Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Mahavira’s ten visions which is the seventh part of chapter III 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.

As the Lord had been tormented for nearly twelve hours, he fell asleep from weariness, and saw ten visions: a tall piśāca, increasing in size, who was destroyed by himself; two cuckoos, white and spotted, worshipping in his vicinity; two wreaths with heavy perfume; a herd of cattle eager to worship; a lotus-pond filled with lotuses; a sea which he swam across; a sun sending up rays of light; Mount Mānuṣottara surrounded by his own entrails; and Meru’s peak surmounted by himself.

After he had seen these ten visions the Teacher of the Three Worlds awoke and the sun rose, as if wishing to pay homage to the Lord. Then all the people came, Indraśarman and Utpala also. When they saw that the Lord was uninjured and had been worshipped, they rejoiced. Amazed, they worshipped the Lord with flowers, et cetera and gave a lion’s roar like victorious heroes. They, the givers of the lion’s roar, said to each other, “By good fortune now at last the revered sādhu has appeased the Vyantara.” After learning all the facts, Utpala paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at his lotus-feet like an insignificant disciple. At the end of kāyot-sarga, Utpala bowed again to the Lord, knowing the Lord’s visions from the power of (clairvoyant) knowledge, and said:

“Master, you yourself know the fruit of the ten auspicious visions that you saw at the end of the night. Yet from devotion I shall recite it. The tall piśāca who was killed means that you will destroy delusion; the white cuckoo means that you will reach pure meditation, Lord; the spotted cuckoo that you will teach the twelve aṅgas; the herd of cattle that you will have a fourfold congregation; then the lotus-pond means an assembly of gods worshipping; the ocean that you swam across means that you will cross (the ocean of) existence; the sun that your omniscience will arise; the mountain encircled by entrails that you will have glory with power; you mounted on the peak of Meru means that you will teach ethics, seated on a lion-throne. Indeed, I do not know the fruit of the two garlands.”

The Blessed One told him the fruit of the two garlands: “I shall teach twofold ethics to householders and monks.”

Then Utpala bowed to the Lord of the World and went to his own place; and the others also, their minds excited by astonishment and joy, went away.

After he had passed the rainy season there in fasts of two weeks, the Lord left the village Asthika to wander elsewhere. Śūlapāṇi followed the Lord, bowed to him and said: “Disregarding your own comfort, you came here from compassion for me. No one is as wicked as I who did harm even to you. No one is as good as you who did good even to me. Up to this time which hell would I have gone to, if you, diligent in benefits to all, had not enlightened me?” After this speech Śūlapāṇi, filled with devotion, bowed to the Blessed One, and departed, calm as an elephant free from ichor.

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