Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Marriage with Devaki which is the fourth part of chapter V 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.

One day summoned by Kaṃsa from affection, ānaka-dundubhi (Vasudeva) went to the city Mathurā with the permission of the lord of Daśārhas. One day there Kaṃsa in company with Jivayaśas said to Śauri: “There is a very large city, Mṛttikāvatī by name. My paternal uncle, named Devaka, is king there. He has a daughter, Devakī by name, who resembles a goddess. Go and marry her. I shall be your best man. Do not oppose this friendly request of mine.”

A depository of courtesy, the tenth Daśārha, so instructed, went with Kaṃsa and he saw Nārada on the road. Muni Nārada, honored properly by Śauri and Kaṃsa, delighted, asked, “Where are you going and what for?” Śauri said, “I have started with my friend Kaṃsa to marry the princess Devakī, Devaka’s daughter.” Nārada said: “Such a thing was well undertaken by Kaṃsa. For the Creator is unskilled in the union of suitable persons, even though he created them. Just as you, Vasudeva, have no equal in beauty among men, so Devaka’s daughter, Devakī, has none among women. You have married many maidens, even Khecarīs. When you have seen Devakī, you will surely consider them without merit. Do not allow any obstacle from any source to this suitable union. I shall go and describe your merits to Devakī, Vasudeva.”

With these words, the muni flew up and went to Devakī’s house. Worshipped by her, he announced, “Let Vasudeva be your husband.” Asked, “Who is Vasudeva?” the muni said: “The young tenth Daśārha, dear to Vidyādhara-women. What else? He, whom in beauty the gods, et cetera do not equal, is Vasudeva.” Saying this, Ṛṣi Nārada left. Ānakadundubhi entered Devakī’s heart by that speech.

In due course the two came to Mṛttikāvatī city. Honored by Devaka, discerning, Śauri and Kaṃsa look seats on a priceless seat and were asked the reason for their coming. Kaṃsa said: “I came here to have you give Devakī, who is suitable, to Vasudeva. That is the reason for coming.” Devaka said: “That is not the custom for the bridegroom himself to come on account of a maiden. I shall not give Devakī to him.”

Embarrassed, the two went to their own camp. King Devaka went to his harem. Devaka, to whom Devakī bowed with great joy, gave the blessing, “Obtain a suitable husband, daughter.” Devaka told the queen: “Today Kaṃsa asked me urgently to give Devakī to Vasudeva. I did not give Devakī to Vasudeva, unable to bear separation from her.” Hearing that, the queen was depressed and Devakī cried aloud. Knowing fully their inclinations, Devaka said, “Enough of this grief. I have come here to question you.” The queen said: “Vasudeva is a suitable husband for Devakī. He himself has come to court her because of her merit.”

When he had been told this, Devaka had Kaṃsa and Vasudeva, whom he himself had formerly scorned, conducted to him at once by the minister. On an auspicious day the wedding of Devakī and Vasudeva took place with new auspicious songs being sung very loud. Devaka gave much gold, et cetera to Vasudeva and he also gave Nanda, owner of ten cattle-stations, together with a crore of cattle. Daśārha and Kaṃsa, accompanied by Nanda, went to Mathurā and Kaṃsa began a great festival created for his friend’s wedding.

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