Ja 522 Sarabhaṅgajātaka
The Story about (the Teacher) Sarabhaṅga (40s)
In the present when Ven. Moggallāna dies he is greatly honoured by the Buddha. The Buddha then tells a story about an archer with wonderful skills, who eventually retires to the forest, and then answers Sakka’s questions about the destiny of wrongdoers, and the way to gain wisdom.
The Bodhisatta = (the teacher) Sarabhaṅga (aka Jotipāla),
Sāriputta = (his pupil) Sālissara,
Kassapa = (his pupil) Meṇḍissara,
Kaccāyana = (his pupil) Devala,
Anuruddha = (his pupil) Pabbata,
Kolita = (his pupil) Kisavaccha,
Ānanda = (his pupil) Anusissa,
the elder Udāyi = (his pupil) Nārada,
the Buddha’s disciples = the rest of the cast (parisā).
Past Compare: Ja 423 Indriya, Ja 522 Sarabhaṅga, Mvu iii p 460 Śarabhaṅga.
Keywords: Wisdom, Renunciation, Devas.
“Beringed and gallantly.” This was a story the Teacher, while dwelling in the Bamboo Grove, told concerning the death of the elder, the Great Moggallāna. For the death of Moggallāna, see Dhp-a X.7. The elder Sāriputta, For Sāriputta’s death, see Ja 95 Mahāsudassanajātaka. after gaining the consent of the Tathāgata
They conceived a grudge against the elder, and said: “As long as this fellow is alive, there are divisions amongst our followers, and the honour paid to us falls away: we will put him to death,” and they gave a thousand pieces of money to a brigand who guarded the ascetics to put the elder to death. He resolved to kill the elder, and came with a great following to Black Rock. The elder, when he saw him coming, by his Supernormal Powers flew up into the air and disappeared. The brigand, not finding the elder that day, returned home and came back day after day for six successive days. But the elder, by his Supernormal Powers, always disappeared in the same way. On the seventh day an act committed of old by the elder, carrying with it consequences to be recognised on some future occasion, got its chance for mischief.
The story goes that once upon a time, hearkening to what his wife said, he wanted to put his father and mother to death; and, taking them in a carriage to a forest, he pretended that they were attacked by robbers, and struck and beat his parents. Through feebleness of sight being unable to see objects clearly, they did not recognise their son, and thinking they were robbers said: “Dear son, some robbers are killing us: make your escape,” and lamented for him only. He thought: “Though they are being beaten by me, it is only on my account they make lamentation. I am acting shamefully.” So he reassured them and, pretending that the robbers had been put to flight, he stroked their hands and feet, saying: “Dear father and mother, do not be afraid, the robbers have fled,” and brought them again to their own house. This action for ever so long not finding its opportunity but ever biding its time, like a core of flame hidden under ashes, caught up and seized upon the man when he was reborn for the last time, and the elder, in consequence of his action, was unable to fly up into the air. His Supernormal Powers that once could quell Nanda and Upananda Nanda and Upananda were two kings of the Nāgas, Vejayanta was the palace of Indra. Jātaka Index, vol. vii. p. 66, gives corrected reading Nandopanandadamana. and cause Vejayanta to tremble, as the result of his action became mere feebleness.
The brigand crushed all his bones, subjecting him to the “straw and meal” torture, But cf. Aṅguttaranikāya, Pt. i. p. 114, ed. by R. Morris, 1883, Milindapañhā i. 277. Translation with note by R. Davids. and, thinking he was dead, went off with his followers. But the elder, on recovering consciousness, clothed himself with meditation as with a garment, and flying up by Supernormal Powers into the presence of the Teacher, saluted him and said: “Venerable sir, my sum of life is exhausted: I would die,” and having gained the Teacher’s consent, he died then and there.
