Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Ananda which is the sixth 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.

Now there is a great city, named Vaṇijakagrāma, that has no equal in its great wealth. Its king was named Jitaśatru, who looked after his subjects properly like a father. A householder lived there, the sight of whom was a joy to the eyes, named Ānanda, like the Moon descended to earth. Of him there was a wife, named Śivanandā, like Rohiṇī of the Moon, possessing beauty and grace. He had four crores of gold in deposit, in loans, and in business each, and there were four herds of cows. In the suburb Kollāka in the north-east of the city, there were very many relatives and connections of Ānanda.

At that time the Jina, Siddhārtha’s son, wandering over the earth, stopped in the garden, Dūtipalāśa, of that city. The King Jitaśatru heard that the Lord of Three Worlds had come; he went in haste with his retinue to pay homage to him. Ānanda also went on foot to the feet of the Lord of the World. After hearing a sermon that was like a mouthful of nectar for the ears, Ānanda bowed to the feet of the Master of Three Worlds and, high-minded, took the twelve-fold householder’s law.

He gave up women except Śivanandā; and gold except the four crores of gold each in deposit, et cetera. He renounced herds except four herds; and he gave up land except five hundred ploughs. He gave up carts except five hundred carts each used for foreign traffic and for home use. He renounced other boats except four boats for foreign traffic, and four for home use. He gave up cloths for cleansing the body except a fragrant red one; and abandoned tooth-cleaners except a green liquorice stick. He renounced other fruit except the milky myrobalan and ointment except the oils made of one hundred and one thousand ingredients. He gave up other powder except fragrant sandal powder and other bathing except with eight pitchers of water from an auṣṭrika. He gave up all other clothes except the two linen garments; and other unguents except those of sandal, aloes, and saffron. He gave up flowers except a wreath of jasmine and the lotus; and all ornaments except ear-ornaments and name-rings. He gave up the use of incense except olibanum and aloes; and other pastry except ghṛtapūra[1] and khaṇḍakhādya.[2] He renounced beverages except kāṣṭhapeyā[3] and boiled rice except kalama[4] and soups except black gram, green gram, and pea. He renounced ghī except that from cows’ milk produced in the autumn; and he gave up vegetables except svastika,[5] pumpkin, and cucumber.

He gave up dressings except oil and vinegar and pulse and vinegar; and water except rain water; and mouth-perfumes except pān with five spices.

Then Ānanda went joyfully to Śivanandā and told her that the complete layman’s dharma had been accepted. Śivanandā happily got into a carriage immediately and went to the Blessed One, seeking the layman’s dharma. After bowing at the feet of the Teacher of the Three Worlds there, Śivanandā devoutly accepted the layman’s dharma. Then she got into the carriage that was splendid as a heavenly aerial car and went home, delighted with the nectar-drink of the Blessed One’s speech.

Then Gautama bowed to the Omniscient and asked, “Will this high-minded Ānanda take the ascetic-vow?” The Blessed One, omniscient, said: “For a long time Ānanda will observe the layman’s vows. Then he will become the chief-god, with a life-duration of four palyas, in the palace Aruṇaprabha in the heaven Saudharma.”

Footnotes and references:


According to PH, this is the present ghebar. which is a sweetmeat made of wheat flour, sugar, milk, cocoanut and ghī, which is MW’s definition of ghṛtapura. Some nuts, or additional trimming, may be placed on top.


Hoernle, Uv. n. 34, takes this to be the modern pūrī; but that does not seem likely. An ordinary pūrī does not have sugar. The word is not in PH. MW defines it merely as ‘dainty.’


A decoction made from pulse.


A kind of the best rice. PH.


A kind of vegetable. PH, s.v. sotthia.

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