Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Garden Sports which is the second part of chapter IX 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 in spring Kṛṣṇa, together with Nemi and his harem, went with the townswomen and all the Vṛṣṇis (Yadus) to the garden Raivataka. There the princes and the citizens played at various sports in the garden, like the gods and Asurakumārakas in Nandana. Some drank wine, which had the fragrance of the bakula, a life-giver to Smara, in bars under a bakula. Some played the lute; some sang aloud with vasanta;[1] some, intoxicated, danced, like Kinnaras, with women. Some with their wives gathered blossoms from the campaka, aśoka, and bakula, et cetera, like flower-gathering Vidyādharas. Some themselves made ornaments from flowers, like expert gardeners, and put them on the forms of gazelle-eyed women. Some sported with women, like Kāndarpika-gods, on couches of fresh blossoms in arbors of vines. Some, who were much fatigued, resting on the bank of a water-course, drank the wind from Malaya, like sportive serpents. Some, imitating Rati and Smara, played with their wives by swinging in swings suspended on branches of the aśoka. Lovers, engaged in Puṣpeśu’s doctrine, made different trees blossom: some the aśoka by a kick of the beloved; some the bakula by the gift of a mouthful of wine; some the tilaka by an amorous glance; others the kurubaka by giving a close embrace; and other trees by other pregnancy-whims.

Kṛṣṇa, surrounded by his wives, Bhāmā and others, wandered with Nemi here and there in play, like a wild elephant in a forest. Seeing nemi, Hari thought: “If Nemi’s mind were on pleasure, then Śrī would have her purpose accomplished and then there would be good brotherhood on my part. if he, favorable, could be surrounded frequently with ālambanas, uddīpanas, and their vibhāvas[2] by me, then my wish would be fulfilled.”

So reflecting, Govinda himself wove a wreath and threw it like another pearl necklace around Nemi’s neck. Satyabhāmā and others, clever, knowing Hari’s intention, approached Śrī Nemi with various ornaments of flowers. One, touching him with the tips of full, high breasts, bound Nemi’s braid of hair with beautiful wreaths of flowers from behind.

One wife of Hari, the creeper of her arm raised, her arm-pit visible, standing in front of Nemi, put a wreath on his head. One, taking hold of his car with her hand, arranged an ear-ornament on Nemi’s car, like a flag of victory of Smara. One fastened ever fresh armlets on Nemi’s upper arm, again and again, with the intention of wasting time in sport. So they decorated Nemi suitably for the season, but Śrī Neminātha made no change toward them. Thus engaged in various sports day and night, Janārdana returned to Dvārikā with his retinue.

Samudravijaya was always eager for the festival of Nemi’s marriage and the other Daśārhas also, and Śārṅgapāṇi. Spring passed while Mari and Nemi played and the hot weather came, making Smara strong,[3] as well as the sun. Even the heat of the morning sun became unendurable, like Śārngin’s splendor; even at night the heat was not allayed, like people’s karma. Young men put on two soft white garments, resembling the inside of a plantain-skin, seemed with musk. Women did not lay aside for a moment the palm-leaf fan moving to and fro like the flap of an elephant’s ear, as well as Manmatha’s teaching. Young men sprinkled themselves again and again with sandal-water, its fragrance doubled by the juice of various flowers. Lotus-stalks, put on their hearts by women, acquired fragrance superior to ropes of pearls. Pressing them very closely with their arms again and again, the young men did not let them go from their chest, like a sweetheart wet with water.

So in the summer terrible with heat Kṛṣṇa and his harem went with Nemi to a pool in the garden Raivataka. Viṣṇu with his wives and Nemi entered it for bathing-sport, like haṃsas in Mānasa’s water. At once a resemblance to lotuses newly burst open appeared from the faces of Viṣṇu’s wives submerged up to the neck in it. Hari himself threw a handful of water on one. She, clever, threw back a mouthful of water on him. Janārdana had the appearance of a pillar with puppets from the timid women, afraid of the water, clinging to him. Leaping up repeatedly, like waves, the doe-eyed women struck Śārṅgapāṇi on the chest fiercely. The eyes of the doe-eyed women became very red from blows with water, as if from anger caused by the removal of collyrium, their ornament.

One, summoned by Śārṅgin by pronouncing the name of a rival, beat him with a lotus, like an elephant with an iron club. One approached another whom she had watched for a long time and struck her in the eyes with water lifted up, mixed with lotus-pollen. The doe-eyed women wandered again and again around Śārṅgin, bringing to mind the beauty of the ballet and the sport of his life as a cowherd. Nemi, unchanged, there at his brother’s insistence, played, surrounded by his brother’s wives engaged in jests. Saying, “Where are you going now, brother-in-law,” Hari’s wives struck Nemi simultaneously with water struck with the open hand. Ariṣṭanemi with Kṛṣṇa’s wives holding in their hands falling masses of water looked like a tree with erect shoots. With water-sports a pretext for making known the touch of women, they embraced Nemi’s neck, struck him on the breast, and hung on his arm.

One in sport carried a lotus, like an umbrella, over Śrī Nemi, like an umbrella-carrier of the harem. One threw a lotus-stalk around Nemi’s neck with a jest, like a wreath on the hitching-post of an elephant. Using anything as a pretext, one struck Nemi on the heart, which had not been struck by Smara’s missiles, with a lotus. Prince Nemi, unchanged, let all his brother’s wives play for a long time with acts and counteracts. Seeing his brother playing so, Janārdana rejoiced and stayed in the water for a long time, like a riverranging elephant.

Footnotes and references:


A rāga. Bharatakośa. p. 591.


Vibhāva is that by which love, et cetera are made to appear, it is two-fold: ālambana and uddīpana. Ālambana is the object on which an emotion is concentrated, e.g., a girl. Uddīpana is something that excites an emotion, e.g., a garden. Vibhāva is the condition that is favorable to producing an emotion. Ghosh calls it ‘determinant.’ Nātyaśāstra. Vol. I, p. 121, gives a long list of determinants: seasons, garlands, unguent, ornaments, dear ones, et cetera. See Kāvyaprakāśa, 4.28, also.


Because it increases heat in the body: pitta.

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