Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes The ten wonders which is the sixteenth 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.

Thus, awakening souls capable of emancipation, like the sun day-lotuses, the Supreme Lord went again to the town Kauśāmbī. In the last quarter of the day the sun and moon, occupying their eternal aerial cars, came together to this town to pay homage to the Lord. The sky being lighted up by the brilliance of their aerial cars, the people stayed there just as they were, their minds full of curiosity. However, Candanā, the head-nun, knowing that it was time to rise to leave, bowed to Vīra, and went with her attendants to her own dwelling.

But Mṛgāvatī did not know that night had come because of the brilliance spread by the Sun present there and she stayed there from the mistaken idea that it was day. When Mṛgāvatī knew that it was night, the Sun and Moon having gone, she went to the upaśrāya, frightened at the transgression of the time.

Candanā said to her, “Sādhvī, is such a thing fitting for you, well-born, that you stayed out at night alone?” As Mṛgāvatī apologized again and again to Candanā after these words, her omniscience manifested itself from the destruction of the destructive karmas.

While the head-man was sleeping, by the power of omniscience Mṛgāvatī saw a serpent moving at Candanā’s side and she raised her arm from the ground. Candanā, awakened, asked her, “Why did you lift my arm?” Mṛgāvatī explained, “A big snake was moving here.” Again Candanā said: “Mṛgāvatī, how did you see the snake in the impenetrable darkness? I am astonished.” The Blessed Mṛgāvatī explained: “Head-nun, I knew by the eye of omniscience which has arisen.” “Shame on me scolding an omniscient,” and the omniscience of Candanā, blaming herself unceasingly in this way, also manifested itself instantly.

Now Gautama asked, “Lord, do future events become different spontaneously because the aerial cars of the Sun and Moon have come here?”

The Master explained: “There are ten wonders:[1] attacks on the Arhats, the removal of the embryo, the descent of the aerial cars of the Sun and Moon, the attack of Camara, an assembly of people incapable of emancipation, the one hundred and eight Siddhas, the going of Kṛṣṇa to Aparakaṅkā, the worship of householders, a woman Tīrthaṅkara, origin of the family of the Hari-line. Of these the descent of the aerial cars of the Sun and Moon has occurred.”

Footnotes and references:


These wonders happen once in “infinite time.” The attacks on the Arhat. the removal of the embryo, Camara’s attack, the assembly of souls incapable of emancipation are described earlier in this parvan. The going of Kṛṣṇa to Aparakaṅkā is narrated in 8.10, Vol. V. (There the city is called Amarakaṅkā throughout. Both forms are quoted in PH.). The worship of householders took place after the nirvāṇa of Suvidhinātha (and after that of six following Arhats) and is described in 3.7; II, p. 335. The life of Malli, the only woman Tīrthaṅkara, is 6.6; Vol. IV. The beginning of the Hari-line is told in 6.7; IV, pp. 77, f. The “108 siddhas” is the only one of the wonders not definitely mentioned in the Triṣaṣṭi0. The “wonder” is for 108 sādhus of the best bodily structure to attain emancipation at the same time. According to KSK this happened at the time of Ṛṣabha’s death—the 108 being 99 sons of Ṛṣabha and 9 sons of Bharata. But in the Triṣaṣṭi0 there is no mention of the 108 among the 10,000 sādhus that attained emancipation with Ṛṣabha. See KS 119, KSK, p. 35.

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