Ja 536 Kuṇālajātaka The text of this Birth Story is not very satisfactory, and in many places it is almost impossible to distinguish the words of the story itself from the explanations of the commentary.
The Story about (the King of the Cuckoos) Kuṇāla

In the present, after settling the war between the Sākiyas and the Koliyas, they each give 250 young men for ordination. The young men quickly become dissatisfied with their lives, and long for their former wives. The Buddha takes them to the Himālayas, and there tells many stories about the wickedness of women, in order to calm their passions.

The Bodhisatta = (king of the cuckoos) Kuṇāla,
the Buddha’s disciples = the (king’s) followers (parisā),
Udāyī = the spotted cuckoo (phussakokila),
Ānando = the king of the vultures (gijjharājā),
Sāriputta = (the brahmin ascetic) Nārada.

Present Source: Ja 536 Kuṇāla,
Quoted at: Ja 475 Phandana,
Present Source: Ja 33 Vaṭṭaka, Ja 74 Rukkhadhamma, Ja 322 Daddabha, Ja 357 Laṭukika, Ja 475 Phandana, Snp 4.15 Attadaṇḍa,
Quoted at: Ja 536 Kuṇāla,
Past Source: Ja 536 Kuṇāla,
Quoted at: Ja 464 Cullakuṇāla,
Past Source: Ja 327 Kākāti,
Quoted at: Ja 536 Kuṇāla,
Past Compare: Ja 341 Kaṇḍari.

Keywords: Lust, Dispassion, Devas.

“This is the report and the fame thereof.” [5.219] This was a story told by the Teacher, while dwelling beside lake Kuṇāla, concerning five hundred monks who were overwhelmed with discontent. Here follows the story in due order. The Sākiya and Koliya tribes had the river Rohinī which flows between the cities of Kapilavatthu and Koliya confined by a single dam and by means of it cultivated their crops. In the month Jeṭṭhamūla [May-June] when the crops began to flag and droop, the labourers from amongst the dwellers of both cities assembled together. Then the people of Koliya said: “Should this water be drawn off on both sides, it will not prove sufficient for both us and you. But our crops will thrive with a single watering; give us then the water.” The people of Kapilavatthu said: “When you have filled your garners with corn, we shall hardly have the courage to come with ruddy gold, emeralds and copper coins, and with baskets and sacks in our hands, to hang about your doors. Our crops too will thrive with a single watering; give us the water.” “We will not give it,” they said. “Neither will we,” said the others.

As words thus ran high, one of them rose up and struck another a blow, and he in turn struck a third and thus it was that what with interchanging of blows and spitefully touching on the origin of their princely families they increased the tumult. The Koliya labourers said: “Be off with your people of Kapilavatthu, {5.413} men who like dogs, jackals, and such like beasts, cohabited with their own sisters. What will their elephants and horses, their shields and spears avail against us?” The Sākiya labourers replied, “Nay, do you, wretched lepers, Compare Rogers’ translation of Buddhaghosha’s Parables, Ch. xxvi., for an account of Gotama’s family. be off with your children, destitute and ill-conditioned fellows, who like brute beasts had their dwelling in a hollow jujube tree (koli). What shall their elephants and horses, their spears and shields avail against us?”

So they went and told the councillors appointed to such services and they reported it to the princes of their tribes. Then the Sākiyas said: “We will show them how strong and mighty are the men who cohabited with their sisters,” and they sallied forth, ready for the fray. And the Koliyas said: “We will show them how strong and mighty are they who dwelt in the hollow of a jujube tree,” and they too sallied forth ready for the fight.

But other teachers tell the story thus, “When the female slaves of the Sākiyas and Koliyas came to the river to fetch water, and throwing the coils of cloth that they carried on their heads upon the ground were seated and pleasantly conversing, a certain woman took another’s cloth, thinking it was her own; and when owing to this a quarrel arose, each claiming the coil of cloth as hers, gradually the people of the two cities, the serfs and the labourers, the attendants, headmen, councillors and viceroys, all of them sallied forth ready for battle.” But the former version being found in many commentaries and being plausible is to be accepted rather than this one.

Now it was at eventide that they would be sallying forth, ready for the fray. At that time the Fortunate One was dwelling at Sāvatthi, and at dawn of day while contemplating the world he beheld them setting out to the fight, and on seeing them he wondered whether if he were to go there the quarrel would cease, and he made [5.220] up his mind and thought: “I will go there and, to quell this feud, I will relate three Jātaka Stories, and after that the quarrelling will cease. Then after telling two Jātaka Stories, to illustrate the blessings of union, I will teach them the Attadaṇḍasutta [Snp 4.15] and after hearing my sermon the people of the two cities will each of them bring into my presence two hundred and fifty youths, and I shall admit them to the Saṅgha and there will be a huge gathering.”

Thus after performing his toilet, he went his rounds in Sāvatthi for alms, and on his return, after taking his meal, at eventide he issued forth from his Perfumed Chamber and without saying a word to any man he took his bowl and robe and went by himself and sat cross-legged in the air between the two hosts. And seeing it was an occasion to startle them, to create darkness he sat there emitting dark-blue Jātaka i. p. 327, nīlaraṁsiṁ vissajjetvā. rays from his hair. Then when their hearts were troubled he revealed himself and emitted the six-coloured rays.

The people of Kapilavatthu on seeing the Fortunate One thought: “The Teacher, our noble kinsman, is come. Can he have seen the obligation laid upon us to fight?” “Now that the Teacher has come, it is impossible for us to discharge a weapon against the person of an enemy,” {5.414} and they threw down their arms, saying: “Let the Koliyas slay us or roast us alive.” The Koliyas acted in exactly the same way. Then the Fortunate One alighted and seated himself on a magnificent Buddha throne, set in a charming spot on a bed of sand, and he shone with the incomparable glory of a Buddha. The kings too saluting the Fortunate One took their seats.

Then the Teacher, though he knew it right well, asked, “Why are you come here, mighty kings?” “Venerable sir,” they answered, “we are come, neither to see this river, nor to disport ourselves, but to get up a fight.” “What is the quarrel about, sires?” “About the water.” “What is the water worth?” “Very little, venerable sir.” “What is the earth worth?” “It is of priceless value.” “What are warrior chiefs worth?” “They too are of priceless value.” “Why on account of some worthless water are you for destroying chiefs of high worth? Verily, there is no satisfaction in this quarrel, but owing to a feud, sir, between a certain Tree Devatā and a black lion a grudge was set up, which has reached down to this present aeon,” and with these words he told them the Phandanajātaka [Ja 475].


In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, there stood outside the city a village of carpenters. In it was a brahmin carpenter, who gained his livelihood by bringing wood from the forest, and making carts.

At that time there was a great plassey tree in the region of the Himālayas. A black lion used to go and lie at its root when hunting for food. One day a wind smote the tree, and a dry branch fell, and came down upon his shoulder. The blow gave him pain, and in fear he speedily rose up, and sprang away; then turning, he looked on the path he came by, and seeing nothing, thought: “There is no other lion or tiger, nor any in pursuit. Well, I think, the deity of that tree cannot deal with my lying there. I will find out if so it be.” So thinking, he grew angry out of season, and struck the tree, and cried, “Not a leaf on your tree did I eat, not a branch did I break; you can put up with other creatures abiding here, and you cannot put up with me! What is wrong with me? Wait a few days, and I will tear you out root and branch, I will get you chopped up chipmeal!” Thus he upbraided the deity of the tree, and then away he went in search of a man.

At that time the brahmin carpenter aforesaid with two or three other men, had come in a wagon to that neighbourhood to get wood for his trade as a cartwright. He left his wagon in a certain spot, and then adze and hatchet in hand went searching for trees. He happened to come near this plassey tree. The lion seeing him went and stood under the tree, for, he thought: “Today I must see the back of my enemy!” But the cartwright looking this way and that fled from the neighbourhood of the tree. “I will speak to him before he gets quite away,” thought the lion, and repeated the first verse:

1. “O man, who stand with axe in hand, within this woodland haunt,
Come tell me true, I ask of you, what tree is it you want?”

“Lo, a miracle!” said the man, on hearing this address, “I swear, I never yet saw beast that could talk like a man. Of course he will know what kinds of wood are good for the cartwright. I’ll ask him.” Thus thinking, he repeated the second verse:

2. “Up hill, down dale, along the plain, a king you range the wood:
Come tell me true, I ask of you – what tree for wheels is good?”

The lion listened, and said to himself, “Now I shall gain my heart’s desire!” then he repeated the third verse:

3. “Not Sāl, acacia, not mare’s-ear, much less a shrub is good;
There is a tree they call plassey, and there’s your best wheel-wood.”

The man was pleased to hear this, and thought: “A happy day it was brought me into the woodland. Here’s a creature in the shape of a beast to tell me what wood is good for the wheelwright! Hey, but that’s fine!” So he questioned the lion in the fourth verse:

4. “What is the fashion of the leaves, what sort the trunk to see,
Come tell me true, I ask of you, that I may know that tree?”

In reply the lion repeated two verses:

5. “This is the tree whose branch you see droop, bend, but never break;
This is the plassey, on whose roots my standing-place I take.

6. For spoke or felloe, pole of car, or wheel, or any part,
This plassey tree will do for you in making of a cart.”

After this declaration, the lion moved aside, joy in his heart. The cartwright began to fell the tree. Then the Tree Devatā thought: “I never dropped anything on that beast; he fell in a rage out of season, and now he is for destroying my home, and I too shall be destroyed. I must find some way of destroying his majesty.” So assuming the shape of a woodman, he came up to the cartwright, and said to him, “Ho man! A fine tree you have there! What will you do with it when it is down?” “Make a cart wheel.” “What! Has any one told you that tree is good for a cart?” “Yes, a black lion.” “Very good, well said black lion. You can make a fine cart out of that tree, says he. But I tell you that if you flay off the skin from a black lion’s neck, and put it around the outer edge of the wheel, like a sheath of iron, just a strip four fingers wide, the wheel will be very strong, and you will gain a great deal by it.” “But where can I get the skin of a black lion?” “How stupid you are! The tree stands fast in the forest, and won’t run away. You go and find the lion who told you about this tree, and ask him in what part of the tree you are to cut, and bring him here. Then while he suspects nothing, and points out this place or that, wait till he sticks his jaw out, and smite him as he speaks with your sharpest axe, kill him, take the skin, eat the best of the flesh, and fell the tree at your leisure.” Thus he indulged his wrath.

