Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Bandhudatta which is the second part of chapter IV 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.

Now in the city Nāgapurī, there was a king, Sūratejas, the chief of the glorious, like the Indra of the serpents in the city of the Nāgas. There was a rich man, Dhanapati. friend of the king, and Dhanapati’s wife Sundarī, fair in conduct. They had a son, Bandhudatta, who had his grandfather’s name, well-bred and virtuous, and he reached youth. Mānabhaṅga, by whom his enemies’ minds were broken, was king in the city Kauśāmbī in the country Vatsa. There was a rich man, Jinadatta, devoted to the religion of the Jinas, who had a wife Vasumatī and a daughter, Priyadarśanā. She had a friend, the daughter of the Vidyādhara, Aṅgada, named Mṛgāṅkalekhā, devoted to the Jinas’ doctrine. The two friends passed the days with worship of the gods, service to the guru, study of dharma, et cetera.

One day it was said by a sādhu, who had come in his wandering, to a second sādhu, in reference to Priyadarśanā, “After bearing a son, she noble, will become a mendicant.” Mṛgāṅkalekhā rejoiced at hearing that, but did not tell anyone.

Dhanapati asked for Candralekhā, the daughter of Vasunanda, a sheth of Nāgapuri, for his son and he gave her. On an auspicious day at an auspicious hour the wedding of Bandhudatta and Candralekhā took place with a great festival. Candralekhā, whose hand had just been marked with the wedding-ribbon in the afternoon, was bitten by a snake at night and died. In the same way six wives of his, just married, died on the same day as the wedding from the maturing of karma.

“Bandhudatta has a poison-hand.” Then, though asking, he did not obtain another maiden even with much money. He thought, “What is the use of money to me deprived of a wife,” and wasted away day by day, like the moon of the dark half. Dhanapati thought, “My son, grieved, will die. I shall put him in business to make him forget his grief.” After this decision, the sheth instructed Bhanudatta, “Son, go to the Siṃhalas or somewhere else to trade.”

At his father’s command Bandhudatta took much goods, embarked on a boat, crossed the ocean, and went to the Siṃhalas. He pleased the lord of Siṃhala with valuable gifts; and he exempted him from customs and dismissed him with favor. After selling his goods there and making the desired profit, he bought goods in exchange and started for his own city. When he, going by sea, had come near his own country, his ship, rocked by a storm, was wrecked. He got hold of a wooden plank by the favor of Fate and reached Ratnadvīpa, the ornament of the sea-coast.

After landing and bathing in a tank in a grove of mangoes bearing fruit, he ate the sweet mangoes, an herb for the disease of hunger. Taking fruit along the road in this way, he went to Mt. Ratna, climbed it and saw a jeweled shrine. He entered the shrine of Ariṣṭanemi there, paid homage to the image in it and to the munis living there. He was questioned about news about himself first by the eldest muni; and gradually he told about the death of his wives, the wreck of his ship, et cetera, Enlightened by the ṃuni, he accepted the Jinas’ religion, showing pleasure at his arrival there which had borne fruit.

A Vidyādhara, Citrāṅgada, said to him: “You are my co-religionist because of Jinadharma, fortunately. Shall I give you the magic art ‘going-through-the-air,’ or shall I take you to a desired place, or shall I give you a maiden?” Bandhudatta said: “Whatever magic art you have is surely submissive to me. That place only, where there is sight of such gurus, is desired by me.”

After saying this, he became silent and the Khecara reflected: “He wishes a maiden. Certainly there is approval of what is unopposed. Investigating fully, I shall give him, noble, a virtuous maiden who will not die as soon as married to him.” After deciding so, he led Bandhudatta to his own house, honored him especially with suitable bath, food, et cetera.

Citrāṅgada asked all his Khecaras, “Has any maiden been seen in Bhāratavarṣa who is worthy of him?” Mṛgāṅkalekhā, the daughter of his brother, Aṅgada, said: “Father, do you not know my friend, Priyadarśanā? She, like the woman-jewel in beauty, is my friend in Kauśāmbī. the daughter of Sheth Jinadatta. Formerly I walked at her side. ‘After bearing a son, she will become a mendicant,’ a muni said, with reference to her, and I heard it.”

