Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Samadhigupta which is the thirteenth 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 a muni, Samādhigupta by name, entered her house for alms as she was looking at herself, adorned, in a mirror. Her husband, the Brahman, said to her, ‘Give him alms.’ Just then he was called by some one and went outside. She, making a spitting-sound and muttering harsh words, sent the sage away and shut the door quickly. Because of that action of disgust on the seventh day she had oozing leprosy over all her body and, disgusted with existence, she entered the fire. After death she became the donkey of the washerman of that village. After dying again, she became a sow living in a cave in the same village. After death she became a bitch, was burned in a forest-fire, and died there, acquiring a human birth by that death.

She was born the daughter of a fisherman, named Kāṇā, ill-smelling, ill-favored, on the bank of the Narmadā near Bhṛgukaccha. Abandoned on the bank of the Narmadā by her parents, who were unable to endure her odor, when she was grown she constantly ferried people (across the river). By chance the sage Samādhigupta came there in the cold season and spent the night in kāyotsarga, motionless as a mountain. Thinking, ‘How will the mahātma endure the cold all night?’ tender-hearted, she covered the muni with grass. At daybreak, she bowed to the muni and the great muni taught her dharma with the thought, ‘She is predisposed to dharma.’

After thinking for a long time, ‘I have seen him some place,’ she asked the muni and he related her former births. The sage said again, ‘You have been born here, evil-smelling, because of the disgust you showed for the sādhu. Everything is in accordance with karma.' She, whose memory of former births had arisen, begged forgiveness of the muni for the disgust shown in a former birth, blaming herself repeatedly. She became a laywoman and was entrusted to Āryikā[1] Dharmaśrī by the compassionate muni.

She wandered with her, and Dharmaśrī, who died in some village, entrusted her to a layman Nāyala. Living in a solitary house, constantly engaged in worship of the Jinas, she passed twelve years under Nāyala’s protection. She fasted, died, and became Indra Acyuta’s chief-queen, with a life-term of fifty-five palyas and, when she fell, she became Rukmiṇī. Because she caused the separation of the peahen and her son, Rukmiṇī will experience the pangs of separation from her son for sixteen years.”

After hearing this, Nārada bowed to the Blessed One, flew up, and went to the city Meghakūṭa on Vaitāḍhya. Nārada said, ‘By good fortune a son was born to you,’ and was honored by Saṃvara; and Pradyumna was shown to him.

Nārada saw that the son resembled Rukmiṇī and, taking leave of Saṃvara, went to Dvārakā with confidence. He told in detail the news about the boy to Kṛṣṇa and the others and the account of Rukmiṇī’s birth as Lakṣmīvatī. Then Queen Rukmiṇī, her hands folded with devotion, bowed to Blessed Sīmandhara,[2] though remaining where she was. Rukmiṇī was satisfied by the Arhat’s promise, “A union with your son will take place after sixteen years.”

Footnotes and references:

1.

I.e., sadhvī.

2.

Who was in the Videhas. See above, p. 189.