Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Eniputra’s history which is the thirty-sixth part of chapter II 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.

Part 36: Eṇīputra’s history

“Here in Bharata in the city Śrīcandanapura there was a king Amogharetas. He had a wife, Cārumatī, a son, Cārucandra, and a courtesan, Anaṅgasenā. She had a fair-eyed daughter, Kāmapatākā. Ascetics came to the king’s sacrifice and among them Kauśika and Tṛṇabindu, teachers. They both offered fruit. The king asked, ‘Where did such fruit come from?’ They told the story from the beginning of the kalpa-tree brought at the originating of the Hari-line.[1]

At that time Kāmapatākikā, dancing with a knife, stole the minds of Prince Cārucandra and of the sage Kauśika. When the sacrifice was ended, the prince made her his quickly; but the ascetic Kauśika asked the king for her. The king said:

‘She has been taken by the prince. Moreover she is a lay-woman and, one husband having been acknowledged, she would not take a second.’ Thus restrained by the king, Kauśika pronounced a curse in a rage: ‘If you enjoy a woman, you shall die at that very moment.’ The king gave his kingdom to his son, Cārucandra, became an ascetic and, noble-minded, lived in the forest. His queen went to the forest with him, not knowing that she was pregnant. In the course of time, to destroy doubt she told her husband about the embryo that had appeared. One day a daughter was borne by her, named Ṛṣidattā. She (the queen) became eventually a laywoman under a flying-ascetic. She (the daughter) grew up; and her mother and nurse died.

One day King Śilāyudha came there to hunt. Infatuated at the sight of her, he obtained hospitality from her, led her to a secluded place, and enjoyed her in divers ways. She said: ‘I have had a purifying bath. If by chance there should be conception, tell me, what is the proper course for me, a maiden of good family?’ He said: ‘I am Śilāyudha, of the Ikṣvāku-line, king in Śrāvastī, son of King Śatāyudha. If you should bear a son, you must bring him to me in Śrāvastī. Then he, and no one else, must be made king by me.’ His soldiers came and he, taking leave of her, went away. She told her father this and in time she bore a son.

Ṛṣidattā died in child-birth and became the chief-queen of Jvalanaprabha, the Nāga. Her father, Amogharetas, taking the boy by the hand, wept very much from grief—he, an ascetic, like other people.[2] I am the wife of Jvalanaprabha and, knowing this from clairvoyance, went there myself in the form of a doe and reared my son by the breast. For that reason he was called ‘Eṇīputra.’[3] After he died Kauśika became a serpent, poisoning by its glance, in my father’s hermitage. Cruel, he bit my father and I extracted the poison. The snake, enlightened, died and became a god, Bala.

Assuming the appearance of Ṛṣidattā, I came to Śrāvastī and took the boy to the king. But he did not remember and did not accept him. Leaving the boy in his presence, I stood in the air and said: ‘I am the maiden, named Ṛṣidattā, whom you enjoyed in the forest. This son of yours was born; but I died when he was born. I became a deity and reared him by becoming a doc. He is your son, Eṇīputra.’ Thus informed, Śilāyudha installed his son on the throne, became a mendicant, and went to heaven.

Pleased by a three-day fast by Eṇīputra for the sake of a child, I granted a daughter and thus Priyaṅgusundarī was born. The king summoned kings to her svayaṃvara, but none was chosen by her and the kings commenced to fight. All the kings were defeated by Eṇīputra because of my presence. However, Priyaṅgusundarī wishes to choose you, after seeing you today. On your account, I have been worshipped by her with a three-day fast, blameless one, and the door-keeper, Gandharakṣita, spoke to you on my instructions. From ignorance you showed contempt. But now, summoned by him at my command, you should marry Eṇīputra’s daughter. Ask for some boon.” Yādava said, “You should come, recalled by me,” and she promised to do so.

The goddess went away, leaving Śauri in Bandhumatī’s house, and at the dawn Śauri, accompanied by the doorkeeper, went to the temple. There Yādava joyfully married Priyaṅgusundarī, who had come before, with a gāndharva-marriage. On the eighteenth day the door-keeper announced to the king that Śauri was the bridegroom given by the goddess and the king conducted him to his own house.

Footnotes and references:


See IV, pp. 77f.


As an ascetic, he should have been immune to grief.


‘Son of a doe.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: