Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Origin of Dhumaketu’s enmity which is the eleventh 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.

Part 11: Origin of Dhūmaketu’s enmity

“In Jambūdvīpa in Bharata in the Magadhas in very wealthy Śāligrāma there is a garden, Manorama. The guardian of the garden was a Yakṣa, Sumanas, and a Brāhman, Somadeva, lived in that village. Somadeva had two sons, Agnibhūti and Vāyubhūti, by his wife Agnilā, and they were both expert in interpretation of the Vedas. The two, well-known because of their learning, when they were grown, continued to enjoy many pleasures, haughty from pride.

One day Ācārya Nandivardhana stopped in this garden Manorama and was worshipped by the people who had come. Agnibhūti, arrogant, came and said, ‘If you know the meaning of the śāstras at all, expound it, Sitāmbara.’ Nandivardhana’s disciple, Satya, said to them, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘From Śāligrāma,’ they replied. Satya said again, ‘I ask: from what birth have you attained a human birth, sirs? Tell that, if you know anything.’ They stood, their faces downcast with shame, devoid of knowledge. Muni Satya began to relate their (former) birth.

‘In the forest of this village, you were two flesh-eating jackals in a former birth, alas! excellent Brāhmans. They ate the skin-ropes, et cetera, wet by rain, everything which a farmer had left in the field at night. They died from this excessive food and became you, sons of the Brahman, Somadeva, in this birth because of their karma. At dawn the farmer saw that everything had been eaten and returned to his house. In course of time he died and became the son of his daughter-in-law. As he had acquired the memory of his former births, he remained silent from birth deceitfully, at the thought, “How am I to address them: daughter-in-law or mother; son or father?” If you do not believe this, then ask the mute farmer his story so that, giving up silence, he will tell you.’

The mute farmer was brought there at once by the people and was told by the muni: ‘Tell your former births from the beginning. Son, father, father, son—such in the usual condition of existence. Therefore, lay aside your shame produced by the relationship in a former birth and give up your silence.’ After bowing to the muni, delighted at this agreement with himself, he told his former births in just the same way to all listening. Many became mendicants and the farmer became enlightened; but they (the Brahmans) were ridiculed by the people and went home, ashamed.

The Brahmans, being hostile, went at night with swords to kill the muni, but were transfixed at once by the Yakṣa Sumanas. At dawn the people saw them and the Yakṣa Sumanas told their weeping father and mother clearly: ‘These wretches, who intended to kill the muni, were transfixed by me. If they become mendicants, I shall release them, not otherwise.’ They said, ‘The sādhudharma is very hard, but we will practice that suitable for laymen,’ and the god released them.

From that time they observed the Jina-dharma properly, but their parents did not acknowledge at all the Arhatdharma. Agnibhūti and Vāyubhūti died and became gods in the heaven Saudharma, with a life term of six palyas.[1] When they fell, they became the sons of a merchant, Arhaddāsa, in Gajapura, Pūrṇabhadra and Māṇibhadra, laymen, as a result of the former birth.

One day a sage, Māhendra, stopped there and Arhaddāsa became a mendicant, after listening to dharma in his presence. As Pūrṇabhadra and Māṇibhadra were going to pay homage to Māhendra, they saw a bitch and a caṇḍāla on the road and felt affection for them. After they had gone and bowed to the sage Māhendra, they asked, ‘Who is that caṇḍāla and who is the bitch that we felt affection at the sight of them?’ He related:

‘In your birth as Agnibhūti and Vāyubhūti your father was the Brāhman Somadeva and your mother was Agnilā. After his death, your father became a king, Jitaśatru, in Śaṅkhapura in this same Bharata, always lusting after other men’s wives. After her death, Agnilā was born in the same city, Śaṅkhapura, as Rukmiṇī, wife of the Brāhman Somabhūti. One day King Jitaśatru, as he was passing, saw her in the court of her house and at once became infatuated. The king invented some crime on the part of Somabhūti and put her in his harem. The Brāhman, miserable from separation from her, remained immersed in fire, as it were.

After enjoying himself with her for a thousand years, Jitaśatru died, and had a life in hell for three palyas. Then he became a deer and, being killed, became again a young deer. He was born a merchant’s son, deceitful, and, after death, he became an elephant. By fate lie remembered former births, fasted, died on the eighteenth day and became a Vaimanika-god with a life of three palyas. Then he fell and became a caṇḍāla, but Rukmiṇī became a bitch, after wandering through existence. For this reason there was affection for them on your part.’