To explain this matter, the Teacher repeated the following verses:

7. “Thus did at once the plassey tree his will and wish make clear:
I too a message have to tell: O Bhāradvāja, hear!

8. ‘From shoulder of the king of beasts cut off four inches wide,
And put it round the wheel, for so more strong it will abide.’

9. So in a trice the plassey tree, indulging in his ire,
On lions born and those unborn brought down destruction dire.”

The cartwright hearing the Tree Devatā’s directions, cried out, “Ah, this is a lucky day for me!” He killed the lion, cut down the tree, and away he went.

The Teacher explained the matter by reciting:

10. “Thus plassey tree contends with beast, and beast with tree contends,
So each with mutual dispute to death the other sends.

11. So among men, where’er a feud or quarrel does arise,
They, as the beast and tree did now, cut capers peacock-wise.

12. This tell I you, that well is you what time you are at one:
Be of one mind, and quarrel not, as beast and tree have done.

13. Learn peace with all men; this the wise all praise; and who is fain
Of peace and righteousness, he sure will final peace attain.”

When they heard the discourse of the king, they were reconciled.

Then he said: “There ought not to be this blind following parapatti, cf. Jātaka iii. 77. 27. of one another. A host of quadrupeds in a region of the Himālayas, extending to three thousand leagues, following one another at the word of a hare, all rushed headlong into the great sea. Therefore this following one of another ought not to be,” and so saying he related the Daddabhajātaka [Ja 322].


In the past when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as a young lion. And when fully grown he lived in a wood. At this time there was near the western ocean a grove of palms mixed with wood apple trees. A certain hare lived here beneath a palm sapling, at the foot of a wood apple tree. One day this hare after feeding came and lay down beneath the young palm tree. And the thought struck him, “If this earth should be destroyed, what would become of me?” And at this very moment a ripe wood apple fruit fell on a palm leaf. At the sound of it, the hare thought: “This solid earth is collapsing,” and starting up he fled, without so much as looking behind him. Another hare saw him scampering off, as if frightened to death, and asked the cause of his panic flight. “Pray, don’t ask me,” he said. The other hare cried, “Pray, sir, what is it?” and kept running after him. Then the hare stopped a moment and without looking back said: “The earth here is breaking up.” And at this the second hare ran after the other. And so first one and then another hare caught sight of him running, and joined in the chase till one hundred thousand hares all took to flight together. They were seen by a deer, a boar, an elk, a buffalo, a wild ox, a rhinoceros, a tiger, a lion and an elephant. And when they asked what it meant and were told that the earth was breaking up, they too took to flight. So by degrees this host of animals extended to the length of a full league.

When the Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the animals, and heard the cause of it was that the earth was coming to an end, he thought: “The earth is nowhere coming to an end. Surely it must be some sound which was misunderstood by them. And if I don’t make a great effort, they will all perish. I will save their lives.” So with the speed of a lion he got before them to the foot of a mountain, and lion-like roared three times. They were terribly frightened at the lion, and stopping in their flight stood all huddled together. The lion went in amongst them and asked why they were running away.

“The earth is collapsing,” they answered. “Who saw it collapsing?” he said. “The elephants know all about it,” they replied.

He asked the elephants. “We don’t know,” they said, “the lions know.” But the lions said: “We don’t know, the tigers know.” The tigers said: “The rhinoceroses know.” The rhinoceroses said: “The wild oxen know.” The wild oxen, “The buffaloes.” The buffaloes, “The elks.” The elks, “The boars.” The boars, “The deer.” The deer said: “We don’t know, the hares know.” When the hares were questioned, they pointed to one particular hare and said: “This one told us.”

So the Bodhisatta asked, “Is it true, sir, that the earth is breaking up?” “Yes, sir, I saw it,” said the hare. “Where,” he asked, “were you living, when you saw it?” “Near the ocean, sir, in a grove of palms mixed with wood apple trees. For as I was lying beneath the shade of a palm sapling at the foot of a wood apple tree, I thought, ‘If this earth should break up, where shall I go?’ And at that very moment I heard the sound of the breaking up of the earth and I fled.”

Thought the lion, “A ripe wood apple fruit evidently must have fallen on a palm leaf and made a thudding sound, and this hare jumped to the conclusion that the earth was coming to an end, and ran away. I will find out the exact truth about it.” So he reassured the herd of animals, and said: “I will take the hare and go and find out exactly whether the earth is coming to an end or not, in the place pointed out by him. Until I return, do you stay here.”

Then placing the hare on his back, he sprang forward with the speed of a lion, and putting the hare down in the palm grove, he said: “Come, show us the place you meant.” “I dare not, my lord,” said the hare. “Come, don’t be afraid,” said the lion.

The hare, not venturing to go near the wood apple tree, stood afar off and cried, “Yonder, sir, is the place of dreadful sound,” and so saying, he repeated the first verse:

1. “From the spot where I did dwell
Issued forth a fearful thud;
What it was I could not tell,
Nor what caused it understood.”

After hearing what the hare said, the lion went to the foot of the wood apple tree, and saw the spot where the hare had been lying beneath the shade of the palm tree, and the ripe wood apple fruit that fell on the palm leaf, and having carefully ascertained that the earth had not broken up, he placed the hare on his back and with the speed of a lion soon came again to the herd of beasts.

Then he told them the whole story, and said: “Don’t be afraid.” And having thus reassured the herd of beasts, he let them go. Verily, if it had not been for the Bodhisatta at that time, all the beasts would have rushed into the sea and perished. It was all owing to the Bodhisatta that they escaped death.

2. “Alarmed at sound of fallen fruit
A hare once ran away,
The other beasts all followed suit
Moved by that hare’s dismay.

3. They hastened not to view the scene,
But lent a willing ear
To idle gossip, and were clean
Distraught with foolish fear.

4. They who to wisdom’s calm delight
And virtue’s heights attain,
Though ill example should invite,
Such panic fear disdain.”

These three verses were spoken after Fully Awakening.

Moreover he said: “Sometimes the feeble see the weak points of the mighty, at other times the powerful see the weak points of the feeble, and a quail, a hen-bird, once killed a royal elephant,” and he related the Latukikajātaka [Ja 357].


In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as a young elephant, and growing up a fine handsome beast, he became the leader of the herd, with a following of eighty thousand elephants, and dwelt in the Himālayas. At that time a quail laid her eggs in the feeding-ground of the elephants. When the eggs were ready to be hatched, the young birds broke the shells and came out. Before their wings had grown, and when they were still unable to fly, the Great Being with his following of eighty thousand elephants, in ranging about for food, came to this spot. On seeing them the quail thought: “This royal elephant will trample on my young ones and kill them. Lo! I will implore his righteous protection for the defence of my brood.” Then she raised her two wings and standing before him repeated the first verse:

1. “Elephant of sixty years,
Forest lord amongst your peers,
I am but a puny bird,
You a leader of the herd;
With my wings I homage pay,
Spare my little ones, I pray.”

The Great Being said: “O quail, be not troubled. I will protect your offspring.” And standing over the young birds, while the eighty thousand elephants passed by, he thus addressed the quail, “Behind us comes a solitary rogue elephant. He will not do our bidding. When he comes, do you entreat him too, and so ensure the safety of your offspring.” And with these words he made off. And the quail went forth to meet the other elephant, and with both wings uplifted, making respectful salutation, she spoke the second verse:

2. “Roaming over hill and dale
Cherishing your lonely way,
You, O forest king, I hail,
And with wings my homage pay.
I am but a wretched quail,
Spare my tender brood to slay.”

On hearing her words, the elephant spoke the third verse:

3. “I will slay your young ones, quail;
What can your poor help avail?
My left foot can crush with ease
Many thousand birds like these.”

And so saying, with his foot he crushed the young birds to atoms, and urinating over them washed them away in a flood of water, and went off loudly trumpeting. The quail sat down on the bough of a tree and said: “Then be off with you and trumpet away. You shall very soon see what I will do. You little know what a difference there is between strength of body and strength of mind. Well! I will teach you this lesson.” And thus threatening him she repeated the fourth verse:

4. “Power abused is not all gain,
Power is often folly’s bane.
Beast that did my young ones kill,
I will work you mischief still.”

And so saying, shortly afterwards she did a good turn to a crow, and when the crow, who was highly pleased, asked, “What can I do for you?” the quail said: “There is nothing else, sir, to be done, but I shall expect you to strike with your beak and to peck out the eyes of this rogue elephant.” The crow readily assented, and the quail then did a service to a blue fly, and when the fly asked, “What can I do for you?” she said: “When the eyes of this rogue elephant have been put out by the crow, then I want you to let fall an egg upon them.” The fly agreed, and then the quail did a kindness to a frog, and when the frog asked what it was to do, she said: “When this rogue elephant becomes blind, and shall be searching for water to drink, then take your stand and utter a croak on the top of a mountain, and when he has climbed to the top, come down and croak again at the bottom of the precipice. This much I shall look for at your hands.” After hearing what the quail said, the frog readily assented.

So one day the crow with its beak pecked out both the eyes of the elephant, and the fly dropped its eggs upon them, and the elephant being eaten up with maggots was maddened by the pain, and overcome with thirst wandered about seeking for water to drink. At this moment the frog standing on the top of a mountain uttered a croak. Thought the elephant, “There must be water there,” and climbed up the mountain. Then the frog descended, and standing at the bottom croaked again. The elephant thought: “There will be water there,” and moved forward towards the precipice, and rolling over fell to the bottom of the mountain and was killed. When the quail knew that the elephant was dead, she said: “I have seen the back of my enemy,” and in a high state of delight strutted over his body, and passed away to fare according to her deeds.

The Teacher said: “Monks, one ought not to incur the hostility of anyone. These four creatures, by combining together, brought about the destruction of this elephant, strong as he was.

5. “A quail with crow, blue fly and frog allied
Once proved the issue of a deadly feud.
Through them king elephant untimely died:
Therefore all quarrelling should be eschewed.”

This verse was spoken after Fully Awakening.

Thus to appease the quarrel he told three Jātaka Stories, and to illustrate the effects of unity he told two more Jātaka Stories. “In the case of such as dwell together in unity, no one finds any opening for attack,” and so saying he told the Rukkhadhammajātaka [Ja 74].

