Defense of Prasenajit

Parsva, playing in a playhouse, heard the sound of the drum and the noise of the soldiers assembling at that time. Saying, “What is this?” Parsva, perplexed, went to his father’s side and he saw the generals ready for battle coming there. After bowing to his father, the prince said decisively: “Has a demon, a Yaksa, a Raksasa, or someone else trans­gressed? On account of which there is this exertion of the father himself, powerful? I do not see anyone your equal or your superior.”
Pointing to Purusottama, Asvasena said, “King Prasenajit must be protected from King Yavana.” Again the prince said: “Compared with the father there is no god nor asura in battle. Of what importance is this King Yavana in the matter? Enough of the father’s going. I shall go myself. I shall at once give a lesson to him who does not know (his own) strength.”
Asvasena said: “Son, my mind is pleased by your festival of sport, not by injurious battle-marches, et-cetera. I know the strength of arm, capable of conquering the three worlds, of my own son, but my delight is in you playing in the house.”
Parsvanatha replied: “This is play for me, father. There is no measure* of effort in it. So let Your Honor remain right here.”
At his son’s insistence like this, knowing his strength of arm, he agreed to that speech devoid of anything objectionable. Dismissed by his father, Sri Parsva, mounted on an elephant*, followed by Purusottamas, set out at an auspicious* moment from the festival. When the lord had gone one day’s march, Sakra’s charioteer came, bowed, got down from his chariot and said with folded hands:
“Indra, knowing that you wish to fight for sport, master, sent a battle-chariot with me as a charioteer. He knows that the three worlds are like straw compared with the master’s strength. Nevertheless, Sakras shows his devotion to you at the right time.”
As a favor to Sakra, the Master got into the great chariot filled with various weapons*, which did not touch the surface of the ground. Sri Parsvanatha advanced, hymned by the Vidyadharas, with the chariot going through the air, with great splendor like the sun. The Lord’s army, skilled in battle, adorned with soldiers looking up to see the Master again and again, followed on the ground. The Master, able to go in a moment, alone competent for victory, went with short marches at his soldiers request. In some days he reached Kusasthala and then camped in a seven-storied palace made by the gods in a garden.
“This is the custom of warriors,” the Lord, impelled by compassion, sent an intelligent messenger with instructions to Yavana. He went to Yavana and said eloquently from the Master’s power: “Prince Srimat Parsva instructs you by my mouth: ‘King Prasenajit, who has sought protection from my father, must be freed from the siege and hostility by you now, O king. I, after restraining with difficulty my father who had started, have come to this country merely for that reason. Return to your own place. Submit at once. This transgression* of yours can be tolerated only if you go away.’ “
Yavana, his brow terrible from frowns, said: “Messenger, why do you say this! Do you not know me? Who is this boy Parsva who has come here for battle from a caprice? Who is the old man Asvasena who started first? Both of them and other kings, their partisans what do they amount to? Therefore, go! Let Parsva go also with the desire for his own welfare. You are not to be killed because you are a messenger, though saying harsh things. Escaping alive, go and tell everything to your master.”
Again the messenger said: “The lord sent me to enlighten you from compassion, not from weakness, evil-minded man. As the lord wishes to protect the King of Kusasthala, likewise he does not wish to kill you, if you obey his command, sir! Breaking the master’s command, unbroken even in heaven, you die yourself, like a stupid moth touching a bright fire. On the one hand, a fire-fly; on the other, a sun lighting up the whole universe. On the one hand, you are a mere king; on the other, Parsva, the lord of three worlds.”
Yavana’s soldiers, their weapons* raised, rose up angrily and said defiantly to the messenger saying this: “Is there some hostility of yours toward your own master that you make this threat, villain? You are well-skilled in stratagem, wretch! “While they were talking in this way and wishing to kill him from anger, an old minister said in contemptuous and harsh words: “He is not an enemy of his master, but you are an enemy (of yours) who thus cause injury to your lord from your own desire. To cross the command of Parsvanatha, lord of the universe, is not for your welfare, fools, to say nothing of killing his messenger. The master is thrown at once into a thicket of evil by such servants like untamed horses that have dragged him along. Messengers of other kings have been attacked before by you. In those cases it turned out well for you, for our lord was stronger than they. What is this quarrel

of our lord, caused by badly-behaved worms of men, with one of whom the sixty-four Indras are servants! “
All the soldiers, reprimanded in this way, terrified, became quiet. Taking the messenger by the hand, the minister spoke with conciliation.”What these men, who make their living by arms alone, said to you from ignorance, you must pardon. You are a wise servant, for ocean of tolerance. We shall follow you ourselves to take the honored Parsva’s commands on our head. Do not tell such a thing to your lord.” After informing the messenger to this effect and entertaining him, he dismissed him.
Desiring his welfare, he said earnestly to his own lord: “Master, was this, which has evil consequences, done after reflection? (But) even by so much there is not ruin. Resort to Parsvanatha whose birth-rites goddesses performed, whose nurse-duties goddesses discharged, whose birth-bath the Indras and gods gave. What is this inclination of yours for a quarrel with him, of whom gods and asuras with the Indras are footmen, like that of a goat with an elephant*? Here Garuda, there a raven; here Meru, there a mustard-seed; here the serpent Sesa, there a heron-snake; here Parsva, there such as you, As soon as you are allowed by the people, then with desire for your own good tie an axe to your neck and approach Asvasena’s son. Accept the rule of Parsva Swamin, ruler of the world. The ones who are under his rule are fearless in this world and the next.”
After reflection Yavana said: “I have been well enlightened by you. I, stupid, have been saved from this evil, like a blind man from a well.” With these words, Yavana tied an axe to his neck and with his retinue went to the garden adorned with Sri Parsva Syamin. Yavana was extremely astonished when he saw his army adorned with seven lacs (of soldiers) resembling horses of the sun; with bhadra elephants by the thousand resembling elephants of Mahendra; with chariots like aerial cars of the gods; with foot-soldiers like Khecaras.
Being watched at every step by the soldiers with astonishment and scorn, gradually Yavana arrived at the door of the Master’s palace. He was announced by the door-keeper and, admitted to the council, bowed from a distance to the lord like the sun. The axe on his neck being removed by the master, Yavana bowed again, approached before him, and said, his hands folded respectfully:
“Compared with him, whose commands all the Indras execute, what am I a worm of a man, a heap of straw before a fire! Showing compassion, just now you gave me orders by sending a messenger. Why am I not reduced to ashes merely by your frown? This rude behavior of mine has become a virtue, master, since I have seen you purifying the three worlds. How can I say, ‘Pardon,’ when there is no anger on your part? To say, ‘I give,’ to you, yourself lord of the house, is not suitable. ‘I am your servant,’ is a poor speech to you who are served by Indras. What sort of speech is, ‘Give freedom from fear*,’ to the bestower of fearlessness himself? Nevertheless, from ignorance I say, ‘Be gracious. Take my wealth. I am your servant. Bestow freedom from fear on me, terrified, lord.’”

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