Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Incarnation as Nandana which is the seventeenth part of chapter I of the English translation of the Mahavira-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Mahavira in jainism is the twenty-fourth Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 17: Incarnation as Nandana

He fell and was born here in Bharata in the city Chatrā as the son, named Nandana, of Jitaśatru by his wife Bhadrā. When he was grown, King Jitaśatru installed him on the throne and, disgusted with living in worldly existence, became a mendicant. Delighting the heart of the people, Nandana ruled the earth properly, his rule like that of Pākaśāsana. After he had passed twenty-four lacs of years from the time of his birth, disgusted with existence, Nandana took the vow under Ācārya Poṭṭila. Intensifying his asceticism by continuous fasts for a month, he wandered with his guru in villages, mines, cities, et cetera.

Devoid of both evil meditations[1] and the two causes of binding karma;[2] always free from the three hurtful acts,[3] the three vanities[4]and the three blemishes;[5] with the four passions destroyed;[6] free from the four kinds of attachmens;[7] devoid of the four kinds of idle talk;[8] devoted to the four kinds of dharma;[9] his zeal unimpeded by the fourfold attacks;[10] adhering to the five vows; hostile to the five kinds of love;[11] daily attached to the study of the five categories;[12] observing the five kinds of carefulness;[13] victorious over the five senses; protector of the six categories of souls;[14] free from the seven states of fear;[15] with the eight conditions of pride destroyed;[16] having the nine controls of chastity;[17] practicing tenfold dharma;[18] knowing completely the eleven aṅgas; practicing twelvefold penance;[19]with a liking for the twelve pratimās;[20]enduring a series of trials hard to endure;[21] indifferent to everything, Muni Nandana practiced penance for a lac of years. Having much penance by means of the twenty sthanas[22] devotion to the Arhats, et cetera, he acquired the body-making karma of a Tīrthakṛt, which is very difficult to acquire. Having practiced stainless asceticism even from the beginning, at the end of his life, he made a propitiatory declaration:[23]


“Whatever transgression I have committed against the promulgated eightfold[24] practices of knowledge—time, respect, et cetera, that I censure in three ways. Whatever transgression I have committed against the promulgated eightfold[25] practices of right-belief—freedom from doubt, et cetera, that I reject in three ways. Whatever injury I have done to living creatures, fine or coarse,[26] from delusion or greed, that I reject in three ways. Whatever I spoke falsely with ridicule, fear, greed, anger, et cetera, all that I censure and do penance for. Whatever property belonging to another ungiven, little or much, was taken by me in any place from love or hate, all that I reject. Whatever union, animal, human, or divine was made by wretched me, that I reject three-fold in three ways.[27] Whatever wealth—money, grain, cattle, et cetera was acquired by me variously from the fault of greed, I reject in three ways. Whatever attachment (there was) to son, wife, friend, brother, grain, money, house and other things, all that I reject. Whatever food of four kinds,[28] I, overcome by the senses, enjoyed during the night,[29] that I censure in three ways. Anger, conceit, deceit, greed, love, hate, quarreling, back-biting, criticizing others, slander and whatever transgression in the sphere of the principles of good conduct, that I renounce completely in three ways. Whatever transgression against penance—outer and inner, that I censure threefold in three ways. Whatever exertion in religious practices I concealed[30] and transgression against the practices of exertion,[31] that I censure in three ways.

Whoever was struck or harshly addressed by me; anyone from whom I took anything; anyone to whom I did any injury, may they all pardon me. Friend or foe whoever, my own people or hostile people, may they all pardon me everything. I am the same toward all. Whatever animals in their status as animals; whatever hell-inhabitants in their status as hell-inhabitants; whatever gods in their status as gods; whatever humans in their status as humans have been caused pain by me, may they all pardon me. I pardon them. Indeed there is friendliness toward all on my part.

Life, youth, wealth, beauty, association with friends, all this is as fleeting as ocean-waves stirred by the wind. There is no other dharma except the dharma taught by the Jina that is a refuge for creatures in this world tormented by disease, birth, old age, and death. All souls are kin; after they are born, they are strangers. Who would make any tie at all with them? One creature is born; one dies; one has pleasant experiences; he has painful experiences. On the one hand, this body; while on the other hand are grain, money, et cetera; on the one hand relatives; on the other hand, the soul.