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the first king Vessavaṇa died, and Sakka sent a new king to reign in his stead. After the change, the new king Vessavaṇa sent word to all trees and shrubs and bushes and plants, bidding the Tree Devatās each choose out the abode that they liked best. In those days the Bodhisatta had come to life as a Tree Devatā in a Sāl-forest in the Himālayas. His advice to his kinsfolk in choosing their habitations was to shun trees that stood alone in the open, and to take up their abodes all round the abode which he had chosen in that Sāl-forest. Hereon the wise Tree Devatās, following the Bodhisatta’s advice, took up their quarters round his tree. But the foolish ones said: “Why should we dwell in the forest? Let us rather seek out the haunts of men, and take up our abodes outside villages, towns, or capital cities. For Devatās who dwell in such places receive the richest offerings and the greatest worship.” So they departed to the haunts of men, and took up their abode in certain giant trees which grew in an open space.

Now it fell out upon a day that a mighty tempest swept over the country. Naught did it avail the solitary trees that years had rooted them deep in the soil and that they were the mightiest trees that grew. Their branches snapped; their stems were broken; and they themselves were uprooted and flung to earth by the tempest. But when it broke on the Sāl-forest of interlacing trees, its fury was in vain; for, attack where it might, not a tree could it overthrow.

The forlorn Devatās whose dwellings were destroyed, took their children in their arms and journeyed to the Himālayas. There they told their sorrows to the Devatās of the Sāl-forest, who in turn told the Bodhisatta of their sad return. “It was because they hearkened not to the words of wisdom, that they have been brought to this,” said he; and he unfolded the truth in this verse:

1. “United, forest-like, should kinsfolk stand;
The storm o’erthrows the solitary tree.”

So spake the Bodhisatta; and when his life was spent, he passed away to fare according to his deeds.

He also said: “Against such as were at unity, no one could find a loophole for attack, but when they quarrelled one with another, a certain hunter brought about their destruction and went off with them: verily there is no satisfaction in a quarrel,” and with these words he related the Vaṭṭakajātaka [Ja 33]. [Another name for Ja 33 Sammodamānajātaka. I include the story here.]

In the past when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a quail, and lived in the forest at the head of many thousands of quails. In those days a fowler who caught quails came to that place; and he used to imitate the note of a quail till he saw that the birds had been drawn together, when he flung his net over them, and whipped the sides of the net together, so as to get them all huddled up in a heap. Then he crammed them into his basket, and going home sold his prey for a living.

Now one day the Bodhisatta said to those quails, “This fowler is making havoc among our kinsfolk. I have a device whereby he will be unable to catch us. Henceforth, the very moment he throws the net over you, let each one put his head through a mesh and then all of you together must fly away with the net to such place as you please, and there let it down on a thorn-brake; this done, we will all escape from our several meshes.” “Very good,” said they all in ready agreement.

On the morrow, when the net was cast over them, they did just as the Bodhisatta had told them: they lifted up the net, and let it down on a thorn-brake, escaping themselves from underneath. While the fowler was still disentangling his net, evening came on; and he went away empty-handed. On the morrow and following days the quails played the same trick. So that it became the regular thing for the fowler to be engaged till sunset disentangling his net, and then to betake himself home empty-handed. Accordingly his wife grew angry and said: “Day by day you return empty-handed; I suppose you’ve got a second establishment to keep up elsewhere.”

“No, my dear,” said the fowler, “I’ve no second establishment to keep up. The fact is those quails have come to work together now. The moment my net is over them, off they fly with it and escape, leaving it on a thorn-brake. Still, they won’t live in unity always. Don’t you bother yourself; as soon as they start bickering among themselves, I shall bag the lot, and that will bring a smile to your face to see.” And so saying, he repeated this verse to his wife:

1. “While concord reigns, the birds bear off the net.
When quarrels rise, they’ll fall a prey to me.”

Not long after this, one of the quails, in alighting on their feeding ground, trod by accident on another’s head. “Who trod on my head?” angrily cried this latter. “I did; but I didn’t mean to. Don’t be angry,” said the first quail. But notwithstanding this answer, the other remained as angry as before. Continuing to answer one another, they began to swap taunts, saying: “I suppose it is you single-handed who lift up the net.” As they wrangled thus with one another, the Bodhisatta thought to himself, “There’s no safety with one who is quarrelsome. The time has come when they will no longer lift up the net, and thereby they will come to great destruction. The fowler will get his opportunity. I can stay here no longer.” And thereupon he with his following went elsewhere.

Sure enough the fowler came back again a few days later, and first collecting them together by imitating the note of a quail, flung his net over them. Then said one quail, “They say when you were at work lifting the net, the hair of your head fell off. Now’s your time; lift away.” The other rejoined, “When you were lifting the net, they say both your wings moulted. Now’s your time; lift away.”

But while they were each inviting the other to lift the net, the fowler himself lifted the net for them and crammed them in a heap into his basket and bore them off home, so that his wife’s face was wreathed with smiles.

After he had thus related these five Jātaka Stories, he finished up by reciting the Attadaṇḍasutta [Snp 4.15]: [I include a translation here.]


1. “Fear arises from one with a stick, see the people arguing,
I will explain my spiritual anxiety, how it agitated me.

2. Having seen the people trembling, like fish in little water,
Having seen them opposing each other, fear took control of me.

3. The world on all sides lack substance, all quarters were shaken,
Desiring a home for myself, I did not see (anywhere) unoccupied.

4. Having seen people opposed at the end, I did not take delight,
Then I saw a barb here, hard to see, lodged in the heart.

5. Overcome by this barb, one wanders in all directions,
Having removed that barb, one does not run or sink.”

6. Here they recite the training rules:
Whatever bonds are in the world, one should not be engaged by them,
Breaking through sensuality on all sides, one should train oneself for Nibbāna.

7. One should be truthful, humble, undeceitful, rid of slander,
Without anger, a sage should cross over desire, and wicked greed.

8. One should overcome sleepiness, sloth and torpor, and not associate with heedlessness,
The man with his mind on Nibbāna should not persist in conceit.

9. He should not be guided by false speech, or have a love for forms,
One should understand conceit, and live without violence.

10. He should not take joy in the past, or have a preference for the new,
He should not grieve over what is in decline, he should not be attached to attractive objects.

11. I say greed is a great ocean, I say longing is a torrent,
Sensual objects are a fixation, the swamp of sensuality is hard to cross over.

The sage, the brahmin, not veering from the truth, stands on high ground,
Having renounced everything, he is said to be peaceful.

13. He who knows has gone to the end of knowledge;
Having understood the Dhamma, he is independent,
Behaving properly in the world, he envies no one here.

Whoever has crossed beyond sensuality,
The attachment difficult to cross over in the world,
Does not grieve, does not fret,
Having cut through the stream, without bondage.

15. He should destroy what is in the past, and have nothing for the future,
If he does not grasp at the present, he will live at peace.

16. The one who does not treasure anything about name and form,
And does not grieve for what does not exist, suffers no loss in the world.

17. For whoever has no thought of ‘This is mine,’ or ‘Something belongs to others,’
In whom ownership is not found, does not grieve (thinking): ‘Nothing is mine.’

18. Not bitter, not greedy, unshaken, at peace everywhere,
When asked this is what I say is an advantage for those who are unshaken.

19. For the unshaken, who know, there is no accumulation,
Abstaining from merit-making, he sees safety everywhere.

20. The sage does not say he is amongst equals, inferiors, or superiors,
He is peaceful, without selfishness, he neither takes up nor lays down.”

Becoming believers the kings said: “Had not the Teacher come, we should have slain one another and set flowing rivers of blood. It is owing to the Teacher that we are alive. But if the Teacher had adopted the lay life, the realm of the four great island-continents, together with two thousand lesser islands, would have passed into [5.221] his hands and he would have had more than a thousand sons. Moreover he would have had an escort of warrior lords. But foregoing this glory he gave up the world {5.415} and attained to Supreme Awakening. Now too let him wander forth with a following of warrior lords.” So the two peoples each of them offered him two hundred and fifty princes.

The Fortunate One after ordaining them retired to a great forest. From the next day onward, escorted by them, he went his rounds for alms in the two cities, sometimes in Kapilavatthu, at other times in Koliya, and the people of both cities paid him great honour. Amongst these men, who were ordained not so much for their own pleasure as out of respect to the Teacher, spiritual discontent sprang up. And their former wives to stir up their discontent sent such and such messages to them, and they grew yet more dissatisfied. The Fortunate One on reflection discovered how discontented they were and thought: “These monks, though living with a Buddha like me, are discontented. I wonder what kind of preaching would be profitable to them,” and he bethought him of the Kuṇāla Dhamma discourse. Then this notion struck him, “I will conduct these monks to the Himālayas and after illustrating the defilements connected with womankind by the Kuṇāla story and removing their discontent, I will bestow upon them the first stage of the paths.”

So in the morning putting on his under garment and taking his alms bowl and robes he went his rounds in Kapilavatthu, and having returned and taken his noonday meal, when the repast was finished, he addressed these five hundred monks and asked, “Was the delightful region of the Himālayas ever seen by you before?” They said: “Nay, venerable sir.” “Will you go on pilgrimage to the Himālayas?” “Venerable sir, we have no Supernormal Powers; how should we go?” “But supposing someone were to take you with him, would you go?” “Yes, sire.”

The Teacher by his Supernormal Powers caught them all up with him in the air and transported them to the Himālayas and standing in the sky he pointed out to them in a pleasant tract of the Himālayas various mountains, Golden Mount, Jewel Mount, Vermilion Mount, Collyrium Mount, Table-land Mount, Crystal Mount, and five great rivers, and the lakes, Kaṇṇamuṇḍaka, Rathakāra, Sīhappapāta, Chaddanta, Tiyaggala, Anotatta and Kuṇāla, seven lakes in all.

The Himālayas is a vast region, five hundred leagues in height, three thousand leagues in breadth. This charming part of it by his mighty power did he show them, and the dwelling places that were built there, the quadrupeds too, troops of lions, tigers, elephants and so forth did he show from this place – sacred groves and other pleasances, flowering and fruit-bearing trees, flocks of all manner of birds, water and land plants – on the east side of the Himālayas a golden table land, on the west side a vermilion one.

