Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Sermon by Parshva which is the eleventh part of chapter III of the English translation of the Parshvanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Parshvanatha in jainism is the twenty-third Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

After this hymn of praise, the Indra of Saudharma and Aśvasena stopped speaking and Śrī Pārśvanātha, the Blessed, delivered a sermon.

“In this great forest of worldly existence, the sphere of old age, disease, and death, there is no other protector but dharma. Therefore it alone must be served. It is two-fold with complete and partial self-control. The first belongs to ascetics and is ten-fold: self-control, et cetera.[1] The second belongs to house-holders and is considered twelve-fold;[2] the five lesser vows, the three meritorious vows, and the four disciplinary vows. The vows with transgressions do not lead to virtue. Then transgressions—five to each vow—must be avoided.[3] Binding from anger, cutting the skin, loading with excessive burdens, beating, limitation of food, et cetera arc known (as transgressions) in non-injury. Teaching of wrong belief, a false accusation suddenly,[4] telling of secrets, betrayal of confidential deliberation, and false writing are transgressions in truthfulness. Abetment in theft, receiving stolen goods, crossing an enemy’s realm, counterfeiting, falsification of measures are (transgressions) joined to non-theft.

Going to a woman who has been taken for a short time,[5] going to one who has not been taken,[6] another marriage, excessive persistence in love, and love-sport are prescribed (as transgressions) in chastity. Exceeding the amount of money and grain, of base metal, of cattle, et cetera, of fields and possessions, of wrought and unwrought gold (are transgressions) in non-possession for one who has taken the vow it is not fitting (to act) in five ways—in regard to acquisition, existence, offspring, joining, and gifts.[7]

Forgetfulness, exceeding (distance in the) upper, lower, and horizontal directions, increasing the ground: these five are prescribed (as transgressions) in the vow of limitation of direction.

Food with life, food joined with something that has life, food mixed with something that has life, fermented liquids, slowly ripening food: these belong to the standard of things of single and repeated enjoyment. These must be avoided in regard to food. In regard to work, cruel work must be avoided. In this vow one should avoid the fifteen sins—the undertaking of (sinful) work.

Livelihood from charcoal, a forest, carts, wages, splitting; trading in tusks, lac, rasa, hair, and poison; pressing in a machine, marking domestic animals, keeping worthless creatures,[8] burning a forest, drying up a pond: one should avoid these fifteen. Livelihood from charcoal consists in making charcoal, in making frying-pans, in making pitchers of iron, or gold, working in copper, et cetera, in baking bricks. The selling of leaves, flowers, and fruit of plants cut in two or not; living from splitting and grinding of grain: they are livelihood for forests. The sale of carts, the making of their parts, and also driving them: that is known as livelihood from carts. A living from driving the loads of oxen, buffaloes, camels, donkeys, mules, and horses of carts—that is livelihood from wages. Living from work of digging ponds, wells, et cetera and crushing rock, combined with injury to the earth—that is livelihood from splitting. The taking of tusks, hair, nails, bones, skin, and down from their place of origin in a movable creature for the sake of trading—that is livelihood from trading in tusks. The sale of lac, red arsenic, indigo, dhātakī,[9] borax, et cetera—that is called trading in lac, the abode of evil. The sale of fresh butter, lard, honey, wine, et cetera; the sale of two-footed and four-footed creatures—that is trading in rasa and hair. The sale of objects destructive of life, such as poison, weapons, plows, machines, iron, sulpheret of arsenic—that is called trading in poison. The pressing of scasame, sugar-cane, mustard seed, castor beans in water-machines, et cetera and the making of oil from their leaves are known as pressing by machine. Piercing the nose, branding, cutting the testicles, overloading,[10] cutting the ears and tail—that is called marking. The keeping of a maina, parrot, cat, dog, cock, peafowl, and of a slave-girl for the sake of money—they know as keeping of worthless creatures. A forest-fire could be of two kinds: from a calamity or from the idea of acquiring merit.[11] Drying up of ponds is the flooding of water from ponds, rivers, lakes, et cetera.

