Ja 360 Sussondijātaka
The Story about (Queen) Sussondī (5s)
Alternative Title: Suyonandījātaka (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 the Supaṇṇas (Supaṇṇarājā),
Ānanda = king (of Benares) (rājā).
Past Compare: Ja 327 Kākāti, Ja 360 Sussondi.
Keywords: Lust, Treachery, Devas, Women.
“I scent the fragrance.” This story the Teacher, while living at Jetavana, told concerning a discontented monk. The Teacher asked if it were true that he longed for the world, and what had he seen to make him regret having taken orders. The monk answered, “It was all owing to the charms of a woman.” The Teacher said: “Verily, monk, there is no possibility of being on one’s guard against womenfolk. Sages of old, though they took the precaution to dwell in the abode of the Garuḷas, failed to be on their guard against them.” And being urged by him, the Teacher related a story of the past.
In the past king Tamba reigned in Benares, and his queen-consort named Sussondī was a woman of surpassing beauty. At that time the Bodhisatta came to life as a young Garuḷa. Now the Nāga island was then known as Seruma island, and the Bodhisatta lived on this island in the abode of the Garuḷas. And he went to Benares, disguised as a youth, and played at dice with king Tamba. Remarking his beauty they said to Sussondī, “Such and such a youth plays at dice with our king.” She longed to see him, and one day she adorned herself and repaired to the dice-chamber.
He took what was necessary for his journey, and beginning the search from the city gate, at last came to Bhārukaccha. At that time certain merchants of Bhārukaccha were setting sail for the Golden Land. He approached them and said: “I am a minstrel. If you remit my passage money, I will act as your minstrel. Take me with you.” They agreed to do so, and putting him on board weighed anchor. When the ship was fairly off, they called him and bade him make music for them. He said: “I would make music, but if I do, the fish will be so excited that your vessel will be wrecked.” “If a mere mortal,” they said, “make music, there will be no excitement on the part of the fish. Play to us.” “Then do not be angry with me,” he said, and tuning his lute and keeping perfect harmony between the words of his song and the accompaniment of the lute string, he made music for them. The fish were maddened at the sound and splashed about. And a certain sea monster leaping up fell upon the ship and broke it in two. Sagga lying on a plank was carried along by the wind till he reached a banyan tree in the Nāga island, where the Garuḷa king lived.
Now queen Sussondī, whenever the Garuḷa king went to play at dice, came down from her place of abode,
1. “I scent the fragrance of the timira grove,
I hear the moaning of the weary sea:
Tamba, I am tormented with my love,
For fair Sussondī dwells afar from me.”
On hearing this the Garuḷa king uttered the second verse:
2. “How did you cross the stormy main,
And Seruma in safety gain?
How did you Sagga, tell me, pray,
To fair Sussondī win your way?”
Then Sagga repeated three verses:
3. “With trading-folk from Bhārukaccha land
My ship was wrecked by monsters of the sea;
I on a plank did safely gain the strand,
4. When an anointed queen with gentle hand
Upbore me tenderly upon her knee,
As though to her a true son I might be.
5. She food and raiment brought, and as I lay
With love-lorn eyes hung o’er my couch all day.
Know, Tamba, well; this word is truth I say.”
The Garuḷa, while the minstrel thus spake, was filled with regrets and said: “Though I dwelt in the abode of the Garuḷas, I failed to guard her safely. What is this wicked woman to me?” So he brought her back and presented her to the king and departed. And thenceforth he did not come there any more.
The Teacher, his lesson ended, declared the Truths and identified the Jātaka. At the conclusion of the Truths the worldly-minded monk attained fruition of the First Path. “At that time Ānanda was the king of Benares, and I myself was the Garuḷa king.”
last updated: November 2021