Queen Trishala Mata and the Fourteen Auspicious Dreams
The fascination with dreams is associated with the connection it has to omens and predictions. In the Jain tradition, dreams have importance in literary, pictorial and religious traditions because they are connected to the Tirthankaras. The most famous dreams in the Jain tradition are the appearance of dreams to woman pregnant with Tirthankara. When a Tirthankar’s soul is conceived, his or her mother has fourteen dreams.
The story of Trishala Mata revolves around the fourteen dreams she had after the conception of her son, Lord Mahavir. It is believed Mahavir’s soul was conceived by a Brahmin lady named Devananda. However, divine powers transferred the fetus to Trishala. After having the dreams, Trishala’s husband, King Siddharth, summoned the scholars of the court and asked them to explain the meaning of the dreams.
The Fourteen Dreams
Her first dream was of an elephant. This massive, impetuous and auspicious creature had four tusks and was gifted with marks of excellence. This dream symbolized the birth of a child with exceptionally good character and indicated her son would save human beings from misery, greed and attraction of life.
Her second dream was of a bull. The bull was noble, grand, had a majestic hump and soft hairs on its body. This dream indicated her son would be a highly religious and spiritual teacher to help cultivate religion.
The third dream was of a magnificent lion including beautiful claws and extremely sharp teeth with perfect lips and glowing eyes. Trishala Mata dreamed of this lion entering her mouth, thus symbolizing her son as powerful and strong as a lion.
The fourth dream showed Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity and power, seated on a lotus. She wore pearls interlaced with emeralds and a garland of gold. This dream signifies her son enjoying great wealth and splendor.
A beautiful garland descended from the sky in Trishala Mata’s fifth dream. The whole universe was filled with the mixed flowers’ fragrance, thus indicating her son’s teaching would spread throughout the universe and would be respected by all.
A full moon appeared in Trishala Mata’s sixth dream. The moon was at its full glory and awoke the lilies to full bloom. This dream indicated the child would lessen the suffering of all living beings, bring peace to the world and help the spiritual progress of humanity.
A bright sun appeared in her seventh dream. The sun shined and destroyed darkness. This dream indicated her son would have supreme knowledge and would dispel the darkness of delusions from the masses.
The eighth dream was of a large flag with a radiant lion pictured on it, flying on a golden stick. This dream indicated her son would carry the banner of religion and would reinstate the religious order throughout the Universe.
The ninth dream was of a golden vase filled with pure water. This dream indicated her son would be perfect in all virtues and be full of compassion for all living beings.
Trishala’s tenth dream was of a lotus lake. Thousands of lotuses were floating on the lake, and they all opened at the touch of the sun’s rays. This dream indicated her son would be beyond worldly attachment and help liberate human beings who were tangled in the cycle of birth, death, and misery.
Her eleventh dream was of the ocean. The water rose in all directions to great heights. This dream indicated her son would escape from life on the ocean of birth, death and misery and will achieve infinite perception and knowledge leading his soul to Moksha.
Her twelfth dream was of a celestial chariot resounding with heavenly music. It was saturated with the intoxicating aroma of incense. This dream indicated all of the Angels in heaven would respect, honor, and salute her son’s spiritual teachings and they would obey him.
A big pile of jewels appeared to Trishala Mata in her thirteenth dream. It was a mixture of all types of gems and precious stones. This dream indicated her son would have infinite virtues and wisdom and he would attain supreme spiritualism.
A smokeless fire burned with great intensity in Trishala Mata’s fourteenth dream. This dream indicated her son would reform and restore religious order. He would remove blind faith and orthodox rituals. Further, he would burn or destroy his karmas and attain salvation.
Digambar Tradition – A slight variation
The dreams detailed above are of the Swetemabar tradition. In the Digambar tradition, there are two main differences. First, the Digambar sect does not believe Lord Mahavir was conceived by Devananda. Second, it is believed Trishala had 16 dreams. The fifteenth dream was of a pair of fish, which suggested her son would be exceptionally handsome. The sixteenth dream was of a throne, which indicated he would have high spiritual status.