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The ideal king, who is divinely ordained to restore temporal dharma by ruling over the entire earth (cakravartikṣetra). The concept seems to have originated in Mauryan times, and is related in the Purāṇas to developing cosmological ideas: the cakravartin appears at certain necessary moments in the cosmic cycle. Bharata, the prototypical Indian king, is certainly regarded as a cakravartin, but rulers within historical times have also aspired to, or claimed the title. A future cakravartin is said to be born with a long list of auspicious and infallible signs, such as webbed fingers and cakras (1) on the palms of his hands, all of which are supposed to denote physical and spiritual perfection. For the Buddhists and Jains, the cakravartin is the temporal equivalent of a Buddha or a tīrthaṅkara.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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