Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Abduction of Draupadi which is the first part of chapter X 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 1: Abduction of Draupadī

And now by Kṛṣṇa’s favor the Pāṇḍavas remained in their city[1] and happily sported with Draupadī in turn. One day Nārada went to Draupadī’s house in his roaming and was not honored by her who scorned him with the idea, “He is lacking in self-control.” Thinking, “How will she suffer in future?” Muni Nārada left her house, angry and hostile. Not seeing any one here who would cause her trouble from fear of Kṛṣṇa, Nārada went to Bharata in Dhātakīkhaṇḍa.

He went to Padma, lustful, in the city Amarakaṅkā, the servitor of Viṣṇu Kapila ruling Campā. The king arose, conducted him to the harem, showed him his wives, and said to Nārada, “Have such women been seen anywhere?” Reflecting, “My purpose will be accomplished through him,” Nārada said: “Why are you pleased by these women, like a frog in a well, king? In the city Hastināpura in Bharata in Jambūdvīpa there is the chief-queen of the Pāṇḍavas, Draupadī, the abode of beauty. Compared with her, all these are mere slave-girls.” With these words, Ṛṣi Nārada flew up and went elsewhere.

Wishing to have Draupadī, Padmanābha subdued by penance a god, a former friend, living in Pātāla. Padma said to the god, who became visible and asked, “What can I do for you?” “Bring Draupadī here and give her to me.” He said: “Draupadī wishes no one except the Pāṇḍavas. But I shall bring her at your insistence.”

Then the god gave Draupadī a sleeping-charm, kidnaped her asleep during the night, took her, and gave her to Padma. Draupadī, awakened there and not seeing her own place, terrified, thought, “Is this a dream or sorcery?” Padmanābha said: “Do not fear, doe-eyed lady. I had you brought here. Enjoy pleasures with me. This is the continent Dhātakīkhaṇḍa, the city Amarakaṅkā. I am Padmanābha, king here. Now I wish to become your husband.” Draupadī, quick-witted, said: “If none of my people come after a month, I shall do as you say.”

Reflecting, “It is impossible for men living in Jambūdvīpa to come here,” Padma deceitfully agreed to that speech. “I, made husbandless, shall not enjoy pleasures at the end of a month,” Draupadī vowed, very rich in wifely fidelity.

The Pāṇḍavas, when they did not see Draupadī in the house at dawn, made a thorough search in water, on land, in forests, et cetera. They did not find news of her and their mother told Śārṅgin. He alone is their refuge and a brother to the distressed. While Kṛṣṇa was still bewildered by the business, Muni Nārada came there to see the trouble caused by himself. Asked by Viṣṇu, “Have you seen Draupadī any where?” he said: “I went to the city Amarakaṅkā in Dhātakīkhaṇḍa. There I saw Drupada’s daughter in the house of King Padma.” With these words, he flew up and went elsewhere.

Kṛṣṇa said to the Pāṇḍavas: “Draupadī has been kidnaped by Padma. I will get her back. Do not worry at all.” Then Viṣṇu, surrounded by a great army, went with the Pāṇḍavas to the shore of the Eastern Ocean, called Māgadha. The Pāṇḍavas said to Kṛṣṇa: “Master, this ocean, violent, very terrifying, is uncrossable like worldly existence. In some places in it mountains are submerged like clods; in some places there are sea-monsters like mountains. In some places there is a submarine fire by which a promise to dry it up has been made; in some places there are Velandhara-gods, like fishermen. In it vessels[2] resembling water-jars are lifted up by waves. Uncrossable even by the mind, how can it be crossed?” “What is this anxiety on your part?” pure-hearted Kṛṣṇa said to them. Seated on the shore, he propitiated Susthita[3] by penance. The god appeared in person and asked, “What can I do for you?” Kṛṣṇa said: “Draupadī has been kidnaped by King Padma. Arrange it so that she will be brought quickly from Dhātakīkhaṇḍa, best of gods, lord of Lavaṇa Ocean.”