At that instant the six Deva worlds were in a general state of commotion. “Our Teacher,” they cried, “is dead.” And they came, bringing incense and perfume and wreaths breathing divine odours, and all kinds of wood,
The Teacher, standing near the elder, ordered his remains to be deposited, and for the space of a league all round about the spot where the body was burned flowers rained down upon it, and men and gods stood mingled together, and for seven days held a sacred festival. The Teacher had the relics of the elder gathered together, and erected a shrine in a gabled chamber in the Bamboo Grove.
At that time they raised the topic in the Dhamma Hall, saying: “Sirs, Sāriputta, because
In the past, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was conceived by the brahmin wife of the royal family priest, and at the end of ten months was born early in the morning. At that moment there was a blaze of all kinds of arms in the city of Benares for the space of twelve leagues. The priest, on the birth of the boy, stepped out of doors and looked up to the sky for the purpose of divining his son’s destiny, and knew that this boy, because he was born under a certain conjunction in the heaven, would surely be the chief archer in all Jambudīpa. So he went betimes to the palace and inquired after the king’s health. On his replying, “How, my master, can I be well: this day there is a blaze of weapons throughout my dwelling-place,” he said: “Fear not, sire; not merely in your house, but throughout all the city is this blaze of arms to be seen. This is due to the fact that a boy is born today in our house.” “What, master, will be the result of the birth of a boy under these conditions?” “Nothing, sire, but he will prove to be the chief archer in all Jambudīpa.” “Well, master, do you then watch over him, and when he is grown up, present him to us.” And so saying, he ordered a thousand pieces of money to be given him as the price of his nurture. khīramūlaṁ, i.e. τροφεῖα.
The priest took it and went home, and on the naming-day of his son, on account of the blaze of arms at the moment of his birth, he called him Jotipāla [Guardian of Light]. He was reared in great state, and at the age of sixteen he was extremely handsome. Then his father, observing his personal distinction, said: “Dear son, go to Taxila
The Bodhisatta, taking everything with him, said good-bye to his teacher and, returning to Benares, went to see his parents. Then his father, on seeing him standing respectfully before him, said: “My son, have you finished your studies?” “Yes, sir.” On hearing his
The king’s attendants were offended, “We do not see that Jotipāla does anything, yet he receives a thousand pieces of money every day. We should like to see a specimen of his skill.” The king heard what they said and told the priest. He said: “All right, sire,” and told his son. “Very well, dear father,” he said, “on the seventh day from this I will show them: let the king assemble all the archers in his dominion.” The priest went and repeated what he said to the king. The king, by beat of drum through the city, had all his archers gathered together. When they were assembled, they numbered sixty thousand. The king, on hearing that they were assembled, said: “Let all that dwell in the city witness the skill of Jotipāla.” And making proclamation by beat of drum, he had the palace yard made ready, and, followed by a great crowd,
He put the bow and quiver and coat of mail and diadem, which had been given to him by his teacher, beneath his under garment, and had the sword carried for him, and then came before the king in his ordinary garb and stood respectfully on one side. The archers thought: “Jotipāla, they say, has come to give us a specimen of his skill, but from his coming without a bow he will evidently want to receive one at our hands,” but they all agreed they would not give him one.
The king, addressing Jotipāla, said: “Give us proof of your skill.” So he had a tent-like screen thrown round about him, and taking his stand inside it, and doffing his cloak, he girt on his armour, and got into his coat of mail and fastened the diadem on his head. Then he fixed a string of the colour of coral on his ram’s-horn bow, and binding his quiver on his back and fastening his sword on his left side, he twirled an arrow tipped with adamant on his nail, and threw open the screen and sallied forth like a Nāga prince bursting out of the earth, splendidly equipped, and stood making an obeisance to the king. The multitude, on seeing him, jumped about and shouted and clapped their hands.