From the first sight of these charming regions, the passionate longing of these monks for their former wives passed off. Then the Teacher with these monks {5.416} alighting from the air on the west side of the Himālayas on a rocky plateau sixty leagues in extent, in Red Valley three leagues long, beneath a Sāl tree covering seven leagues and lasting a whole aeon, the Teacher, I say, escorted by these monks, emitting the six-coloured rays and stirring up the depths of the ocean and blazing like the sun took his seat, and speaking with a voice sweet as honey he thus addressed these monks, “Monks, inquire of me about some marvel you have never seen before in this Himālayas.”

At that moment two spotted cuckoos, seizing a stick at both ends in their mouths, in the centre of it had placed their lord. Eight cuckoos in front and eight behind, eight on the right and eight on the left, eight below and eight above, thus casting a shadow over their lord as they escorted him, were flying through the air. These monks on seeing this flock of birds asked the Teacher, “What, sir, is the meaning of these birds?” “Monks,” he said, “this is an ancient custom of our family, a tradition set up by me; in a former age they thus escorted me. Now at that time there was a vast gathering of these birds. Three thousand five hundred young hen-birds escorted me. Gradually wasting away the flock has become such as you see.” “In what kind of forest did they escort you, sir?” Then the Teacher said: “Well, hearken, monks,” and recalling it to mind he told a story of the past and thus taught them. [5.222]

The Kuṇāla Bird

This is the report and the fame thereof: [The following section is written in a very rare form of verse, the varṇaka, which went unrecognised by Fausböll and the translators. In numbering the verses I have followed Bollée’s reconstruction in his edition of the text [1970]. I have placed the numbers in brackets, as we restart the numbering with the recognised verses below.]

(1.) A region yielding from its soil all manner of herbs,
(2.) Overspread with many a tangle of flowers,
(3.) Ranged over by the elephant, gayal, buffalo, deer, yak, spotted antelope, rhinoceros, elk, lion, tiger, panther, bear, wolf, hyena, otter, uddārakā. For the form compare [Skt] mārjāraka, [Pāḷi: majjāraka] a cat. kadalī antelope, wild cat, long-eared hare,
(4.) Inhabited by numberless herds of different kinds of elephants, Specified in the text.
(5.) And frequented by various kinds of deer, Specified in the text. and haunted by Kimpurisas, Yakkhas and Rakkhasas,
(6.) Overspread with a thicket of trees blooming at the top with flowers, stalked and high-standing, and pithless, amajja. For this word compare Taittirīya Saṁhitā, vii. 5.
(7.) Re-echoing to the cries of hundreds of birds, all mad with joy, ospreys, partridges, elephant-birds, peacocks, pheasants, Indian cuckoos, I have omitted the names of three birds, parābhūta, celāvaka, bhiṅkāra, which are not found in the dictionaries.
(8.) Adorned and covered with hundreds of mineral substances,
collyrium, arsenic, yellow orpiment, vermilion, gold and silver –

it was in such a delightful forest lived the bird Kuṇāla: {5.417} very bright was it and covered with bright feathers. [In the text this and the following indented lines appear to have been in verse originally, and are commented on (as only verses are) in the text. They now lack metrical structure though, and appear as prose.]

This Kuṇāla bird had three thousand five hundred hen-birds in attendance on him. Then two birds seizing a stick in their mouths seated the Kuṇāla bird between them and flew up, fearing lest fatigue in the course of the long distance should cause him to move from his position and he should fall. Five hundred young birds fly below, for they thought: “If this Kuṇāla bird should fall from his perch, we will catch him in our wings.” Another five hundred birds fly above him, for fear lest the heat should scorch Kuṇāla. Five hundred birds fly on either side of him, to prevent cold or heat, grass or dust, wind or dew from coming nigh him. Five hundred fly in front of him, lest cowherds or neat-herds, grass-cutters, or stick-gatherers or foresters should strike Kuṇāla with stick or potsherd, with fist or clod, with staff or knife or gravel, or lest Kuṇāla should come into collision with shrub or creeper or tree, with post or rock, or with some powerful bird. Five hundred fly behind, addressing him with gentle, kindly words, in charming, sweet tones, lest Kuṇāla should grow weary, sitting there. Five hundred birds fly here and there, bringing a variety of fruits from different kinds of trees, lest Kuṇāla should be distressed with hunger.

Then the birds swiftly transport Kuṇāla for his satisfaction from pleasance to pleasance, from garden to garden, from one river’s bank to another, from mountain peak to mountain peak, from one mango grove to another, from Jambu plum orchard to Jambu plum orchard, from one breadfruit grove to another, from one coconut plantation to another. So Kuṇāla day by day escorted by these birds thus upbraids them: {5.418} “Perish, you vile creatures, yes, perish utterly, you thievish, cheating creatures, heedless, flighty and ungrateful as you are, like the wind going wheresoever you list.” [5.223] {5.419}

After these words the Teacher said: “Surely, monks, even when I was in an animal form, I knew well the ingratitude, the wiles, the wickedness and immorality of women-folk, and at that time so far from being in their power I kept them under my control,” and when by these words he had removed the spiritual discontent of these monks, the Teacher held his peace.

At this moment two black cuckoos came to this spot, raising their lord aloft on the stick, while others in fours flew below and on every side of him. On seeing them, the monks asked the Teacher of them and he said: “Of old, monks, I had a friend, a royal cuckoo, named Puṇṇamukha, and such was the tradition in his family,” and in answer to the monk’s question, just as before, he said: [This section is written in a very rare form of verse, the varṇaka, which went unrecognised by the translators.]

On the eastern side of this same Himālayas, the king of mountains,

(9.) Are green-flowing streams, having their source in slight and gentle mountain slopes;
(10.) In a fragrant, charming, bright spot, blooming with the beauty of lotuses,
blue, white, and the hundred-leafed, the white lily and the tree of paradise, {5.420}
(11.) In a region overrun and beautified with all manner of trees The translation here omits a long list of trees, etc., known for the most part, if at all, by their botanical equivalents in Latin.
(12-15.) And flowering shrubs and creepers,
(16.) Resounding with the cries of swans, ducks and geese,
(17.) Inhabited by troops of monks and ascetics, and such as are possessed of magical or Supernormal Powers,
(18.) And haunted by noble Devas, Yakkhas, Rakkhasas, Dānavas, Gandhabbas, Kinnaras and mighty serpents.

Verily it was in such a charming forest-thicket that the royal cuckoo Puṇṇamukha dwelt. Very sweet was his voice, and his laughing eyes were as the eyes of one intoxicated with joy. Three thousand five hundred hen-birds followed in the train of this cuckoo Puṇṇamukha. So two birds seizing a stick in their mouths and seating Puṇṇamukha in the middle of it flew up into the air, fearing lest fatigue [A passage here was mistakenly said to be an exact repeition of an earlier passage, and omitted in the original translation. I have restored it with suitable adjustments.] in the course of the long distance should cause him to move from his position and he should fall.

Fifty young birds fly below, for they thought: “If this Kuṇāla bird should fall from his perch, we will catch him in our wings.” Another fifty birds fly above him, for fear lest the heat should scorch Kuṇāla. Fifty birds fly on either side of him, to prevent cold or heat, grass or dust, wind or dew from coming nigh him. Fifty fly in front of him, lest cowherds or neat-herds, grass-cutters, or stick-gatherers or foresters should strike Kuṇāla with stick or potsherd, with fist or clod, with staff or knife or gravel, or lest Kuṇāla should come into collision with shrub or creeper or tree, with post or rock, or with some powerful bird. Fifty fly behind, addressing him with gentle, kindly words, {5.421} in charming, sweet tones, lest Kuṇāla should grow weary, sitting there. Fifty birds fly here and there, bringing a variety of fruits from different kinds of trees, lest Kuṇāla should be distressed with hunger.

Then did Puṇṇamukha, escorted by these birds by day, thus sing their praises, saying: “Bravo, my sisters, this act of yours well becomes high-born ladies, in that you do service to your lord.” Then in truth the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha drew near to the place where sat the bird Kuṇāla, and the birds in attendance upon Kuṇāla saw him, and while he was yet afar off they drew near to Puṇṇamukha and thus accosted him, “Friend Puṇṇamukha, Kuṇāla here is a fierce bird and has a rough tongue. Haply by your help we may win kindly speech from him.” “Haply we may, ladies,” he said.

And so saying, he drew near to Kuṇāla, and after a kindly greeting he sat respectfully on one side and thus addressed Kuṇāla, “Wherefore do you, friend Kuṇāla, behave so ill to these high-born ladies of rank, though they themselves are well-conducted. One ought, friend Kuṇāla, to speak pleasantly even to ladies who are themselves ungracious in speech: much more to such as are gracious.” When he had so spoken, Kuṇāla abused Puṇṇamukha after this manner, saying: “Perish, vile wretch, yes, perish utterly. Who is to be found like you, won over [5.224] by the prayers of womenfolk?” The commentator seems to take the passage thus. Perhaps it may be rendered, “Who is this (paragon) thus described by you, a henpecked creature that you are?” On being thus reproached the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha {5.422} turned back. Then surely in no long time afterwards severe sickness attacked Puṇṇamukha, and extreme suffering from a bloody flux set in, bringing him nigh unto death.

Then this thought occurred to the birds in attendance upon the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha, “This cuckoo is ill; peradventure he may be raised up from his sickness.” So leaving him quite alone they drew near to where the bird Kuṇāla was. Kuṇāla spied these birds coming from afar, and on seeing them thus addressed them, “Where, wretches, is your lord?” Friend Kuṇāla, they said: “Puṇṇamukha is sick: perhaps he may be raised up from his sickness.”

When they had so spoken, the bird Kuṇāla cursed them thus, “Perish, you wretches, yes, perish utterly, you thievish, cheating, heedless, flighty creatures, ungrateful for kindness done to you, going like the wind whithersoever you list.” So saying, he drew near to where the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha was and thus addressed him, “Ho! Friend Puṇṇamukha.” “Ho! Friend Kuṇāla,” he replied. Then the bird Kuṇāla seized the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha with his wings and beak and raising him up gave him all manner of medicines to drink. So the sickness of the cuckoo was relieved. {5.423}

And when Puṇṇamukha was well, the birds returned and Kuṇāla for a few days gave Puṇṇamukha wild fruits to eat, and when he had recovered his strength, he said: “Now friend, you are well again; continue to dwell with your attendant birds, and I will return to my own place of abode.” Then Puṇṇamukha said to him, “They left me when I was extremely ill and flew away. I have no need of these rogues.” On hearing this the Great Being said: “Well then, friend, I will tell you of the wickedness of womenfolk,” and he took Puṇṇamukha and brought him to the Red Valley on a slope of the Himālayas and sat down on a rock of red arsenic at the foot of a Sāl tree, seven leagues in extent, while Puṇṇamukha with his following sat on one side.

