Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Life of Brahmadatta which is the fourth 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 4: Life of Brahmadatta

After it fell from the first heaven, Citra’s soul became the son of a rich man in the city Purimatāla. Sambhūta’s soul fell and descended into the womb of Queen Culanī, the wife of King Brahman, in Kāmpilya. His future power indicated by the fourteen great dreams, her son was born, gold color, seven bows tall. King Brahman, who was immersed in the Absolute, as it were, from joy, gave him the name, famous throughout the world, Brahmadatta. He grew up, giving joy to the lotuses of the eyes of the world, thriving with the collection of arts like the spotless moon with the collection of digits.

Brahman had four friends like the four faces of Brahmā. Among these one was Kaṭaka, King of Kāśi; another was Kaṇerudatta, King of Hastināpura; Dīrgha, Lord of Kośala; and Puṣpacūlaka, Lord of Campā. United by affection, the five lived in the city of each one for a year at a time, like the (live) trees of heaven in Nandana. One time they came as usual to Brahman’s city and some time passed as they amused themselves there. When Brahmadatta was twelve years old, King Brahman died from a headache. After Kalaka and the others had performed King Brahman’s funeral rites, the four took counsel like the four methods embodied.

“While Brahmadatta is a child, one of us here in turn must be his protector for a year at a time, like a police officer.”

By agreement they appointed Dīrgha to protect their friend’s realm. Then the three went from that place to their respective homes. Then Dīrgha, whose intelligence was small, consumed the wealth of Brahman’s realm at his pleasure, like a bull an unguarded field. Dull-witted, without any restraint he searched out everything that had been concealed for a long time in the treasury, like wicked people the weak point of an enemy. Because of previous acquaintance he went unhindered into the women’s quarters. For overlordship generally acts as a cause of blindness in men. He took counsel privately with Queen Culanī more than necessary, striking with clever humorous speeches like arrows of Love. He scorned the customs and people favored by Brahman and he became attached to Culanī. The senses are hard to restrain. The two of them—Culanī and Dīrgha—abandoned love for a husband and affection for a friend—King Brahman. Alas! love crushes everything. Many days pass like an hour for them amusing themselves happily in this way as they liked.

The minister Dhanu, who was like King Brahman’s second heart, learned of this. For their evil conduct was evident. The minister reflected:

“Let Culanī behave improperly from her nature as a woman. For good women are rare. That Dīrgha destroys the realm with the treasury and harem, which were handed to him in trust from confidence (in him)—that is no crime on his part.[1] So he would do something hostile to the prince. For evil people, like a cat, are not devoted to their supporter.”

After reflecting so, he instructed his son, Varadhanu, to make this known to Brahmadatta and to attend him constantly. When the affair had been disclosed by the minister’s son, Brahman’s son displayed anger gradually, like an elephant newly in rut. Then Brahmadatta, unable to endure his mother’s wicked conduct, went to the women’s quarters, taking with him a crow and a hen-cuckoo. There he said aloud,” These two must be killed because of the mixing of castes. I will certainly kill any one else like these.”” I am the crow, you the cuckoo, is the meaning. He wishes to kill us,” Dīrgha said. The queen said, “Do not be afraid of a child’s talk.”

One time the prince brought a mṛga-elephant[2] with a cow bhadra-elephanl and spoke in like manner contemptuously, indicating killing. Hearing that, Dīrgha said, “The child’s speech has a meaning.” Culanī replied, “If so, what then?” One time Brahman’s son tied a crane to a haṃsī and said, “He mates with her. I do not tolerate such conduct of any one.” Dīrgha said: “Queen, listen to these words of your son, a child, which resemble a belching of smoke from a fire of anger that has sprung up inside. The prince, growing up, will certainly be a great obstacle to us, like a lion to two elephants. Look! Before the prince becomes of military age, even though a child, he must be uprooted like a poison-tree.”

Culanī said, “How can a son, supporter of a kingdom, be killed? Even animals guard their offspring like their own lives.” Dīrgha said: “Death has come to you in the guise of a son. Do not be confused. While I am alive, sons of yours will be easy to acquire.” Then Culanī, dismissing affection for her son, like a witch, subject to her attachment to erotic love, agreed to that. She counseled:

“He must be destroyed and evil report must be avoided, just as a mango-grove must be sprinkled and the offering of water to the Pitris must be made.[3] What device? Or rather, there is this one. Brahman’s son must be married. Then a combustible house must be made in the guise of a dwelling. When he and the daughter-in-law are sound asleep in it, which will have a secret entrance and exit, immediately after the wedding a fire must be kindled in it at night.”