The king said: “Jotipāla, give us a specimen of your skill.” “Sire,” he said, “amongst your archers are men who pierce like lightning, akkhaṇavedhī, R. Morris, JPTS for 1885, p. 29. Kern takes it as “target cleaving,” Bodhicaryāvatāra comm. ed. Poussin (B. Ind.), p. 124 note. able to split a hair, and to shoot at a sound (without seeing) and to cleave a (falling) arrow. Perhaps this refers to a feat like that of Locksley (“Robin Hood”) in Ivanhoe. Summon
The people made a great uproar, shouting and dancing about and clapping their hands, and they threw off their garments and ornaments, so that there was treasure lying in a heap to the amount of eighteen crores. Then the king asked him, “What do you call this trick, Jotipāla?” “The arrow-defence, sire.” “Are there any others that know it?” “No one in all Jambudīpa, except myself, sire.” “Show us another trick, friend.” “Sire, these four men stationed at four corners failed to wound me. But if they are posted at the four corners, I will wound them with a single arrow.” The archers did not dare to stand there.
So the Great Being fixed four plantains at the four corners, and fastening a scarlet thread on the feathered part of the arrow, he shot it, aiming at one of the plantains. The arrow struck it and then the second, the third and the fourth, one after another, and then struck the first, which it had already pierced, and so returned to the archer’s hand; while the plantains stood encircled with the thread. The people raised myriad shouts of applause. The king asked, “What do you call this trick, friend?” “The pierced circle, sire.” “Show us something more.”
The Great Being showed them the arrow-stick, the arrow-rope, the arrow-plait, and performed other tricks called the arrow-terrace, arrow-pavilion, arrow-wall, This is taken from a reading of one MS. and is required to make up the twelve examples of his skill. arrow-stairs, arrow-tank, and made the arrow-lotus to blossom and caused it to rain a shower of arrows.
Thus did he display these twelve unrivalled acts of skill, and then he cleft seven incomparably huge substances. He pierced a plank of fig-wood, eight inches thick, a plank of asana wood, four inches thick, a copper plate two inches thick, an iron plate one inch thick, and after piercing a hundred boards joined together, one after another, he shot an arrow at the front part of wagons full of straw and sand and planks, and made it come out at the back part; and, shooting at the back of the wagons, he caused the arrow to come out at the front. He drove an arrow through a space of over a furlong in water and more than two furlongs of earth, and he pierced a hair, at the distance of half a furlong, at the first sign of its being moved by the wind. And when he had displayed all these feats of skill, the sun set.
Then the king promised him the post of commander-in-chief, saying: “Jotipāla, it is too late today; tomorrow you shall receive the honour of the chief command. Go and have your beard trimmed and take a bath,” and that same day he gave him a hundred thousand pieces of money for his expenses. The Great Being said: “I have no need of this,” and he gave his lords eighteen crores of treasure and went with a large escort to bathe; and, after he had had his beard trimmed and had bathed, arrayed in all manner of adornments, he entered his abode with unparalleled pomp. After enjoying a variety of dainty viands, he got up and lay down on a royal couch, and when he had slept through two watches, in the last watch he woke up and sat cross-legged on his couch, considering the beginning, the middle and the end of his feats of skill.
“My skill,” he thought, “in the beginning is evidently death, in the middle it is the enjoyment of wrongdoing, and in the end it is rebirth in hell: for the destruction of life and excessive carelessness in sinful enjoyment causes rebirth in hell. The post of commander-in-chief is given me by the king, and great power will accrue to me, and I shall have a wife and many children; but if the objects of desire are multiplied, it will be hard to get rid of desire. I will go forth from the world alone and enter the forest:
So the Great Being arose from his couch, and without letting anybody know, he descended from the terrace, and going out by the house-door aggadvāram perhaps a house-door opposed to the main entrance. cf. i.114 and v. 263. he went into the forest all alone, and repaired to a spot on the banks of the Godhāvarī, near the Kaviṭṭha The Kaviṭṭha is the Feronia Elephantum or elephant apple tree. forest, three leagues in extent. Sakka, hearing of his renunciation of the world, summoned Vissakamma and said: “Friend, Jotipāla has renounced the world; a great company will gather round him. Build a hermitage on the banks of the Godhāvarī in the Kaviṭṭha forest and provide them with everything necessary
The Great Being, when he reached the place, saw a road for a single foot-passenger and thought: “This must be a place for ascetics to dwell in,” and travelling by this road and meeting with no one, he entered the hut of leaves. On seeing the requisites for ascetic life he said: “Sakka, king of heaven, I think, knew that I had renounced the world,” and, doffing his cloak, he put on an inner and outer robe of dyed bark and threw an antelope’s skin over one shoulder. Then be bound up his coil of matted locks, shouldered a basket of three bushels of grain, took a mendicant’s staff and sallied forth from his hut, and climbing up the covered walk, he paced up and down it several times. Thus did he glorify the forest with the beauty of asceticism, and after focusing on the Meditation Object, [Original translation has: on performing the Kasiṇa ritual.] on the seventh day of his ascetic life he developed the eight Attainments and five Super Knowledges, and lived quite alone, feeding on what he could glean and on roots and berries.