Throughout all the Himālayas went a heavenly proclamation, “Today Kuṇāla, king of birds, seated on a rock of red arsenic in the Himālayas, with all the charm of a Buddha will preach the Dhamma: hearken to him.” {5.424} By proclaiming it, one to another, the gods of the six sense worlds heard of it and for the most part assembled together: many Devas too in the forest, Nāgas, Supaṇṇas, and vultures proclaimed the fact.

At that time Ānanda, king of the vultures, with a following of ten thousand vultures dwelt upon Vulture Peak. And on hearing the commotion he thought: “I will listen to the preaching of the Dhamma,” and came with his followers and sat apart. Nārada too the ascetic with the five Super Knowledges, dwelling in the Himālayas region, with his following of ten thousand ascetics, on hearing this heavenly proclamation, thought: “My friend Kuṇāla, they [5.225] say, will speak of the faults of womankind: I too must listen to his exposition,” and accompanied by a thousand ascetics he travelled there by his Supernormal Powers and sat on one side apart.

There was a great gathering like that which assembles to hear the teaching of Buddhas. Then the Great Being, with the knowledge of one who remembers his former births, making Puṇṇamukha a personal witness, related a circumstance seen in a former existence, connected with the faults of women.


The Teacher, making the matter clear, said: Then the bird Kuṇāla thus addressed the cuckoo Puṇṇamukha, who had recently been raised up from a bed of sickness, “Friend Puṇṇamukha, I have seen Kaṇhā, her that had a double parentage i.e. the kings of Kosala and Kāsi, the real and the putative father. and five husbands, The names of the five husbands are given: Ajjuna, Nakula, Bhīmasena, Yudhiṭṭhila, Sahadeva. and whose affection was set upon a sixth man, a headless, Meaning, “with head crushed down into his body.” handicapped dwarf.” Here too we have a further verse:

1. “In ancient story Kaṇhā, it is said,
A single maid to princes five was wed,
Insatiate still she lusted for yet more
And with a humpbacked dwarf she played the whore.”

“I have seen, friend Puṇṇamukha, the case of a female ascetic named Saccatapāvī, who dwelt in a cemetery and gave away even a fourth meal. She did wrong with a goldsmith.

I witnessed too, friend Puṇṇamukha, the case of Kākātī, [See Ja 327.] the wife of Venateyya, who dwelt in the midst of the sea and yet did wrong with Naṭakuvera.

I have seen, friend Puṇṇamukha, the fair-haired Kuraṅgavī, Compare Tawney’s Kathāsaritsāgara, ii. 491-492. {5.425} who though in love with Eḷakamāra did wrong with Chaḷaṅgakumāra and Dhanantevāsī.

1a. This too was known to me, how the mother Reading: mātā ohāya Kosalarājānaṁ. of Brahmadatta, forsaking the king of Kosala,
1b. Did wrong with Pañcālacaṇḍa. These and other women went wrong, and one should not put trust in women nor praise them.
1c. As the earth is impartially affected towards all the world, bearing wealth for all, a home for all sorts and conditions of men (good and bad alike), all-enduring, unshaken, immovable, so also is it with women (in a bad sense). A man should not trust them.

2. “As lion fed upon raw flesh and blood,
With his five The lion’s mouth is the fifth paw. paws fierce ravening for food,
In others’ hurt will his chief pleasure find –
Such like are women. Man, beware their kind.”

“Verily, friend Puṇṇamukha, these creatures are not mere harlots, wenches or street-walkers, they are not so much strumpets as murderesses [5.226] – I mean these harlots, wenches, and street-walkers. The commentator takes gamaniyo as equivalent to vesiyo. They are like unto robbers with braided locks, like a poisoned drink, like merchants that sing their own praises, crooked like a deer’s horn, evil-tongued like snakes, like a pit that is covered over, insatiate as hell, as hard to satisfy as a Yakkhini, like the all-rapacious Yama, all-devouring like a flame, sweeping all before it as a river, like the wind going where it lists, undiscriminating like mount Neru, Ja 379 Nerujātaka. Like Mt Neru, reflecting a golden hue on all objects alike. fruiting perennially like a poison tree.” Here too occurs a further verse:

3. “Like poisoned draught or robber fell, crooked as horn of stag,
Like serpent evil-tongued One MS. for dujjivha reads dujivha “double-tongued.” are they, as merchant apt to brag,

4. Murderous as covered pit, like hell’s insatiate maw are they,
As Yakkha greedy or like Death that carries all away.

5. Devouring like a flame are they, mighty as wind or flood,
Like Neru’s golden peak that aye confuses Nāvasamākatā can scarcely be right. The commentary gives as the epithet to Neru nibbisesakārā. One reading gives nāvasamāgatā, speeding like a ship. bad and good,
Pernicious as a poison tree they fivefold ruin bring
On household gear, wasters of wealth and every precious thing.”

Princess Kaṇhā

In the past, they say, Brahmadatta, king of Kāsi, owing to his having an army, seized on the kingdom of Kosala, slew its king and carried off his chief queen, who was then pregnant, {5.426} to Benares and there made her his consort. By and by she gave birth to a daughter, and as the king had neither son nor daughter of his own begetting, he was greatly pleased and said: “Fair lady, choose some boon at my hands.” She accepted the boon but reserved her choice. Now they named the young princess Kaṇhā. So when she was grown up, her mother said: “Dear child, your father offered me a boon, which I accepted but put off my choice: do you now choose whatever you like.” From the excess of her passion breaking through maidenly shame she said to her mother, “Nothing else is lacking to me; get him to hold an assembly Svayaṁvara was the public choice of a husband by a princess from a number of suitors assembled for the purpose. In the Mahābhārata we have an account of the Svayaṁvara of Draupadī, daughter of the king of Pañcāla, afterwards the common wife of the five Pāṇḍu princes. to choose me a husband.” The mother repeated this to the king. The king said: “Let her have whatever she wishes,” and he had an assembly for choosing a husband proclaimed.

In the palace yard a host of men assembled, arrayed in all their splendour. Kaṇhā, who with a basket of flowers in her hand stood looking out of an upper lattice window, approved of no single one of them. Then Ajjuna, Nakula, Bhīmasena, Yudhiṭṭhila, Sahadeva, of the family of king Pāṇḍu, [These are, of course, some of the main characters in the Mahābhārata. Kaṇhā is another name for Draupadī.] these five sons of king Pāṇḍu, [5.227] I say, after receiving instruction in arts at Taxila from a world-famed teacher, travelling about with the idea of mastering local customs, arrived at Benares, and hearing a commotion in the city and learning in answer to their inquiry what it was all about, they came and stood all five of them in a row, in appearance like so many golden statues.

Kaṇhā on seeing them fell in love with all five, as they stood before her, and threw a wreathed coil of flowers on the head of all the five and said: “Dear mother, I choose these five men.” The queen told this to the king. The king, because he had given her the choice, did not say, “You cannot do this,” but was greatly vexed. On asking however what was their origin and whose sons they were, when he learned that they were sons of king Pāṇḍu, he paid them great honour and gave them his daughter to wife, and by the force of her passion she won the affection of these five princes in her seven-storied palace.

Now she had as an attendant a humpbacked man, and when by the force of passion she had won the hearts of the five princes, as soon as they had gone forth from the palace, finding her opportunity and fired by lust she did wrong with the humpbacked slave, and conversing with him she said: “There is no one dear to me like you; I will slay these princes and have your feet smeared in the blood from their throats.” And when she was in the company of the eldest of the royal brothers, she would say, “You are dearer to me than those other four. For your sake I would even sacrifice my life. At my father’s death I will bestow the kingdom on you alone.” But when she was in the company of the others, she acted in just the same way. They were greatly pleased with her, thinking: “She is fond of us and owing to this the sovereignty will be ours.”

One day she was sick, and gathering about her, one sat massaging her head, and the rest each of them a hand or foot, while the humpback sat at her feet. To the eldest brother, prince Ajjuna, who was massaging her head, she made a sign with her head, implying, “No one is dearer to me than you are: so long as I live I shall live for you and at my father’s death I will bestow the kingdom on you,” and so she won his heart. To the others too she made signs with hand or foot to the same effect. But to the humpback she made a sign with her tongue which said: “You only are dear to me: for your sake shall I live.” All of them, owing to what had been said by her before, knew what was meant by this sign.

But while the rest of them each recognised the sign given to himself, prince Ajjuna {5.427} when he saw the motions of hand, foot or tongue, thought: “As in my case, so also with the others, by this sign some token must be given, and there must be some intimacy with this humpbacked fellow,” so going outside with his brothers he asked, “Did you see the lady with five husbands making a sign with her head to me?” “Yes, we did.” “Do you know the meaning of it?” “We do not.” “The meaning of it was so and so: do you know what was meant by the sign given you [5.228] with hand or foot?” “Yes, we know.” “In the same way she gave me too a sign. Do you know the meaning of the sign given to the humpback by a motion of her tongue?” “We do not know.” Then he told them, “With him too she has done wrong.” And when they did not believe him, he sent for the humpback and asked him, and he told them all about it.

When they heard what he had to say, they all lost their passionate love for her. “Ah! Surely,” they said, “womankind is evil and vicious. Leaving men like us, nobly born and blessed by fortune, she does wrong with a disgusting, loathsome, humpbacked fellow like this. Who that is wise will find any pleasure in consorting with women so shameless and wicked as this?” Thus censuring womenfolk in many a turn the five princes thought: “We have had enough of married life,” and retired into the Himālayas, and after going through the Meditation Object practice, at the end of their life they fared according to their deeds.

Kuṇāla the bird-king was prince Ajjuna, and it was for this reason that in setting forth anything that he himself had seen, he began his story with the words, “I saw.” In relating other things that he had seen of old he used the same words, and here follows an explanation of an incident given in the first introductory story.

The Nun Saccatapāvī

In the past, they say, a white-robed setasamaṇī. Amongst the Jains is an order of white-robed ascetics called śvetāmbaras. Compare our White Friars. nun named Saccatapāvī had a hut of leaves built in a cemetery near Benares, and living there she abstained from four out of five meals, and throughout the city her fame was blazed abroad like as it were that of the Moon or Sun, and natives of Benares, if they sneezed or stumbled, said: “Praise be to Saccatapāvī.”