The two of them, after making this plan, chose Puṣpacūla’s daughter and all the wedding-gear was prepared. Minister Dhanu found out this cruel intention of theirs and, his hands folded together, informed King Dīrgha: “Let my son, Varadhanu, who knows the arts and is expert in polity, be the beast of burden of the chariot of your commands, like a young ox. I, like an old ox, am weak in comings and goings. I will go somewhere and perform a religious act with your permission.” Thinking, “After he has gone somewhere else, this deceitful man would do something evil,” Dīrgha was afraid of him. Who docs not fear the wise? Dīrgha, dissimulating through deceitfulness, said to the minister: “What use do we have for the kingdom without you, like a night without the moon? Practice religion right here with a food-dispensary, et cetera. Do not go elsewhere. A kingdom with people like you looks like a grove with good trees.”

Then Dhanu of good intelligence built a pure food-pavilion, like a great umbrella of religion, on the bank of the Bhāgīrathī. He kept the food-dispensary flowing uninterruptedly, like the current of the Gaṅgā, with food, drink, et cetera for the caravans on the road. He made an underground tunnel for four miles up to the combustible house with trustworthy men won by gifts, honors and favors.

Now Dhanu informed Puṣpacūla about this incident by a secret letter, water for the tree of friendship. When Puṣpacūla knew about it, he wisely sent a slave-girl in his daughter’s place, like a hen-crane in place of a haṃsī. She entered the city, the sky blazing with her ornaments and gems, watched by the people with the idea that she was Puṣpacūla’s daughter, as if with the idea that brass was gold. The sky being filled with sounding musical instruments and deafening songs, Culanī joyfully married her to Brahman’s son. Culanī dismissed all the people at evening and sent the prince with her daughter-in-law to the combustible house. The other attendants were dismissed; and the prince with his bride and with Varadhanu, who was like his own shadow, went there. Half the night passed, Brahmadatta being kept awake by the minister’s son with conversation. Whence is sleep of great men?

Then a fire blazed in the bed-chamber, as if set by men with their heads bent, instructed by Culanī to yell “fire.” Then a cloud of smoke filled heaven and earth in all directions like a stream of ill-fame from the evil deeds of Culanī and Dīrgha. The fire of seven tongues became one with a crore of tongues with masses of flames, as if ravenous to devour the whole. Questioned by Brahmadatta, “What is this,” the minister’s son told him briefly about Culanī’s evil conduct. “In order to drag you from this place like a figure from an elephant’s trunk, my father had a tunnel made here which leads to the dipensary. After making it visible immediately by a kick on it, now enter its door like a yogi the entrance to a chasm.” After striking the hollow ground, like a hollow drum, with his heel, he went through the tunnel with his friend, like a thread through the hole in a jewel.

At the end of the tunnel, the king’s and the minister’s sons mounted horses held by Dhanu, resembling the Śrī of Revanta. The horses went in the fifth gait[4] for fifty yojanas like a kos; then, broken in wind, died. Then, intent on saving their lives, they went on foot with great difficulty to the vicinity of a village named Koṣṭaka.

Brahmadatta said, “Friend Varadhanu, now hunger and thirst torment me, as if in rivalry with each other.” “Wait here a moment,” the minister’s son said and summoned the barber from the village because of a wish for a haircut. From the advice of the minister’s son, Brahman’s son had a haircut then and there and wore only a top-knot. He put on pure reddish garments and had the appearance of a newly-risen sun covered by a twilight cloud. He wore a sacred thread placed around his neck by Varadhanu and Brahman’s son bore a resemblance to a Brahman’s son. The minister’s son covered Brahmadatta’s breast, which was marked with a śrīvatsa, with a cloth, like the sun by a monsoon-cloud. In this way Brahman’s son made a change of clothes like a stage-manager and the minister’s son did the same, like an assistant stage-manager. Then they entered the village like the full moon and sun.

They were invited for food by an important Brahman. He fed them with devotion suitable to a king. Generally entertainment is in accordance with prestige. The Brahman’s wife, throwing unhusked rice on the prince’s head, brought forth a pair of white garments and a maiden who was equal to an Apsaras. Then Varadhanu said, “Foolish woman, why do you tie her to the neck of this young Brāhman, unskilled in arts, like a cow to the neck of a bull?” Then the important Brāhman said: “This is my daughter, Bandhumatī, fair with virtues. There is no other husband for her except him. ‘Her husband will be lord of the six-part world,’ astrologers told me. This very man is certainly he. They told me, ‘Whoever, with the mark of the śrīvatsa covered with a cloth shall eat in your house, to him must be given your daughter.’”

Brahmadatta’s marriage to her took place at that time. Unexpected pleasures appear freely to those men devoted to pleasure. After passing the night and consoling Bandhumatī, the prince went elsewhere. How can people with enemies stay in one place? They reached a border-village and there they heard, “Dīrgha has blocked all roads on account of Brahmadatta.” They went forward by a side road and fell into a large forest obstructed by wild animals as well as cruel men of Dīrgha. Then Varadhanu left the prince, who was thirsty, under a banyan tree and went for water with speed equal to the mind. Then Varadhanu was surrounded by Dīrgha’s men, enraged, who had perceived him, like a young boar surrounded by dogs. He was captured and bound by them saying a terrifying thing: “Seize him! Seize him! Bind him! Bind him!” He gave a signal to Brahmadatta, “Escape,” and the prince fled. Certainly heroism (should be) at the right time.