Superintendence of combined things,[12] excess of repeated pleasure, garrulity, bad gestures,[13] love are connected with purposeless injury.

The evil activity of body, voice, and speech, want of zeal, not keeping (sāmāyika) in mind are prescribed (as transgressions) in the sāmāyika-vow.

Employment of a servant,[14] having something brought (from outside), throwing out of matter,[15] consequences of sound and form[16] (are transgressions) of the vow of time and place.

Not having inspected and cleaned (the bare ground for) excretions, things accepted, and covers, want of zeal, no earnest thought (are transgressions) of the pauṣadha-vow.[17]

Throwing something into something with life, covering with something with life,[18] transgression of time,[19] anger,[20] pretext of some one else[21] are prescribed in the fourth disciplinary vow. Cherishing the vows devoid of these transgressions, even a layman, pure-minded, is freed from the bondage of existence.”

After hearing the Lord’s sermon, many became mendicants; many became laymen. Certainly the speech of the Arhat is not fruitless.

Aśvasena, enlightened, gave his kingdom to his son, Hastisena, then and there, and became a mendicant, noble-minded. Queen Vāmā and Prabhāvatī became afraid of worldly existence because of the Lord’s sermon and adopted mendicancy which results in emancipation.

The Lord had ten gaṇadharas, Āryadatta and others. The Master taught them the three steps: permanence, origination, and perishing. From the three steps they all composed the twelve aṅgas. To the intelligent teaching is like a drop of oil in water. The Lord delivered his sermon in the full first watch. In the second watch Āryadatta delivered a sermon. Then Śakra and the others bowed to the Supreme Lord and they all went to their respective places, recalling the Master’s sermon.

Footnotes and references:


For a full exposition of yatidharma see I, n. 38 and II, p. 274 f.


For the 12 lay vows in detail see I, p. 207 f.


This sermon follows closely the Yog. 3.90 (p. 189) ff. I have followed the commentary, but not all its alternative interpretations and details.


Without thinking.


Itvarāttā, a courtesan. The Yog. offers several explanations for the meaning, but the PH cites itvara only as ‘small,’ ‘for a short time.’


A courtesan who has not been taken of her own free will, or respectable widow or maiden.


This śloka is quite unintelligible as it stands, but is explained elaborately in the com. (p. 195 ff.) to Yog. 3.96. A transgression of bandhana, ‘acquisition,’ would be, e.g., waiting until after the term of his vow to acquire something; or keeping it in storage to use later. A transgression of bhava, ‘existence,’ would be, e.g., to make two piles of base metal into one, thus keeping within the limit. In regard to offspring (garbha), it would be a trasgression to have pregnant cattle, so the number would exceed the permitted one. In joining (yojana) he might erase the boundary, so two farms would count as one. In regard to gifts, (dāna), he might receive a gift which would cause his limit to be exceeded, in which case he might give it to some one else on condition that he would return it—which would, of course, be a transgression.


Asatī is collective.


The Grislea tomentosa, because its bark and flowers are used in making wine.


A surmise, but it must be something of the sort. The Com. says: pṛṣthagālanam karabhānām.


E.g., burning the old grass would be a good thing—an idea still prevalent.


I.e., two objects, either of which is harmless, but injurious when combined, e.g., bow and arrow.


Gestures to produce love.


To do something not permitted for him to do himself.


E.g., bricks, wood, etc. for other people to use.


While staying in the prescribed space, he summons others by a cough, etc. and lets them see him.


When the layman lives like a sādhu.


He throws something that should be given into something with life, or covers it with something with life, so the sādhus will not accept it.


He sets a time after the usual time for sādhus to take alms, or he eats before that time.


He is angry at being asked for something and does not give it, even if he has it; or, he gives something from jealousy because some one else has given so much. In that case, he acquires no merit.


He pretends tḥat something belongs to some one else, so he can not give it.