Jātakamālā or Garland of Birth Stories

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31. The Story of Sutasoma (Satsaṁga)
(Compare the Pāli Jātaka, No. 537, Fausböll V, 456-511, and Cariyāpiṭaka III, 12) Compare Professor Kern's interesting paper on the Old-Javanese poem Sutasoma in the Verslagen en Mededeelingen der Kon. Akademie van Wetenschappen afd. Letterkunde, 3de Reeks, dl. V. pp. 8-43, especially note on p. 21. This Javanese poem, composed by Tantular, a manuscript of which belongs to the Leiden University Library, is based on some unknown work named Bauddhakāvya, not mentioned in Bunyiu Nanjio's Catalogue.01

Meeting with a virtuous person, in whatever way it may have been occasioned, promotes salvation. Thus considering, he who longs for salvation must strive after intercourse with virtuous persons. This will be taught as follows.

In the time when our Lord was a Bodhisattva, he happened to be born, it is said, in the illustrious royal family of the Kauravas, that dynasty wide-famed for its glory, who owing to their intentness on possessing [292] virtues, possessed the deep-rooted affection of their subjects, and the splendour of whose power had put their proud neighbours to vassalage. His father gave him the name of Sutasoma, for he looked as lovely as Soma (the Moon-god), his face being irradiated by the nimbus of his hundreds of virtues. Like the moon in the bright half of the month, his loveliness and grace increased every day.

Having in course of time attained skill in the Vedas with their Aṅgas and in the Upavedas, and having been also initiated in the worldly arts and sciences (kalās), including the additional ones (uttarakalās), he became an object of esteem and love to his people and might be called a kinsman of virtues, so to speak. For he was inclined to be a decided helper of virtues, So elsewhere the pious are called 'partisans of virtue’ (guṇapakṣapātinaḥ). See, for instance, Story 7, stanza 31. 02 his regard for them was ever increasing, and he kept himself under restraint to preserve them carefully.

1, 2. Good conduct (śīla), learning, charity, mercy, self-control, splendour, forbearance, wisdom, patience, humility, modesty, shame, judgment, loveliness, renown, civility, retentiveness, strength, pureness of mind, these and such were the excellent properties which dwelt with him.

Embellished by his youth, as it were, and deriving an additional charm from the holiness and loftiness of his person, they were like his constituent parts, as the (sixteen) kalās of the moon. The exactness of the comparison would appear more, if the number of virtues of young Sutasoma were also sixteen. But I count nineteen. 03

And for this reason the king, his father, raised him to the illustrious rank of heir-apparent, judging him the proper person for ruling his subjects, for he knew his high aspirations and the holiness of his nature.

3. But as he was fond of learning, he was a great lover of religious sentences well-turned, and paid the most distinguished reward to those who attended him with well-said sentences.

Once it was the season of spring, and the power of [293] the month of flowers had decorated the suburban parks. The young offshoots of shrubs and trees overspread them with a soft brilliancy; the opening flowers gave them a charming and laughing aspect; fresh grass-plots, like smooth woollen carpets, extended all around over their grounds; their water-basins with unstained and blue water were covered with the petals of lotuses white and blue; the humming noise of numbers of roaming bees was heard in them; crowds of bold cuckoos and peacocks showed themselves; and breezes, agreeable by their mildness, fragrancy, and coolness, blew over them. The splendour of those gardens roused gladness in the minds of men. So the High-minded One, walking about escorted by a small body of guards, went out to one of those pleasure-grounds in order to divert himself.

4. Its groves resounded with the chants of the he-cuckoo; its various trees were bending under the weight of their flowers; and the grace of the gardens was enhanced by their charming arbours, artfully arranged. Rambling through his groves in the company of his wives, he resembled one enjoying the fruit of his merit in Nandana.

5. There he delighted in the songs of the females blending with the soft tones of musical instruments, in their dances charmingly executed with exciting coquetry and graceful Professor Kern writes to me, that lulita in the printed text ought to be changed into lalita, the reading of the MSS. 04 gesticulation, in their brilliant amorous play in consequence of their excitement by liquors, but no less in the loveliness of the forest.

Now, while he was staying there, a certain Brāhman who professed to be a speaker of well-said sentences, called on him. After being received with due respect, he sat down in that place, absorbed in the contemplation of the prince's beautiful figure. So the Great Being, though he was enjoying at that time the sport allowed to his age and fallen to his share as the effect of the power of his rich store of merit, [294] was nevertheless filled with great regard for that Brāhman.