Then Brahman’s son went quickly from that large forest to another large forest, like a hermit from one hermitage to another. Living there on food of fruit of bad-flavor and no flavor, on the third day he saw an ascetic before him, “Where is your hermitage, Blessed One?” he asked and was conducted by the ascetic to his hermitage. For guests are dear to ascetics. Then he saw the abbot and joyfully paid homage to him like a father. The heart is the criterion even in an unknown matter.

The abbot said, “Son. what is the reason for you, whose appearance is very delicate, coming here like a tree of heaven to Meru?”

Then Brahman’s son confided his adventures to the mahātma. Generally nothing must be concealed from such men. Then the abbot, delighted, said, stammering: “I am your father’s younger brother, like one sou! made into two. So you have come to your own house. Remain at your pleasure, son. Thrive from our penance along with our wishes.” Causing keen joy to the people’s eyes, dear to everyone, he remained in this hermitage. The rainy season was at hand. Living there with him, like Janārdana with Bala, he was taught all the manuals, weapons, and missiles.

When the end of the rains, charming with the twittering of the blue cranes, had come like a brother, the ascetics went to the forest for the sake of fruit, et cetera. Though restrained urgently by the abbot, Brahmadatta went with them to the forest, like an elephant with elephants. Roaming here and there, he saw elephant-sign and, sharp-witted, thought,There is an elephant not far away.” Though restrained by the ascetics, he followed its track and at the end of five yojanas saw an elephant like a mountain. His loin-cloth tied firmly, giving a loud roar, the man-elephant challenged the rutting elephant unhesitatingly, like a wrestler challenging a wrestler.

The elephant, the hair on his body erect from anger, his trunk curled up, his cars motionless, his eyes red, ran at the prince. When the elephant came near him, the prince threw his upper garment in between in order to deceive him like a child. Very angry, he caught the garment, which was like a piece of cloud falling from the sky, instantly on his tusks. By various gestures the prince made the elephant move to and fro with ease, like a snake-catcher a snake. Just then a cloud, like a friend of Brahmadatta, making a loud noise, overwhelmed the elephant with streams of water. Then, after crying out with a disagreeable sound, he ran away, putting the deer to flight.

The prince, confused about directions by the rain, arrived at a river in his roaming. The prince crossed the river like calamity personified and saw on its bank an old deserted city. Entering, the prince saw in it a bamboo-thicket and in this a sword and a shield like a portentous Ketu and Moon. The prince, curious about weapons, took them and cut the large bamboo-thicket with the sword, (like) cutting a plantain. In the bamboo-thicket he saw a head with quivering lips that had fallen on the ground in front of him, like a lotus on dry ground. Looking fully, Brahman’s son saw the trunk of some one hanging upside down, inhaling smoke. He blamed himself, “Oh! I have killed some poor man, rich from subduing magic arts. Shame on me!”

When he went forward, he saw a garden that was like Nandana descended from heaven to earth. Entering it, he saw before him a seven-storied palace that was like the embodied secret of the Śrī of the seven worlds.[5] He ascended the lofty palace and saw a woman like a Khecarī, seated, her face resting on her hand. The prince approached her and asked in a clear voice: “Who are you? Why are you alone and what is the cause of your grief?” Overcome by fear, she said with sobs: “I have a great misfortune. Tell who you are. Why have you come?”

“I am Brahmadatta, son of Brahman, king of the Paṭcālas.”

When he said this, she got up joyfully. Making water for washing the feet, as it were, from the water of tears of joy that fell from the cup of her hands in the form of her eyes, she fell at his feet. Saying, “You have come, prince, protection for me without protection, like a ship to one sinking in the ocean” she wept. Questioned by him, she said:

“I am the daughter, Puṣpavatī, of your mother’ brother, Puṣpacūla, lord of Aṅga. As a girl I was given to you. Waiting for the wedding-day, I went to the garden Dīrghikāpulina to play like a haṃsī. I was brought here by a wicked Vidyādhara, named Nāṭyonmatta, who abducted me, like Jānakī by Rāvaṇa. Unable to endure my glance, he entered a bamboo-thicket in order to subdue magic arts, like Śūrpaṇakhā’s son. Now the magic art will be submissive to him, inhaling smoke upside down, and he, powerful from the magic art acquired, will surely marry me.”

The prince told her the story of his killing. There was joy upon joy at acquiring a friend and losing an enemy. A gāndharva-marriage of them infatuated with each other took place. Among kṣatriyas it is the best kind for two persons in love, though unaccompanied by sacred verses. Sporting with her tenderly with varied conversation, he passed three watches like one.

Then at dawn Brahmadatta heard the sound in the air of Khecara-women like that of ospreys.

