Ja 160 Vinīlakajātaka
The Story about the Crossbreed (2s)

Alternative Title: Vinīlajātaka (Cst)

In the present Devadatta tries to imitate the Buddha. The Buddha tells a story of a crossbreed bird who tries to lord it over his pure bred peers, and is sent to the dunghill for his troubles.

The Bodhisatta = the king of Videha (Videharājā),
Ānanda = the (goose’s) father (pitā),
the two chief disciples = the two young geese (dve haṁsapotakā),
Devadatta = the hybrid goose (vinīlaka).

Keywords: Vanity, Imitation, Animals, Birds.

“As yonder king goes galloping.” This story the Teacher told during a sojourn in Veḷuvana, how Devadatta imitated the Buddha.

The two chief disciples Sāriputta and Moggallāna. See Cullavagga, vii. 4 (translation in Vinaya Texts, iii. 256 ff.). went to visit Gayāsīsa, A mountain near Gayā in Behar. It is now called Brahmathati (see Rājendralāla Mitra, Buddha Gayā, p. 23). where Devadatta imitated the Buddha, and fell; the elders then both returned, after delivering a discourse, taking with them their own pupils. On arriving at Veḷuvana, the Teacher asked them what Devadatta had done when he saw them? {2.39} “Sir,” they said, “he [2.27] imitated the Buddha, and was utterly destroyed.” The Teacher answered, “It is not only now, Sāriputta, that Devadatta came to dire destruction by mimicking me; it was just the same before.” Then at the elder’s request, he told a story of the past.

In the past, when Videha was reigning at Mithilā in the realm of Videha, the Bodhisatta became a son of his queen consort. He grew up in due course, and was educated at Taxila; and on his father’s decease he inherited his kingdom.

At that time a certain king of the golden geese paired with a crow at the feeding-grounds, and to them was born a son. He was like neither mother nor father. All dingy blue-black he was, and accordingly they gave him Vinīlaka [Dingy] to his name. The goose-king often visited his offspring; and he had besides two other sons, geese like himself. These remarked that he often used to go to the regions where mankind do frequent, and asked him what should be the reason. “My sons,” said he, “I have a mate there, a crow, and she has given me a son, whose name is Vinīlaka. He it is I go to visit.” “Where do they live?” they asked. “On a palm-top near Mithilā in the kingdom of Videha,” describing the spot. “Father,” they said, “where men are, there is fear and peril. You ought not to go there; let us go and fetch him to you.”

So they took a stick, and perched Vinīlaka upon it; then catching the ends in their beaks, they flew over the city of Mithilā.

At that moment king Videha chanced to be sitting in a magnificent carriage drawn by a team of four milk-white thoroughbreds, as he made a triumphal circuit of the city. Vinīlaka saw him, and thought he, “What is the difference between king Videha and me? He is riding in state around his capital in a chariot drawn by four white horses; and I am carried in a vehicle drawn by a pair of geese.” So as he passed through the air he repeated the first verse: {2.40}

1. “As yonder king goes galloping with his milk-white four-in-hand,
Vinīlaka has a pair of geese, to bear him o’er the land!”

These words made the geese angry. Their first thought was, “Let us drop him here, and leave him!” But then again they bethought them, “What will our father say!” So for fear of rebuke, they brought the creature to their father, and recounted all that he had done. The father grew angry when he heard it, “What!” said he, “are you my sons’ superior, that you make yourself master over them, and treat them like horses in a carriage? You don’t know your measure. This is no place for you; get you back to your mother!” And with this censure he repeated the second verse:

2. “Vinīlaka, there’s danger here; this is no place for you;
By village gates your mother waits – there you must hasten too.” [2.28]

With this censure, he bade his sons convey the bird to the dunghill outside the city of Mithilā; and so they did.

This lesson ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka, “Devadatta in those days was Vinīlaka, the two elders were the two young geese, Ānanda was the father goose, and I was king Videha myself.”