Before the Brāhman could reap the profit of his coming by reciting some well-turned sentences, there suddenly arose a confused noise, checking the sounds of song and music, destroying the merriment of the company engaged in playful occupation, and rousing fear and anxiety in the females. On hearing this uproar, he kindly bade the guardians of his harem inquire about the matter.

Then his doorkeepers hastily went to him, alarmed and with saddened faces expressive of their fear and anxiety. They reported to him: “Your Majesty, this is the man-eater Kalmāṣapāda, the son of Sudāsa, the cruel disposition of whose mind exceeds even that of the Rākṣasas. It is he, who, as if he were an incarnation of the God of Death, is in the habit of destroying hundreds of men. Looking terrible and dreadful like a Rakṣas, that embodied Terror of the World, so to speak, of superhuman strength, vigour, and insolence is coming up to this very place. Our guards are dispersed. Terror has devoured the courage of the warriors, consternation has dissolved their ranks, and put also the chariots, horse, and elephants into disorder. Therefore Your Majesty must be on your guard for your defence, or reflect on the proper measures to be taken.”

Then Sutasoma, though knowing it well, asked them: “Who is that man whom you call the son of Sudāsa?” And they said to him: “Is it then unknown to Your Majesty that there was a king of the name, who having gone out a-hunting, carried away by his horse penetrated into the very heart of the forest? There he cohabited with a lioness, who having become pregnant, after some time was delivered of a male human child. Some foresters took up that boy, and brought him to Sudāsa, who being childless, brought him up as his son, and when he passed away to the city of the Celestials, In other words, 'when he died.’05 left him as his successor. So he came to the possession of his legitimate royal dignity, but by the fault of his [295] maternal origin he was fond of raw flesh. Once having tasted human flesh and liking its relish surpassing any other flesh, he commenced to kill and eat the very inhabitants of his capital. Then the townsmen prepared to put him to death. The son of Sudāsa, being afraid of them, made this promise to the goblins who are wont to enjoy offerings of human flesh and blood: ‘If I am saved from this peril, I will perform a sacrifice of one hundred royal princes to the goblins.’ So he was saved from that peril of his life. And now he carried off by force many, many royal princes, and he is also come here in order to carry away Upahartum is of course a misprint for apahartum.06 Your Majesty, too. You have heard the matter; we await your orders, Your Majesty.”

Now the Bodhisattva, who was formerly aware of the aberration of mind of the son of Sudāsa and his wicked behaviour, felt compassion for him. So he set his mind on the design of curing him; and since he trusted himself to possess the qualities adapted to the extinction of the monstrous abnormality of his conduct, the information about Sudāsa's son drawing near, like welcome news, made him feel the sense of gladness. And, indeed, he spoke in this manner:

6. “This man who, dispossessed from his royalty because of his fondness for human flesh, acts like a madman utterly unable to govern himself, having left his royal duties and destroyed his (former) good repute and merit, such a person, I suppose, is in a state deserving commiseration.

7. This being so, what opportunity is there for me to use force now, or what room for alarm and fear from the side of such a one? Rather will I utterly destroy his wickedness without employing effort, violence, and force.

8. And now this man who would deserve commiseration from my side, if even he went away from me, comes himself to the place where I am staying. For this reason it befits me to show him hospitality. [296] For it is in this way that the virtuous act towards guests.

Therefore, it suffices that each of you mind his ordinary duty.” So he instructed the guard of his harem. And turning to his female life-guards, who with eyes great and bewildered with anxiety and with throats almost choked by agitation, prepared to bar the way of the monster, he made them desist from that purpose, addressing them with comforting words, and went forward in the direction of that alarming noise.

And he saw his royal army dispersed and in flight, pursued by the son of Sudāsa, whose appearance was dreadful. His soiled garments, loosely kept together with a girdle, hung around his body; his hair dressed with a diadem of bark and coarse with dust, was dishevelled and hanging down his face wholly covered with a thick, rugged beard which lay upon it like darkness; his eyes rolling with wrath and anger looked tremendous; he brandished his sword and shield.

The prince fearless and free from anxiety, called out to him: “Hallo, here I am, I, Sutasoma. Turn to me. Why are you troubling yourself to assail those poor people?” These words of challenge stirred the pride of the son of Sudāsa, and turning from thence like a lion, he perceived the Bodhisattva (waiting for him) alone, unarmed, and placidly looking according to his nature. On seeing him he exclaimed, “You are the very man I am seeking,” and at once without delay went hastily and with impetuosity to him, and placing him on his shoulder ran off. And the Bodhisattva, considering with solicitude that his mind was still troubled with agitation, and his heart infatuated by wrath and arrogance kindled by the insolence of his rejoicing at the royal forces put to flight, thought it was no proper time now for admonition, and persisted in his attitude of unconcern.