“What is this noise that takes place suddenly in the air like rain without a cloud?” Questioned so by him, Puṣpavatī replied in confusion:” Two sisters of Nāṭyonmatta, your enemy, Vidyādhara-maidens, named Khaṇḍā and Viśākhā, have come. The reason is that they have come uselessly, bringing wedding-gear. Action is planned one way: fate performs it another way. Go away for a moment until I find out by praises of your virtues their state of mind toward you, whether they are friendly or hostile. In case of friendliness, I shall wave a red pennant and you should come. In case of hostility, I shall wave a white pennant and then you should go elsewhere.”

Then Brahmadatta said: “Do not be afraid, timid lady. I am truly Brahman’s son. What will these two, pleased or displeased, do to me?”

Puṣpavatī said: “I do not speak of fear on your part because of these two girls. But may their relatives, Vidyādharas, not be obstructive.” In accordance with her wish, he stayed in the same place at one side. Then Puṣpavatī waved a white pennant. When the prince saw that, he left that place very slowly at his wife’s insistence. For there is no fear on the part of such men.

After crossing a forest difficult to cross like the sky, at the end of the day he arrived at a large lake, like the sun arriving at the ocean. After entering it quickly, like a celestial elephant entering Mānasa, and bathing, he drank its water freely like nectar. After Brahman’s son left the water, he approached the northwest bank which was asking, if the bath were successful, as it were, by the sounds of the bees buzzing in the creepers. There he saw a fair maiden, like the goddess of the forest in person, gathering flowers in an arbor of trees and creepers.

The prince thought, “The skill in making forms of the Creator, who has practiced making forms since birth, has appeared in her.” Talking with a slave-girl, looking at him with glances resembling jasmines, as if throwing a garland around his neck, she went away. When the prince, observing her alone, started to go away, a slave-girl came, carrying clothes, ornaments, and betel. She delivered the garments, et cetera and said:

“She whom you saw here sent this to you, like a pledge for the accomplishment of desires. I have been instructed, ‘Conduct him to the house of my father’s minister for true hospitality. For he knows what is proper.’”

He went with her to the house of the minister Nāgadeva. The minister rose to greet him, as if drawn by his merits. Informing him, “He, very fortunate, has been sent to your house by Princess Śrīkāntā,” she went away. Being entertained like a master in many ways by the minister, he passed the night like a moment. At the end of the night the minister conducted the prince to the palace. The king met him like a newly-risen sun with a reception-gift, et cetera. The king gave him his daughter without asking about his family, et cetera. For experts certainly know all that just by appearance. The prince married her. covering hand with hand, as if to unite completely their affection for each other.

One day Brahmadatta, while playing, asked her secretly, “Why did your father give you to me, alone, whose family, et cetera were unknown?” Śrīkāntā, whose petal-lip gleamed with rays from her beautiful teeth, said:

“In Vasantapura Śabarasena was king. His son, my father, after he was installed on the throne, was overthrown by cruel kinsmen and he took refuge in this settlement with his army and transport. Having made the Bhillas bend, like a current of water reeds, my father supports his followers by plundering villages, et cetera. I was born, very dear to my father, a daughter after four sons, like Śrī after the four methods. When I was grown, he said to me, ‘All the kings are my enemies. He will be considered your husband, whoever is desired by you staying here, after you have seen him.’ From that time I, remaining constantly on the bank of the pool like a cakravākī, look at all travelers one by one. There is no success for my wishes. You, exceedingly difficult to obtain even in a dream, have come here from the accumulation of my good fortune, husband.”

One day the village-chief went to plunder a village and the prince went with him. For that is the course of kṣatriyas. When the village had been looted, Varadhanu came and fell like a haṃsa at the lotus-feet of the prince on the bank of a pool. After embracing the prince’s neck, he wept with all his might. Pains are renewed at the sight of a loved one. The minister’s son was questioned by him, after consoling him with very gentle speeches like draughts of nectar, and told his experiences.

“When I left you at that time under a banyan tree, I went for water, lord. A little ahead I saw a large pool like a tank of nectar. After taking water in the hollow of a lotus-leaf for you, as I was coming back, I was surrounded by armed soldiers like messengers of Yama. ‘Ho Varadhanu! Say where Brahmadatta is to be found.’ Being questioned so by them, I said, ‘I do not know.’ Beaten unhesitatingly by them like robbers, I said that Brahmadatta had been devoured by a tiger.’ Told, ‘Show the spot,’ I wandered here and there deceitfully. When I came to the road leading to seeing you, I made a gesture to escape. I threw a pill given by the ascetic into my mouth and, unconscious by its power, I was abandoned by them thinking I was dead. After they had been gone for a long time I took the pill from my mouth and, roaming to look for you like something lost, I came to a village.

