Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Mahavira’s shasanadevatas (messenger-deities) which is the second part of chapter V 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 2: Mahāvīra’s śāsanadevatās (messenger-deities)

In that congregation originated the Yakṣa Mātaṅga, with an elephant for a vehicle, black, holding a citron in his left hand and a mongoose in his right. Likewise originated Siddhāyikā, with a lion for a vehicle, green, her two left hands holding a citron and a lute, one right hand holding a book, the other in the safety-giving position. These two were the Lord’s messenger-deities, always near him.

Because of the lack of people worthy of benefit there, the Lord, who was devoted solely to the benefit of others, whose bonds of affection were completely destroyed, realizing, “I must experience much karma, suitable for consumption, called ‘body-making and family-determining of a Tīrthakṛt’ by the enlightenment of creatures capable of emancipation,” surrounded by innumerable crores of the categories of gods, setting his feet on golden lotuses moved forward by the gods, on a road as clear at night as by day from the brilliance of the gods, went to the city Apāpā adorned with noble bhavyas, with twelve yojanas of roads, inhabited by Gautama and others worthy of enlightenment, surrounded by many disciples, who had come together for a sacrifice.

The gods erected a beautiful samavasaraṇa in a garden named Mahāsenavana, not far from the city. The Lord, with all the supernatural powers apparent, hymned by gods and asuras, entered the samavasaraṇa by the east door. Then the Teacher of the World circumambulated the caitya-tree which was thirty-two bows high, resembling the splendor of the jeweled daṅis. Saying, “Reverence to the congregation,” observing the custom of the Arhats, the Lord sat down on the east lion-throne provided with a foot-stool. The gods, devoted, created images of the Master, by means of his power alone, in the three other directions. Then all the gods, men, et cetera, entered by the proper door and took their proper places, looking at the Master’s face.

After he had paid homage to the Lord of the World, the Lord of the Gods (Śakra), his hands folded in reverence, the hair on his body erect from pleasure, began a hymn of praise with devotion.

Stuti [1]

“In you, whose body is beautiful and virtuous, who are an ointment of nectar for the eye, there is indifference to pain, to say nothing of destruction of hatred. Do the discerning live by the report, ‘You have an adversary; he is pervaded by anger, et cetera?’ If your adversary is free from passion, he is like you, yourself. If an adversary of yours has passion, he is not an adversary. Is a firefly an adversary of the sun? Since even the Lavasattamas[2] long for your ascetic practices, why even mention others who lack even the outer paraphernalia of ascetic practices? We take refuge with you as lord; we sing your praises; we worship you. There is no other protector except you. What can we say? What can we do? This world is deceived by others who have impure practices, devoted to deceit. Before whom can we complain? What intelligent person would rely on gods, emancipated forever, who are concerned about the creation, preservation, and destruction of the world,[3] who are like the sons of a barren woman? Others, believing in gods, satisfied with gods distressed by the womb and loins,[3] reject such as you, oh! oh! Others, having decided on and having proclaimed some opinion resembling a flower in the sky, heroes at home, are not contained in the house nor in the body.[4] The passion of love and the passion of affection are easily restrained. The passion of the eye, very evil, is hard to destroy even by the good. Saying, ‘The face is tranquil; the eyes, indifferent; the speech friendly to the world,’ they, certainly confused, are indifferent to you, the abode of kindness. Even if ever the wind should stand stiff, a mountain run, water burn, nevertheless, the one consumed by passion, et cetera is not suitable to become an Arhat.”

After he had recited this hymn of praise, Biḍaujas became silent.

Footnotes and references:


The stutis that occur from here on are to be found in the Vītarāgastotra, whose commentary is very useful for understanding the very condensed, cryptic verses. This is no. 6 in the Vs., pp. 69 ff.


The very highest gods who live in Sarvārthasiddha. If they had lived 7 lavas (about 4 minutes) longer, they would have attained emancipation. See Sūtrakṛtāṅga I. 6. 24; SBE 45, p. 291.


With reference, of course, to the Hindu Triad. When they are concerned with these things, how can they be emancipated?


I.e., the organs of sense collectively, according to the Vs. com.


Cf. MW, s.v. gehe, ‘the two habitations,’ the house and the body. The com. to the Vs. takes geha to be ‘svadarśana.’

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