On the other hand, the son of Sudāsa having obtained his wish and thinking to have made a capture of importance, entered much rejoiced the stronghold where he had his residence. [297]

9, 10. That unholy dwelling, when appearing from afar to the eyes of the travellers, caused them to be frozen with horror; for it offered an aspect as dreadful as the dancing-place of giants and spectres. In other words, 'as dreadful as a cemetery'07

It was encumbered with corpses of slain men, and wet with blood horribly moistening its ground; it seemed to threaten every one (approaching) with the cries of jackals roaring there most inauspiciously; and the trees standing on its area, exposed to the discolouring smoke of many funeral piles, bore dark-red leaves, the ferocious abode of vultures and crows.

Having set down the Bodhisattva in that place, he took his rest for a while, his eyes intently fixed on the face of his victim, charmed as he was by his exceeding beauty. Meanwhile the Bodhisattva remembered that poor Brāhman who had come to him in order to get some present for his sentences, whom he had not yet paid the due honour, and who must still be waiting for his return to the gardens with hope in his heart. And this thought entered in his mind: “Alas! ho!

11. That Brāhman came to me from afar, bringing to me the present of his sentences and filled with hope. What will he do now on hearing of my capture?

12. Afflicted with a burning sorrow on account of the destruction of his hope, and vexed with fatigue felt the keener because of his despair, he will either sigh, commiserating my fate, or chide his own destiny.”

While the Great Being was reflecting in this manner, and his mind accustomed to commiserate (the sufferings of others) was sore with grief on account of that Brāhman, tears welled up in his eyes. The son of Sudāsa, seeing those tears, began to laugh aloud, and said: “Do leave off.

13. You are renowned for your wisdom proved by many different virtues. But having come into my power, you too shed tears!

Verily, this is a true saying: [298]

14. In calamities constancy has no effect, and in sorrow learning is of no use. No being is to be found, indeed, who does not shake, when stricken.

Therefore, tell me the truth.

15. Do you bewail your life dear to yourself, or your wealth, the instrument of pleasures, or your relations, or perhaps your royal rank? Or is it the recollection of your father who loves his son so much, or that of your own children who now weep for you, which makes these tears burst from your eyes?”

The Bodhisattva said:

16. “It is not the thought either of my life or my parents, children, relatives, and wives, or the recolllection of the pleasures of royalty, that moves me to tears; but some Brāhman who came to me hopeful, relying on the well-said sentences he brings with him. Forsooth, hearing that I have been carried off, he must grieve with despair. This I remembered, and hence my eyes are wet with tears.

17. For this reason you ought to let me go in order that I may refresh the heart of that Brāhman, now distressed with the grief of disappointment, pouring on it the water of honourable reward, and on the other hand, that I may take from him the honey of sentences he offers me.

18. After thus paying my debt to that Brāhman, I will come back to you again, that I may be also free from debt with respect to you, and afford gladness to your eyes beholding me returning here.

19. Do not, however, suspect me, troubling your mind with the thought this may be some contrivance of mine to go off. Men like me, O king, follow a way different from that on which other people are wont to walk.”

The son of Sudāsa spoke:

20. “What you say, as if it were something worth regard, is a thing which utterly exceeds belief. Who, indeed, being released from the mouth of Death and having recovered his freedom of movement, would go to meet it once more? [299]

21. If, having passed the danger of death hard to overcome, you are in safety in your brilliant palace, say, what reason does there exist that should induce you to come back here to me?”

The Bodhisattva spoke: “How? Does Your Honour not understand the motive of my returning here, though it is a strong one, to be sure? Have I not promised to come back? For this reason, do not suspect me any longer, taking me for an equal of the villain. Am I not Sutasoma?

22. It is true that some, out of cupidity and fear of death, leave veracity, as if it were a straw. But to the virtuous veracity is their property and life; therefore they do not give it up even in distress.

23. Neither life nor the pleasures of this world will preserve from mishap him who has fallen from veracity. Who, then, would leave veracity for the sake of these objects? that virtue which is a rich mine of praise, glory, and happiness?

24. Nevertheless, in a person who is seen walking on the road of sin or in whom there does not appear any effort to lead a holy life, a pious behaviour becomes a matter of disbelief. Now, what of the kind did you perceive in my person that you should suspect even me?

25. If I had really been afraid of you, or if my mind had been attached to pleasures, or my heart were devoid of compassion, do you not think I should have met an adversary so famous for his ferocity as you, in full armour and prepared to fight, as becomes one proud of his valour?

26. But it may be that I did even desire that conversation with you. Why, after satisfying the labour of that Brāhman, I will come back to you of my own accord. Persons like me, in truth, do not utter an untruth.”

