Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...

Now, after enjoying the greatest magnificence of a god in the heaven Prāṇata, King Suvarṇabāhu’s jīva completed its life. On the fourth of the black half of Caitra, (the moon being) in Viśākhā, having fallen, at night he descended into Lady Vāmā’s womb. Then Queen Vāmā saw the fourteen great dreams indicating a Tīrthakṛt’s birth enter her mouth. The dreams being interpreted by the Indras, her husband, and astrologers, the queen, delighted, passed the time, carrying her embryo.

On the tenth of the dark half of Pauṣa, (the moon) in Rādhā (Viśākhā), she bore a son, dark blue in color, marked with a serpent, like the ground at the foot of a mountain bearing a jewel. The fifty-six Dikkumārīs came there instantly and performed the birth-rites of the Arhat and the Arhat’s mother. Śakra came there, gave the queen a sleeping-charm, made an image of the Arhat and put it at her side. He created five forms; with one he took the Lord, with two he took chaurīs, and with another the umbrella over the Lord. Twirling the thunderbolt with another, going ahead with beautiful leaps, his gaze fixed on the Master’s face, his head turned, he went quickly.

Śakra arrived at the rock Atipāṇḍukambalā on Meru in a moment, seated himself on a lion-throne, and took the Lord on his lap. The sixty-three Indras, Acyuta and the others, went there quickly and performed the Lord’s birth-bath properly. After placing the Lord on īśāna’s lap, Saudharma’s Indra bathed him properly with water gushing from the bulls’ horns.[1]

After making the anointing and worship of the Lord of the World, Vāsava, his hands folded respectfully, began a pure hymn of praise.

Stotra:

“Homage to you, the color of priyaṅgu,[2] the source of kindness to the world, the sole bridge for the crossing of saṃsāra hard to cross. Homage to you, Blessed One, sole treasury of the jewels of knowledge, having the color of a blooming blue lotus, sun for the lotuses of bhavyas. Homage to you with the sign of a serpent, with the one thousand and eight favorable marks of a man, moon for dispelling the darkness of karma. Homage to you, purifier of three worlds, possessor of three kinds of knowledge, spade for the ground of karma, virtuous. Homage to you, receptacle of all the supernatural powers, possessing unlimited compassion, receptacle of all magnificence, supreme spirit. Homage to you whose passions are far removed, the Ocean of Milk of joy, free from love and hate, on the way to emancipation. If there is fruit from service at your feet, Supreme Lord, then may I have this alone—devotion to you in birth after birth.”

After praising the Arhat thus, he took him and put him down near Vāmā; and he took away the sleeping-charm and the Arhat’s image. Then Śakra went to his own place.

Footnotes and references:

1.

For the bulls, see I, p. 125.

2.

I.e., very dark.