His parents and a crowd of friends and kinsfolk and acquaintances, not seeing him, wandered about disconsolate. Then a certain forester, who had seen and recognised the Great Being in the Kaviṭṭha hermitage, told his parents and they informed the king of it. The king said: “Come, let us go and see him,” and taking the father and mother, and accompanied by a great multitude, he arrived at the bank of the Godhāvarī by the road which the forester pointed out to him. The Bodhisatta, on coming to the riverbank, seated himself in the air, and after teaching them the Dhamma,
The Bodhisatta continued to dwell there, surrounded by a band of ascetics. And the news that he was dwelling there was blazed abroad throughout all Jambudīpa. Kings with their subjects came and took orders at his hands, and there was a great assembly of them till they gradually numbered many thousands. Whoever reflected on thoughts of lust, or the wish to hurt or injure others, to him the Great Being came, and seated in the air before him, he taught him the Dhamma and instructed him in focusing on the Meditation Object.
His seven chief pupils were Sālissara, All these names occur in vol. iii. No. 423, Indriyajātaka, and for the legends of Kisavaccha and Nālikīra see Hardy’s Manual, p. 55. Meṇḍissara, Pabbata, Kāḷadevala, Kisavaccha, Anusissa, and Nārada. And they, abiding in his admonition, attained to Absorption and reached perfection. By and by the Kaviṭṭha hermitage became crowded, and there was no room for the multitude of ascetics to dwell there. So the Great Being, addressing Sālissara, said: “Sālissara, this hermitage is not big enough for the crowd of ascetics; do you go with this company of them and take up your abode near the town of Lambacullaka in
But as people still came and joined the ascetics, the hermitage was full again. The Bodhisatta, addressing Meṇḍissara, said: “On the borders of the country of Suraṭṭha is a stream called Sātodikā. Take this band of ascetics and dwell on the borders of that river.” And he sent him away.
In the same way on a third occasion he sent Pabbata, saying: “In the great forest is the Añjana mountain: go and settle near that.”
On the fourth occasion he sent Kāladevala, saying: “In the south country in the kingdom of Avanti is the Ghanasela mountain: settle near that.”
The Kaviṭṭha hermitage again overflowed, though in five different places there was a company of ascetics numbering many thousands. And Kisavaccha, asking leave of the Great Being,
At this time king Daṇḍaki deposed from her position a courtesan whom he had greatly honoured, and, roaming about at her own will, she came to the park, and seeing the ascetic Kisavaccha, she thought: “Surely this must be Kāḷakaṇṇi [Bad Luck]. I will get rid of my wrongdoing Compare Frazer’s Golden Bough, vol. iii. p. 120, “Divine Scapegoats.” on his person and will then go and bathe.” And first biting her tooth-stick, she spat out a quantity of phlegm, and not only spat upon the matted locks of the ascetic, but also threw her tooth-stick at his head and went and bathed. And the king, calling her to mind, restored her to her former position. And infatuated by her folly, she came to the conclusion that she had recovered this honour because she had got rid of her wrongdoing on the person of Kāḷakaṇṇi.