Now these words of the Bodhisattva irritated the son of Sudāsa, as if they spoke of something fanciful, and he entered upon this reflection: “Verily, he does greatly boast of his veracity and righteous behaviour. [300] Well then, I will see them, both his attachment to truth and his love of righteousness. What matters his loss to me, after all? I have already my full number of one hundred royal princes whom I subdued by the overwhelming strength of my arm; with them I may perform my sacrifice to the goblins according to my desire.”

After thus considering, he said to the Bodhisattva: “Well then, go. We wish to see your faithfulness in keeping your promise and your righteousness.

27. Go, and having done for that Brāhman what he longs for, return soon; meanwhile I will dress your funeral pile.”

And the Bodhisattva promised him he would do so. Then he set out for his palace, where he was welcomed by his household. Having sent for that Brāhman, he learnt from him a tetrad of gāthās. The Great Being, to whom the hearing of those well-said sentences procured an intense gladness, praised the Brāhman with kind words and marks of honour, and valuing each gāthā at the rate of one thousand (pieces of gold), rewarded him with the wealth so much desired for.

Now his father, intending to avert him from expenses out of place and extravagant, availed himself of this opportunity, and admonished his son in friendly terms. “My dear,” he said, “when you reward well-said sentences, you should know the limit, should you not? You have to maintain a large retinue; besides, the splendour of kings depends on the affluence of their treasury. For this reason I tell you this.

28. Rewarding a well-said sentence with one hundred is very high estimation. It is not fit to exceed this limit. If a man, however wealthy, be too liberal, he will never retain the splendour of his riches for long.

29. Wealth is the chief instrument of success and an effective one; for no pleasure is attainable in defiance of Wealth. Fortune, indeed, like a harlot, disregards a king who lacks an abundant treasury.”

The Bodhisattva spoke:

30. “If it were at all possible to settle a limit to the value of well-said sentences, Your Majesty, I would not incur your reprehension, to be sure, if I were to give up even my royal rank to purchase them.

31. Verily, such sayings by hearing which a man gains placidity of mind, his love for salvation is strengthened, and the darkness (of ignorance) disappears (from his intellect) by the increase of his wisdom - ought they not to be bought even at the price of one's own flesh?

32, 33. Holy texts are a light which destroys the darkness of delusion (moha); they are the highest wealth, a wealth beyond the reach of thieves and the rest; Compare note to story III, stanza 21.08 the weapon to hurt that enemy whose name is infatuation; the best counsellor and adviser as to a man's course of conduct; an unalterable friend even in time of distress; the painless medicine of the disease called sorrow; a mighty army strong enough to crush the army of vices; the highest treasure of glory and bliss.

34-37. Moreover, the splendid possession of holy texts (Śruti) is also the principal cause of eloquent speech. When meeting with virtuous persons, this possession affords the opportunity of making a present of great value; in the assemblies it conciliates the favour of the learned; in disputes and controversies it casts its light like the sun, and destroys the arrogance and fame of envious adversaries.

Its superiority is exhibited by the expression of delight and the high colour in the eyes and on the faces of even common people, when they are enraptured with ecstasy and applaud by clapping of hands. Further it enables its possessor to demonstrate a matter with plain argument and in a graceful way, owing to his quotations from manifold treatises and sacred books.

By its softness, its culture, and its loveliness, eloquence may be compared to a string of unfaded garlands or to the blazing [302] lustre of a tempered lamp I read vinītadīpapratibhojjvalasya.09 and (finally) it forcibly gains glory for its owner. So making use of sacred texts is a pleasant way to success.

38. And those who have heard them will betake themselves to the road leading to the threefold prosperity, and free of obstructing vices; and conforming their behaviour to the precepts imported by those texts, and making it excellent, they will easily cross the dangerous passage through existences.

39. For so many excellent properties holy texts are famous. Now then, having got them like a present, how should I, being able to reward the giver of them, not honour him in return? Or, (on the other hand,) how should I transgress your order?

40. I will go, therefore, to the son of Sudāsa. I do not want either the toil of royalty or that other anxiety I should incur by following the way of wickedness, if I were to transgress my duty of keeping my engagement to come back.”

These words alarmed his father, who moved by his affection replied with earnest entreaty: “Verily, it is but for your good, my dear, that I spoke so. You must not take offence at it, will you? May your enemies come into the power of the son of Sudāsa! In fact, you made him the promise to return to him, and for this reason you, being wont to keep your faith, wish to accomplish your promise. Nevertheless, I will not allow it. No sin is incurred, truly, by following the way of untruth if one may thereby save one's own life and also for the sake of one's parents and other venerable persons. Why should you exert yourself to avoid this precept, which is prescribed by the Veda? Besides, those who are skilled in the science of politics proclaim the attachment to righteousness (dharma) in such cases as where it evidently causes damage to material interests (artha) and pleasures (kāma), to be mismanagement and an evil habit in kings.