The god said: “She was delivered to Padma by a god who kidnaped her from former friendship. Likewise, Kṛṣṇa, I shall deliver her to you. Or, if that does not please, then I shall throw Padma with his army and transport in the ocean and deliver Draupadī to you.” Kṛṣṇa said: “Do not do this. Give an unobstructed path over the water to the six chariots of the Pāṇḍavas and me, so that, going there ourselves and defeating the wretch, we shall bring back Kṛṣṇā (Draupadī). For that is the path of glory.”

Susthita did so. Kṛṣṇa and the Pāṇḍavas crossed the ocean like dry land and went to the city Amarakaṅkā. Hari remained in a garden outside and sent Dāruka, whom he instructed personally, as a messenger to King Padma. Stepping on the foot-stool with his foot, terrifying from his frown, delivering a letter on the point of a spear, Dāruka said to Padma:

“Drupada’s daughter, the wife of the Pāṇḍavas, the companions of Vāsudeva, has been brought here from Bharata of Jambūdvīpa by you. Kṛṣṇa, to whom a path was given by the ocean, has come with the sons of Pāṇḍu. Surrender Kṛṣṇa, if you wish to live, wretch.”

Padma said: “He is Vāsudeva there, but here, himself the sixth,[4] what is he compared with me? Go! Prepare him for battle.” Dāruka went and reported the speech to Kṛṣṇa. Padma, armed, came with an army, eager to fight. His soldiers approaching like waves of the ocean, Puṇḍarīkākṣa (Kṛṣṇa), wide-eyed, said to the Pāṇḍavas: “Will you fight with King Padma or will you, staying in your chariots, watch me fighting?” They said, “We shall fight with Padma, lord. Today King Padmanābha or we shall cause tears to be shed.”

Then they fought with King Padma and were defeated. They went again to Vāsudeva and said: “Master, this Padma is very strong, surrounded by strong soldiers. He is conquerable by you alone, not by us. Do what is suitable in this matter.”

Kṛṣṇa said: “You were defeated at that very time, Pāṇḍavas, when you said: ‘King Padma or we.’ I alone am king, not Padma.” With these words, Janārdana set out for battle and blew loud-toned Pāṭcajanya. A third part of Padma’s army broke at the sound of the conch, like the flight of a herd of deer at the roar of an approaching lion. Śārṅgin twanged his bow and at its sound again a third part of Padma’s army broke like a weak rope. With the remaining third part of the army, Padma fled from the battle-field and entered Amarakaṅkā at once. He shut the gates equipped with iron bars. Blazing with anger, Kṛṣṇa got down from the chariot.

By a process of transformation[5] Hari became a man-lion in form, angry like Kṛtānta, terrifying with the fangs of his wide-open mouth. Giving very loud roars, he stamped with his feet: and the earth trembled along with the heart of his enemies. The tops of the walls shook, temples fell, and houses fell apart from, the blows of Śārṅgin’s feet. Some hid in caves: some entered water; some in the city fell in a faint from fear of the man-lion.

Padma went to Drupada’s daughter as a refuge, saying, “Queen, pardon us. Save us from this Śārṅgin who is like Antaka.” “After putting me in front of you and after donning women’s clothes, go to Kṛṣṇa as a refuge. In that case you will live, not otherwise.” He did as he was told and bowed to Śārṅgin. Vāsudeva, affording protection, said to him, “Do not fear.” Janārdana delivered Draupadī to the Pāṇḍavas and, mounted on a chariot, returned with them by the same road.

At that time the Blessed Tīrthakṛt, Munisuvrata,[6] had stopped in a samavasaraṇa in the garden Pūrṇabhadraka in Campā. Seated in his assembly, Viṣṇu Kapila asked the Lord: “Master, to whom like me does this conch belong, whose sound was the guest of (our) ears?”

