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...

Preface to Volume 6

At last, after a period of 30 years from the publication of the first volume, the publication of the translation of the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra, has been completed under a Fulbright grant. It could have been completed 20 years ago—the first draft of the translation was made 25 years ago—with a little more interest and support from American Indologists. But while thousands of dollars were being granted to minor works, the Triṣaṣṭi° had no support for 20 years—and then through the help of a man in a different field—though the wide use of Vol. I might have been considered in its favor.

This long delay increased greatly the labor involved and eliminated most of the persons in India who had been of assistance to me. The death of Muni Śrī Jayantavijayajī was an inestimable loss. Fortunately for me, Pandit L. B. Gandhi, now retired from the Oriental Institute, has survived and I am grateful to him for assistance on every phase of Jainism and Jain Sanskrit. I am indebted to Muni Śrī Puṇyavijayajī and to Mr. D. Mālvaṇia, Director of the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Bharatiya Sanskriti Vidya-Mandir, Ahmedabad, for information on some obscure points. I owe many thanks to Mr. H. M. Shah, B.A., for a vast amount of time spent as interpreter and for assistance in many non-academic matters.

I appreciate the loan of 3 MSS of parvan X from the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Bharatiya Sanskriti Vidya-Mandir. Over the years I have consulted 10 MSS for this parvan. Unfortunately, the MSS have seldom solved critical points. Most of the variants have not affected the sense. The new edition, too, is like the old one in most places where I had hoped for a different reading.

Doubtless the publisher, the Oriental Institute of the University of Baroda, is as thankful as I am for the completion of this prolonged task. I am happy to acknowledge the assistance of the Director and the staff.

I have retained Hemacandra’s spellings, though they are not always consistent. The Sanskrit words that have been retained in the translation are included in the English Index with an explanation for the reader who does not know Sanskrit. These entries are illustrative, not exhaustive. Complete entries will be found in the Sanskrit Index.


Helen M. Johnson

September 24, 1962

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