No more, then, of that determination, wherewith you grieve my [303] heart and disregard your own interest. But you will object, my dear, that acting thus is dishonourable and in contradiction to righteousness, and that it is for this reason you cannot decide to break your promise, having never been accustomed to do anything like this.

Yet, why should you break your promise? Here I have an army of footmen, chariots, horse, and elephants, prepared for war, and ready to march to your rescue. They make up an excellent body of warriors attached to your person, yea, a legion of heroes skilled in arms and having distinguished themselves in many battles. In short, these forces are dreadful, like a violent stream of water. Well, come to him, surrounded by that army, and bring him either to submission or to death. In this manner you will have fulfilled your promise and at the same time saved your life.”

The Bodhisattva replied: “I am not able to promise one thing, Your Majesty, and perform another; nor can I strike at such people as deserve pity, who being immersed in the mud of wicked habits and moving in the direction of Hell, and whom I reckon my friends after their relations have abandoned them and there is nobody to protect them. Moreover,

41. That man-eater performed for me something generous and difficult to be done (by others), since he dismissed me out of his power, relying on my faith.

42. So it is thanks to him that I got those holy stanzas, father. For this reason he is my benefactor, and is especially entitled to be an object of my commiseration.

Cease also to be afraid of any misfortune threatening me, Your Majesty. How should he be capable of injuring me when I come back to him, as I went?”

So speaking the High-minded One persuaded his father to give him leave. Then declining the entreaties of his friends and his faithful army, who were eager to prevent his going away, he set out for the dwelling of the son of Sudāsa, alone and free from fear and sadness, for he was keeping his faith, and marched with the aim of softening his heart, to the happiness of men. [304]

As soon as the son of Sudāsa saw the Great Being approaching from afar, he became exceedingly astonished, and his esteem and liking for him increased. Not even his cruelty, however long practised and deep-rooted in his defiled mind, could prevent him from entering, indeed, upon a thought like this: “Ah! Ah!!!

43. This is the wonder of wonders, to be sure, the marvel of marvels! That prince's lofty veracity exceeds all that may be expected of men and deities!

44. To me, a person as cruel-natured as Death, he comes back of himself, subduing fear and anxiety! Ah! What a constancy! Bravo for his veracity!

45. Justly, indeed, the renown of his truth-speaking is wide-spread, as he now gave up his life and royal state to keep his faith!”

While he was thus affected with amazement and admiration, the Bodhisattva drew near, saying:

46. “I have obtained that treasure of well-said sentences, I have rewarded the indigent man who presented me with it, and gladness has been procured to my mind, thanks to you. Now I am back here. Eat me, if such is your desire, or use me as a victim at your sacrifice.”

The son of Sudāsa spoke:

47. “I am not in a hurry to eat you; moreover, this funeral pile is still smoky, and flesh gets its proper relish only when roasted on a smokeless fire. Let us hear meanwhile these well-said sentences.”

The Bodhisattva replied: “Of what use is it to you, in such a state, to listen to holy sentences?

48. You adopted this mode of living merciless to your subjects for the sake of your belly. Now these stanzas praise righteousness. Righteousness does not go together with injustice.

49. Following the wicked manner of life of Rākṣasas and having left the way of the pious In other words, 'having transgressed the precepts of morality.’ Instead of saṁtyaktārthapathasya, I read saṁtyaktāryapathasya. 10 you do [305] not possess faith, still less righteousness. What will you do with holy texts?”

This contempt roused the impatience of the son of Sudāsa. He answered: “Do not speak so, sir.

50. Where is that king, say, who does not kill with his bent bow in his park the mates of the hinds of the forest? If I in a similar way kill men for my livelihood, I am the unjust one, so it is said, not those killers of deer!”

The Bodhisattva spoke:

51. “Neither do those stand on the ground of righteousness, whose bent bows are directed against the frightened and fleeing deer. But by far more reprehensible than those is a man-eater. Human beings, indeed, occupy by their birth the highest place (in the scale of creatures), and are not allowed to serve as food.”

Now, though the Bodhisattva had spoken very harsh words to the son of Sudāsa, the friendliness of his nature exercised such a power that it outweighed the ferocious nature of the man-eater. So he quietly heard this reproof, only he laughed aloud at it, then he spoke: “Say, Sutasoma.

