Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Narada’s mischief-making which is the second part of chapter VI 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 Nārada came in the course of his roaming to Kṛṣṇa’s house and was honored properly by Kṛṣṇa and Rāma. Then he went to Kṛṣṇa’s harem and Satyabhāmā, who was looking at herself in a mirror, did not honor him by giving him a seat, et cetera, because of her occupation. Then he went away, angry, and reflected with hostility: “Always the Nāradas have been worshipped by all in the harems of the Keśavas; but this woman, arrogant from her youth and beauty because of her husband’s affection, did not even give me a glance, to say nothing of rising to greet me. Hence I shall make her fall into the trouble of acquiring a very beautiful co-wife.”

With these reflections, he went to the city Kuṇḍina. Bhīṣmaka was king there. His wife was named Yaśomatī and they had a son, Rukmin, and a very beautiful daughter, Rukmiṇī. Nārada went there and, honored by Rukmiṇī, said, “Let Kṛṣṇa, lord of half of Bharata, be your husband.” “Who is Kṛṣṇa?” she asked and Nārada explained that all the virtues, beauty, grace, courage, et cetera, unequaled, were assembled in Kṛṣṇa. After hearing that, Rukmiṇī became enamored with Kṛṣṇa immediately and continued to long for Kṛṣṇa, afflicted by love.

Nārada painted her picture on canvas, went to Dvārikā, and showed it, which resembled collyrium of nectar for the eyes, to Kṛṣṇa. When he had seen it, Kṛṣṇa asked Nārada,” Sir, who is this goddess whom you have painted on this canvas? Tell me.” Nārada smiled and said: “This is not a goddess, but a mortal, Princess Rukmiṇī, sister of Rukmin, lord of Kuṇḍina.” Astonished by her beauty, Kṛṣṇa sent an agent at once to Rukmin and asked for Rukmiṇī in a friendly speech. Rukmin laughed and said:

“A cowherd of low family, indeed, asks for my sister. What is this foolish wish of his! I shall give her in marriage to King Śiśupāla. Their union, like that of Rohiṇī and the Moon, is suitable.”

Hearing his harsh speech, the messenger went and reported it to his yellow-clothed master (Kṛṣṇa). Rukmiṇfs paternal aunt, Dhātrī, knowing that he (Kṛṣṇa) was free from faults, took her aside and said in a speech purified by affection:

“When you were a child, the sage Atimuktaka saw you sitting on my lap and said, ‘She will be Kṛṣṇa’s chief-queen.’ Asked, ‘How will Kṛṣṇa be recognized?’ he replied, ‘Kṛṣṇa will be recognized from his settlement at Dvārikā on the Western Ocean.’ You are not given by Rukmin to Kṛṣṇa, though he has asked for you, but you are given to Śiśupāla, son of Dāmaghoṣa.”

Rukmiṇī said, “Is the speech of sages false? Or is thunder at dawn fruitless?” Knowing Rukmiṇī’s preference for Kṛṣṇa, her paternal aunt sent word at once to Kṛṣṇa by a secret messenger: “On the pretext of a Nāgapūjā I shall go with Rukmiṇī to the garden-lines on the eighth day of the white half of Māgha. You must come there, if you want Rukmiṇī. Otherwise, Śiśupāla will marry her, honor-giver.”

Now Śiśupāla, summoned by Rukmin, came with his army to Kuṇḍina to marry Rukmiṇī. Nārada, eager for strife, told Kṛṣṇa that Śiśupāla, eager to marry Rukmiṇī, had gone there. Kṛṣṇa and Rāma went to Kuṇḍina in separate chariots, unobserved even by their own people. At that time Rukmiṇī, attended by her paternal aunt and friends, went to the garden for a Nāgapūjā.

Descending from his chariot, Kṛṣṇa first introduced himself, bowed to the aunt, and said to Rukmiṇī: “I have come here to you from afar, like a bee to a jasmine. I am Kṛṣṇa, drawn by your merits. Get into my chariot.” With the approval of the aunt who knew her heart. Rukmiṇī entered the chariot as well as Kṛṣṇa’s heart. When Kṛṣṇa had gone some distance, in order to conceal their fault, her aunt and her slaves made a loud outcry. “Rukmin! Rukmin! Your sister, Rukmiṇī, has just now been kidnaped by force by Śārṅgin and Rāma like robbers.” The two Yādavas blew Pāṭcajanya and Sughoṣa, and Rukmin’s city shook all over, as well as the ocean.