Not long after this the king deposed his family priest from his office, and he went and asked the woman by what means she had recovered her position. So she told him it was from having got rid of her offence on the person of Kāḷakaṇṇi in the royal park. The priest went and got rid of his wrongdoing in the same way, and him too the king reinstated in his office. Now by and by there was a disturbance on the king’s frontier, and he went forth with a division of his army to fight. Then that infatuated priest asked the king, saying: “Sire, do you wish for victory or defeat?” When he answered, “Victory,” he said: “Well, Kāḷakaṇṇi dwells in the royal park; go and convey your wrongdoing to his person.” He approved of the suggestion and said: “Let these men come with me to the park and get rid of their wrongdoing on the person of Kāḷakaṇṇi.” And going into the park, he first of all nibbled his tooth-stick and let his spittle and the stick fall on the ascetic’s matted locks and then bathed his head, and his army did likewise. When the king had departed the commander-in-chief came, and seeing the
The master Sarabhaṅga, The Jotipāla of the early part of the story is here identified with the Bodhisatta, Sarabhaṅga. hearing about it, sent two youthful ascetics and had Kisavaccha brought to him in a palanquin through the air. The king fought a battle, and taking the rebels prisoners returned to the city. On his return the gods first caused it to rain from heaven, and when all the dead bodies had been washed away by the flood of rain, there was a shower of heavenly flowers on the top of the clean white sand, and on the flowers there fell a shower of small coins, and after them a shower of big pieces of money, and this was followed by a shower of heavenly ornaments. The people were highly delighted and began to pick up ornaments of gold, even fine gold. Then there rained upon their persons a shower of all manner of blazing weapons, and the people were cut piece-meal. Then a shower of blistering embers fell on them, and over these huge blazing mountain peaks, followed by a shower of fine sand filling a space of sixty cubits. Thus was a part of his realm sixty leagues in extent destroyed, and its destruction was blazed abroad throughout all Jambudīpa.
Then the lords of subordinate kingdoms within his realm, the three kings, Kaliṅga, Aṭṭhaka, Bhīmaratha, thought: “In the past in Benares, Kalābu, king of Kāsi, having done wrong against the ascetic Khantivādī [Ja 313], it is reported he was swallowed up in the earth, and Nāḷikīra in like manner having given ascetics to be devoured by dogs, and Ajjuna Arjuna, called Kārtavīryya. See Tawney’s Kathāsaritsāgara, vol. ii. p. 639, and Uttarakāṇḍa of the Rāmāyaṇa, Sarga 32. of the thousand arms who did wrong against Aṅgīrasa likewise perished, and now again king Daṇḍaki, having done wrong against Kisavaccha, report says, is destroyed, realm and all. We know not the place where these four kings are reborn: no one except Sarabhaṅga, our master, is able to tell us this. We will go
At this moment Sakka, sitting on his throne of yellow marble, considered the
That very day Kisavaccha died, and to celebrate his obsequies, innumerable bands of ascetics, who dwelt in four different places, raised a pile of sandalwood and burned his body, and in a space of half a league round about the place of his burning there fell a shower of celestial flowers. The Great Being, after seeing to the depositing of his remains, entered the hermitage and, attended by these bands of ascetics, sat down. When the kings arrived on the banks of the river there was a sound of martial music. The Great Being, on hearing it, addressed the ascetic Anusissa and said: “Go and learn what this music means,” and taking a bowl of drinking-water, he went there, and seeing these kings, he uttered this first verse in the form of a question:
1. “Beringed and gallantly arrayed,
All girt with jewel-hilted blade,
Halt you, great chiefs, and straight declare
What name ’midst world of men you bear?”
Hearing his words, they alighted from the chariot and stood saluting him. Amongst them king Aṭṭhaka, falling into talk with him, spoke the second verse:
2. “Bhīmaratha, Kaliṅga famed,
And Aṭṭhaka – thus are we named –
To look on saints of life austere
And question them, are we come here.”