52. After being released by me and having reached your home and lovely residence resplendent with the lustre of royalty, you came back to me. For this reason you are not skilled in political wisdom, I suppose.”

The Bodhisattva said: “You are wrong. On the contrary, I am skilled in political wisdom, and therefore I do not put it into effect.

53. What, in truth, is the worth of skill in an art, resorting to which brings about the certain fall from righteousness without bringing about happiness?

Moreover, I tell you,

54. Those who are wise in directing their actions along the way of political wisdom, commonly get into calamities after death. Therefore I put aside the winding paths of artful politics and keeping my faith, came back. [306]

55. Also by this I show it is I who am skilled in politics, that, leaving untruth, I delight in veracity. For no action is declared by competent judges in the science of politics to be well-managed which is not attended by good reputation, satisfaction, and interest.”

The son of Sudāsa spoke:

56. “What is that interest you perceive to be attained by holding on veracity, that giving up your own dear life, your relations who shed tears at your departure, and the charming pleasures attendant on royalty, you returned to me, in order to keep your faith before all?”

The Bodhisattva spoke: “Many kinds of virtues rest on veracity. Hear but the succinct account of them.

57. Veracity surpasses splendid garlands by its lovely grace and every sweet flavour by its sweetness; and inasmuch as it produces merit, that excellent good, without toil, it is superior to every kind of penance and the troublesome pilgrimages to tīrthas.

58. Affording to glory the opportunity of spreading among men, veracity is the way to its penetrating the three worlds. It is the entrance-door of the abode of the Celestials, the bridge to cross the swamps of Saṁsāra.”

Then the son of Sudāsa exclaimed: “Excellent! right!” and bowing to him and casting an admiring look on him, said again:

59. “The other men come into my power, are paralysed by affliction, and fear robs them of their courage. In you, on the contrary, I see a splendid imperturbation. I suppose, you are not afraid of death, my prince.”

The Bodhisattva spoke:

60. “Of what use is cowardous fear, the most unfit means of prevention, against a thing which cannot be avoided even with great effort?

Nevertheless, and though knowing the natural course of things in the world, people are poltroons against death.

61. It is the vexation of their mind in consequence [307] of their wickedness; it is because they were wanting in exerting themselves to perform good actions; it is their apprehension of sufferings in the other world. That conscience makes them torpid from anxiety that they must die.

62. But I do not remember having done anything that should torture my conscience, and consequently I have imbibed pure actions into my very nature. Who, clinging to Righteousness, should be in fear of death?

63. Nor do I remember having made gifts to the indigent, which did not tend to the gladness of both the mendicants and myself. Who, having in this manner obtained contentment by his gifts, clinging to Righteousness, should be in fear of death?

64. Even when reflecting for a long time, I never recollect having taken any step towards evil, not even in my thoughts. So the path to Heaven is cleared for me. Why should I conceive fear of death?

65. On Brāhmans, on my relations and friends, on my dependents, on the poor, on ascetics who are the ornaments of their hermitages, I bestowed much wealth, giving according to the worthiness of the recipients; what each of them was in want of, that was done for him.

66. I built hundreds of magnificent temples, hospitals, court-yards, hermitages, halls, and tanks, and by this I obtained satisfaction. Therefore I do not fear death. Why, dress me for your sacrifice or eat me.”

On hearing this language, the son of Sudāsa was moved to tears of tenderness, the hairs on his body bristled, the darkness of his wicked nature vanished, and looking with reverence up·to the Bodhisattva, he exclaimed: “Beware! May the evil be averted!

67. Verily, may he who should wish evil to such a being as you, O foremost of princes, take the poison Hālahala knowingly, or eat a furious serpent or flaming iron, or may his head, also his heart, burst asunder into a hundred pieces! [308]

Therefore you may tell me also those holy sentences. Touched to tenderness as I am by the flower-shower of your words, my curiosity to hear them grows stronger. Attend also to this.

68. Having beholden the ugliness of my conduct in the mirror of Righteousness, and being touched by emotion may I not, perhaps, be a person whose mind craves for the Law?”

Now the Bodhisattva, considering the eagerness of his desire to hear the Law, knew him to have become a fit vessel. He spoke: “Being then desirous of hearing the Law, it is right that you listen to its preaching in the proper attitude suitable for that act. Look here.

69, 70. Sitting on a lower seat, which betokens illustrious modesty; enjoying the honey of the (sacred) words with eyes expanding from gladness, so to speak; bending one's mind calm and pure to the most intense reverential attention - in this way one must listen devoutly to the preaching of the Law, as a sick man to the words of a doctor.”