Now on the first day of a festival some goldsmiths had a tent erected in a certain spot where a crowd was gathered, and bringing fish, meat, strong drink, perfumes, wreaths and the like, they started a drinking bout. Then a certain goldsmith, who was addicted to drink, in vomiting said: “Praise be to Saccatapāvī.” On a certain wise man amongst them saying: “Alas, blind fool, you are paying honour to a fickle-minded woman – Oh! You are a fool,” he replied, “Friend, speak not thus, nor be guilty of a deed that leads to hell.” Then the wise man said: “You fool, hold your tongue. Lay a wager with me for a thousand crowns and on the seventh day from this, seated in this very spot, I will deliver into your hands Saccatapāvī in splendid apparel and made merry with strong drink {5.428} and I too will have a good drink myself with her: so unstable are womankind.” He said: “You will not be able to do so,” and took his wager for a thousand crowns.

So he told the other goldsmiths, and early next morning, disguised as an ascetic, our wise man made his way into the cemetery, and not far from her place of abode stood worshipping the Sun. She saw him as she was setting out to collect alms, and thought: “Surely this must be an ascetic with miraculous powers. I dwell on one [5.229] side of the cemetery, but he in the centre of it: his heart must be full of a holy calm. I will pay my respects to him.” So she drew near to him and saluted him, but he neither looked nor spoke. On the next day he acted in the same way. But on the third day when she saluted him, he looked down and said: “Depart.” On the fourth day he spoke kindly to her and said: “Are you not tired begging for alms?” She thought: “I have had a kind greeting,” and departed well pleased. On the fifth day she received a still kinder greeting and after sitting awhile she saluted him and went her ways.

But on the sixth day she came and saluted him as he sat there. He said: “Sister, what in the world is this great noise of song and music in Benares today?” She answered, “Venerable sir, do you not know that a festival is proclaimed in the city and this is the sound of those that make merry there?” Pretending not to know he said: “Yes, this doubtless is the noise I hear.” Then he asked, “How many meals, sister, do you omit to take?” “Four, sir,” she said, “and how many do you omit?” “Seven, sister,” but in this he spoke falsely, for he used to eat all day and night. Then he asked, “How many years is it since you took monastic vows?” And when she said: “Twelve, and how many since you took orders?” he answered, “This is the sixth year.” Then he asked, “Sister, have you attained to a holy calm?” “I have not, sir. Have you?” “Neither have we,” he said. “We get, sister, neither the joy of sensual pleasure, nor the bliss of renunciation. What is it to us that hell is hot? Let us follow in the way of the multitude: I will become a householder, and as I own the treasure which belonged to my mother, I shall come to no harm.”

On hearing what he said, through her want of stability she conceived a passion for him and said: “I too, sir, feel spiritual discontent: if you do not reject me, I too will keep house with you.” So he said to her, “I will not reject you: you shall be my wife.” Then he brought her into the city and cohabited with her. And going to the drinking booth with her he himself took strong drink and handed her over to his friends the worse for liquor. So that other fellow lost his wager of a thousand crowns, and she was blessed with numerous sons and daughters by the goldsmith. At that time Kuṇāla was the goldsmith Reading tulāputto. and in telling the story he began with the words, “I saw.”

Queen Kākātī

In the second tale is a story of the past which is told at length in the Fourth Book in the Kākātījātaka [Ja 327].

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 bare rule. Kākātī was his chief queen and as lovely as an Apsara. The old form of the legend will be found set forth in full in the Kunāḷajātaka [Ja 536]. 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 eraka 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, 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:

“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:

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

Naṭakuvera, on hearing this, uttered the third verse:

“ ’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:

“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.

Now at this time Kuṇāla was the Garuḷa, and this is the reason why in illustrating what he had seen with his own eyes he began with the words “I saw.”

Princess Kuraṅgavī

In the third story once upon a time Brahmadatta slew the king of Kosala and seized on his kingdom. Carrying off his chief queen, who was big with child, he returned to Benares, and, though he knew her condition, he made her his queen consort. When her time was fully come she gave birth to a son like an image of gold. And the queen thought: “When he is grown up, the king [5.230] of Benares will say, {5.429} ‘He is a son of my enemy: what is he to me?’ and will put him to death. Nay, let not my boy perish by an enemy’s hand.” So she said to his nurse, “Cover this child, my dear, with a coarse cloth and go and lay him in the charnel ground.” The nurse did so and after bathing returned home.

The king of Kosala too after death was born in the form of a guardian angel of the boy, and by his divine power a female goat belonging to a goatherd, who was keeping his flock in this spot, on seeing the child conceived an affection for him and after giving him milk to suck wandered off for a bit, and then came back twice, thrice or even four times, and gave him suck. The goatherd, on seeing what the goat was about, came to the spot, and when he saw the child conceived an affection for it and brought it to his wife. Now she was childless and therefore had no milk to give him. So the female goat continued to give it suck.

From that day two or three goats died every day. The goatherd thought: “If this boy goes on being tended by us, all our goats will perish. What is he to us?” Then he laid him in an earthenware vessel, covering him up with another, and smeared his face all over, without leaving any chink, with the flour of beans, and dropped him into the river. The child was carried down by the stream and was found on the lower bank near the king’s palace by a low-caste mender of old rubbish, who was there with his wife, washing his face. He ran up in haste pulled the vessel out of the water and laid it on the bank. “What have we here?” he thought, and uncovering the vessel found the child. His wife too was childless and she also conceived an affection for him. So she took him home and watched over him.

When he was seven or eight years old, his father and mother would take him with them when they went to the palace. When he was sixteen years old, the lad often went to the palace to mend old things. And the king and queen consort had a daughter named Kuraṅgavī, a girl of extraordinary beauty. From the moment she set eyes upon him she fell in love with the youth, and not caring for any one else she constantly repaired to the place where he worked. From their repeatedly seeing one another they were mutually enamoured, and secretly within the royal precincts guilty relations were established.

In course of time the servants told the king. In his rage be called his councillors together and said: “Such and such acts have been committed by this low-caste fellow: consider what must be done with him.” His councillors made answer, “Great is his offence; after exacting all manner of punishment we must put him to death.” At this moment the lad’s father (the king of Kosala), who had become his guardian angel, took possession of the body of the youth’s mother, and under the influence of tthe Deva she drew near to the king and said: “Sire, this youth is no low-caste fellow. He is the son born to me by the king of Kosala. In saying that my boy was dead, I lied to you. Knowing him to be the child of your enemy I gave him to [5.231] a nurse and had him exposed in a charnel ground. Then a goatherd watched over him, but when his goats all began to die, he had him cast into the river, and being transported here by the stream, he was found by the low-caste man who repairs old rubbish in our palace and fostered by him, and if you do not believe me, call for all these people and inquire of them.” The king summoned all of them, beginning with the nurse, and learning on inquiry that the facts were as she stated, he was delighted to find that the youth was nobly born, and giving directions that he should take a bath and put on splendid apparel, he gave him his daughter in marriage.

Now from his having brought about the death of the goats {5.430} they named him Eḷakamāra (Goat’s Bane). Then the king assigned him a transport and an army and sent him off, saying: “Go and take possession of the kingdom that was your father’s.” So he set off with Kuraṅgavī and was established on the throne.

Then the king of Benares thought: “He is quite uneducated,” and to instruct him in arts he sent Chaḷaṅgakumāra to be his teacher. Accepting him as his teacher he conferred on him the post of commander-in-chief. By and by Kuraṅgavī committed adultery with him. And the commander-in-chief had an attendant named Dhanantevāsī, and he sent by his hand robes and other adornments to Kuraṅgavī, and she went wrong with him too. So vicious and immoral are wicked women, and therefore I praise them not.

This the Great Being taught in telling a story of the past, for at that time he was Chaḷaṅgakumāra, and therefore the incident he related was one he saw with his own eyes.

Queen Kosaladevī

In the fifth story once upon a time a king of Kosala seized the kingdom of Benares and made the king’s chief queen, who at that time was pregnant, his queen consort, and then returned to his own city. By and by she gave birth to a son. The king, because he had no children of his own, fondly cherished the boy and had him instructed in all learning, and when he was of age he sent him away, bidding him take possession of the kingdom which had belonged to his father. He went and reigned there.

Then his mother saying she longed to see her boy took leave of the king of Kosala, and setting out for Benares with a large escort took up her abode in a town lying between the two kingdoms. In this place dwelt a certain handsome brahmin youth named Pañcālacaṇḍa. He brought her a present. On seeing him she fell in love and committed adultery with him. After spending a few days there, she went to Benares and saw her son. On returning she took up her abode in the same town and, after spending several days in guilty intercourse with her lover, she departed to Kosala city. Very soon after this, giving this or that reason for visiting her son, she took leave of the king and in going and returning stayed a fortnight in the same town, misconducting herself with her lover. So wicked and false, Sampuṇṇamukha, are women.

And in telling this story of the past he began with the words, “To the same effect also is this tale.”

Four Injurious Things

Hereafter, [5.232] in a variety of ways exhibiting the charm with which he preached the Dhamma, he said: “Friend Puṇṇamukha, there are four things which, if certain circumstances arise, prove injurious – these, I say, are not to be lodged in a neighbour’s household – an ox, a cow, a chariot, a wife. From these four things a wise man would keep his house clear: {5.433}

6. “Ox, cow, nor car to neighbours lend,
Nor trust a wife to house of friend:
The car they break through want of skill,
The ox by over-driving kill.

7. The cow is over-milked before long,
The wife in kinsman’s house goes wrong.”

Six Injurious Things

There are six things, friend Puṇṇamukha, which under certain circumstances prove injurious: A bow lacking its string, a wife living in a kinsman’s family, another’s ship, a carriage with broken axle, an absent friend, a wicked comrade, under certain circumstances, prove injurious.

Eight Grounds for Despising

Verily on eight grounds, friend Puṇṇamukha, a woman despises her husband: for poverty, for sickness, for old age, for drunkenness, for stupidity, for carelessness, for attending to every kind of business, for neglecting every duty towards her – verily, on these eight grounds a woman despises her lord. Here moreover occurs this verse:

8. “If poor or sick or old, a sot, or reckless thought,
If dull or by his cares of business overwrought,
Or disobliging found – such lord a wife esteems as nought.”