Then the ascetic said to them, “Well, sire, you have reached the place where you would fain be, therefore, after bathing take a rest, and entering the hermitage, pay your respects to the band of ascetics, and put your question to the master,” and thus, holding friendly converse with them, he tossed up the jar of water In the old Bengali poem, Chaṇḍī, a jar of water is amongst the good omens seen by the hero Chandraketu when starting on a journey. See note by Professor Cowell in his translation of the Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha, p. 237. and wiping up the drops that fell he looked up to the sky and beheld Sakka, the lord of heaven, surrounded by a company of gods, and descending from heaven, mounted on the back of Erāvaṇa, Indra’s elephant. and conversing with him, he repeated the third verse:
3. “You The third person with nominative bhavaṁ understood seems to be used here for the second person. in mid-heaven are fixed on high
Like full-orbed moon that gilds the sky,
I ask you, mighty spirit, say
How are you known on Earth, I pray.”
On hearing this, Sakka repeated the fourth verse:
4. “Sujampati in heaven proclaimed
As Maghavā on Earth is named;
This king of gods today comes here
To see these saints of life austere.”
Then Anusissa said to him, “Well, sire, do you follow us,” and taking the drinking-vessel, he entered the hermitage, and after putting away the jar of water, he announced to the Great Being that the three kings and the lord of heaven had arrived to ask him certain questions. Surrounded by a band of ascetics, Sarabhaṅga sat in a large, wide enclosed space. The three kings came, and, saluting the band of ascetics, sat down on one side. And Sakka, descending from the sky, approached the ascetics, and saluting them with folded hands, and singing their praises, repeated the fifth verse:
5. “Wide known to fame this saintly band,
With mighty powers at their command:
I gladly bid you hail: in worth
You far surpass the best on earth.”
Thus did Sakka salute the band of ascetics, and guarding against the six faults in sitting, he sat apart. Then Anusissa, on seeing him seated to leeward of the ascetics, spoke the sixth verse:
6. “The person of an aged saint
Is rank, the very air to taint.
Great Sakka, beat a quick retreat
From saintly odours, none too sweet.”
On hearing this, Sakka repeated another verse:
7. “Though aged saints offend the nose
And taint the sweetest air that blows:
The flowerets’ fragrant wreath above
This odour of the saints we love;
In gods it may no loathing move.”
And having so spoken, he added, “Venerable Anusissa, I have made a great effort to come here and ask a question: give me leave to do so.” And on hearing Sakka’s words Anusissa rose from his seat, and granting him permission, he repeated a couple of verses to the company of ascetics:
8. “Famed Maghavā, Sujampati
– Almsgiver, lord of Devas is he –
Queller of Asuras, heavenly king,
Craves leave to put his questioning.
9. Who of the sages that are here
Will make their subtle questions clear
For three who over men hold sway,
And Sakka whom the gods obey?”
On hearing this the company of ascetics said: “Venerable Anusissa, you speak as though you saw not the earth on which you
10. “ ’Tis Sarabhaṅga, sage and saint,
So chaste and free from lustful taint,
The teacher’s son, well disciplined,
Solution of their doubts will find.”
And so saying, the company of ascetics thus addressed Anusissa, “Sir, do you salute the teacher in the name of the company of saints and find an opportunity to tell him of the question proposed by Sakka.” He readily assented and, finding his opportunity, repeated another verse:
11. “The holy men, Kondañña, This, the commentator explains, is the family name of Sarabhaṅga. pray
That you would clear their doubts away;
This burden lies, as mortals hold,
On men in years and wisdom old.”
Then the Great Being, giving his consent, repeated the following verse:
12. “I give you leave to ask whate’er
You most at heart are fain to hear;
I know both this world and the next;
No question leaves my mind perplexed.”
Sakka, having thus obtained his permission, put a question which he had himself prepared:
The Teacher, to make the matter clear, said:
13. “Sakka, to cities bountiful, that sees the truth of things,
To learn what he was fain to know, began his questionings.”
14. “What is it one may slay outright and never more repent;
What is it one may throw away, with all good men’s consent;
From whom should one put up with speech, however harsh it be?
This is the thing that I would have Kondañña tell to me.”