Rukmin and Śiśupāla, long-armed, powerful, followed Rāma and Kṛṣṇa with large armies. Having seen them, Rukmiṇī, terrified, sitting on his lap, said to Hari: “My brother is cruel and very strong. Śiśupāla is like him. Many other heroes, their adherents, fully equipped, arc here. But you two are here alone. I am afraid. What will happen?”

Hari laughed and said: “Do not be afraid. For you belong to the warrior-caste. Who are these miserable creatures, Rukmin and the rest? See that strength of mine, fair lady.” Saying this, in order to give her confidence, Śārṅgabhṛt cut down a row of palm trees like a row of lotus-stalks with one blow with a crescent-shaped arrow. By the pressure of his thumb and finger, he split the diamond of his ring as easily as a piece of a cooked bean.

Rukmiṇī felt great joy at her husband’s strength, like a lotus blooming at the light of the sun at dawn. Govinda said to Rāma: “Take the bride, brother, and go. I will kill these people, Rukmin and others, who are pursuing.” Rāma said, “You go. I shall kill them.” Rukmiṇī, terrified, said,” My brother must be saved.” Rāma agreed to that with Kṛṣṇa’s approval and halted right there to light, but Janārdana went on. Then Bala, not slow in battle, his pestle raised, churned the enemy-army that had come, like Manthācala (Mt. Mandara) churning the ocean. Elephants and chariots turned into fine dust, like fragments of water-jars, from its iron tip. like mountains from the thunderbolt. Rukmin’s army fled with Śiśupāla himself, but Rukmin, thinking himself a hero, said to Balabhadra:

“Ho! You have been seen, cowherd. Stand! Stand in front of me. I shall take away your pride produced by drinking milk.” Remembering his promise. Rāma abandoned the pestle and destroyed his chariot with arrows and killed the chariot-horses, piercing the armor. Rāma cut off Rukmin’s hair with a sharp-edged arrow and, laughing, said to Rukmin who had joined the category of enemies: “You are not to be killed because you are the brother of my sister-in-law. Go. villain. Though you are bald, by our favor divert yourself with your wives.”

Released with this speech, from shame Rukmin did not go to Kuṇḍina, but stayed and founded a city, Bhojakaṭa, on that spot.

Kṛṣṇa said to Rukmiṇī, as he entered the city Dvārakā: “Queen, this city of mine was made of jewels by the gods. You will sport with me in its gardens composed of wishing-trees, with uninterrupted happiness, like a goddess. Rukmiṇī said to Kṛṣṇa: “Your wives are magnificent, given by their fathers, with retinues that came with them. I have been brought here alone by you, husband, like a prisoner. Arrange it so that I shall not be ridiculed by them.” Saying, “I shall make you superior to them,” Acyuta (Kṛṣṇa) established Rukmiṇī in a palace near Satyabhāmā’s house.

Then Janārdana married Rukmiṇī with a gāndharva-wedding and sported with her at will through the night. Acyuta prevented people from entering Rukmiṇī’s house. Bhāmā said to him persistently, “Show me your wife!”

Mari had a statue of Śrī, which was in a temple of Śrī in a pleasure-garden, removed by skilled painters under pretext of repairs. Kṛṣṇa went there, installed Rukmiṇī in Śrī’s place, and instructed her, “Remain motionless, when the queens come.” Kṛṣṇa went to his own house and Bhāmā asked him, “in what place, pray, is your wife to be found, left by you?” “She has been left in Śrī’s temple,” told by Śārṅgadhanvin, Satyabhāmā went to Śrī’s temple with the co-wives. Seeing Rukmiṇī standing there in Śrī’s place, saying:” Look at the beauty of the goddess Śrī. See the skill of the artists,” she bowed, and said: “Goddess Lakṣmī, arrange it so that I shall surpass Hari’s new wife in beauty. If so, I shall make a pūjā to you.”

After saying this, she went to Kṛṣṇa and said, “Where is your wife?” Hari went to Śrī’s temple with Satyā and others: and Rukmiṇī got up and said, “To whom shall I bow?” Satyabhāmā, being indicated to her by Kṛṣṇa, said, “How can she bow to me, when I paid homage to her from ignorance?” Hari smiled and said, “What fault is there in paying homage to a sister?” Satyā first bowed to Rukmiṇī and, embarrassed, went to her own house, Kaṃsanisūdana gave Rukmiṇī great wealth and enjoyed himself with her, sunk in the nectar of love.

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