Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Sudadha’s enmity which is the eleventh 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.

At the end of a fortnight the Lord, wandering like a cow in a pasture in order to break his fast, came to the house of the householder Nāgasena. On that day the householder’s son arrived unexpectedly after an absence of twelve years, giving joy like a cloudless rain. Nāgasena gave a party in his house and entertained all his people. The Master’s arrival was noticed. Nāgasena saw the Master from a distance and, experiencing great joy, full of devotion, gave him rice pudding. Then the five divine things, the stream of treasure, et cetera, were made there by the gods saying, “Oh! the gift! the good gift!”

After he had broken his fast, the Lord went to the city Śvetavī, which was adorned by King Pradeśin, who was devoted to the Jinas. Attended by citizens, ministers, generals, et cetera, like another Maghavan, Pradeśin came and paid homage to the Lord of the World. Pradeśin then went to his own city and the Master, fragrant from penance, in the course of his wandering reached the city Surabhipura (City of Fragrance). The Lord arrived at the high-crested river Gaṅgā that was like a scarf around the earth, like a counterpart of the ocean. The Blessed One wished to cross it and embarked on a boat made ready by the sailor Siddhadanta; and other travelers embarked also. The boat, with its sailors ready, began to move rapidly by means of two propelled poles, like a bird by its wings. Just then an owl on the bank gave a loud hoot. A soothsayer, named Kṣemila, said: “This is certainly unpropitious. Soon we shall all meet fatal disaster, but we shall be saved from it by the power of the great sage.” Just as he spoke, the boat moved into deep water. A Nāgakumāra, Sudāḍha, saw the Lord in it, recalled the hostility of a former birth, and thought angrily:

“This is the one by whom in his Tripṛṣṭha-birth, I, then a lion, was killed. I, living on a mountain far from this place, had committed no crime against him who was Tripṛṣṭha then. I, hidden in a cave, was killed at that time by him, proud of the strength of his arm and wishing to create excitement. By good fortune he is in my range of vision. I shall satisfy my hostility. For hostility between men lasts for a hundred births, like a debt. Even death near at hand would not trouble me now. Today I would be contented if satisfaction of former hostility is accomplished.”

With these reflections, Sudāḍha, angry, his eyes terrifying, came near Vīra and, standing in the air, gave a cry, “Kila, kila!” Saying, “O villain, where are you going?” he created a destructive hurricane, terrifying as the wind at the destruction of the world. Trees fell and mountains shook from it. The Gaṅgā’s water rose high with towering waves. The boat is lifted and lowered by the Gaṅgā’s waves rising and falling, like an object seized by an elephant. The mast was broken; the sail was torn; the terrified helmsman, like the soul of the boat, became confused. All the people on the boat, as if they were on the tip of Yama’s tongue, thinking they were about to die, bewildered, began to call on the gods.

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