Then explaining the question, he said:
15. “Anger is what a man may slay and never more repent;
Hypocrisy he throws away with all good men’s consent;
From all he should put up with speech, however harsh it be,
This form of patience, wise men say, is highest in degree.”
16. “Rude speech from two one might with patience hear,
From one’s superior, or from a peer,
But how to bear from meaner folk rude speech
Is what I fain would have Kondañña teach.”
17. “Rude speech from betters one may take through fear
Or, to avoid a quarrel, from a peer,
But from the mean to put up with rude speech
Is perfect patience, as the sages teach.”
Verses such as these one must understand to be connected in the way of question and answer.
When he had thus spoken, Sakka said to the Great Being, “Venerable sir, in the first instance you said: “ ‘Put up with harsh speech from all; this, men say, is the highest form of patience,’ but now you say, ‘Put up here with the speech of an inferior; this, men say, is the highest form of patience,’ this latter saying does not agree with your former one.” Then the Great Being said to him, “Sakka, this last utterance of mine is in respect of one who puts up with harsh speech, because he knows the speaker to be his inferior, but what I said first was because one cannot by merely looking on the outward form of people know for certain their condition, whether superior to oneself or not,” and to make it clear how difficult it is by merely regarding the outward form to distinguish the condition of persons, whether inferior or not, except by means of close intercourse, he spoke this verse:
18. “How hard it is to judge a man that’s polished in exterior
Be he one’s better, equal or, it may be, one’s inferior.
The best of men pass through the world oft times in meanest form disguised;
So then bear with rough speech from all, if you, my friend, be well advised.”
On hearing this Sakka full of faith begged him, saying: “Venerable sir, declare to us the blessing to be found in this patience,” and the Great Being repeated this verse:
19. “No royal force, however vast its might,
Can win so great advantage in a fight
As the good man by patience may secure:
Strong patience is of fiercest feuds the cure.”
When the Great Being had thus expounded the virtues of patience, the kings thought: “Sakka asks his own question; he will not allow us an opportunity of putting ours.” So seeing what their wish was he laid aside the four questions he had himself prepared and propounding their doubts he repeated this verse:
20. “Your words are grateful to mine ear,
But one thing more I fain would hear;
Tell us the fate of Daṇḍaki
And of his fellow-sinners three,
Destined to suffer what rebirth
For harassing the saints on earth.”
Then the Great Being, answering his question, repeated five verses:
21. “Uprooted, realm and all, erewhile
Who Kisavaccha did defile,
O’erwhelmed with fiery embers, see,
In Kukkula lies Daṇḍaki.
22. Who made him sport of priest and saint
And preacher, free from sinful taint,
This Nāḷikīra trembling fell
Into the jaws of dogs in hell.
23. So Ajjuna, who slew outright
That holy, chaste, long-suffering wight,
Aṅgīrasa, was headlong hurled
To tortures in a suffering world.
24. Who once a sinless saint did maim
– Preacher of patience was his name –
Kalābu now does scorch in hell,
’Midst anguish sore and terrible.
25. The man of wisdom that hears tell
Of tales like these or worse of hell,
Ne’er ’gainst monk or brahmin does wrong
And heaven by his right action wins.”
When the Great Being had thus pointed out the places in which the four kings were reborn, the three kings were freed from all doubt. Then Sakka in propounding his remaining four questions recited this verse:
26. “Your words are grateful to mine ear,
But one thing more I fain would hear:
Whom does the world as moral name,
And whom does it as wise proclaim?
Whom does the world for pious take,
And whom does fortune ne’er forsake?”
Then in answering him the Great Being repeated four verses:
27. “Whoso in act and word shows self-restraint,
And e’en in thought is free from sinful taint,
Nor lies to serve his own base ends – the same
All men as moral evermore proclaim.
28. He who revolves deep questions in his mind
Yet perpetrates nought cruel or unkind,
Prompt with good word in season to advise,
That man by all is rightly counted wise.
29. Who grateful is for kindness once received,
And sorrow’s need has carefully relieved,
Has proved himself a good and steadfast friend –
Him all men as a pious soul commend.
