by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Goshala’s experience alone which is the twentieth 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 he went along Gośāla entered a large forest occupied by five hundred thieves, like a mouse into a cave filled with snakes. A servant of the robbers, who was perched in a tree like a vulture, saw him at a distance and said to the robbers, “Some naked man with nothing is coming.” They said, “Nevertheless, he must not be allowed to go. He may be a spy. Moreover, he leaves after injuring us. That would not be fitting.”
When Gośāla had come near, saying, “Hello, uncle,” they got on his back one by one and rode him. From carrying them one by one the miserable Gośāla’s body was reduced to nothing but panting and the robbers went elsewhere.
Gośāla reflected: “At the first, I have experienced misfortune hard to endure today, like a dog separated from its master. The gods, Śakra and others, avert misfortune from the Lord. My misfortunes passed away, too, when I was under his protection. How shall I, unlucky, find him again like a treasure, who is able to give protection by himself, though indifferent from cause? I shall follow him only.”
After making this decision, Gośāla crossed the forest and wandered unceasingly, trying to find the Lord’s foot-prints.