There I saw an excellent mendicant like a heap of penance in person and I paid homage to him. He said to me: ‘I am Vasubhāga, a friend of Dhanu, Varadhanu. Where is Brahmadatta, illustrious sir?’ Feeling confidence (in him), I told him the whole truth and he, his face dark from the smoke of an evil story, said again to me:

‘At the time when the combustible house was burned, at dawn Dīrgha saw one burned skull, but not three skulls. He saw the tunnel there and at its end horses’ tracks and, knowing that you two had escaped by Dhanu’s wit, he was very angry with him. He gave orders to patrols in every direction with unstumbling progress like the light of the sun to capture you and take you in. Minister Dhanu escaped but your mother was thrown into the caṇḍāla-quarter like hell by Dīrgha.’

Wounded by that news that was like a boil upon a boil, having pain coming on top of pain, I went to Kāmpilya. There I became a fictitious kāpālika and constantly entered house after house in the caṇḍāla-quarter, like a spy. When I was asked by the people there the reason for my roaming,

I said. ‘This is the practice of a caṇḍāla-magic art of mine.’ Friendship, the vessel of confidence, was created by me roaming there in this way. What is not accomplished by deceit on the part of the one without a protector?

One day I said to the mother through them, ‘Kauṇḍinya, an ascetic, a friend of your son, salutes you.’ On the next day I went, myself and gave the mother a citron containing a pill and she became unconscious from it when it had been eaten. The city-superintendent went and reported to the king, ‘She is dead,’ and his own men were ordered by the king to see to her cremation.

When they came there, I said to them, ‘If her cremation takes place at this moment, there will be a great misfortune to you and the king,’ and they went to their house. I said to the guard, ‘If you help, I shall acquire a charm by means of the corpse of this woman who has all the marks.’ The guard agreed and at evening, accompanied by him alone, I took my mother to the cemetery far away. On the bare ground I made circles, et cetera craftily and then sent the guard to make an oblation to the city-goddesses.

When he had gone, I gave the mother another pill and she arose, conscious, yawning as if at the end of sleep. After making myself known and restraining her weeping, I led her to Kacchagrāma to the house of Devaśarman, a friend of my father. Wandering here and there, searching for you, I came here. By good fortune you were seen now like a heap of merit of mine before my eyes. After that time, lord, how did you set out and how did you fare?” So questioned by him, the prince made known his adventures.

Then a man came there and told them: “In the village, Dīrgha’s soldiers, showing a track marked by a double shape like you (two), say, ‘Have such men come here?’ After hearing their speech, I saw you here. Do what is pleasing to you.” When this man had gone, they fled into the forest like young elephants and in the course of time came to the city Kauśāmbī. There in a garden they saw a cock-fight, on which there was a wager of a lac, between the cocks of Sheth Sāgaradatta and Buddhila. Flying up repeatedly the cocks fought violently with claws like hooks for drawing out life and beak against beak. In this fight Buddhila’s cock defeated the pure-bread, powerful cock of Sāgaradatta, like a miśra-elephant[6] a bhadra-elephant.

Then Varadhanu said, “If you wish, Sāgara, I will examine him, to see how your pure-bred cock was defeated by him.” Looking at Buddhila’s cock with Sāgara’s approval, he saw iron needles, like messengers of Yama, on his feet. Observing this, Buddhila offered him half a lac secretly; and he told the prince of this incident in an aside. Brahmadatta removed the iron needles and had Buddhila’s cock fight again with Sheth Sāgara’s cock. Without needles Buddhila’s was defeated instantly by (Sāgara’s) cock. Whence is there victory of low persons without trickery?

Sāgaradatta, delighted, had them get into his chariot and conducted them, excellent friends from the gift of victory, to his house. While they were living in his house like their own, a servant of Buddhila came and told Varadhanu something. When he had gone, Varadhanu told the prince, “Now see the half of a lac that Buddhila wished to give me.” Then he showed him a necklace which gave an imitation of the planet Śukra (Venus) with spotless, large, round pearls. Brahman’s son saw a letter marked with his own name fastened to the necklace; and a female ascetic, named Vatsā, came like a message embodied. After throwing unhusked rice on their heads accompanied by the pronouncement for a blessing, she took Varadhanu aside, told him something, and went away.

The minister’s son began to tell that to Brahman’s son: “This woman asked for an answer to the letter fastened to the necklace. ‘Explain this letter marked with Śrī Brahmadatta’s name. Who is Brahmadatta?’ Questioned so by me, she said:

‘There is a sheth’s daughter, named Ratnavatī, in this city, like Rati who has assumed maidenhood on earth in another form. On the day of the cock-fight of Sāgaradatta and her brother Buddhila, she saw this Brahmadatta. From that time distressed, wounded by love, she does not rest, but says constantly, ‘Brahmadatta is my refuge—he alone.’ One day she herself wrote the letter fastened to the necklace and handed it to me, saying, “Deliver it to Brahmadatta.”!Isent the letter by a slave. After saying this, she waited and I dismissed her, after delivering your answer.”[7] From that day the prince, burned by Māra hard to control, like an elephant burned by the midday sun, was not happy.

