Ja 17 Mālutajātaka
The Birth Story about the Wind (1s)
In the present two elders cannot settle a question about which half of the month is cold. They go to the Buddha who explains that he had settled this question for them in a previous life by showing time is not important, the wind is what makes for the cold.
The Bodhisatta = the ascetic who answered the question (pañhavissajjanakatāpasa),
the elder Juṇha = the lion (sīha),
the elder Kāḷa = the tiger (vyaggha).
Keywords: Discrimination, Animals.
“Whether in the dark or bright fortnight.” This story was told by the Teacher while at Jetavana about two monks who had joined the Saṅgha in their old age. Tradition says
As the pair of them together could not solve the question, they went to the Teacher and with due salutation asked, saying: “Sir, at what time does what is called cold appear?”
After the Teacher had heard what they had to say, he said: “Monks, in bygone days also, I answered for you this very same question; but your previous existences have become confused in your minds.” The compound bhavasaṁkhepagatattā occurs here and in the next Jātaka, and also Vol. i. p. 463 and Vol. ii. p. 137. The meaning of the word appears to be that by rebirth events in previous existences have become jumbled up together so that no distinct memory remains. A Buddha has the power of remembering the whole of his past existences. And so saying, he told this story of the past.
In the past at the foot of a certain mountain there were living together in one and the same cave two friends, a lion and a tiger. The Bodhisatta too was living at the foot of the same hill, as an ascetic.
Now one day a dispute arose between the two friends about the cold. The tiger said it was cold in the dark half of the month, while the lion maintained that it was cold in the light half. As the two of them together could not settle the question, they put it to the Bodhisatta. He repeated this verse:
1. Kāḷe vā yadi vā juṇhe, yadā vāyati māluto,
Vātajāni hi sītāni, ubhottha-m-aparājitā ti.
Whether in the dark or bright fortnight, whenever the wind does blow, because the cold is caused by the wind, both are undefeated here.
Thus did the Bodhisatta make peace between those friends.
When the Teacher had ended his lesson in support of what he had said as to his having answered the same question in bygone days, he preached the Four Truths, at the close whereof both of the elders won the Fruit of the First Path. The Teacher showed the connection and identified the Jātaka, by saying: “Kāḷa was the tiger of those days, Juṇha the lion, and I myself the ascetic who answered the question.”
last updated: August 2023