30. The man with every gift at his command,
True, tender, free and bountiful of hand,
Heart-winning, gracious, smooth of tongue withal –
Fortune from such a one will never fall.”
Thus did the Great Being, like as if he were causing the moon to arise in the sky, answer the four questions. Then followed the asking of the other questions and their answers.
31. “Your kindly words fall grateful on mine ear,
But one thing further I am fain to hear:
Virtue, fair fortune, goodness, wisdom – say
Which of all these do men call best, I pray.”
32. “Wisdom good men declare is best by far,
E’en as the moon eclipses every star
Virtue, fair fortune, goodness, it is plain,
All duly follow in the wise man’s train.”
33. “Your kindly words fall grateful on mine ear,
But one thing further I am fain to hear:
To gain this wisdom what is one to do,
What line of action or what course pursue?
Tell us what way the path of wisdom lies
And by what acts a mortal groweth wise.”
34. “With clever, old, and learned men consort,
Wisdom from them by questioning extort:
Their goodly counsels one should hear and prize,
For thus it is a mortal man grows wise.
35. The sage regards the lust of things of sense
In view of sickness, pain, impermanence;
’Midst sorrows, lust, and terrors that appal,
Calm and unmoved the sage ignores them all.
36. Thus would he conquer wrong, from passion free,
And cultivate a boundless generosity;
To every living creature mercy show,
And, blameless soul, to world of Brahmā go.”
While the Great Being was thus still speaking of the defilements of sensual desires, these three kings together with their armies got rid of the passion of sensual pleasure by means of the opposite quality. And the Great Being, becoming aware of this, by way of praising them recited this verse:
37. “Bhīmaratha by power of magic came
With you, O Aṭṭhaka, and one to fame
As king Kaliṅga known, and now all three,
Once slaves to sensuality, are free.”
On hearing this, the mighty kings singing the praises of the Great Being recited this verse:
38. “ ’Tis so, you reader of men’s thoughts: all three
Of us from sensuality are free,
Grant us the boon for which we are right fain,
That to your happy state we may attain.”
Then the Great Being, granting them this favour, repeated another verse:
39. “I grant Reading karomi for karohi. the boon that you would have of me,
The more that you from sensual vice are free:
So may you thrill with boundless joy to gain
That happy state to which you would attain.”
On hearing this they, signifying assent, repeated this verse:
40. “We will do everything at your behest,
Whate’er you in your wisdom deem the best;
So will we thrill with boundless joy to gain
That happy state to which we would attain.”
Then did the Great Being grant holy orders to their armies and dismissing the band of ascetics repeated this verse:
41. “Due honour lo! to Kisavaccha came;
So now depart, you saints of goodly fame,
In Absorption delighting calmly rest;
This joy of holiness is far the best.”
The saints, assenting to his words by bowing to him, flew up into the air and departed to their own places of abode. And Sakka rising
The Teacher on seeing this repeated these verses:
42. “Hearing these strains that highest truth did teach
Set forth by holy sage in goodly speech,
The glorious beings to their heavenly home
Once more with joy and gratitude did come.
43. The holy sage’s strains strike on the ear
Pregnant with meaning and in accents clear;
Who gives good heed and concentrates atthikaroti, “to realise,” “understand.” R. Morris, JPTS 1886, p. 107. his mind
Upon their distinction [Original translation has: ‘special thought’ and in the next line ‘ecstacy,’ which both miss the mark.] will surely find
The path to every stage of distinction,
And from the range of tyrant Death is free.”
Thus did the Teacher bring his teaching to a climax in Arahatship and saying: “Not only now, but formerly also, there was a rain of flowers at the burning of the body of Mogallāna,” he revealed the Truths and identified the Jātaka,
“Sālissara was Sāriputta, Meṇḍissara was Kassapa,
Pabbata was Anuruddha, Devala was Kaccāyana,
Anusissa was Ānanda, Kisavaccha was Kolita,
Sarabhaṅga the Bodhisatta: thus are you to understand the Jātaka.”
last updated: November 2021