Citrāṅgada instructed Khecaras, Amitagati and others, to arrange for Priyadarśanā, suitable for Bandhudatta, to be given to him. The Khecaras took Bandhudatta and went to Kauśāmbī. They camped in a garden outside ornamented with a shrine of Pārśva. Bandhudatta entered the shrine with the Khecaras, paid homage to Pārśva and the sādhus and listened to dharma from them. Jinadatta, to whom co-religionists were dear, had gone there and, after inviting them, took Bandhudatta and the Khecaras to his house. After Jinadatta had entertained Bandhudatta and the Khecaras with dignity with baths, seats, et cetera, he asked the reason for their coming.

The Khecaras, thinking, “This is an enterprise of love; falsehood is a branch of love,”[1] at once made up this story and said: “We have come from Mt. Ratna, having undertaken a tour of the holy places. We went to Mt. Ujjayanta and paid homage to Nemi. We were honored with food, et cetera by Bandhudatta, who belonged there, like a brother because we were co-religionists. Because he was devoted to dharma and was always averse to women, a very strong affection developed between him and us. We came from Ujjayanta here to pay homage to Śrī Pārśva and Bandhudatta came also, drawn by affection for us.”

After hearing this speech of the Khecaras and after seeing Bandhudatta, Jinadatta reflected, “He is a suitable husband for my daughter.” So reflecting, Jinadatta had him urged by the Khecaras and said to Bandhudatta, “Marry my daughter.” Bandhudatta considered, as if portraying unwillingness for that. At that same time, Amitagati announced Citrāṅgada. Citrāṅgada having come with the procession of the bridegroom’s friends, Jinadatta married Bandhudatta to his daughter. After giving instructions to Bandhudatta, Citrāṅgada went to his home and Bandhudatta remained there, delighting Priyadarśahā. He had a car-procession of Śrī Pārśva made and, thus devoted to dharma, he remained there for four years.

As time passed, Priyadarśanā conceived and saw an elephant entering her lotus-mouth in a dream. One day Bandhudatta told his wife that a desire to go his own home had arisen. She told Jinadatta and Jinadatta loaded him with very great wealth and dismissed him with his wife. “I am going to Nāgapurī.” He put the people who had set out with him because of the announcement in front like brothers and going very slowly, a great traveler on the right road, reached the forest Padma, the sole abode of evil.

Guarding the caravan, worried, after traversing the forest for three days, he had the caravan stop on the bank of a pool. As the caravan was camped there, in the last watch of the night an attack by the village-chief, Caṇḍasena, took place. After seizing the property of the caravan and leading away Priyadarśanā, the soldiers turned her over to Caṇḍasena. When Caṇḍasena had seen her, sad-faced, his compassion aroused, he thought, “Shall I send her to her own home?” As he was considering, he saw a slave-girl, Cūtalatā near her. “Who is she? Whose daughter? Tell me everything.” The slave-girl said: “She is the daughter of Jinadatta, a merchant of Kauśāmbī. Her name is Priyadarśanā.” On hearing that, he fainted at once. When he had regained consciousness, the village-chief said to Priyadarśanā:

“My life was saved in the past by your father. Do not be afraid. Hear from the beginning: I am a noted chief of thieves. One day when I had gone out for stealing, I went to a mountain-village in the country Vatsa at the beginning of night. Surrounded by thieves, drinking wine, I was found there by the guards and was handed over to Mānabhaṅga by the ones who captured me. He had me beaten. As I was being led out to execution, my release was obtained by your father, compassionate, going to break his fast at the end of pauṣadha. After giving me clothes and money, your father dismissed me. You are the daughter of (my) benefactor. Therefore, instruct me. What can I do?”