The Arhat said, “The sound of the conch was from Viṣṇu Kṛṣṇa,” and Keśava asked, “How can there be two Haris in one place?” The Blessed One told Kapila the story of Draupadī, Padma, and Kṛṣṇa. Kapila said: “Why do I not give a welcome to Kṛṣṇa, lord of half of Bharata in Jambūdvīpa, who has come here as a guest?” The Master said, “Just as there is no second Arhat nor cakrabhṛt in one place, so a Viṣṇu who has come for a reason can not meet another.”

After hearing the Arhat’s reply, Kapila went on the road furrowed by Kṛṣṇa’s chariot to see Kṛṣṇa on the ocean-shore. He saw the white and yellow chariot-banners, like vessels of silver and gold, of Kṛṣṇa as he proceeded in the ocean. The Śārṅgabhṛt blew his conch filled with the words: “I am Viṣṇu Kapila. I have come, eager to see you. So turn back.” Kṛṣṇa blew his conch with the sound of distinct words, “We have come far. We must not talk with you.”

After hearing the words of the conch. Hari Kapila turned, went to the city Kaṅkā,[7] and said to Padma, “What’s this?” Padma related his own crime and said, “You being master, I have been defeated by Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu in Bharata of Jambū.” Saying, “O evil-minded villain, quarreling with superiors,” Hari banished Padma and installed his son on the throne.

When Kṛṣṇa had crossed the ocean, he said to the Pāṇḍavas, “Sirs, while I say good-by to Susthita, cross the Gaṅgā.” They embarked on the ship, crossed the terrifying stream of the Gaṅgā, sixty-two yojanas wide, and said to each other: “Now let us see Viṣṇu’s strength. Let the ship be anchored right here. How will he cross the Gaṅgā’s stream without a ship?” With this agreement made, they settled on the river-bank.

And now, his business finished, Kṛṣṇa came to the Gaṅgā. Not seeing a boat there, Hari put the chariot with its horses on one arm and began to swim across the water with the other arm. When he reached the middle of the stream, Kṛṣṇa, tired, thought, “Indeed, Pāṇḍu’s sons, powerful, swam the Gaṅgā without a ship.” Knowing that thought of his, the Gaṇgā made shallow water at once and then Janārdana swam across her with perfect ease.

He said to the Pāṇḍavas, “How did you cross the Gaṅgā?” and they replied to Śārṅgin, “We crossed in a ship.” “Why did you not turn the ship and send it back?” asked by Śārṅgin, they said, “We did not send the ship back, to test your strength.” Kṛṣṇa, angered, said: “You know my strength now. It was not known in the crossing of the ocean and victory at Amarakaṅkā.” With these words he crushed their chariots with an iron-staff. A city developed there, named Rathamardana. Then Kaṃsasūdana banished the Pāṇḍavas; and went to the city Dvārakā with his camp.

The Pāṇḍavas went to their own city and told Kuntī about it. Kuntī went to Dvārakā and said to Vāsudeva: “Banished by you, where can my sons stay? In this half of Bharata, there is no land which is not yours.” Kṛṣṇa said, “Founding a new city, Pāṇḍumathurā,[8] on the shore of the Southern Ocean, your sons may dwell there.” Kuntī went, told her sons Kṛṣṇa’s command and they went to the Pāṇḍu-district, purified by the ocean’s waves. Kṛṣṇa installed

Parīkṣita, grandson of his sister Subhadrā, son of Abhimanyu, as king in Hāstinapura.

Footnotes and references:




Ghana. Exactly what ghana means here, I do not know. I can find no authorized meaning that makes sense, but they are surely the same objects described in II, p. 114.


The lord of Lavaṇoda. See II, p. 115.


I.e., with the Pāṇḍavas.


By a vaikriya-samudghāta. See I, n. 157.


Not our Campā, nor our Munisuvrata. This is all in Dhātakīkhaṇḍa. There was a Viṣṇu Kapila there. See above, p. 274.


I.e., Amarakaṅkā. Such an abbreviation, so common in names of persons, is unusual in place-names.


Identified with Madura in South India.

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