Nine Grounds for Blame

Verily on nine grounds does a woman incur blame: if she is fond of frequenting parks, gardens, and river banks, fond of visiting the houses of kinsfolk or of strangers, given to wearing the adornment of cloth worn by gentlemen, if she is a drinker of strong drink, given to staring about her, or of standing before her door – on these nine grounds, I say, a woman incurs blame. Here moreover occurs the following verse:

9. “A woman dressed in smart cloth vest, dram-drinking, apt to roam
In pleasance, park, by river side, to friend’s or stranger’s home,

10. Standing before her door, to stare about with idle gaze,
In nine such ways corrupted soon from path of virtue strays.”

Forty Seductive Ways

Verily, friend Puṇṇamukha, in forty different ways a woman makes up to a man. accāvadati. Morris in JPTS for 1886, p. 100, quotes a passage from Suttavibhaṅga ii. p. 263. She draws herself up, she bends down, she frisks about, she looks coy, she presses together her finger tips, she plants one foot on the other, she scratches the ground with a stick, she dances her boy up and down, {5.434} she plays and makes the boy play, she kisses and makes him kiss her, she eats and gives him to eat, she either gives or begs something, whatever is done she mimics, she speaks in a high or low tone, she speaks [5.233] now indistinctly, now distinctly, she appeals to him with dance, song and music, with tears or coquetry, or with her finery, she laughs or stares, she shakes her dress or shifts her loin-cloth, exposes or covers up her leg, exposes her bosom, her armpit, her navel, she closes her eye, she elevates her eyebrow, she pinches her lip, makes her tongue loll out, looses or tightens her cloth dress, looses or tightens her head-gear. Verily in these forty ways she makes up to a man.

Twenty-Five Ways of Wickedness

Verily, friend Puṇṇamukha, a wicked woman is to be known in twenty-five different ways: she praises her lord’s absence from home, she rejoices not in his return, she speaks in his dispraise, she is silent in his praise, she acts to his injury, and not to his advantage, she does whatever is harmful to him and refrains from what is serviceable, she goes to bed with her clothes on and lies with her face averted from him, she tosses about from side to side, she makes a great ado, she heaves a long-drawn sigh, she feels a pain, she frequently has to solicit nature, she acts perversely, on hearing a stranger’s voice she opens her ear and listens attentively, she is a waster of her lord’s goods, she is intimate with her neighbours, she gads abroad, she walks the streets, she is guilty of adultery, disregarding her husband she has wicked thoughts in her heart. Verily in these twenty-five ways, friend Puṇṇamukha, is a wicked woman to be known. Here moreover occurs this utterance:

11. “Her husband’s absence she approves nor grieves should he depart,
Nor at the sight of his return rejoices in her heart,
She ne’er at any time will say aught in her husband’s praise,
Such are the signs that surely mark the wicked woman’s ways.

12. Undisciplined, against her lord some mischief she will plot,
His interest neglects and does the thing that she ought not,
With face averted lies she down beside him, fully dressed,
By such like signs her wickedness is surely thus confessed. {5.435}

13. Restless she turns from side to side nor lies one moment still, kuṅkumī, kuṅkumiyajātā is not found. The commentator says kolāhalaṁ karoti.
Or heaves a long drawn sigh and groans, pretending she is ill,
As if at nature’s call from bed she oftentimes will rise,
By such like signs her wickedness a man may recognise.

14. Perverse in all her acts she does the thing she should eschew,
And hearkens to the stranger’s voice, her favours should he sue,
Her husband’s wealth is freely spent some other love to gain,
By signs like these her wickedness to all is rendered plain.

15. The wealth that by her lord with toil was carefully amassed,
The gear so painfully heaped up, behold, she squanders fast,
With neighbours far too intimate the lady soon will grow,
And by such signs the wickedness of women one may know.

16. Stepping abroad behold her how she walks about the streets,
And with the grossest disrespect her lord and master treats:
Nor of adultery stops short, corrupt in heart and mind –
By such like signs how wicked are all womenfolk we find.

17. Often she will at her own door all decency defy,
And shamelessly expose herself to any passing by, [5.234]
The while with troubled heart she looks around on every side –
By such like signs the wickedness of women is descried.

18. As groves are made of wood, as streams in curves and windings flow,
So, give them opportunity, all women wrong will go.

19. Yea give them opportunity and secrecy withal,
And every single woman will from paths of virtue fall:
Thus will all women wantons prove, should time and place avail,
And e’en with humpback dwarf does wrong, should other lovers fail.

20. Women that serve for man’s delight let every one distrust,
Fickle in heart they ever are and unrestrained in lust.
Ladies of pleasure fitly called, the basest of the base,
To all then such as common are as any bathing place.” {5.437}

Queen Kinnarā

Moreover he said: In the past at Benares was a king named Kaṇḍari [cf. Ja 341 Kaṇḍarijātaka.] who was a very handsome man, and to him daily his counsellors would bring a thousand boxes of perfume, and with this perfume they would make the house trim and neat, and then splitting up the boxes they would make scented firewood and cook the food therewith. Now his wife was a lovely woman named Kinnarā, and his family priest Pañcālacaṇḍa was the same age as himself and full of wisdom. And in the wall near the king’s palace grew a Jambu plum tree and its branches hung down upon the wall, and in the shade of it dwelt a loathsome, misshapen man.

Now one day queen Kinnarā looking out of her window saw him and conceived a passion for him. {5.438} And at night after winning the king’s favour by her charms, as soon as he had fallen asleep, she would get up softly and putting all manner of dainty food in a golden vessel and taking it on her hips, she would let herself down through the window by means of a rope of cloth, and climbing up the Jambu plum tree drop down by a branch of it and give her dainty food to the misshapen man and take her pleasure with him, and then ascend to the palace the same way that she had come down, and after shampooing herself all over with perfumes lie down by the king’s side. In this way she would constantly misconduct herself with this man and the king knew nothing of it.

One day the king after a solemn procession round the city was entering his palace when he saw this misshapen man, a pitiable object, lying in the shade of the Jambu plum, and he said to his family priest, “Just look at this ghost of a man.” “Yes, sire?” “Is it possible, my friend, that any woman moved by lust would come nigh such a loathsome creature?” Hearing what he said the man, swelling with pride, thought: “What is it this king said? I think he knows nothing of his queen’s coming to visit me.” And stretching out his folded hands towards the Jambu plum tree he cried, “O my lord, you guardian spirit of this tree, excepting you no one knows about this.” The family priest noticing his action thought: “Of a truth the king’s chief consort by the help of this tree comes and misconducts herself with him.” So he said to the king, “Sire, at night what is it like when you come into contact with the queen’s person?” [5.235] “I notice nothing else,” he said, “but that at the middle watch her body is cold.” “Well, sire, whatever may be the case with other women, your queen Kinnarā misconducts herself with him.” “What is this you say, my friend? Would such a charming lady take her pleasure with this disgusting creature?” “Well then, sire, put it to the proof.” “Agreed,” said the king, and after supper he lay down with her, to put it to the test.

At the usual time for falling asleep, he pretended to drop off, and she acted as before. The king following in her steps took his stand in the shade of the Jambu plum tree. The handicapped man was in a rage with the queen and said: “You are very late in coming,” and struck with his hand the chain in her ear. So she said: “Be not angry, my lord; I was watching for the king to fall asleep,” and so saying she acted as it were a wife’s part in his house. But when he struck her, the ear-ornament, which was like a lion’s head, falling from her ear dropped at the king’s feet. The king thought: “Just this will be the best thing for me,” and he took it away with him. And after misconducting herself with her lover she returned just as before and proceeded to lie down by the side of the king.

The king rejected her advances and next day he gave an order, saying: “Let queen Kinnarā come, wearing every ornament I have given her.” She said: “My lion’s head jewel is with the goldsmith,” and refused to come. When a second message was sent, she came with only a single ear-ornament. {5.439} The king asked, “Where is your earring?” “With the goldsmith.” He sent for the goldsmith and said: “Why do you not let the lady have her earring?” “I have it not, sire.” The king was enraged and said: “You wicked, vile woman, your goldsmith must be a man just like me,” and so saying he threw the earring down before her and said to the family priest, “Friend, you spoke the truth; go and have her head chopped off.” So he secured her in a certain quarter of the palace and came and said to the king, “Sire, be not angry with queen Kinnarā: all women are just the same. If you are anxious to see how immoral women are, I will show you their wickedness and deceitfulness. Come, let us disguise ourselves and go into the country.”

The king readily agreed and, handing over his kingdom to his mother, he set out on his travels with his family priest. When they had gone a league’s journey and were seated by the high road, a certain gentleman of property, who was holding a marriage festival for his son, had seated the bride in a closed carriage and was accompanying her with a large escort. On seeing this the family priest said: “If you like, you can make this girl misconduct herself with you.” “What say you, my friend? With this great escort the thing is impossible.” “Well then see this, my lord?” And going forward he set up a tent-shaped screen not far from the high road and, placing the king inside the screen, himself sat down by the side of the road, weeping.

Then the gentleman on seeing it asked, “Why, friend, are you weeping?” “My wife,” he said, “was heavy [5.236] with child and I set out on a journey to take her to her own home, and while still on the way her pangs overtook her and she is in trouble within the screen, and she has no woman with her and I cannot go to her there. I do not know what will happen.” “She ought to have a woman with her: do not weep, there are numbers of women here; one of them shall go to her.” “Well then let this maiden come; it will be a happy omen for the girl.” He thought: “What he says is true: it will be an auspicious thing for my daughter-in-law. She will be blessed with numerous sons and daughters,” and he brought her there.

Passing inside the screen she fell in love at first sight with the king and committed adultery with him, and the king gave her his signet ring. So when the deed was done and she came out of the tent they asked her, “What has she given birth to?” “A boy the colour of gold.” So the gentleman took her and went off. The family priest came to the king and said: “You have seen, sire, even a young girl is thus wicked. How much more will other women be so? Pray, sir, did you give her anything?” “Yes, I gave her my signet ring.” “I will not allow her to keep it.” And he followed in haste and caught up the carriage, and when they said: “What is the meaning of this?” he said: “This girl has gone off with a ring my brahmin wife had laid on her pillow: give up the ring, lady.” {5.440} In giving it she scratched the brahmin’s hand, saying: “Take it, you rogue.”