One day men sent by Dīrgha to the lord of Kauśāmbī came to search for them there, like an arrow lost in the body. When the search for them had started in Kauśāmbī at the king’s order, Sāgara put them in an underground house and concealed them like a treasure. As they wished to leave, at night Sāgara put them in a chariot, escorted them on the road some distance and then returned. As they went forward, they saw in a garden a woman seated in a chariot full of missiles, like a goddess in Nandana. She addressed them respectfully. “Why has so much time passed on your part?” and they replied, “How do you know who we are?” She said:

“There was in this city a very wealthy sheth, named Dhanaprabhava, like a brother of Dhanada. I am in addition to eight sons of this excellent sheth, like the Śrī of discrimination to the (eight) intellectual qualities.[8] Since I have been grown, I have prayed very much to the Yakṣa in this garden to obtain a very superior husband. There is no other desire of women. Pleased by my devotion, the best of Yakṣas gave me this boon: ‘Cakravartin Brahmadatta will be your husband. He, whom you see at the cock-fight of Sheths Sāgara and Buddhila, marked with a śrīvatsa, accompanied by a friend, of unusual beauty, must be recognized by you. Your first meeting with Brahmadatta will take place when you are staying at my temple.’

So I know that you are he, sir. Come! Come! Calm me suffering from the fire of separation for a long time here by a meeting now like a stream of water.”

He consented and took command of the chariot as well as her strong affection and asked her, “Where must we go?” She said: “In the city Magadha, there is my paternal unde, Sheth Dhanāvaha. He will show us much honor. So we must go from here to there.” At this speech of Ratnavatī, Brahman’s son had the horses urged on by the minister’s son as charioteer.

After crossing Kauśāmbī-territory in a moment, Brahman’s son arrived at terrifying large forest that was like an amusement-place of Yama. There two chiefs of a robber-band, Sukaṇṭaka and Kaṇṭaka, besieged Brahmadatta, like two dogs a great boar. Immense like sons of the night of the destruction of the world, simultaneously with their soldiers they covered the sky with arrows, like a pavilion. The prince took a bow and, shouting, kept down the band of thieves with arrows, like a cloud a forest-fire with streams of water. As the prince was raining arrows, they escaped with their soldiers. Indeed! when a lion attacks, how can deer remain?

The minister’s son said to the prince: “You are tired from the battle. Sleep for an hour, master, staying right here in the chariot.” Brahmadatta went to sleep in the chariot with Ratnavatī, like a young elephant with a cow-elephant on a mountain-ridge. At daybreak, when they had reached a river, the tired horses stopped and the prince awoke. Awake, he did not see the minister’s son in the chariot. Thinking, “Has he gone for water?” he called him repeatedly. As he did not receive an answer and saw the front of the chariot smeared with blood, wailing, “Oh! I am killed,” he fell in the chariot in a faint. Being conscious again, he got up and wailing like ordinary people, “Oh! Oh! friend Varadhanu, where are you?” was enlightened by Ratnavatī.

“So long as it is not known for certain that your friend is dead, it is not fitting to do anything inauspicious for him, even in speech, lord. Doubtless he has gone somewhere on your business. Ministers go on their lord’s business without asking their lord. He, guarded by his very devotion to you, will surety come. For the power of devotion to the master is an armor for servants. When we have arrived at a settlement, we will have men search for him. It is not fitting to remain in this forest—a garden of Death.”

At her speech he drove forward the horses and came to a border-village of Magadha. What is very far for horses and Maruts? The village-chief, who was in the assembly-hall, saw him and conducted him to his own house. Great persons, even though unknown, are honored because of their appearance.

Questioned by the village-chief, “Why do you seem overcome by grief?” he said, “My friend, fighting with thieves, has gone somewhere.” “I will bring news of him, like Māruti of Sītā,” and with these words the village-chief penetrated the whole forest. Then the chief returned and said: “No one has been seen in the forest. However, I found this arrow which had fallen in fighting.” “Varadhanu has certainly been killed,” and then night came, the abode of darkness, like the grief of Brahman’s son thinking this. During the fourth watch of the night, thieves attacked there, but they were defeated by the prince, like persons absent from home by Māra.

Then, followed by the village-chief, he went gradually to Rājagṛha. He left Ratnavatī at a hermitage outside the city. Entering the city, he saw two girls, just grown, standing at a window of a palace, like Rati and Prīti in person. They said to him: ‘When you went away at that time, abandoning people devoted to you, does that appear fitting to you?” The prince said, “Oh! What devoted persons and when were they abandoned? Who am I and who are you?” “Please come and rest, lord.” And Brahmadatta entered their house, as well as their hearts, as they made such conversation. Remaining, they related their own true story to Brahman’s son who had a bath and a meal.

“There is a mountain, Vaitāḍhya by name, the abode of Vidyādharas, made of slabs of silver, like a tilaka of the earth. In the city Śivamandira in its southern row there is a king, Jvalanaśikha, lika Guhyaka in Alakā. There is a wife, Vidyucchikā, of the Vidyādhara-lord, like lightning (the wife) of a cloud, by whose brilliance the surface of the sky is lighted. We arc their daughters, dearer than life, named Khaṇḍā and Viśākhā, younger sisters of a son, Nāṭyonmatta.