Jinadatta’s daughter said, “Brother, now find Bhanudatta, my husband, who was separated (from me) by the attack.” “I will do so,” the village-chief replied and escorted Priyadarśanā to his house with exceeding devotion and considered her like his own divinity. Then Caṇḍasena himself went to look for Bandhudatta, after comforting Priyadarśanā with the gift of fearlessness.

Now Bandhudatta, separated from his wife, standing in a grove of date trees, unhappy, thought: “Separated from me, she, long-eyed, will not be able to live a day. My wife is probably dead. With what hope can I live in future? Death is a suitable refuge. There is no other course for me. Now I shall die, hanging myself from this big saptacchada.” With these thoughts he moved forward.

When he got near to the saptacchada, he saw a big pool in front of it and in it a rājahaṃsa grieved by separation from his mate. Seeing him miserable like himself, he was very grieved. For the unhappy man knows the mental suffering of the unhappy. While Bandhudatta stood so, in a moment the rājahaṃsa was united closely with the haṃsī seated in the shade of a lotus-bed. After seeing him united with his wife Bandhudatta thought:

“Again the union of the living with the wife takes place. I shall go to my own city. Penniless, how shall L go there? Going to Kauśāmbī without my wife is not suitable. After going to Viśālā and taking money from my maternal uncle, giving it to the general of the thieves, I shall obtain the release of my wife. After going with my wife to Nāgapurī, from my own house I shall give the money to my maternal uncle by some means, remembering what was done.

With this plan, going east the next day, he went in great distress to a place named Giristhala. While he rested in a Yakṣa’s temple concealed by a tree, near the road, a traveler suffering from fatigue came. Asked by Bandhudatta, “Whence have you come?” the traveler announced clearly, “I am from Viśālā.” “Is the caravan-leader there, Dhanadatta, all right?” asked by Bandhudatta, the traveler, sad-faced, said:

“When Dhanadatta was away on business, his eldest son, sporting with his wife at home, paid no attention to the king as he was passing by. Angered by that offense, the king seized his goods and put his household, sons, wives, et cetera in prison. Dhanadatta has come to his sister’s son, Bandhudatta, for the sake of a balance of a crore of rupees of a ransom. Traveling (on the way), he was quit by me yesterday.”

Bandhudatta thought: “Alas! What has Fate done! The one in whom I had hope, has fallen into an ocean of calamities. Let it be so. Staying right here, J shall see my uncle. After I go to Nāgapurī, I shall get the money for him quickly.” So reflecting, he stayed. On the fifth day his uncle came with a caravan, with few companions, very distressed. Dhanadatta sat under a tamāla tree in the garden of the Yakṣa’s temple and was seen by Bhanudatta.

In order to test him, Bandhudatta said: “Tell from where you came here and where you are going.” Dhanadatta said: “I have come from Viśālā and I am going to the city Nāgapurī, good sir.” Bandhudatta said: “I too am going to Nāgapurī, but who of your family lives there? Tell.” He said, “My nephew Bandhudatta is there,” and Bandhudatta replied, “Bandhudatta is a friend of mine.”

After ascertaining that he was his uncle, Bandhudatta stayed there without disclosing himself and they ate and slept together. At dawn Bandhu went to the river for bathing and saw that the dust of the ground in a thicket of kadamba was tinged with the color of jewels. He dug up the ground with a sharp horn and came to a copper box filled with jewels and ornaments. After taking the box secretly, going to Dhanadatta, and telling him how it had been obtained, he said politely: “I have obtained all the news from you, a traveler. Accept this box because of your merit, uncle of my friend. After both of us have gone to Viśālā and paid money, we will release our men from the king’s imprisonment and then we will go to Nāgapurī.”

With these words, Bandhudatta set the box down in front of him and became silent. Dhanadatta said: “Shall we see your friend Bandhudatta because of having the men released, good sir? After that, he is the authority.” Bhanudatta bowed and announced who he was. Dhanadatta said, “Oh! how have you reached such an unfortunate state?” When his experiences had been told by Bhanudatta, Dhanadatta said, “Son, first we shall rescue Priyadarśanā from the Bhillas.”