The foolish man becomes confused uselessly. What intelligent man would form an infatuation for the body, the house of impurity, filled with fat, blood, flesh, bone, liver, excrement and urine? This body, even when it is cherished and cared for, is perishable and must soon be given up like a house taken for rent. Surely the body, whether brave or cowardly, must die. Therefore, the wise man should die in such a way that he would not die again.

The Arhats are my refuge; the Siddhas and sādhus are my refuge. The dharma taught by the omniscients is my refuge above all.[32] The Jina’s dharma is my mother; my guru is my father; the sādhus are full brothers; co-religionists are relatives. Other things are like snares.

I pay homage to all the Tīrthakaras, Ṛṣabha and the others; I bow to the Arhats of Bharata, Airāvata, and Videha.[33] The formula of homage to the Tīrthakṛts is being made for the destruction of birth of corporeal beings, and especially for the acquisition of enlightenment. I pronounce the formula of homage to the blessed Siddhas by whom the fuel of karma produced by a thousand births was burned by the fire of meditation. Homage, homage to the ācāryas with the fivefold practices[34] who, always zealous for the destruction of birth, maintain knowledge of the scriptures. Who possess all the sacred knowledge and teach it to disciples, homage especially to them, noble teachers (upādhyāya). Homage, homage to the sādhus possessing the disciplinary vows,[35] who destroy evil attached to a thousand births.

I renounce censurable activity and also attachment to worldly objects inner and outer, so long as I live, threefold in three ways. I give up the four kinds of food so long as I live and I renounce the body, too, in the last breath.”

After he had so made the censure of evil acts, the asking pardon of (and bestowing on) (all) creatures, reflection,[36] the resort to the four, the formula of homage, and fasting—the sixfold ārādhanā, Muni Nandana asked forgiveness of the teachers of dharma, the sādhus, and the sādhvīs in full. After he had fasted for sixty days, he died in concentrated meditation, free from attachment, at the age of twenty-five lacs of years.

Footnotes and references:


Ārta (painful) and raudra (evil). For a full account see I, n. 8.


Bandhana: rāga (love) and dveṣa (hate). Sam. 2.


See above, n. 10.


Gaurava. The 3 are: rasa (choice food); ṛddhi (riches and high position); sāta (pleasure). Sam. 3, p. 9a.


Śalya; māyā (deceit); nidāna (wish for reward for penance); mithyādarśana (wrong belief). Sam. 3.


Kaṣāya: krodha (anger); māna (conceit); māyā (deceit); lobha (greed). Sam 4; Yog. p. 56a.


Saṭjṭā: āhāra (desire for food, etc.), bhaya (fear), maithuna (sex), parigraha (acquisition). Sam. 4.


Vikathā: strī (women); bhakta (food); rāja (king); deśa (country). Sam. 4.


Dāna (liberality); śīla (good conduct); tapas (penance); bhāva (state of mind). For a detailed exposition see 1, pp. 18 ff.


Upasarga: arising from gods, men, animals, and one’s own body. Sth. 777, com. p. 523; II, n. 152.


Arising from the five senses. Sam. 5.


Prakāra: dharma (medium of motion); adharma (medium of rest); ākāśa (space); jīva (soul); pudgala (matter). Sam. 5.


Samiti. See above, n. 6.


Earth, water, fire, wind, vegetable, and the movable (2-, 3-, 4-, 5-scnsed) creatures. Sam. 6; I, n. 29 and p. 438.


Bhīsthāna: ihaloka (fear of same genus); paraloka (fear of other genera); ādāna (fear of thieves, etc.); akasmāt (imaginary); ājīva (fear in regard to livelihood); maraṇa (fear of death); aśloka (fear of censure for misconduct). Sam. 7; Pravac. 1320, com. p. 388a; III, p. 337.


Mada: jāti (caste); kula (family); bala (strength); rūpa (beauty); tapas (penance); śruta (learning); lābha (wealth); aiśvarya (power). Sam. 8.


Brahmagupti: not to: use bed, bedding, house, or seat connected with women, animals, or eunuchs; avoidance of all conversation about women; not to: join any gathering of women, look at a woman’s features, eat highly flavored food, take too much food or drink, think about former pleasures with women, indulge in anything pertaining to the 5 senses which arouses love; avoidance of pleasure (sāta). Sam. 9.