One day our father, as he was talking with a friend, Agniśikha, in his palace, saw gods going through the air to Mt. Aṣṭāpada. Then he set out on a pilgrimage to holy places and made us and his friend Agniśikha go. For he would endow him, beloved, with dharma. When we arrived at Aṣṭāpada, we saw the statues made of jewels of the Tīrthanāthas, possessing (the right) size and color. After we had made the bath, anointing, and pūjā properly and had made the circumambulation three times, we paid homage with deep concentration. When we left the temple, we saw two flying-ascetics under a red aśoka tree, like penance and tranquillity embodied. After bowing to them and sitting down in front of them, we listened with faith to a sermon, moonlight for destroying the darkness of ignorance.

Agniśikha said, ‘Who will be the husband of these girls?’ They said, ‘The man who will kill their brother.’ Our father became black from that speech, like the moon from winter. Because of the speech containing disgust with existence, we said: ‘Just now we heard a sermon whose essence was the worthlessness of worldly existence. Why are you defeated by a savage in the form of fear of it, father? Enough for us of these various pleasures arising from sense-objects.’ From that time we began to protect our brother.

One day my brother in his roaming saw Puṣpavatī, the daughter of your maternal uncle, Puṣpacūla. His mind was captivated by her beauty, wonderful grace, and merit and he, of little wit, abducted her. Intelligence is in accordance with karma. Unable to endure her glance, he went to acquire a magic art. You know fully what happened after that.

At that time Puṣpavatī told us of our brother’s destruction. She removed sorrow by formulas of faith, like a teacher of wisdom. Furthermore Puṣpavatī said: ‘When he has come, he must be met (with honor). For the words of the muni, “Let Brahmadatta be your husband,” are not false.’ We agreed to that and she from haste waved a white pennant. You had abandoned us and gone away then. When you did not come and were not seen from the imperfection of our good fortune, we came here, depressed, after wandering everywhere. You have been met because of merit. You were chosen before for our husband because of Puṣpavatī’s speech. You alone are our fate.”

He married them with a gāndharva-wedding. For a king is the recipient of women like the ocean of rivers. Sporting with the two of them like Śiva with Gaṅgā and Umā, Brahman’s son passed the night there. “Until I obtain my kingdom, you must stay with Puṣpavati,” he said and dismissed them. They said, “Very well,” respectfully; and the people and the palace and everything disappeared like a city in a mirage.

Then Brahman’s son went to the hermitage to look for Ratnavatī. Not seeing her there, he asked a man of good appearance; “Have you seen yesterday or today a woman wearing divine garments and adorned with jeweled ornaments, good sir?” He said: “Yesterday I saw a woman, crying, ‘Lord! Lord!’ Recognizing her as my granddaughter, I entrusted her to her paternal uncle.” Told by him, “You are her husband,” Brahman’s son agreed and was conducted by him, delighted, to her uncle’s house. The uncle married Brahmadatta to Ratnavatī with great magnificence. Everything requires little effort on the part of the rich.

Experiencing pleasures of the senses with her, one day he began Varadhanu’s funeral rites. While the Brāhmans were eating, like visible ghosts, Varadhanu came there disguised as a Brāhman and said, “If you give food to me, that is to Varadhanu in person.” His speech was heard by Brahman’s son, like nectar to the ear. When he had seen him, making him one with himself, as it were, by an embrace, bathing him as it were with tears of joy, he conducted him into the house. Questioned by the prince he told his adventures.

“At that time, when you were asleep, I was attacked by thieves like Dīrgha’s soldiers. I was hit by an arrow by a thief inside the trees. I fell to the ground and concealed myself in the vines. When the thieves had gone away, concealing myself in the trees like an āṭi[9] in water, gradually I reached a village. Learning news of you from the village-chief, I came here. By good fortune I saw you, like a peacock seeing a cloud.” Then Brahmadatta said: “How long shall we, like eunuchs, stay without manly action?” Just then the festival of spring, which had Makaradhvaja (Kāmadeva) attained as sovereign, the intoxicator of young men like wine, took place.

At that time a rutting elephant of the king broke his post, threw off his chain, and went away, like the younger brother of Death, all the people being terrified. The elephant seized with his trunk a girl burdened with the weight of hips, with a stumbling gait, after pulling her up like a lotus. With the miserable-eyed girl begging for protection, weeping, the cry “Ha! Ha!”, like the first syllable of universal grief, arose. “Oh, miserable elephant! you are an outcaste. Are you not ashamed, seizing a woman?” So addressed by the prince, he abandoned her and approached him. Jumping up, setting his foot on the stair of his tusk, the prince mounted him easily and seated himself on his withers. Then the prince quickly tamed him by means of voice, foot, and goad,[10] like a yogi himself with good yoga.