After hearing this, Pūrṇabhadra and Māṇibhadra, enlightened the caṇḍāla and the bitch by means of the recollection of former births which they had attained. Then the caṇḍāla, disgusted with existence, fasted for a month, died, and became a god in Nandīśvaradvīpa. The bitch, enlightened, died after a fast and became a princess, Sudarśanā, in the same Śaṅkhapura.

The sage Māhendra came there again and, questioned by Arhaddāsa’s two sons, told the good status of the bitch and caṇḍāla. The princess, enlightened by them again, became a mendicant, and went to heaven. Pūrṇabhadra and Māṇi-bhadra, after observing lay-dharma and dying, became Sāmānikas in Saudharma. When they fell, they both became sons, named Madhu and Kaiṭabha, of King Viṣvaksena in Hastinapura. The god in Nandīśvara fell, wandered through existence for a long time, and became a king in Vaṭapura, named Kanakaprabha. Sudarśanā also wandered through many births, after she fell, and became Kanakaprabha’s chief-queen, named Candrābhā. Viṣvaksena installed Madhu on the throne and Kaiṭabha as heir-apparent, took the vow, and went to Brahmaloka.

Madhu and Kaiṭabha having the whole country subdued, Bhīma, a village-chief, attacked the country by trickery only. Madhu set out to kill him and he was honored by King Kanakaprabha with food, ct cetera on the road to Vaṭapura. At the end of the meal, his follower (Kanakaprabha) with his wife Candrābhā approached King Madhu with gifts from devotion to his master. After bowing to Madhu, Candrābhā went again to the women’s apartments. Madhu, afflicted by love, wished to take her just then even by force. Prevented at that time by his minister, King Madhu went on, defeated the village-chief, Bhīma, and came there on his return. Again honored by King Kanakaprabha, Madhu said, ‘Enough of these gifts of yours. Let Candrābhā alone be given to me.’ When, though asked, Kanakaprabha did not give her, then Madhu snatched Candrābhā away and took her to his own city. Kanakaprabha, distracted, fell to the ground in a faint. When he had recovered, he wailed aloud and wandered about like a crazy man.

One day King Madhu was engaged in court-business with his ministers and, without giving his judgment, went to Candrābhā’s house. Candrābhā asked, ‘What has taken so long today?’ and Madhu said, ‘Today I was occupied with a case of adultery.’ Candrābhā smiled and said, ‘An adulterer should be honored.’ Madhu said: ‘Why should he be honored? Adulterers are subject to punishment.’ Candrābhā said again, ‘If you arc so harsh in law, do you not know that you yourself are the chief-adulterer?’

Enlightened at hearing that, he felt ashamed. Then Kanakaprabha came, singing and dancing, on the highway, surrounded by small boys. Seeing him, Candrābhā thought: ‘My husband has reached this miserable condition from separation from me. Shame on me, subservient.’ With these reflections, she showed him as he came to Madhu and Madhu felt remorse at his own evil deed. Madhu put his son Dhundhu on the throne; and together with Kaiṭabha took the vow under the guru Vimalavāhana. They practiced severe penance many thousand years, knowing the twelve aṅgas, always doing service to sādhus. They both fasted at the end, made confession, died, and became Sāmānikas in Mahāśukra.

King Kanakaprabha, afflicted by hunger and thirst, after fasting for three thousand years, died. He became a god among the Jyotiṣkas, Dhūmaketu by name. Knowing by clairvoyance the former hostility, he searched for Madhu’s soul. The god did not see Madhu because of his magnificent rank as a god.[2] When he fell and obtained a human birth, he became a (Brahman) ascetic. He practiced foolish penance and became a Vaimānika; and in this birth, too, he was not able to see the magnificent Madhu. After he had fallen and wandered through existence from submission to karma, again he became a god in the Jyotiṣkas, named Dhūmaketu.

At this time Madhu’s soul fell from Mahāśukra and appeared in the womb of Rukmiṇī, chief-queen of Vāsudeva. Because of former enmity, Dhūmaketu seized the boy as soon as born and, wicked, wishing to kill him, threw him on top of the rock Taṅka. Uninjured from his own power, he was taken by Saṃvara. His union with Rukmiṇī will take place at the end of sixteen years.”

Asked by Nārada, “Because of what act has Rukmiṇī been separated in this way from her son?” Lord Sīmandhara related:

Footnotes and references:


A palya is an inestimably long period of time. See I, n. 50.


Madhu was a Sāmānika, which is a much higher rank than Jyotiṣka.

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