Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Cause of separation from son which is the twelfth 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.

“In the country Magadha in Bharatakṣetra in Jambūdvīpa in the village Lakṣmīgrāma there was a Brāhman, Somadeva. One day his wife, Lakṣmīvatī, went to a garden. She saw a peahen’s egg and touched it with her hand which was smeared with kuṅkuma.[1] By that touch the egg became different in colour and odor and was abandoned by the mother for sixteen ghaṭikās,[2] as she did not know that it was hers. Then, when she had seen it in its proper condition again from rain-water, the mother covered it and in time it became a peacock. Again Lakṣmîvatī went there, saw the attractive young peacock, and took him away, though the mother wept. She put him in a cage in her house, satisfied him with food and drink, and taught him dancing so that he danced beautifully. But his mother, the peahen, chained by her affection for her son did not leave the place, giving harsh cries.

Then the people said to her: ‘Your curiosity is satisfied by him. This wretched peahen is dying. Set her son free.’ Compassionate from that speech, she released him, grown, sixteen months old, and took him to the place from which she had taken him. By that carelessness the Brāhmanī acquired very strong feeling-karma of separation from her son, lasting for sixteen years.

Footnotes and references:


A red power whose chief ingredient is turmeric. See I, n. 394.


A ghatikā is 24 minutes, so the egg was deserted for 6 hours and 24 minutes.

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