Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Incarnation as god which is the eighteenth 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 18: Incarnation as god

He was born in the extensive palace Puṣpottara in Prāṇata and appeared on a couch. Within forty-eight minutes he developed into a magnificent god. He took off his divine garment, seated himself, and looked around. When he had looked at the manifestation-hall of the gods and the magnificence of the gods, he thought in astonishment, “By what penance did I attain this?” By clairvoyance he saw his former birth and his observance of the vows. “Oh! the power of the Arhatsdharma,” he reflected.

Just then all the gods assembled, their hands folded in reverence, delighted, said to him who had been manifested as chief-god:

“Hail, master! Long live, delight of the world! Long live, blessing of the world! You are our master. Protect the conquered. Conquer the unconquered. This is Your Honor’s palace. We are gods, who perform your commands. Here are beautiful gardens; here are deep bathing-tanks. This is the temple of the eternal Arhats; this is the council-hall, Sudharmā. Adorn the bath-house so that we can make the consecration with water.”

So addressed by the gods, the chief-god went to the bathhouse and sat on a lion-throne with a foot-stool. After he had been sprinkled there with divine water by the servant-gods holding pitchers, he was led to the ornamentation-hall. There the god put on two garments of divine material, ointment, and ornaments—a diadem, et cetera. He went to the judgment-hall and had the book read;[1] and taking a pūjā of flowers, et cetera, went to the temple of the eternal Arhats. He bathed the one hundred and eight images of the Arhats, worshipped them (with the pūjā), paid homage to them, and sang their praises, absorbed in meditation. Then he went to the hall Sudharmā and had a concert given. He remained there in the palace, enjoying delights as he liked.

He went to the countries, Videha, et cetera, where the kalyāṇas[2] of the Arhats take place, paid homage to the Jinas, he, ornamented with the attribute of right-belief.

As chief-god, he completed a life of twenty sāgaropamas and even in the end he shone with splendor, especially and constantly. Other gods, when they have six months of life remaining, become confused; but never gods who will be Tīrthakṛts, whose maturing of merit is very close.

Footnotes and references:


The book containing rules of procedure. K., p. 272.


The kalyāṇas are the 5 important events in an Arhat’s life: conception, birth, initiation, attainment of omniscience, emancipation. These take place only in the Videhas, Bharata, and Airāvata. See II, n. 261.

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