Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Story of Prasannacandra which is the second part of chapter IX 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.

Part 2: Story of Prasannacandra

After this explanation, the Blessed One went to the city Potana and stopped outside it in the garden Manorama. The Lord of Potana, Prasannacandra, came to pay homage to the Lord Jina and heard a sermon that was destructive of delusion. Enlightened by the Master’s sermon, afraid of existence, the king installed his son, though a child, on the throne and took the vow. Wandering with the Master, practicing severe penance, the royal sage became learned in the texts and interpretations in course of time.

One day the Blessed Vīra, attended by this sādhu and other sādhus, went in his wandering to Rājagṛha. Eager to see the Lord of the World, Śreṇika, surrounded by his

sons, with the surface of the earth adorned by ranks of horses and elephants, went there. In the van of his army went two men, Sumukha and Durmukha, who had wrong-belief, talking to each other about various things. On the way they saw Prasannacandra enduring the heat of the sun, standing on one foot, his arms upraised.

When he saw him, Sumukha said, “Look! Surely neither heaven nor emancipation will be hard to gain for that muni enduring the heat of the sun.” Durmukha (Abusive), both in name and fact, replied: “That is King Prasannacandra, Lord of Potana, certainly. How is there dharma of that man by whom his son, a child, is yoked to the burden of the kingdom, like a young bull to a very large cart? His son will be deprived of the kingdom by Dadhivāhana, Lord of Campā, together with the ministers. The royal ethics has been trodden under foot by him; even his wives have gone somewhere. Therefore he, by whom a heretical doctrine is held, is not worthy of a visit.”

Hearing that speech, a thunderbolt to the mountain of meditation, Prasannacandra, the royal sage, instantly reflected: “Alas! the ungrateful ministers whom I always treated well have caused the overthrow of my son. If I were there now I would punish them severely.”

With such reflections Prasanna, untranquil from these doubts, forgot his vow. Thinking himself a king, he began to fight in his mind, and then Śreṇika came there and paid homage to him with reverence. Thinking, “Oh! What a state of meditation of Prasannacandra!” Śreṇika went to Mahāvīra, bowed, and said, “If the royal sage, Prasannacandra, had died at the time when, engaged in meditation, he was honored by me, where would he have gone? Tell me.”

The Lord explained, “To the seventh hell.” Śreṇika thought: “I have not heard right. There is no hell for a sādhu.” After a moment Śreṇika asked the Lord again, “If Prasanna dies now, where will he go?” The Blessed One replied, “He will go to Sarvārthasiddha.” Then Śreṇika asked, “Why this double explanation?” The Master said:

“This double explanation is from the kind of meditation. At that time Prasanna was angered by the speech of Durmukha. With anger arisen he was fighting in his mind with vassals, ministers, et cetera. At that time he, suitable for hell, was honored by you. When you had come here, he thought, ‘Since my weapons are gone, I will kill the enemy with my helmet,’ and with this idea he put his hand on his head. Touching his head from which the hair had been plucked, enlightened, recalling his vow, he censured himself, ‘Shame on the crime that I commenced,’ et cetera. Having confessed and repented, and having resorted to auspicious meditation, he became suitable for Sarvārthasiddha—in reply to your second question.”

Just then a great tumult mixed with the noise of drums of the gods arose near Sādhu Prasannacandra. Śreṇika asked, “Master, what is this?” and the Lord said: “Now his omniscience has developed as he was absorbed in meditation. The gods are holding his omniscience-festival. Their tumult of joy has the sound of drums.” Again King Śreṇika asked, “Blessed One, in whom will this omniscience reach an end in this world?”

At that time Vidyunmālin, a brilliant Sāmānika of Brahmaloka’s Indra, accompanied by four goddesses, came to bow to the Lord. Pointing to him, the Master said, “Omniscience will reach an end in this one.” Again Śreṇika asked, “Is there omniscience in gods?” The Master explained: “After falling on the seventh, day he will become the son of wealthy Ṛṣabhadatta, a resident of your city. He will become a disciple, named Jambū, of my disciple Sudharman. Subsequent to him no one will attain omniscience.” Again the king asked the Lord: “If his fall is near, why is his splendor not dimmed? For gods have little splendor at the end.” The Master said: “Indeed, this god does have dimmed splendor now. Before, his splendor was very great because of former merit.”

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