Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Continuation of Abhaya and Pradyota story which is the fourth part of chapter XI 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 4: Continuation of Abhaya and Pradyota story

One day a fire raged unchecked in Avantī. Abhaya, asked by Pradyota for a remedy for it, said: “Just as poison is a remedy for poison, so fire alone is a remedy for fire. So, have another fire made, in order that the fire may go out.” The king did so and the fire was extinguished; so he gave a third boon which Abhaya kept in reserve.

At one time a great epidemic broke out in Ujjayinī and Abhaya, questioned by the king in regard to its extinction, said: “Have all the queens fully arrayed come into the assembly-hall. Report to me who overcomes you by her glance.” The king did as he said. The other queens were overcome by the king’s glance, but the king was overcome by Queen Śivā’s. This was reported to Abhaya who said: “Have the chief-queen Śivā herself worship the ghouls at night with an offering of boiled rice. The queen herself must throw the offering of boiled rice into the mouth of any ghoul whatever that stands up or sits down in the form of a female jackal.” Śivā did this and there was a cessation of the epidemic. The king gave a fourth boon and Abhaya made the following request:

“I, seated on the lap of Śivā on Nalagiri with you as elephant-driver, wish to enter a funeral-pyre made from the wood of the chariot Agnibhiru.” Then Pradyota, depressed because he was unable to grant the boon, dismissed the son of the lord of Magadha, making the aṭjali. Abhaya made the assertion: “I was led here by you by a trick: I am the man who will lead you shrieking through the city by day.” Then Abhayakumāra went gradually somehow or other to the city Rājagṛha and, clever, remained there for some time.

Then Abhaya went with two beautiful courtesans to Avantī in the guise of a trader and took a house on the king’s highway. As he went along the road, Pradyota saw the girls who looked at him with amorous gestures. So, after he had gone home, infatuated Pradyota sent a go-between to make entreaties, whom they angrily repelled. On the second day, the go-between made entreaties on behalf of the king, and was rejected by them angrily, (but) slowly. On the third day, urged by her coming undiscouraged, they said:

“Our brother, who is very moral, watches us, (but) on the seventh day from now, when he has gone out, the king may come here and a secret meeting will take place.”

Abhaya pretended that one of his own men, who resembled Pradyota, was crazy; and his name was also Pradyota. “This man, my brother, wanders here and there in this condition and I must guard him. Alas, what can I do?” he said to the people. Under pretext of taking him to a doctor’s house, Abhaya led him outside daily confined to a bed as if ill, and crying out. The madman, while he was being conducted by Abhaya, cried out at the cross-roads, his face streaming with tears,” I, Pradyota, have been seized by that man.” On the seventh day, the king went there secretly and alone. Blind from love, he was bound by Abhaya’s men, like an elephant. “I am taking him to the doctor’s house,” Abhaya said, and he, crying out, was taken with the bed through the city by day. Fearless Abhaya took Pradyota to Rājagṛha by chariots with good horses which had been sent ahead at each kos. Then Abhaya led Pradyota to King Śreṇika who drew his sword and ran towards him. However, enlightened by Abhayakumāra, the king of Magadha joyfully dismissed Pradyota, honoring him with clothes and jewelry.

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