Ja 204 The Story about (the Hero Crow) Vīrika

In the present Devadatta makes himself out a Buddha, but loses all his disciples in a stroke. The Buddha tells a story about when he was a wise man called Vīraka, and there was a crow called Saviṭṭhaka, who tried to imitate a cormorant, and died when he dived underwater.

1. Api Vīraka passesi sakuṇaṁ mañjubhāṇakaṁ,
Mayūragīvasaṅkāsaṁ, patiṁ mayhaṁ Saviṭṭhakan-ti?

Have you seen, O Vīraka, the bird having a very sweet voice, with a neck looking like a peacock’s, my husband Saviṭṭhaka?

In this connection, have you seen, O Vīraka means, master Vīraka, have you seen?

Having a very sweet voice means having a very sweet voice. Alternate form of the compound. Because of lust, thinking: “My husband has a sweet tone,” therefore she asks like this.

With a neck looking like a peacock’s means with a neck having an appearance the same as a peacock’s.

2. Udakathalacarassa pakkhino,
Niccaṁ āmakamacchabhojino:
Tassānukaraṁ Saviṭṭhako
Sevāle paḷiguṇṭhito mato ti.

That bird at home in water and on land, who constantly enjoys fresh fish to eat: through imitating him Saviṭṭhaka has died, caught up amongst the lakeside weeds.

In this connection, at home in water and on land, the one capable of living in water and on land.

Bird, this is said regarding himself.

Through imitating him means through imitating him. Clarifying the compound.

Has died caught up amongst the lakeside weeds, entering the water, being caught amongst the lakeside weeds, unable to escape, encircled by the lakeside weeds under the water, he has surely died, see, from his beak it is evident.