Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Jamali’s heresy which is the second part of chapter VIII 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.

Then the Blessed Vardhamāna, increasing the joy of the world, wandered over the earth covered with villages, mines, and cities. In course of time the Master arrived at Kṣatriyakuṇḍagrāma, stopped in a samavasaraṇa, and delivered a sermon. King Nandivardhana came there with great magnificence and devotion to pay homage to the Master in the samavasaraṇa. He circumambulated the Teacher of the World three times, paid homage to him, and sat down in the proper place, making the aṭjali from devotion.

Then the Lord’s sister’s son, his son-in-law, named Jamāli, came there with Priyadarśanā to pay homage. After he had heard a sermon and had obtained his parents’ consent, Jamāli took the vow, together with five hundred of the warrior caste. Priyadarśanā, Jamāli’s wife, the Blessed One’s daughter, together with one thousand women, took initiation under the Master. Then the Blessed One went elsewhere to wander and Jamāli also as a follower with the warrior-sādhus. In the course of time Jamāli, as he wandered, learned the eleven aṅgas and the Lord made him the head of his fellow-mendicants. He practiced penances, one-day, two-day, three-day fasts, et cetera. Priyadarśanā followed Candanā.

One day Jamāli bowed to the Lord and said, “With your permission I and my group shall proceed with unrestricted wandering.” The Blessed One knew by the eye of knowledge that evil would result and gave no answer to Jamāli asking again and again. Jamāli, with the idea that “What is not forbidden is permitted,” and his group separated from the Lord to wander. In the course of his wandering he arrived at the city Śrāvastī one day and stopped in the garden Kośṭaka outside. One day while there he developed a bilious fever from food and drink which were tasteless, cold, harsh, scanty, and eaten at the wrong time. Unable to stand, sitting like a stake in mud, he said to his disciples, “Make a bed for me.” The sādhus began to make a bed. Disciples execute the guru’s order like servants a king’s order.

Suffering very much from the bilious humor, he asked again and again, “Is the bed spread or not? Say, sādhus.” The sādhus said, “The bed is spread,” and Jamāli, sick, got up and went to them. When he saw that the bed was being spread, he sat down from bodily weakness and, angry, said to the sādhus because of false belief that had arisen:

“Sirs! We have been in error for a long time. At last this truth is known. What is being done is not done. Only when it is done is something done. The bed, being spread, was described as ‘spread.’ It certainly is not proper for you to say that which is not true. The Arhat says, ‘What is being produced, is produced; what is being done, is done.’ That is obviously not possible because of its inconsistency. In the case of an act that is being produced by the activity of a collection of moments earlier and later, how can it be said even in the beginning, ‘It is done’? There is the state of being an object of that alone of which there is creation of the function of an object; that does not exist in an object produced in the beginning. If one says, ‘It is done’ even in the beginning, then surely non-finality follows in the doing of a thing done in the remaining moments. This is clearly in accordance with that reasoning: That which is actually done is done. No one gives a name to an unborn son. Then, munis, agree with what is obviously infallible. Do not accept something because ‘It was said.’ What is in accord with reasoning is accepted. ‘The Arhat, described as “Omniscient,” can not speak falsely.’ It is not so. He does speak falsely. There is stumbling even of the great.”

The elders said to Jamāli, who was talking so, the bounds of propriety put aside, very angry: “Why do you say what is false? The Arhats do not speak falsely, devoid of love and hate. There is not an atom of error, obscured perception, et cetera, in their words. If an object is not said to be completed in the first moment, it does not come into existence at another moment because of the non-distinction between moments. The effecting of the function of an object which is a characteristic of an object, even that is unfailing from employment of knowledge of names. For instance, any one being asked by the people about such an object even at first, ‘What are you making?’ would speak with the name ‘jar,’ et cetera. As for the non-finality of action in something done in earlier time, that also is false because of the making of repeated different effects.[1] How can there be discrimination between right and wrong on the part of ordinary ascetics like you? By whom is your word taken as proved? The Omniscient, by whom the objects of the three worlds are known by the light of omniscience, the Blessed Vīra is authority. Proof and non-proof are simply foolish, on your part. As for what you said, Jamāli, ‘There is stumbling even of the great,’ your words are like those of an intoxicated man, a heedless man, a crazy man. ‘Being done is done’ was well said by the Omniscient. If not, why did you abandon a kingdom and take initiation because of his words? Are you not ashamed, corrupting his incorruptible teaching? Why do you submerge yourself in the ocean of existence by this action of yours? Take your penance before Śrī Vīra Svāmin. Do not pass your austerities and this birth uselessly. Whoever does not have faith in even one syllable of the Arhats, he acquires wrong belief and from that a series of births.”