Just then the king’s armed soldiers came quickly and arrested all the travelers camped there on the suspicion that they were robbers. While Dhanadatta and Bandhudatta were throwing the object into the Yakṣa’s temple, they were caught by the king’s men. “What is this?” questioned by them, they said, “From fear of you, we hid this object of our own.” The king’s soldiers took them with the box and the other travelers before the king’s minister.

After examining and releasing the other travelers, the minister questioned the uncle and nephew zealously, “Where are you from and what is this?” “We have come from Viśālā and now we have started to Lāladeśa, taking this money acquired before.” The minister said, “If this is your property, in that case tell everything that is in the box with some sign of proof.” Not knowing (what was in the box), terrified, they said, “If the box has been stolen, open it yourself, minister, and let it be examined.”

The minister himself opened the box and saw ornaments in it marked with the king’s name. Remembering that these objects had been lost for a long time, the minister reflected: “This has been deposited by these two from objects stolen before. The robbers will be caught through these two being beaten.” With this idea he had the whole caravan seized by his men. He had the two beaten severely by guards like messengers of Yama. Distracted by heavy blows, they said: “We came yesterday with the caravan. If that is not so, we must be killed by you then, after consideration.”

A man of the place said in reference to Bandhudatta, “I saw him in this caravan five days ago.” Asked by the minister, “Do you know him?” the caravan-leader said, “Who, indeed, knows such travelers going in a caravan?” After hearing that, the minister, angered, had the nephew and uncle detained in a prison resembling hell.

Now Caṇḍasena, after wandering for a long time through the forest Padma without finding Bandhudatta, went home, ashamed. Before Priyadarśanā he promised: “I will bring your husband within six months, or I will enter the fire.” After making this promise the village-chief sent spies to Kauśāmbī and Nāgapurī to find Bandhudatta. After some days they returned and said to Caṇḍasena, “We, roaming about, have not seen Bandhudatta.”

Caṇḍasena reflected: “Miserable from separation from his wife, surely he is dead by leaping from a precipice or entering a fire. Four months have passed from the limit of my promise. Now I shall enter the fire. Bandhudatta is hard to find. Or rather, I will stay until Priyadarśanā gives birth. After taking her son to Kauśāmbī, I shall enter the fire.”

While he was reflecting thus, the door-keeper came and said: “By good fortune you prosper today. Priyadarśanā has borne a son.” Delighted, the village-chief gave him a gratuity and said to the goddess of the forest Padma, named Caṇḍasenā: “If my sister and her son are well for one month, I will give you an offering of ten men.” When twenty-five days had passed safely, he sent men in every direction to bring men for the sacrifice.

Now Bandhudatta and his maternal uncle passed six months in that prison resembling hell. Then a great thief was found by the guards at night—a mendicant with money—and they arrested him and handed him over to the same minister. “Mendicants do not have such money. So he must be a robber.” After this decision, the minister ordered him to be killed. As he was being led out for execution, thinking, “The muni’s speech is not false,” he said with remorse: “No one, except me, robbed the city. All the loot is in the mountains, rivers, gardens, et cetera. The goods should be returned to those from whom it was stolen. It is deposited like a treasure. Then kill me.”

The guards told the minister and the minister saw all the goods in the places described, except one box. The minister said to the mendicant: “Why this conduct of yours repugnant to (your) belief and appearance? Tell fearlessly, clever man.”

Story of the thief

“This same act is customary for those devoted to sense-objects, (but) without money in the house. If there is anything unusual, hear: In the city Puṇḍravardhana, I am the son, Nārāyaṇa, of the Brahman Somadeva. I constantly taught the people that heaven was from killing living creatures, et cetera.

