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Jaina Sutras, Part II (SBE45), tr. by Hermann Jacobi, [1895], at


I shall now truly tell you another kind of perpetual suffering, how the sinners who have committed crimes suffer for the deeds they have done in their former lives. (1)

Tying their hands and feet the (punishers) cut open their belly with razors and knives; taking hold of the mangled body of the sinner, they forcibly tear the skin off his back. (2)

They cut off his arms at the armpits; they force his mouth wide open and scald it; they yoke the sinner to a car and drive him, and growing angry 1 they pierce his back with a goad. (3)

The (sinners) walk over ground burning and glowing like red-hot iron; scorched they shriek horribly, being urged on with arrows 2 and put to a red-hot yoke. (4)

The sinners are driven over slippery ground which is like a road of red-hot iron; in this dreadful place (the ministers of hell) make them go forward like slaves (beating them) with sticks. (5)

Proceeding in this intolerable (hell) they are crushed by rocks tumbling down. There is the

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[paragraph continues] (caldron) Santâpanî 1, where evildoers suffer for a long time. (6)

They throw the sinners into caldrons and boil them; scalded they rise thence again; devilish crows 2 feed on them and (so do) other beasts having claws devour them. (7)

There is a place of smokeless fire in the form of a pile 3 where (the sinners) greatly distressed shriek horribly; head downwards they are lacerated and cut into pieces with iron knives. (8)

Tied up and skinned they are devoured by steel-nebbed birds; it is the hell called Samgîvanî, where life is long, and where men of an evil mind are tortured. (9)

The (punishers) pierce them with sharp pikes as people do with a captured pig. Transfixed by a pike the (sinners) shriek horribly; suffering both (bodily and mentally) they feel nothing but pains. (10)

There is a great place always on fire, where fires burn without fuel; there for a long time stay the evildoers shrieking aloud. (11)

Setting on fire large piles, they thrust into them (a sinner) who will cry horribly; as butter thrown in the fire melts, so does the evildoer there. (12)

And there is an always crowded, hot place which one deserves for one's great sins, and which is full of misery. There (the punishers) tie (the sinner's)

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hands and feet, and belabour him with sticks like an enemy. (13)

They break the sinner's back with a weapon, and smash his skull with iron clubs; their bodies are split and sawn like a plank; and tortured with red-hot awls (the sinners) are subjected (to cruelties). (14)

Cruel evildoers 1, urged on with arrows, and put to work (by the punishers), carry burdens in the way of elephants; two or three (punishers) get on one (victim) and growing angry 2 hurt his vital parts. (15)

The sinners are driven over the large, slippery, and thorny ground; tightly bound with straps 3 they lose their senses; the revenging (punishers) cut them into pieces 4, and throw them about like a bali-sacrifice. (16)

There is a dreadful mountain towering high up in the air, called Vaitâlika 5, where the evildoers are tortured for more than a thousand hours. (17)

Tortured, the sinners shriek, suffering day and night; in this horrid, great hell, which is full of implements of torture, they are put to a cruel death. (18)

Full of wrath, like their enemies in a former life,

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[paragraph continues] (the punishers) crush them with hammers and clubs. With mangled bodies, and vomiting blood, they fall to the ground, head foremost. (19)

There are the ever hungry 1, savage, always wrathful, great jackals by whom the evildoers bound with shackles are devoured. (20)

There is the dreadful, slimy river, which is always flowing and full of molten iron; in this very dreadful river (the sinners) must descend one by one 2. (21)

These pains are suffered without interruption by the sinner who stays there for a long time. There is no escape from the torture; he must, himself and alone, suffer the pains. (22)

Whatever cruelty he has done in a former birth, the same will be inflicted on him in the Circle of Births. Having been born in an extremely miserable state of life, the sufferer experiences infinite pain. (23)

A wise man hearing of these hells should not kill any living being in the whole world; believing in true doctrines and renouncing all property he should know the world, but not become a slave to it. (24)

Knowing the endless Circle of Births 3 with regard to animals, men, and gods, and the reward they will get; knowing all this, (a wise man) should wait for his decease, practising meanwhile self-control. (25)

Thus I say.


283:1 Ârussa = ârushya, here and in a similar passage (verse 15) the commentators explain it, 'making him angry, exasperating him.' They have misunderstood rahamsi in the second line, rendering it rahasi; it is of course = rathê.

283:2 Usu = ishu, explained by âravisêsha a kind of awl.'

284:1 Or, it is (the hell) called Santâpanî. My translation in the text agrees with Sîlâṅka's interpretation.

284:2 Compare Uttarâdhyayana XIX, 58, p. 95.

284:3 Samûsiyam nâma. This might also be rendered, 'called Samukkhrita.' But the commentators do not take samûsiya for a proper name.

285:1 Ruddaasâhukammî = raudra-asâdhu-karmânah. Sîlâṅka thinks that the ministers of hell are meant; but then the verse will not construe.

285:2 See note on verse 3.

285:3 Vivaddhatappêhim, in a marginal gloss, explained: baddhvâ karmabandhanaih. But it might also be vivriddhatâpaih under increased tortures.'

285:4 Kotta = kutayitvâ.

285:5 Vêtâliya. The commentators render it vaikriya 'produced by magic,' and moreover explain the word as an epithet, not as a proper name.

286:1 Anâsiyâ, anasitâh. This might also be taken as the name of the jackals.

286:2 Êgâyatâ, explained êkakinah.

286:3 Kauranta.

Next: Book 1, Lecture 6: Praise Of Mahâvîra