Then the son of Sudāsa covered a slab of stone with his upper garment, and having offered this higher seat to the Bodhisattva, himself sat down on the naked earth before the visage of the Bodhisattva. After which, keeping his eyes fixed with attention on his face, he invited the Great Being: “Speak now, sir.” This formula (brūhīdānīṁ mārṣa) and the whole of this ceremonial shows a striking likeness to the observances prescribed for the instruction in the Veda of a pupil by his spiritual teacher. 11 Then the Bodhisattva opened his mouth and filling as it were the forest with his voice deep and sonorous, like the lovely sound of a new-formed rain-cloud, spoke:

71. “Meeting a virtuous person but once and by chance will suffice for friendship strong and for ever, not wanting repeated assurance.”

On hearing this gāthā, the son of Sudāsa exclaimed, [309] “Well said! well said!” and nodding his head and waving his fingers said to the Bodhisattva: “Go on, go on.”

Then the Bodhisattva uttered the second gāthā.

72. “From virtuous persons thou shouldst never keep remote,
But follow those; to worship them thyself devote.
Their fragrance-spreading virtues uncompelled must
Attain him who stands near them, as does flower-dust.”

The son of Sudāsa spoke:

73. “You employed your wealth in the right manner, indeed; rightly you did not mind trouble, that you did your utmost, O virtuous one, to reward well-said sentences!

Go on, go on.”

The Bodhisattva spoke:

74. “The cars of kings, with jewels shining and with gold,
With their possessors lose their beauty, growing old.
But not to pious conduct has old age access.
So strong a love of virtues pious men possess.” Cp. Dhammapada, verse 151.12

(The other replied): “This is as a shower of ambrosia, to be sure. O how great a satisfaction you give me! Go on, go on.”

The Bodhisattva spoke:

75. “How distant Earth from Heaven is, the East
How far from Sunset, and both Ocean's shores
From one another. Greater distance keeps
Of virtue sever'd and of wrong the lores.”

Then the son of Sudāsa, who in consequence of his gladness and surprise was filled with affection and reverence for the Bodhisattva, said to him:

76. “Lovely are the gāthās I heard from you. The elegance of their words is stilI surpassed by the [310] brilliancy of their contents. By reciting them you have procured me gladness. Let me honour you in return by offering you four boons.

Therefore, choose whatever you desire from my side.”

Then the Bodhisattva, astonished at this offering, and esteeming him for it, spoke: “Who are you that you should bestow boons?

77. You have no power over yourself, being dominated by a passion for sinful actions. Say, what boon, then, will you give to another, you, whose heart is averse to pious conduct?

78. It might be that I were to declare the boon I would ask, but that your mind would be disinclined to give it. Who, being compassionate, Inasmuch as by his naming the four boons he would bring about for the man-eater an opportunity of breaking his faith, he might become the involuntary cause of infernal punishment to his neighbour. Cp. Story XXIV, stanza 32. 13 would like to provoke such a calamity? Enough, enough have you done for me.”

On these words the son of Sudāsa was somewhat ashamed, and lowering his face, said to the Bodhisattva: “I beg Your Honour not to have so mean an opinion of me.

79. I will give you your boons, even if it were to cost my life. Therefore, choose freely, prince, be it what it may be that you desire.”

The Bodhisattva spoke: “Well then,

80. Give me these four precious boons. Take the vow of veracity; give up injuring living beings; release all your prisoners, nobody excepted; and never more eat human flesh, O you hero among men!”

The son of Sudāsa said:

81, “I grant you the first three, but choose another fourth boon. Are you not aware that I am unable to desist from eating human flesh?”

The Bodhisattva spoke: “Ah! Indeed! There you are! Did not I say ‘who are you that you should bestow boons?’ Moreover, [311]

82. How can you keep the vow of veracity and refrain from injuring others, O king, if you do not give up the habit of being an eater of human flesh?

Fie upon you!

83. Did not you say before, you were willing to give these boons even at the risk of your life? But now you act quite otherwise.

84. And how should you abstain from injury, killing men in order to get their flesh? And this being so, what may be the value of the three boons you did grant me?”

The son of Sudāsa spoke:

85. “How shall I be able to give up that very habit, because of which I renounced my kingdom, bore hardship in the wilderness, and suffered myself to kill my righteousness and destroy my good renown?”

The Bodhisattva replied: “For this very reason you ought to give it up.

86. How should you not leave that state because of which you have lost your righteousness, your royal power, your pleasures, and your good renown? Why cling to such an abode of misfortune?

87. Besides, it is but the vilest among men who repent having given. How, then, should this meanness of mind subdue a person like you?

Cease then, cease following after mere wickedness. You ought to stir up yourself now. Is not Your Honour the son of Sudāsa?

