This lord of Khecaras is powerful Maṇicūḍa; that is Ratnacūḍa; and that is powerful Maṇiprabha. These, Sumanas, Soma, Sūra, et cetera, are lords of Khecaras. Look at them and examine them. They all know the arts.”
At whomever Prītimatī, schooled by her, glanced, Anaṅga, as if instructed by her, struck with arrows. She assumed the voice of the female cuckoo excited by spring and held the debate, taking the pūrvapakṣa, debating like the goddess Vāc. Their intelligence confounded, all earth-dwellers and sky-dwellers were unable to answer, as if seized by the throat.
“The goddess Vāc has taken her side from connection with women. Hence we, who had never been defeated by any one before, were defeated by her.”
Ashamed, the kings and princes said many things of this sort to each other, with faces burned in embarrassment.
Jitaśatru thought: “After the Creator had made her, did he not make a suitable husband for her because he was worn out by all his exertion? Here are so many kings. If there is no suitable husband for my daughter among them, some other inferior man will not be suitable. Then what to do?”
His minister, knowing his mood, said: “Enough of despair, lord. There are distinguished men among the distinguished. The earth has many jewels. Issue a proclamation: ‘A king or prince or anyone, who can defeat her, shall be her husband.’” Saying, “Very well! Very well!” the king had it done. After hearing the proclamation, Aparājita thought: “There would be no glory in a debate with a woman, even in a victory; but in the absence of a debate the whole men’s side is defeated. So, glory or no glory, she must be defeated by all means.”
After these reflections, the prince quickly appeared before Prītimatī. When she saw him, though he was poorly dressed like the sun obscured by a cloud, Prītimatī felt friendship from association with the affection of former birth. Prītimatī took the pūrvapakṣa as before. Aparājita quickly silenced her and was victorious. At once she threw a svayaṃvara-wreath on Aparājita; the kings—earth-dwellers and sky-dwellers—became angry with him.
Saying, “Who is this man? Shall he, crazy in speech, an abode of lightness like cotton, a beggar, marry her, while we are here?” The kings put on their armor and began a battle ardently with horsemen and elephant-riders, their weapons raised. The prince leaped up and killed an elephant-rider and, standing on his elephant, fought with missiles that were in the elephant’s housing. In a moment he killed a charioteer and, using his chariot, attacked. Now on the ground, now again on an elephant, he fought. Like just one man who has become many, like a thunderbolt that has burst, Aparājita, excited, killed the enemy-soldiers.
Saying: “We were defeated before by a woman with manuals (śāstra); now we are defeated by a single man with weapons (śastra),” the kings, ashamed, advanced together to fight. Then Aparājita mounted Somaprabha’s elephant and Soma noted his marks and tilaka carefully. Checking his arm, Soma embraced him, powerful, and said, “By good fortune you have been recognized, nephew with immeasurable strength.” He told all the kings and they all ceased fighting; and the marriage-pavilion was occupied by these same ones who had become his attendants.
On an auspicious day, King Jitaśatru celebrated the marriage of Aparājita and Prītimatī who were infatuated with each other. Aparājita assumed his natural beautiful form and all the people admired him because of his strength and beauty. Jitaśatru entertained and dismissed all the kings; and Aparājita remained there, sporting with Prītimatī. King Jitaśatru’s minister gave his daughter Rūpavatī to Vimalabodha and he sported with her.
One day a messenger from Śrī Hariṇandin came there. The prince saw him and embraced him ardently. Questioned, “is it well with my honored father and mother?” The messenger, his eyes filled with tears, said: ‘It is well with them only in the mere preservation of the body. From the very day of your departure, their eyes have not been dry. Hearing repeatedly about your new adventures from popular report, they rejoice for a moment and they swoon from separation from you. Hearing this report about you, I was sent today to find out the facts. You should not distress your parents.”
His eyes filled with tears, the prince said in a choking voice: “Shame on me, a base son, causing such pain to my parents.” Then taking leave of Jitaśatru, Aparājita set out; and Bhuvanabhānu came with his two daughters, and other kings brought their daughters whom he had married before. Sūrakānta, who had acquired fearlessness, came there. Aparājita with Prītimatī and his other wives also, attended by kings—earth-dwellers and sky-dwellers, covering the sky and earth with sky-dwelling and earth-dwelling soldiers—eager, arrived at Siṃhapura in a few days.
Hariṇandin went to meet him and embraced him falling to the ground, set him on his lap, and kissed his head again and again. His mother, her eyes wet with tears, touched him on the back as he was bowing, and kissed the top of his head. The daughters-in-law, Prītimatī and the others, introduced by Vimalabodha pronouncing their names, bowed at the feet of their father- and mother-in-law. Then Aparājita dismissed the earth-dwellers and the sky-dwellers and he continued amusing himself as he liked, making a festival for his parents’ eyes.
Manogati and Capalagati fell from Mahendra and became his younger brothers, Sūra and Soma. Then one day Hariṇandin settled the kingdom on Aparājita, became a mendicant, practiced penance, and attained emancipation. Prītimatī was King Aparājita’s chief-queen; Vimalabodha his minister; and his brothers were governors of provinces. King Aparājita, by whom the kings had been subdued before, governed the earth happily and enjoyed pleasures without any obstacles. Building various shrines and making pilgrimages by the lac, he passed the time, undeceived by the objects of existence.
Footnotes and references:
A garden on the peak of Meru. U, p. 110. Either spelling, Pāṇḍaka or Pāṇḍuka, is used.
I.e., to the house of a friend.
The target is located merely by sound.
Nāgapāśa, here with a play on the meaning ‘elephant’ of nāga. Usually the play is on its meaning ‘serpent.’
For the Asurakumāras, see II, p. 106.
The Indian upper garment serves as a purse among its many uses.
The most beautiful heavenly nymph.
Bhavya. See I, n. 3.
Fifth birth from this one, but the present birth is included. This incarnation is the fifth of nine.
I.e., she would state the question and take the affirmative.