One day I saw some sad-faced men arrested on the suspicion that they were thieves. ‘All these rogues should be killed,’ I said at that time. A muni said. ‘Oh! the wicked ignorance!’ I bowed and asked the muni, ‘What ignorance?’ and he said: ‘The imputation of non-existent crime, causing great pain to another. These men have fallen into misfortune from the ripening of former karma. Why do you invent a non-existent crime of thievery? Soon you will find the full fruit of acts committed in a former birth. So do not impose a false crime on another.’

Asked by me again about the full fruit of former acts, the muni, who had supernatural knowledge, his mind filled with compassion, said:

Former birth of the thief

‘In this same Bharatakṣetra in the city Garjana, there was a Brāhman, Āṣāḍha by name, and his wife Racchukā. Now in the fifth birth (before this) you were their son, Candradeva, and you were taught the Vedas by your father. Considering yourself learned, you were much honored by King Vīrasena. Another mendicant, named Yogātman, intelligent, was there. There was a child-widow, Vīramatī, the daughter of Sheth Vinīta, and she went off with a gardener, Siṃhala. Yogātman had been worshipped by her and by chance he went somewhere else on the same day without telling any one because of freedom from attachment.

“Vīramatī has gone,” was the gossip among all the people. You reflected, “Surely Yogātman has gone with her.” “Vīramatī has gone somewhere,” was the talk in the palace and you said definitely, “She has gone with Yogātman.” The king said, “He has given up association with his wife, et cetera,” and you said, “For that very reason he, a heretic, has taken other men’s wives.” On hearing that, the people became lax in religion and on account of that sin the other mendicants expelled Yogātman.

Having acquired in this way sharp, firmly bound karma,[2] after death you became a goat in the hamlet Kollaka. Having a putrid tongue from the fault of that karma, after death you became a jackal in a great forest of Kollaka. After the jackal had died from cancer of the tongue, you became the son of Madanalalā, a courtesan of the king in Sāketa.[3]

One day you, a young man, intoxicated, were restrained by a prince when you were insulting the king’s mother and you insulted him, also, deeply. He cut off your tongue and you, ashamed, fasted and died. Now you became a Brahman. The rest of your actions you know already.’

After hearing that, having disgust with existence which had been produced, I became a mendicant at the feet of Suguru, eager for obedience to a guru. The magic arts of ‘going-through-the air’ and of ‘opening-locks’ were given to me by the guru as he was dying and I was instructed earnestly: ‘These magic arts must not be invoked in any other calamity except the rescue of a righteous person; and no falsehood must be spoken even in jest. If a falsehood is told through carelessness, you should recite the magic arts one thousand and eight times, standing in water up to the navel, holding the arms erect.’ Devoted to sense-objects I have done the reverse. Yesterday I told a falsehood in front of the habitation in the garden. Yesterday some young women, after bathing, came to worship the god in the habitation and asked me the reason for taking the vow. I said carelessly the reason was the separation from a dear wife and I did not make the prayer prescribed by the guru, standing in water. At night in order to steal I entered, like a dog, Sheth Sāgara’s house whose door happened to be open. As I was leaving after taking the gold, silver, et cetera, I was caught by the police; and the magic art, ‘going-through-the air,’ did not manifest itself, though recalled.”

The minister asked him again: “Only a box of ornaments has not been found. Were you mistaken about the place?” He said: “The box was taken from the place where it was buried by some one who came and learned about it by chance.”

After hearing that the chief-minister released the ascetic and he remembered the uncle and nephew who had taken the box. He thought: “Surely the box was taken by them in ignorance and they lied because they were terrified. They must be questioned without fear on their part.” He summoned them and questioned them unafraid. When they had told everything in detail, they were released by the minister conversant with right conduct.

They stayed two days because of emaciation and left on the third day; and they were caught by Caṇḍasena’s men who were looking for men. They were both thrown into the midst of prisoners by Kirātas for the sacrifice to the goddess Caṇḍasenā. Taking Priyadarśanā with slave-girls and her son, Caṇḍasena approached for the worship of Caṇḍasenā. Saying, “Merchants’ wives are not able to look at this terrible goddess,” he covered Priyadarśanā’s eyes with a cloth. After taking the boy himself, Caṇḍasena by a signal of his eye had Bandhudatta brought, the very first one by chance. The village-chief said to Priyadarśanā, “After having your son bow to the goddess and having him give her red sandal, have him worship her.”