88. Meat examined by physicians and dressed by skilful (cooks) is at your disposal. You may take the flesh of domestic animals, of fishes living in waterbasins, and also venison. With such meat satisfy your heart, but pray, desist from the reprehensible habit of eating human flesh.

89. How do you like to stay in this solitary forest and prefer it to your relations and children and your attendants (once) beloved? How prefer it to enjoying the melodious songs at night, the grave sounds of drums reminding you of water-clouds, and the other various pleasures of royalty? [312]

90. It is not right, O monarch, that you allow yourself to be dominated by your passion. Take rather that line of conduct which is compatible with righteousness (dharma) and interest (artha). Having, all alone, vanquished in battle kings with their whole armies, do not become a great coward now, when you have to wage war with your passion.

91. And have you not to mind also the next world, O lord of men? For this reason you must not cherish what is bad, because it pleases you. But rather pursue that which is favourable to your renown and the way to which is a lovely one, and accept what is for your good, even though you dislike it, taking it as medicine.”

Then the son of Sudāsa was moved to tenderness and tears, which barred his throat with emotion. He threw himself before the Bodhisattva, and embracing his feet exclaimed:

92. “Justly your fame pervades the world in all directions, spreading about the flower-dust of your virtues and the scent of your merit. For example, who else but you alone, in truth, could have felt compassion for such an evildoer as I was, accustomed to a cruel livelihood, which made me resemble a messenger of Death?

93. You are my master, my teacher, yea, my deity. I honour your words, accepting them with (bowed) head. Never more will I feed on human flesh, Sutasoma. Everything you told me I will accomplish according to your words.

94. Well then, those princes whom I brought here to be victims at my sacrifice, and who vexed by the sufferings of imprisonment have lost their splendour and are overwhelmed by grief, let us release them together, none excepted.”

The Bodhisattva, having promised him his assistance, set out with him to the very place where those royal princes were kept in confinement. And no sooner had they seen Sutasoma, than understanding that they were set at liberty, they became filled with extreme gladness. [313]

95. At the sight of Sutasoma the royal princes became radiant with joy, and the loveliness of laughter burst out on their faces, in the same way as in the beginning of autumn the groups of waterlilies burst open, invigorated by the moon-beams.

And the Bodhisattva, having come to them, spoke to them comforting and kind words, and after making them take an oath not to do harm to the son of Sudāsa, released them. Then together with the son of Sudāsa and followed by those royal princes, he set out for his kingdom, and having there made to the princes and the son of Sudāsa an honourable reception according to their rank, he re-established them each on his royal throne.

In this manner meeting with a virtuous person, in whatever way it may have been occasioned, promotes salvation. Thus considering he who longs for salvation must strive after intercourse with virtuous persons.

[This story may also be told when praising the Tathāgata: “So Buddha the Lord always intent on doing good was a friend even to strangers still in his previous existences.”

Likewise it is to be told, when discoursing on listening with attention to the preaching of the excellent Law: “In this manner hearing the excellent Law tends to diminish wickedness and to acquire virtues.”

Also it is to be told when extolling sacred learning: “In this manner sacred learning has many advantages.”

Likewise when discoursing on veracity: “In this manner speaking the truth is approved by the virtuous and procures a large extent of merit.”

And also when glorifying veracity, this may be propounded: “In this manner the virtuous keep their faith without regard for their life, pleasures, or domination.”

Likewise, when praising commiseration.]

Dr. S. d'Oldenburg has pointed out in his paper, quoted in my Introduction, p. xxii, another redaction of the story of Sutasoma in chap. 34 of the Bhadrakalpāvadāna, the contents of which are given in the translation of that paper, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Socieyt, pp. 331-334. In some parts the account in that text is fuller, but for the most part, [314] according to Dr. S. d'Oldenburg, it closely follows our Jātakamālā, the verses of which it “mostly copies word for word.” In 1894 Dr. S. d'Oldenburg more fully dealt with the Bhadrakalpāvadāna in a Russian book on Buddhistic Legends in Bhadrakalpāvadāna and Jātakamālā. As to Sutasoma, cp. pp. 83-85 of that book. 14 Nevertheless the extract shows one difference, I think, in a capital point. In the tale, as it is told by Śūra, Kalmāṣapāda has already got his hundred princes, when he comes to carry away Sutasoma, but in the said extract of the Bhadrakalpāvadāna Sutasoma is the very hundredth one.

In the Mahābhārata the legend of Kalmāṣapāda Saudāsa, the maneater, is told, I, adhy. 176 and 177. It is very different from the Buddhistic fashion, yet both versions must be derived from one source.