Ja 327 Kākātijātaka
The Story about (Queen) Kākavatī (4s)

Alternative Title: Kākavatījātaka (Cst)

In the present one monk is in danger of falling away from the monastic life owing to lust. The Buddha tells a story of how a Garuḷa carried off a queen to his heavenly home, and when the king sent a messenger to find her she was unfaithful with him. The Garuḷa in disgust returned her to the king.

The Bodhisatta = the king (of Benares) (rājā),
the dissatisfied monk = (the musician) Naṭakuvera.

Past Compare: Ja 327 Kākāti, Ja 360 Sussondi.

Keywords: Lust, Treachery, Devas, Women.

“Fragrant odours.” This story was told by the Teacher while residing at Jetavana, about a certain monk who regretted having taken orders.

On this occasion the Teacher asked the monk if it were true that he was discontented, and on his answering, “Yes, venerable sir,” he asked him the reason. The monk replied, “By reason of sinful passion.” The Teacher said: “Woman cannot be guarded. There is no keeping her safe. Sages of old placed a woman in mid ocean in a palace by the Simbalī lake, On Mount Meru: the Garuḷas live round it. but failed to preserve her honour.” Then he told a story of the past. [3.61]

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as the son of the king by his queen-consort. And when he was grown up, at his father’s death he ruled. Kākātī was his chief queen and as lovely as a Devaccharā. {3.91} The old form of the legend will be found set forth in full in the Kunāḷajātaka [Ja 536]. [in which the Garuḷa is identified with Kuṇāla]. Here follows a brief summary of it.

Now at this time a certain Garuḷa king came disguised as a man, and played at dice with the king of Benares. Falling in love with the chief queen Kākātī, he carried her off with him to the dwelling place of the Garuḷas and lived happily with her. The king missing her told his musician named Naṭakuvera to go in quest of her. He found the Garuḷa king lying on a bed of coarse grass in a certain lake, and just as the Garuḷa was on the point of leaving that spot, he seated himself in the midst of the royal bird’s plumage, Compare Tibetan Tales, xii. p. 231, Suśroṇi. and was in this way conveyed to the dwelling place of the Garuḷas. There he enjoyed the lady’s favours, and again seating himself on the bird’s wing returned home. And when the time came for the Garuḷa to play at dice with the king, the minstrel took his lute and going up to the gaming board he stood before the king, and in the form of a song gave utterance to the first verse:

1. “Fragrant odours round me playing
Breath of fair Kākātī’s love,
From her distant home conveying
Thoughts my inmost soul to move.”

On hearing this the Garuḷa responded in a second verse:

2. “Sea and Kebuk stream defying
Did you reach my island home?
Over seven oceans flying
To the Simbal grove did come?” {3.92}

Naṭakuvera, on hearing this, uttered the third verse:

3. “ ’Twas through you all space defying
I was borne to Simbal grove,
And o’er seas and rivers flying
’Twas through you I found my love.”

Then the Garuḷa king replied in the fourth verse:

4. “Out upon the foolish blunder,
What a senseless fool I have been!
Lovers best were kept asunder,
Lo! I’ve served as go-between.”

So the Garuḷa brought the queen and gave her back to the king of Benares, and came not there any more. [3.62]

The Teacher, his lesson ended, revealed the Truths and identified the Jātaka. At the conclusion of the Truths the discontented monk attained the fruition of the First Path. “At that time the discontented monk was Naṭakuvera, and I myself was the king.”