Yatidharma: the 10 duties of monks: kṣānti (forbearance); mārdava (humility); ārjava (sincerity); mukti or nirlobhatā (freedom from greed); tapas (austerities); saṃyama (control—ahiṃsā, avoidance of injury to anything living); satya (truthfulness); śauca (=asteya=non-stealing); akiṭcanya (=aparigrahatā, poverty); brahmacarya (chastity). I, n. 38; Sam. 10 with slightly different terminology.


Tapas. The 12 are 6 inner and 6 outer. The 6 outer are; anaśaua (fasting); aunodarya (partial fasting); vṛtteh saṅkṣepana (limitation of food); rasatyāga (giving up choice food); anukleśa (bodily austerities); līnatā (avoidance of all useless motion). The 6 inner are; prāyaścitta (confession and penance); vaiyāvṛtta (service to others); svādhyāya (study of sacred texts); vinaya (reverence); vyutsarga (indifference to the body); śubhadhyāna (good meditation). Sam 6; 1, p. 27.


The 12 pratimās of sādhus, which are sometimes confused with the 11 pratimās of laymen, are a series of fasts. They are described in detail in Sam. 12. The Paṭcāśakagrantha also deals with them.


The 22 parīṣaha: kṣudhā (hunger); tṛṣa (thirst); śīta (cold); uṣṇa (heat); daṃśa (stinging insects); acelaka (nudity); arati (discontent); strī (women); caryā (wandering); naiṣedhikī (place for meditation: must sit alone in deserted place); śayyā (lodging); ākrośa (abuse); vadha (injury); yācanā (begging); alabhā (failure in begging); roga (illness); tṛṇasparśa (injury from thorns, etc.); mala (personal uncleanliness); satkāra (kind treatment; should not be influenced by it); prajñā (knowledge, obscure); ajnāna (ignorance); samyaktva (right-belief-doubt). Uttar.2; Sam. 22.


The sthānas (°ka) are 20 practices which produce karma that results in a birth as a Tīrthaṅkara. For a full account see 1, pp. 80 ff. See also Āva. 176-8, p. 161; Pravac. 310-19, pp. 82 f.


Ārādhanā. Though there are many references to an ārādhanā in the Triṣaṣṭi0 the following is the best example of one.


Jṭānācāra: kāla (reading of śāstras at proper time); vinaya (respect for the learned and for books that produce knowledge); bahumāna (zeal for benefiting the learned and knowledge); upadhāna (penance according to the Āgama); anihnayana (absence of failure to show gratitude to guru); vyaṭjana (correct pronunciation of words of the texts); artha (correct meaning of texts); vyaṭjanārtha (correct speaking and interpretation of texts.) PE; Paṭcaprati, p. 66.


Darśanācāra: nihśaṅkita (freedom from doubt); niṣkāṅkṣita (freedom from desire for any other doctrine except Jainism); nirvicikitsā (freedom from doubt about fruit of dharma); amūḍhadṛṣṭi (unconfused belief); upabṛṃhā (strengthening those of little merit on the path of dharma); sthirīkaraṇa (support of people in dharma); vātsalya (showing attention to coreligionists); prabhāvanā (propagation of the doctrine). Paṭcaprati, p. 67; Uttar. 28.31; PE.


‘Coarse’ is something that can be grasped by any of the senses.


By action, consent to action, causing action: with reference to thought, speech, and deed. I, p. 206.


Aśana (solid food); pāna (drink); khādya (fruit); svādya (betel, ginger, et cetera). KSK 3.40, p. 191a.


Jains are forbidden to eat at night. Cf. V, pp. 270 f.


Such as committed by Mallinātha in a former birth. She performed extra penance and concealed it from her fellow-ascetics. It was as a result of this that she was born a woman. IV, p. 53.


The Sūtrakṛtāṅga 1.8 deals with vīrya. It is one of the 4 ‘infinities’ of Siddhas.


See the Prakīrṇaka Catuḥśaraṇa.


The only zones in which Tīrthaṅkaras exist.


Ācāra, practice of knowledge, faith, right-conduct, penance, and power. I, p. 452; 0. of J., p. 133.


The śīlavratas are 7: the 3 meritorious (guṇa) vows and the 4 proper disciplinary (śiksā) vows.


See I, p. 448.

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