Hailed by the people, “Well done! Well done! Long live! Long live!” the prince led the elephant, like a cow-elephant, to the post and tied him. Then the king came there and was astonished, when he saw him. To whom do not his appearance and strength cause surprise? “Who is he? Where from? Is he Sūrya or Vāsava incognito?” At these words of the king, Ratnavatī’s uncle described him. Then the king, considering him to have merit, held a festival and gave maidens to Brahmadatta, like Dakṣa (his daughters) to the moon.[11] After he had married them and was staying there comfortably, he was told one day by an old woman, who had come and twitched the border of his garment:

“There is a rich man here, named Vaiśravaṇa, like another Vaiśravaṇa (Kubera) in wealth. He has a daughter, named Śrīmatī, like Śrī from the ocean. She, who was saved from the rogue-elephant like a digit of the moon from Rāhu, longs for you alone. She has been depressed from that time. Save her from Smara, as you saved her from the elephant. Take her hand as you have taken her heart.”

The prince married her with many auspicious rites of marriage. Furthermore, Varadhanu married Minister Subuddhi’s daughter, Nandā. Remaining there, they became very famous in the land because of their power. Then they set out energetically for Vārāṇasī. Hearing that Brahmadatta had come, the Lord of Vārāṇasī went to meet him like a Brāhman out of respect and conducted him to his house.

Kaṭaka gave him his daughter, named Kaṭakavatī, and a four-part army like the Śrī of Victory embodied. Kareṇudatta, King of Campā, the minister Dhanu, and other kings, Bhagadatta and others, came, when they heard of his arrival. After appointing Varadhanu general, like Ārṣabhi (Bharata) Suseṇa, Brahman’s son set out to lead Dīrgha on the long road. A messenger from Dīrgha came and said to King Kaṭaka,

“It is not fitting to abandon your friendship from childhood with Dīrgha.”

Then Kaṭaka said: “In the past together with Brahman we were friends like five full brothers. When Brahman died, his son and realm which had been entrusted to him for protection, were claimed by Dīrgha. Even a witch does not devour what has been entrusted. Would even an outcaste do the very great crime which Dīrgha did in regard to Brahman’s son and goods, without considering it for a long time? So go. Tell Dīrgha, ‘Brahmadatta approaches. Fight or die.’” With these words he dismissed the messenger.

Then, with unbroken marches Brahman’s son went to Kāmpilya and besieged it together with Dīrgha, like a cloud covering the sky together with the sun. Dīrgha left the city with a full army, the essence of battle, like a snake, pressed by a stick, leaving a hole. At that time Culanī, because of extreme disgust with existence, took the vow under the head-nun, Pūrṇā, and in course of time attained emancipation.

King Dīrgha’s front-line soldiers were killed by the frontline soldiers of Brahman’s son, like the aquatic monsters of a river by the sea-monsters of the ocean. Dīrgha, frowning, like a boar with the tusks raised from anger, ran forward and began to kill the enemy. Brahmadatta’s army, infantry, chariots, cavalry, et cetera, was overthrown by Dīrgha, swift as a river’s current. Then Brahmadatta, red-eyed from anger, himself roaring, fought with Dīrgha roaring, like an elephant with an elephant. Both, exceedingly strong, destroyed arrows with arrows, like the ocean stirred up at the end of the world destroying waves with waves.

Then Brahmadatta’s cakra, with light streaming forth, victorious over the circle of the heavens, knowing the proper, time like a servant, approached. Then Brahman’s son quickly took Dīrgha’s life with it. What struggle is there of the lightning in the killing of a lizard? Saying, “Long live the cakrin,” like bards, the gods rained flowers on Brahmadatta. Looked on -as a father, as a mother, as a deity by the townspeople, he entered the city Kāmpilya like Sutrāman entering Amarāvatī. The king had his wives, previously married, brought from all places and installed the woman-jewel, named Kurumatī.

Footnotes and references:


It was only what was to be expected.


The third kind of elephant. See I, n. 128.


Just as water can serve the two purposes of sprinkling trees and making an offering, so a device must be found to kill Brahmadatta and avoid scandal.


The Abhi. 4. 312-315 enumerates the 5 gaits of a horse. See I, n. 304. But none seems to be a gait of great speed, certainly not the fifth. In III, pp. 173, 179, the horse used the fifth gait in inverted training.


See MW, s.v. loka.


Mixed, the worst of the 4 kinds of elephants. See I, n. 128.


Brahmadatta has written no reply, so far as we know. He has had no opportunity. But in the Māhārāṣṭrī version, Varadhanu delivers a reply, which he must have written himself. See Meyer, p. 39.


See III, p. 339.


The āṭi is an acquatic bird (MW and Abhi. 4. 404), but the comparison does not seem very felicitous.


With a play on yoga meaning ‘a means of control of an elephant’ and ‘self-concentration.’ See II, p. 71 and note 132.


Dakṣa gave 27 daughters as wives to the Moon,

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