He himself, completely pitiless, drew his sword from its scabbard, but miserable Priyadarśanā thought:

“Alas! this sacrifice with men to the goddess is for my sake. How has this inglorious thing been caused by me! Oh! Oh! I have become a Rākṣasī.”

Bandhudatta, knowing that death had come, pure-minded, began to recite namaskāras, virtuous. Hearing his voice, at once Priyadarśanā opened her eyes and saw her husband. She said to Caṇḍasena, “Brother, you have been faithful to a promise, ‘since this is Bandhudatta, your sister’s husband.” Falling at his feet, Caṇḍasena said to Bandhudatta: “Pardon this crime of ignorance. You are master. Give orders.”

Delighted, Bandhudatta said to Priyadarśanā, “What crime is there of this man who has reunited me with you?” Then giving orders to Caṇḍasena, Bandhudatta had the men released from prison and said to him, “What is this?” and the Bhilla-king told the story ending in the offering for the fulfilment of his wish.

Bandhu said: “Pūjā with living creatures is not fitting. You should worship the goddess with flowers, et cetera. You should avoid injury, other people’s money and wives, and falsehood. Be a vessel of contentment.” He agreed, “Very well,” and the goddess, being near, said, “Beginning with today, my worship must be made with white lotuses, et cetera.” Hearing that, many Bhillas became bhadrakas at once.

The son was handed over to Bandhudatta by Priyadarśanā. Bandhudatta handed over his son to Dhanadatta and told his wife, “He is my maternal uncle.” She veiled herself and bowed from a distance to her father-in-law. He gave a blessing and said, “A name for the son is fitting today.” Since he had given joy to his relatives by the gift of life, his parents gave him the name Bāndhavānanda.

After conducting Bandhudatta and his uncle to his nouse, the Kirāta-chief gave them food and then handed over the loot that he had taken. Caṇḍasena, his hands folded respectfully, brought tiger-skins, chaurīs, elephant-tusks, pearls, fruit, et cetera to Bandhudatta. Bandhu dismissed the prisoners, like brothers, with suitable gifts and, having helped Dhanadatta to accomplish his purpose, sent him to his own home.

Bandhudatta went to the city Nāgapurī with the caravan, his son and Priyadarśanā, accompanied by Caṇḍasena. His brothers, who came delighted, and the king had him mount an elephant and enter the city with much honor. Bestowing gifts, Bandhudatta went to his own house and told his whole story to his brothers at the end of a meal.

Again he said to all: “Everything in this existence is worthless except the doctrine of the Jinas. This is my experience.” The people became devoted to the doctrine of the Jinas from Bandhudatta’s speech. Bandhudatta entertained Caṇḍasena and dismissed him. Bandhudatta lived there in comfort for twelve years. One day in autumn Śrīmat Pārśva stopped in a samavasaraṇa. Bandhudatta went there with Priyadarśanā with great magnificence, bowed to Śrī Pārśvanātha and listened to a sermon.

Footnotes and references:


As the first half of this śloka was not clear to me, I consulted four Indian Sanskritists Each one had a different interpretation, but they agreed that it referred to the tradition that falsehood is permissible in five cases.

udvāhakāle ratisamprayoge prāṇātyaye sarvadhanāpāhare |
viprasya cārthe hyanṛtam vadeyuh paṭcānṛtānyāhurapātakāni ||
      Vāsiṣṭhadharmaśāstra, 16.36.

The same idea is expressed in the Mahābhārata, 8.69.33 and 69. (Gorakhpur ed.).


Nikācita. See I, p. 402.


Pārśva., p. 175, has Yogātman dying from mouth-disease, but this is an error. The text, 8.156, agrees with our account.

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