Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Marriage of Pradyumna which is the second part of chapter VII 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 Rukmiṇī sent a man to Bhojakaṭa to arrange a marriage of Vaidarbhī, Rukmin’s daughter, with Pradyumna. He bowed and said to Rukmin: “Queen Rukmiṇī says to you: ‘Give your daughter, Vaidarbhī, to Pradyumna. In the past there was a suitable union of Viṣṇu and me by fate. Now do you arrange a union of Pradyumna and Vaidarbhī.’” Recalling their former enmity, Rukmin said: “I will give my daughter to caṇḍālas rather than Viṣṇu’s family.” The messenger went and reported that to Rukmiṇī word for word.

insulted by her brother, she remained downcast like a day-lotus at night. “Why arc you so troubled?” asked by Pradyumna, she told the story of Rukmin, the cause of the arrow in her heart. Pradyumna said: “Mother, do not grieve. Indeed, uncle is not deserving of conciliation. At that time father did what was fitting. After arranging what is fitting for him, I will marry his daughter.” With these words, he jumped up and went to Bhojakaṭa with Śāmba.

Both assumed the forms of caṇḍālas and the voices of Kinnaras and, singing, won the hearts of all the citizens like deer.{GL_NOTE::} King Rukmin learned about them and summoned the sweet-voiced fictitious caṇḍālas. Holding his daughter on his lap, he had them sing. Delighted by their song, King Rukmin and his retinue gave them money and asked, “Whence have you come here?” They said: “From heaven we came to Dvārakā. the city which was made by the gods for the god Śārṅgin.” Vaidarbhṇ delighted, asked them. “Do you know the son, Pradyumna, of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī there?” Śāmba said: “Who does not know Pradyumna, Manmatha in form, the tilaka{GL_NOTE::} of the ornaments of the earth, very strong?”

On hearing that, Vaidarbhī, eager, became penetrated by love. Just then a rutting elephant pulled up its post and ran away. Running over the whole city, terrorizing the people unexpectedly, he could not be subdued by any elephant-keeper. “I will give whatever he desires to any one who subdues this elephant,” the king had proclaimed by the sound of a drum. The drum was not stopped by any one: but was stopped by them.{GL_NOTE::} The great elephant was transfixed by Pradyumna and Śāmba by singing. The two mounted the elephant, led him to the elephant-post, and tied him. They, surprising the citizens, were summoned joyfully by the king. Rukmin said to them, “Ask what you wish,” and they said, “Give us Vaidarbhī here. We have no cook.” Rukmin, angry at hearing that, banished them from the city.

Pradyumna said to Śāmba: “Rukmiṇī remains unhappy. Hence delay in Vaidarbhī’s marriage is not fitting.” As he was saying this, it became spotless night. Then, all the people being asleep, by means of his magic art Pradyumna went to Rukmin’s daughter who was on the seventh floor of the palace. He delivered to her a fictitious affectionate letter from Rukmiṇī and, when she had read it, she said, “Tell me, what shall I give you?” He said: “Give me yourself only, fair-eyed maiden. I am Pradyumna for whom you were asked, fair lady.” Saying, “Oh! what is well-arranged by fate, that surely is caused by the Creator,” she consented to his speech. Making a fire by the power of his magic art and making it a witness, Kṛṣṇa’s son married her with the marriage-ribbon put on and wearing fine white garments. Kārṣṇi sported with her at will in many ways.

In the last part of the night he said: “I am going to Śāmba. If you arc questioned by your parents (or) attendants, do not talk. I have arranged for your protection from physical injury, blameless lady.” With these words, Kārṣṇi left and Vaidarbhī went to sleep from staying awake too long and from fatigue from pleasure. She did not awake at dawn. Her nurse came there and, when she had seen the signs of a marriage, the marriage-ribbon, et cetera, aroused her and questioned her anxiously. Vaidarbhī told nothing and the nurse, trembling with fear, told Rukmin and the queen, in order to wipe out her own guilt.

