Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Founding of Rajagriha which is the fifth part of chapter VI 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.

The calamity of fires, one after the other took place in Kuśāgra. Then King Prasenajit had a proclamation made: “If a fire breaks out in the city from the house of any one here, he shall be banished from the city like a sick camel.” One day, from the cook’s carelessness a fire broke out from the house of the king himself. Fire, like a Brāhman, belongs to no one. As the fire increased the king said to his sons, “Any one may have whatever he takes from my house.” All the princes collected elephants, et cetera, as they liked and left; but Śreṇika took one kettle-drum and left. Śreṇika, questioned by the king, "Why did you take this?” said: “This kettle-drum is the first sign of victory of kings. By its sound there is the great auspiciousness of kings’ processions of conquest. Therefore, it, above all, must be preserved by kings, lord.” Then the king, pleased by ambition, gave Śreṇika an additional name, ‘Bambhāsāra.’

At that time King Prasenajit had not forgotten this: “He may not live in the city, from whose house a fire breaks out.” He thought, “If I do not obey myself, certainly obedience from others is completely ended.” With this thought, the king with his retinue abandoned the city and had a camp made at one kos from it. Then the people, going along, say to each other, “Where will you go? We shall go to the king’s house.” Then the king founded just there a city, named Rājagṛha, beautiful with moats, ramparts, shrines, palaces and bazaars.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: