Ja 214 The Story about the Full River
In the present the monks are talking about the Buddha’s wisdom. The Buddha explains that even in past lives he had been wise and resourceful and tells how he interpreted a verse and a present of a cooked crow from a king, and so won favour with him again.
1. Puṇṇaṁ nadiṁ yena ca peyyam-āhu,
Jātaṁ yavaṁ yena ca guyham-āhu,
Dūraṁ gataṁ yena ca avhayanti:
So tyāgato handa ca bhuñja brāhmaṇā ti.
The one who drinks when the river is full they say, the one hidden when the barley is grown they say, they call upon him when one has gone far off: well then, brahmin, you must eat and then come to him.
In this connection, the one who drinks when the river is full they say, speaking regarding rivers ‘from which a crow can drink’, This seems to have been proverbial, meaning the river is so full even a crow standing on the bank can drink from it. the river is full when they say ‘from it a crow can drink’, but when the river is not full, ‘from it a crow can drink’, is not said. Having stood on the river bank, and stretched out his neck, the crow is able to drink, because of that they say ‘from which a crow can drink’.
The one hidden when the barley is grown they say, barley is merely an abbreviated teaching, but here all young crops that have grown up and are ripe is the intention. I.e. barley is being used as a synecdoche to indicate all young crops. Truly when a crow has entered inside he is able to be concealed, at that time he hides, so hidden is said. Who hides? The crow. Thus with the hiding of the crow ‘the crow-hider’, is spoken of, ‘hidden’ is said because of the crow who is the cause for the word indicating hidden. Because of this then they say hidden.
They call upon him when one has gone far off, having approached a dear person who has gone afar off and lives abroad, seeing him sitting, or, if one of such and such a name approaches, the crow must caw, or, hearing the crow cawing: “Since the crow caws, the one of such and such a name approaches,” saying this they call upon, talk to, address, bring it up, this is the meaning.
Come to him means he must be led home.
Well then, brahmin, you must eat, take, brahmin, you must eat, chew on this crow meat, this is the meaning.
2. Yato maṁ saratī rājā, vāyasam-pi pahetave,
Haṁsā koñcā mayūrā ca: asatī yeva pāpiyā ti.
Because the king remembers me, and offers up the crow to me, he will offer geese, herons and peacocks: forgetting would be worse.
In this connection, because the king remembers me, and offers up the crow to me, when the king has received this crow meat, he remembers to make offerings to me.
Geese, herons and peacocks, but because of this, he will present these geese and so on, he will obtain goose meat and so on, then why would he not remember me? this is the meaning. Most excellently, having obtained this goose meat and so on, why would he not remember me, he surely remembers, this is the meaning.
Forgetting would be worse, having obtained this or that, remembering is called excellent, but in the world forgetting is worse, forgetting is low, inferior, but this is not like our king.
last updated: August 2022