They went and questioned her and she told nothing; but they saw clear signs of marital relations. Rukmin thought to himself: “Though she was not given, she has dallied with some one of low family from her own wish. Better if this basest of girls had been given to the caṇḍālas.” From anger at this thought, he had the cāṇḍālas summoned by his doorkeeper. Saying angrily, “Take the girl. Go where I shall not see you,” he gave Vaidarbhī to them.

They said to Vaidarbhī: “Princess, will you sell leeches, skin-ropes, et cetera in our house?” She, knowing the highest good, said: “Whatever fate does, I will submit to that. For the command of fate is hard to transgress.” Then the two heroes took her and went elsewhere.

But King Rukmin cried out in the council from remorse: “Oh, daughter, where are you, Vaidarbhī? Indeed, that union was not suitable. I threw you, like a cow, at the caṇḍālas’ door, daughter. Truly, the caṇḍāla Anger made me give my daughter to the caṇḍālas. Every one, indeed, seeks advantage for his own category. Though you were requested by Rukmiṇī for her son Pradyumna, I, blind with anger, of little wit, did not give you, alas!”

While he was lamenting in this way, he heard the deep sound of musical instruments. His attendants, being asked “Where is that from?” investigated and reported: “Pradyumna and Śāmba, together with Vaidarbhī, occupy a palace outside the city which is like a heavenly palace, like gods. They, being praised by flying-ascetics, are having a concert, charming with the best musical instruments, performed. This sound comes from that, lord.” Then delighted, Rukmin led them to his house and honored them very much from affection for a nephew and son-in-law. Then Pradyumna took leave of Rukmin and went to Dvāravatī with Vaidarbhī and Śāmba, a festival for Rukmiṇī’s eyes.

Pradyumna with fresh youth continued dallying happily with Rukmin’s daughter with fresh youth like a new Rati. Śāmba sported with King Hemāṅgada’s daughter, named Suhariṇī, borne by a courtesan, whose beauty surpassed that of Apsarases. Śāmba got Bhīru to play constantly and defeated him. After he had made him lose much money in gambling, he, eager, made him pay. Making an outcry, Bhīru told Bhāmā: she told Viṣṇu and he told Queen Jāmbavatī about Śāmba’s bad conduct.

Jāmbavatī said: “I have not heard about Śāmba’s bad behavior for so long. Why is this, O you whose fame is wide spread?” Viṣṇu said: “A lioness thinks her son gentle and good. Elephants are the ones who know the sport of the young lion. Now I will show you his behavior.” Saying this, Hari assumed the form of an ābhīra and had Jāmbavatī assume the form of an Ābhīrī. Both entered Dvārakā, selling buttermilk, and were seen by Prince Śāmba who was always roaming at random.

Śāmba said to the Ābhīrī, “Come, I will buy your milk.” She followed Śāmba and Ābhīra followed her in turn. Śāmba entered a temple and called her. She said: “I will not enter there. Give me the money here.” Saying, “You will have to enter here,” Śāmba seized her by the hand and began to drag her like an elephant a creeper. Saying, “Villain, why arc you seizing my wife?” the Ābhīra beat him quickly: and Jāmbavatī and Hari revealed themselves. When he saw his parents, Śāmba covered his face and fled.

Hari said to Jāmbavatī, “Your son’s bad behavior has been seen.” On the next day Śārṅgin had him brought by force and he came, making a wedge. Questioned, he said: “This wedge will he thrown into the mouth of any one who says a word today about yesterday, For that reason I am making it.” Saying, “He, shameless, amorous, misbehaves here as he likes,” Śārṅgapāṇi banished Śāmba from his city. Pradyumna, penetrated by affection, gave the magic art Prajṭapti to Śāmba, his brother in a former birth also, as he left.

Bhāmā said to Pradyumna, who was always tormenting Bhīruka, “Why do you not go from the city like Śāmba, evil-minded man?” He said, “Where shall I go?” She said, “To the cemetery.” He said to her again, “When will there be a meeting with me?” She said angrily, “When I take Śāmba by the hand, villain, and lead him here, then there will be a meeting with you.” Saying, “Whatever my mother commands,” Rukmiṇī’s son went to the cemetery and Śāmba came there in his roaming. Both had taken a very large burning-fee to the cemetery and gave it for the burning of the corpses of the townspeople.

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