Jamāli, though enlightened many times by the elders in this way, did not desist from false doctrines, but resorted to complete silence. Some of the elders abandoned him adhering to false doctrine at that time and went to the Master; some remained there. Because of delusion which is easily acquired by women and because of former affection Priya-darśanā and her followers supported Jamāli’s faction. Jamāli recovered in course of time and, daily immersing himself and others in false doctrine, laughing at the Jinendra’s teaching, saying, “I am omniscient,” full of arrogance, he began to wander with his followers.

One day he went to a grove named Pūrṇabhadra near Campā where Śrī Vīra had stopped and, unrestrained in pride, said to him:

“Blessed One, many disciples of yours have died as ordinary ascetics without omniscience developed. I indeed am not such a one. My imperishable perfect knowledge and perfect perception having developed, I, all-knowing, allperceiving, am an Arhat here on earth.”

Gautama said: “Jamāli, if you are omniscient, explain this: Are the universe and soul permanent or transitory?” Confused, Jamāli was unable to answer him and stood distracted, with his mouth open like a young crow. Then the Blessed Vīra said:

“Jamāli, know that in reality this universe is permanent and transitory and soul is like the universe. The universe is permanent from its composition of substance; it is transitory with reference to the continual and destructive modifications. Soul is permanent with reference to its composition of substance, it is transitory from its conformity to different modifications such as man, god, et cetera.”

Though the Lord explained in this way, Jamāli, his heart agitated by wrong belief, left the samavasaraṇa with his followers. Then Jamāli was expelled by the congregation because of disrespect (to Vīra), fourteen years after the manifestation of the Master’s omniscience. He wandered over the earth independently, thinking himself omniscient, explaining the meaning of his doctrine everywhere. The report arose everywhere that Jamāli, dissenting from the Teacher of the World because of delusion, had adopted wrong-belief.

One day in his wandering he came to the city Śrāvastī again and remained in a certain garden, surrounded by his followers. The sādhvī Priyadarśanā with a thousand sādhvīs stayed in the house of a wealthy potter, Ḍhaṅka. When Ḍhaṅka, who was an advanced layman, had seen her adhering to false doctrine, he thought, “I shall enlighten her by some device or other.”

One day while collecting wares he dropped intentionally a spark of fire, which was unnoticed, on Priyadarśanā’s habit. When she saw that her habit was being burned Priyadarśanā said: “Look, Ḍhaṅka, my habit is burned by your carelessness.” Ḍhaṅka said: “Do not speak falsely, sādhvī. For according to your doctrine, it is proper to say such a thing when the whole habit has been burned. ‘Being burned burned,’ is the teaching of the holy Arhats. It is fitting for you to adopt that teaching of theirs from your experience.”

After hearing that she, with pure thought arisen, said: “I, deluded for a long time, have been well enlightened by you. Alas! for so long a time Śrī Vīra’s teaching has been corrupted. Let my sin be uncommitted, as it were. Henceforth, it (Vīra’s teaching) is authority.”

Ḍhaṅka said to her: “It will be all right in the end. Now go to the All-knowing to make atonement.” So advised by Ḍhaṅka, saying, “We wish instruction,” she left Jamāli and with her followers went to Vīra. All the other munis except Jamāli were enlightened by Ḍhaṅka and went to Śrī Vīra Svāmin.

Then Jamāli wandered over the earth alone for many years, deceiving by false doctrine, observing the vow. At the end he fasted for two weeks. He died without confessing his own sin and became a Kilbiṣika in the sixth heaven.

Having learned that Jamāli was dead, Gautama paid homage to the Lord and asked, “What status did Jamāli, the great ascetic, reach?” The Master explained: “Jamāli, a great ascetic, became a Kilbiṣika god in the heaven Lāntaka with a life of thirteen sāgaras.” Again Gautama asked: “Why did he become a Kilbiṣika by such penances? Where will he go, when he has fallen?” The Blessed One replied: “Souls that are hostile to teachers of dharma, the possessors of good conduct, to teachers, sect, order, congregation are born among the Kilbiṣikas, et cetera, even though they have practiced penance. Because of that sin Jamāli became a Kilbiṣika. After he has fallen from that and has wandered thorough animal-, man-, and god-births five times, Jamāli, having experienced enlightenment, will attain emancipation. That is not accomplished by an enemy of the teachers of dharma, et cetera.” Having explained so, the Blessed One went elsewhere in his wandering.

Footnotes and references:


E.g. one is making a jar, but there are many different stages in its making. See the Āvaśyakasūtra, AS 56, p. 403b.

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