Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Culanipitri which is the eighth 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 was an excellent city on the Gaṅgā, Kāśi, beautiful with various buildings, like the beauty of a tilaka of the earth. Jitaśatru was its eminent king with unbroken power like Sutrāman in Amarāvatī. In this city, there was a very rich householder, Culanīpitṛ, who for some reason had reached a human status like Kubera (Manuṣyadharman). Of him delighting the world, there was a suitable wife endowed with beauty, Śyāma, like night (śyāma) of the moon. He had eight crores on deposit, eight out at interest and eight engaged in business—so he had twenty-four crores of gold. He had eight herds of ten thousand head of cattle each—family-abodes of Wealth.

One day, the Blessed One, the last Jina, as he wandered, stopped in a garden, Koṣṭhaka, in this city. Then gods and asuras with their Indras came there to pay homage to the Blessed One, and King Jitaśatru also. Culanīpitṛ, his heart delighted, wearing his usual ornaments, went on foot to pay homage to Śrī Vīra, the Lord of Three Worlds. Then, after bowing to the Blessed One, Culanīpitṛ sat down, his hands extended in the aṭjali, and listened with extreme devotion to a sermon.

Then, when the assembly had dispersed, bowing to the Lord’s feet, Culanīpitṛ, reverent, announced: “Master, you wandered over the earth for the sake of enlightening people like us. There is no other purpose in the movement of the sun except the waking of the world. Everyone, when he has come, is asked (for something). Perhaps he gives or does not give. You have come and, unasked, give dharma. Compassion is your reason for this. I know if I take the ascetic-vows in the Master’s presence, later there would not be so much suitability on my part, unfortunate that I am. But I ask for layman’s vows. Master, be gracious to me. Give them to me. Even an oil-vessel takes its own load, no more, on the ocean. Given permission by the Master, “Take as you like,” he professed the twelvefold vows suitable for laymen. He renounced gold except the eight crores in each of the three—deposit, et cetera; and other herds than the eight herds. Like Kāmadeva he set restrictions on other objects. His wife Śyāma also took the lay-vows in the Master’s presence.

At that time Gautama bowed and asked the Lord of the World: “Will this Culanīpitṛ take the great vows (of an ascetic) or not?” The Master said: “He will not take the ascetics’ vows, but devoted to lay-vows, he will go to Saudharma after death with a life-duration of four palyas in the palace Aruṇābha. After falling from there and being born in the Videhas, he will reach emancipation.”

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