Ja 269 The Story about (Visākhā’s Sister) Sujātā

In the present one woman is the bane of all around her, speaking harshly to all, high and low. The Buddha explains the seven different types of wives, and asks which she is, thereby getting her to reflect and change her character. He then tells a story of how a king instructed his mother by showing how all love a sweet voice, like a cuckoo’s, and none love a harsh one, like a jay’s.

1. Na hi vaṇṇena sampannā mañjukā piyadassanā,
Kharavācā piyā honti, asmiṁ loke paramhi ca.

Though being endowed with beauty, pleasing and good-looking, those with rough voices are not dear, in this world or the next.

2. Nanu passasimaṁ kāḷiṁ, dubbaṇṇaṁ tilakāhataṁ,
Kokilaṁ saṇhabhāṇena, bahūnaṁ pāṇinaṁ piyaṁ.

Surely you must see this one, who is black, ugly, mottled with spots, the cuckoo, because of his soft voice, is dear to many creatures.

3. Tasmā sakhilavācassa, mantabhāṇī anuddhato,
Atthaṁ Dhammañ-ca dīpeti, madhuraṁ tassa bhāsitan-ti.

Therefore for the one of kind voice, a wise speaker, and not haughty, who explains both the Dhamma and its meaning, his is a sweet speech.

This is the meaning of it: dear, these creatures, Piyaṅgu and Sāma and so on, endowed with beautiful bodies, having sweet talk and speech are pleasing, they are lovely and become good-looking, even down to mother and father. Because of continually abusing and insulting, being endowed with rough voices, they have rough voices, in this and in the next world they are certainly not dear, like the blue jay with his rough voice on the highway, but those who are soft voiced, being endowed with smooth and sweet words, even though ugly are dear. Therefore I say this: surely you must see this one, which is black, though having an ugly body colour, the cuckoo, though afflicted and mottled with spots, though being ugly, because of its soft speech he is very much dear. Thus a creature with a rough voice in the world, is not dear, even to mother and father. Therefore a person desiring to be dear to the manyfolk, should have a kind voice, a soft, smooth, gentle voice.

Having defined what is reckoned as insight and wisdom, by his words he is a wise speaker, being without haughtiness, from speaking a suitable amount he is not haughty. Such a person who explains the Text and its meaning, basing his speech on reason, without scolding another, his speech is sweet.