Ja 264 The Story about (the King of Mithilā) Mahāpanāda
In the present the Buddha goes to teach in one village where there was a young and very rich gentleman, who, when he heard the Buddha teach became a monk. When one day they were crossing a river the Buddha asked him to show the palace he had lived in in a previous life, which had sunk under the waters. He did so, and the Buddha then told the story of his previous fame and fortune.
1. Panādo nāma so rājā, yassa yūpo suvaṇṇayo,
Tiriyaṁ soḷasubbedho, uddham-āhu sahassadhā.
The king whose name was Panāda, had a palace made out of gold, which was sixteen lengths across, and a thousand-fold in height, they say.
2. Sahassakaṇḍo satageṇḍu, dhajālu haritāmayo,
Anaccuṁ tattha gandhabbā, cha sahassāni sattadhā.
A thousand sections, a hundred floors, adorned with emerald flags, the musicians danced there, six thousand divided in seven troupes.
3. Evam-etaṁ tadā āsi, yathā bhāsasi Bhaddaji,
Sakko ahaṁ tadā āsiṁ, veyyāvaccakaro tavā ti.
At that time this was certainly so, just as Bhaddaji has said, at that time I was Sakka, Lord of Devas, now I am your steward.
In this connection, palace A yūpa normally means a sacrificial post, but here it is defined as a palace. It is possibly the case that at the place where a palace was to be built a sacrifice was made, and the post then came to indicate the palace itself. means palace.
Sixteen lengths across means in width it was sixteen bowshots across. Defined in the commentary to the Bhaddajittheragāthā as being half a league (aḍḍhayojana), probably three or more kilometres.
A thousand-fold in height, they say, they say the height was some thousand bowshots in length, the measure twenty-five leagues is calculated as one thousand bowshots. But in width it was some eight leagues.
A thousand sections, a hundred floors, One of the meanings of geṇḍu is a tower, a turret, which certainly would make sense in this context, but the commentary gives it a different meaning, not seen in the dictionaries. the palace was a thousand sections high, and had a hundred floors.
Adorned with ... flags means endowed with flags.
Emerald means with emerald jewels spread over it. But in the commentary there is the reading: “Adorned with emerald windows,” endowed with window-latches and windows made of the emerald jewel, this is the meaning.
Adorned with ... windows, it seems this is a name for window-latches and windows.
Musicians means performers. Perhaps naṭa here means something closer to a dancer, an actor, but I do not find this meaning associated with gandhabba, which always seems to indicate a musician of some sort.
Six thousand divided in seven troupes means having six thousand musicians divided into seven troupes, they performed in the palace in seven places in order to produce delight for the king, this is the meaning. But even by performing for the king, they were unable to make him laugh, then Sakka, the King of the Devas, sent the divine performers, and made a festival, and then Mahāpanāda laughed.
Just as Bhaddaji has said, because the elder Bhaddaji, said: “Bhaddaji, in king Mahāpanāda’s time where was the inhabited palace?” By saying: “It sank down in this place, venerable sir,” at that time for his own sake he spoke about the fact of his own birth in that palace, and king Mahāpanāda. After grasping this, the Teacher said: “As you speak, Bhaddaji, at that time, in the same place, I was then your steward Sakka, the Lord of the Devas.”