Ja 210 The Story about (the Woodpecker) Kandagalaka
In the present Devadatta is going around trying to kill the Buddha. The latter tells a story about how a woodpecker called Khadiravaniya had helped another bird in finding food, but the latter desiring to dig out the food himself had broken his beak on an acacia wood tree.
1. Ambho ko nāma yaṁ rukkho, sinnapatto sakaṇṭako,
Yattha ekappahārena, uttamaṅgaṁ vibhijjitan-ti?
Dear, what is that tree’s name, with sweaty leaves and thorns, where, with just one blow, my cranium has been split?
In this connection, dear, what is that tree’s name, good Khadiravaniya, what is the tree’s name?
With sweaty leaves mean with soft leaves. Rouse seems to have connected this word to sīta, and translated it cool-leaved. It seems, however, to be related to Vedic svinna, which Monier-Williams gives with the meanings: sweating, perspiring; and PED based on this also gives: sinna, wet with perspiration. It is this meaning which I employ here. I do not quite understand what the commentator thought the word meant, but acacia leaves are certainly not soft.
Where, with just one blow means on whatever tree, with just one blow.
My cranium has been split, my head has been split, not only the head, but also the beak is split. Because the pain was encountered at the acacia tree: being unable to understand: ‘What is the name of this tree?’ having been pained, he lamented with this verse.
2. Acāri vatāyaṁ The opening is unmetrical here. PTS reads: Acārautāyaṁ, which is again unmetrical. Vatāyaṁ acāri would fit the metre. vitudaṁ vanāni
Athāsadā khadiraṁ jātasāraṁ,
Yatthabbhidā garuḷo uttamaṅgan-ti.
Roaming around this, striking in the woods on the pithless branches of useless trees, then hitting a pithy acacia tree, where the pecker A Garuḷa is a mythical half-human, half-bird like creature. Here it is used, presumably m.c., to indicate the woodpecker of the story. shattered his cranium.
In this connection, roaming around this means roaming around this.
Striking in the woods, striking, piercing the pithless silk-cotton, flame-of-the-forest woods.
Branches of useless trees means the useless portions of trees in the woods.
On the pithless means those lacking pith, such as flame-of-the-forest, silk-cotton, and so on.
Then hitting a pithy acacia tree, then for the first time since his youth he encountered a pithy acacia.
Where the pecker shattered his cranium, where the pecker shattered means the acacia where he shattered, broke his beak.
Pecker means bird, for all birds this is a respectful, polite word.
last updated: August 2022