Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Citra and Sambhuta which is the third part of chapter I of the English translation of the Brahmadatta-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Brahmadatta in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 3: Citra and Sambhūta

Then they became sons of a Mātaṅga-chief, named Bhūtadatta, who was endowed with much wealth, in Vārāṇasī. Named Citra and Sambhūta, devoted to each other, they were never separated, joined like a finger-nail and the flesh.

At that time the king in Vārāṇasī was named Śaṅkhu and he had a celebrated minister, named Namuci. One day the king handed him over secretly to Bhūtadatta for execution, his crime being very great. He said to Namuci secretly, “I will guard you like my own life, if you, hidden in an underground chamber, will teach my sons.” Namuci agreed to the Mātaṅga-chief’s proposition. There is nothing that people who desire to live will not do.

Accordingly, he taught the various arts to Citra and Sambhūta; and he dallied with the infatuated wife of the Mātaṅga-chief. Bhūtadatta discovered that and prepared to kill him. Who can endure the evil of an adulterer in the case of his own wives? He was conducted far away by the Mātaṅga’s sons, who learned (their father’s intention), and a fee also was given to him with the object of saving his life. Then Namuci went to Hastināpura after his escape and Cakrin Sanatkumāra made him his minister.

Now Citra and Sambhūta had just become grown, like the Aśvins who had come to earth for some reason. They sang a sweet song, putting Hāhā and Hūhū[1] to shame; and they played the lute better than Tumburu and Nārada. When they played the lute with seven very clear notes accompanied by vocal compositions, the Kinnaras became their servants. Playing a drum (muraja) with a deep sound, they gave an imitation of Kṛṣṇa with a drum made from Mura’s skeleton. They acted a play which Śiva, Śivā, Urvaśī, Rambhā, Muṭjakeśin (Viṣṇu), and Tillotamā did not know. Whose mind did they not capture, displaying an unprecedented wealth of all the musical arts, magic for every one?

One day a festival of Madana took place in this city and choruses of townsmen, skilled in concerts, set out in it. A chorus of Citra and Sambhūta set out there and the townsmen, drawn by their song like deer, went to that same place. Some one told the king, “All the people in the city have been made impure like themselves by these Mātaṅgas, who have attracted them by song.” The king ordered the superintendent of the city reproachfully, “Admission to the city is never to be given them.” From that time they stayed at a distance from Vārāṇasī.

One day the important festival of Kārttikeya took place there. Transgressing the king’s command from irresponsibility, they entered the city like bees the side of an elephant’s temple.[2] With their entire bodies veiled, they roamed through the city, looking at the festival, very secretly like thieves. Then they were caused to sing very loud by the songs of the townsmen, like a jackal by the cry of jackals. Fate can not be crossed. The two Mātaṅgas were surrounded by the young people of the town, like honey by flies, when they had heard their song pleasing to the ear. Their veils were pulled off by the people to find out who they were and they were addressed contemptuously, “Look here! these are the same two Mātaṅgas.” They were beaten by the people with clubs and clods and they left the city, like dogs a house, their heads bowed. They were beaten at every step by the people, like a hare by soldiers. With stumbling steps they reached the garden Gabhīra with difficulty.

They reflected: “Alas for us! Skill in arts, beauty, et cetera are spoiled by low birth like milk that has been smelled by a snake. Let there be a benefit through merit, that is a crime on our part. This is it: a vampire has arisen from the good fortune taking place. Arts, grace, beauty et cetera are sewed together with the body. It is the abode of worthlessness. Let it be abandoned somewhere like straw.”

Having reached this decision, intent on destroying their lives, they went toward the south as if to see Death in person. When they had gone a long distance, they saw a mountain from which elephants on the ground (below) looked like young swine to those who had climbed it. As they were climbing (the mountain) with the intention of jumping from a precipice, they saw on this mountain a great muni like a living mountain of virtues. When they saw the muni on the mountain-top like a cloud in the rainy season, their streams of anguish disappeared. At once they fell at his lotus-feet, like bees, shedding their former pain, as it were, in the guise of tears of joy.

After he finished his meditation, the muni questioned them, “Who are you? Why have you come here?” and they told him their whole history. He said:

“The body alone is destroyed by a leap from a precipice, impure karma that has been acquired in a hundred other births is not destroyed. If this body of yours must be abandoned, take the fruit of the body. Penance is the surest means of emancipation, heaven, et cetera.”

Their minds purified by the nectar of his sermon beginning with these words, they both undertook the duties of a sādhu under him. They became students and in course finished their studies. What that has been undertaken with zeal by the intelligent would not take place? They wore away their bodies together with old karma by fasts of two days, three days, et cetera. Then wandering from village to village, from city to city, they came one day to the city Hastināpura. They practiced severe penance in a garden outside it. Even pleasure-grounds can serve for penance of people with tranquil minds.

One day Muni Sambhūti, like sādhus" duties embodied, entered the city for alms to break a month’s fast. Wandering from house to house with great care in walking, as he happened to be on the highway he was seen by the minister Namuci. The minister thought, “That is the Mātaṅga boy. He will tell my affair.” Wicked men are afraid in all circumstances. Thinking, “I shall expel him so he can not make known my weak point to any one,” he gave orders to footmen. He commenced having his former benefactor beaten. For bad behavior is natural to the wicked like drinking of milk to snakes. Beaten like rice-seed by violent men with clubs, the muni left that place in very great haste. When he was not left alone by the bruisers, even though he was leaving, then the muni, though tranquil, became angry. Even water becomes hot from the heat of fire. An eruption of steam left his mouth all around, giving the appearance of a cloud that has risen unseasonably in the sky. A hot-flash, garlanded with a mass of flames, shone forth, spreading over the sky crowded, as it were, with a circle of lightning. The citizens went with fear and curiosity to appease him who was very angry and possessed the hot-flash.

When King Sanatkumāra knew about this, he went there. A wise man would extinguish a fire in the place where it starts. The king bowed to him and said:

“How is this suitable for you, Blessed One? Surely a moon-stone, even though heated by the sun’s rays, does not give off fire. This anger of yours is because of some great crime of theirs. Was there not poison from the churning of the Ocean of Milk? Anger, as well as love of strife, on the part of good persons should not exist. If it does exist, it should not last long. If it docs last long, it is worthless in its results. Why do I say that in this case? Nevertheless, lord, I beg: Dismiss this anger suitable for other people. People like you arc disposed equally towards evil-doers and benefactors.”

In the meantime Citra learned of this and came to Muni Sambhūta to appease him like an elephant of the highest class with soothing words. His anger was extinguished by Citra’s words in accordance with scripture like a forest-fire on a mountain by streams of water from clouds. The great muni freed from sharp anger, like the full moon from darkness, instantly reached serenity. After they had paid homage and asked his forgiveness the people left him: and Muni Citra led Sambhūta to the garden. They felt remorse that a great calamity had been caused by them wandering from house to house for the sake of mere food. “This body is transient, nourished by food. What use have ascetics for this body or for food?” After coming to this decision and undertaking voluntary starvation[3] fust, they rejected the four kinds of food.

The king wished to know, “Who has insulted a sādhu, while I am ruling the earth?” and some one informed him that it was the minister. “He is wicked who does not worship those who arc entitled to worship. How much more he who beats them.” With these words, the king had him bound and led away like a thief. Saying, “May no one else abuse sādhus,” he, pure-minded, led him bound through the city into the presence of the sādhus. Bowing and making the earth consist of water, as it were, by the dazzling light of the king’s head-jewels, the chief of kings paid homage to them. Their mouths covered with mouth-cloths held in their left hands, their right hands upraised, they gave him a blessing. Saying, “Whoever has injured you, let him partake of the fruit of his acts,” King Sanatakumāra showed them Namuci. Namuci, who had been taken to a place suitable for execution, was freed from Sanatkumāra by them, like a snake from a garuḍa. Though he deserved to die, the king released him. after banishing him, who was a caṇḍāla in behavior, from the city, like a caṇḍāla. For the command of the guru must be respected.

Sunandām the cakrin’s woman-jewel, attended by sixty-four thousand co-wives, came to pay homage to them. She, with loosened hair, fell at Muni Sambhūta’s lotus-feet and by her face made the earth like the moon. Muni Sambhūta felt the touch of her hair and at once his hair stood up with joy. Manmatha is a seeker of tricks. Then the king, after taking leave of the two, accompanied by his women, went away. Sambhūta, overcome by love, made a nidāna to this effect: “If there is any fruit of my severe penance, then may I become the husband of the woman-jewel in a future birth.”

Citra said: “Do you desire this fruit of penance which confers emancipation? Do you make a foot-stool with a jewel suitable for the head? Give up this nidāna, made from delusion, now. Let her improper conduct be in vain. People like you are not deluded.” Even though restrained in this way by Sādhu Citra, Sambhūta did not give up the nidāna. Alas! the desire for sense-objects is very strong. When their fasts were completed and destruction of age-karma had been achieved, they were born gods in the palace Sundara in Saudharma.

Footnotes and references:


Famous Gandharvas.


I.e., where the ichor emerges.


Saṃlekhanā. See I. p. 357.

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