Thus did the brahmin in a variety of ways show the king that many other women are guilty of misconduct, and said: “Let this suffice here; we will now go elsewhere, sire.” The king traversed all Jambudīpa, and they said: “All women will be just the same. What are they to us? Let us turn back.” So they went straight home to Benares. The family priest said: “It is thus, sire, with all women; so wicked is their nature. Forgive queen Kinnarā.” At the prayer of his family priest he pardoned her, but had her thrust out from the palace. And when he had ejected her from the place, he chose another queen-consort, and he had the misshapen man driven forth and ordered the Jambu plum branch to be lopped off. At that time Kuṇāla was Pañcālacaṇḍa. So in telling the story of what he had seen with his own eyes, in illustration he spoke this verse:

21. “This much from tale of Kaṇḍari and Kinnarā is shown;
All women fail to find delight in homes that are their own.
Thus does a wife forsake her lord, though lusty he and strong,
And will with any other man, e’en misshapen, go wrong.”

Ugly Pañcapāpā

Another story is this: In the past a king of Benares, Baka by name, ruled his kingdom righteously. At that time a certain poor man, who dwelt by the eastern gate of Benares, had a daughter named Pañcapāpā. Compare Buddhaghosha’s Parables, Ch. XIX. The Story of the Sense of Touch. It is said that in a former birth as a poor man’s daughter she was kneading clay and plastering a wall. Then a Paccekabuddha [5.237] thought: “Where am I to get clay to make this mountain cave neat and trim? I can get it in Benares.” So putting on his cloak, and bowl in hand, he went into the city and took his stand not far from this woman. She was angry, and, looking at him, thought: “In his wicked heart he is begging for clay as well as alms.” The Paccekabuddha stood without moving. So, when she saw that he remained motionless, she was converted, and, looking at him once more, she said: “Priest, you have got no clay,” and she took a big lump and put it in his bowl, and with this clay he made things neat in his cave. {5.441} And as a reward for this lump of clay, her person became soft to the touch, but in consequence of her angry look her hands, feet, mouth, eyes and nose became hideously ugly, and so men knew her by the name of Pañcapāpā (The Five Defects).

Now the king of Benares was once wandering about the city by night and came to this spot, and she was playing with the village girls, and not recognising the king she seized him by the hand. As the result of her touch he lost all control over himself, and was as it were thrilled by a heavenly touch, and inflamed by passion he caught her by the hand, though she was so hideous to look upon, and asked whose daughter she was. When she answered, “Daughter of a dweller by the gate,” dvāravāsī, meaning perhaps an inhabitant of a poor quarter. cf. dvāragāma, a village outside the city gate, a suburb. and he heard she was unmarried, he said: “I will be your husband: go and ask your parents’ consent.” She went to her father and mother and said: “A certain man wishes to marry me.” On their assenting, and saying: “He too must be a poor, sorry creature, if he desires one like you,” she came and told him that her parents consented. So he cohabited with her in that very house, and quite early in the morning sought his palace.

From that day the king constantly came there in disguise, and did not care to look at any other woman. Now one day her father was attacked with a bloody flux. The remedy for his sickness was a constant supply of rice gruel prepared with milk, ghee, honey, and sugar, and this, owing to their poverty, they could not procure. Then the mother said to the daughter, “My dear, would your husband be able to procure us some rice gruel?” “Dear mother,” she said, “my husband must be even poorer than we are; but even if this is so, I will ask him: do not be worried.” So saying, about the time when he should return, she sat down as if in a disconsolate state. When the king came he asked why she was so sad, and on hearing what was the matter, he said: “My dear, whence shall I get this very powerful remedy?” And he thought: “I cannot continually keep coming here in this way; one must consider the risk one runs in the journey to and fro; but if I were to take her to the court, being ignorant of her possession of a soft touch, they will make a mock of me and say, “Our king has returned with a Yakkhini.” But if I make all the city acquainted with her [5.238] touch, I shall do away with all reproach against myself.” So he said to her, “My dear, do not vex yourself: I will bring your father some rice gruel,” and so saying, after taking his pleasure with her he returned to his palace.

The next day he had some rice gruel such as she described boiled for her, and, taking some leaves, made two baskets with them, and in one he put the rice gruel, and in the other he placed a jewelled diadem and fastened them up. And at night he came and said: “My dear, we are poor: I got this with great difficulty. You are to say to your father, “Today eat the rice gruel from this basket, and tomorrow from that.” She did accordingly. So her father, after eating a very little of it, from its invigorating qualities was soon satisfied, and the rest she gave to her mother, and herself {5.442} partook of it, and all three of them felt very happy, and the basket containing the jewelled diadem they reserved for the needs of the next day.

The king on reaching his palace washed his face and said: “Bring me my diadem.” On their saying: “We cannot find it,” he said: “Search through the whole city.” They searched, but still did not find it. “Well then,” he said: “Search in the houses of the poor outside the city, beginning with the baskets of leaves for food.” They searched and found the jewel diadem in this house, and crying out, “This woman’s father and mother are thieves,” they bound them and brought them to the king. Then her father said: “My lord, we are no thieves; a certain man brought us this jewel.” “Who was it?” he said. “My son-in-law,” he answered. When asked where he was, he said: “My daughter knows.” Then he had a word with her. “My dear,” he said, “you know who your husband is.” “I do not know.” “If this is so, we are undone.” “Dear father, he comes when it is dark, and departs before it is light, so I do not know his appearance, but I can recognise him by the touch of his hand.” Her father told this to the king’s officers, and they told the king.

The king, pretending ignorance of the whole matter, said: “Well, place the woman in a tent screen in the palace yard and cut a hole in the curtain as big as a man’s hand and call the citizens together, and detect the thief by the touch of his hand.” The officers did as he bade them. On going to her and seeing what she was like they were filled with loathing, and said: “She is a Yakkhini,” and in their disgust they did not dare to touch her. But they brought and placed her within a screen in the palace yard and gathered together all the citizens.

Seizing hold of the hand of every one that came, as it was stretched out through the hole, she said: “This is not the man.” The people were so captivated by the heavenly touch of her they could not tear themselves away. They thought: “If she be worthy of punishment, though we should have to inflict blows upon her with a stick, yet we should be ready to undergo any servile tasks for her, and to take her home as our wedded wife.” Then the king’s men beat them and drove them away, and all of them, beginning with the [5.239] viceroy, behaved like madmen.

Then the king said: “Could I possibly be the man?” and stretched forth his hand. The woman, seizing his hand, cried aloud, “I have got the thief.” The king inquired of his men, “When your hand was seized by her what did you think of it?” They told him exactly how it was with them. So the king said: “This is why I made them bring her to my house. Had they known nothing of her touch, they would have despised me. And now that all of you have learned the facts from me, say in whose house ought she to dwell as wife.” They said: “In your house, sire.” So, with the ceremonious sprinkling, he recognised her as his chief consort, {5.443} and bestowed great power on her father and mother. Thenceforth in his infatuation he neither set on foot any inquiries about her, nor so much as looked at any other woman.

The other queens sought to discover the mystery respecting her. One day she saw in a dream some indication of her being the chief queen of two kings, and she told her dream to the king. The king summoned the interpreters of dreams and asked, “What is the meaning of such and such a dream being seen by her?” Now they had received a bribe from the other women, and said: “The fact of the queen’s sitting on the back of a perfectly white elephant is a token of your death, and that she touches the moon as she rides upon the elephant’s back is a sign of her bringing some hostile king against you.” “What then is to be done?” said he. “You cannot put her to death, sire, but you must place her on board a ship and let her drift down the stream.”

The king in the night put her on board, with food, garments, and adornments and sent her adrift on the river. As she was carried down in the vessel by the stream she came face to face with king Pāvāriya, as he was disporting himself in the river. His commander-in-chief on seeing it said: “This ship belongs to me.” The king said: “Its cargo is mine,” and when the ship reached them and they saw the woman he said. “Who are you, so like a Yakkhini as you are?” She, smiling, said she was the chief consort of king Baka, and told him all her story, and that she was renowned throughout Jambudīpa as Pañcapāpā. Then the king, taking her by the hand, lifted her out of the vessel, and no sooner had he taken her hand than he was inflamed with passion at her touch, and in the case of his other wives ceased to regard them as worthy the name of women, and he raised her to the position of chief queen, and she was as dear as his own life to him.

Baka, on hearing what had happened, said: “I will not allow him to make her his queen consort,” and getting together an army, he took up his quarters in a port on the opposite side of the river, and sent a message to this effect, that Pāvāriya was either to surrender his wife or give battle. His rival was ready for battle, but the councillors of the two kings said: “For the sake of a woman there is no need to die. From his being her first husband she belongs to Baka, but from his having rescued her from the ship she [5.240] belongs to Pāvāriya. Therefore let her be for the space of seven days at a time in the house of each of them.”

After due deliberation they gained over the two kings to this view, and they both were highly pleased, and built cities on opposite banks of the river and took up their abode there, and the woman accepted the position of chief consort to the pair of kings, and they were both infatuated with her. Now she dwelt seven days in the house of one of them, and then crossed over in a ship to the abode of the other, and when in mid-stream she committed adultery with the pilot who steered the vessel, a lame and bald old man. At that time Kuṇāla, {5.444} the king of birds, was Baka, and so he spoke of this as something he had seen with his own eyes, and to illustrate it he repeated this verse:

22. “Wife of Pāvārika and Baka too,
(Two kings whose lust no pause or limit knew)
Yet does wrong with devoted husband’s slave;
With what vile wretch would she not misbehave?”

Queen Piṅgiyānī

Yet another story: In the past the wife of Brahmadatta, Piṅgiyānī by name, opening her window looked out and saw a royal groom, and, when the king had fallen asleep, she got down through the window and committed adultery with him, and then again climbed back to the palace and shampooed her person with perfumes and lay down with the king. Now one day the king thought: “I wonder why at midnight the person of the queen is always cool: I will examine into the matter.” So one day he pretended to be asleep and got up and followed her and saw her committing folly with a groom. He returned and climbed up to his chamber, and she too after she had been guilty of adultery came and lay down on the small bed. Next day the king, in the presence of his ministers, summoned her and made known her misconduct, saying: “All women alike are sinners.” And he forgave her offence, though it deserved death, imprisonment, mutilation, or cleaving asunder, but he deposed her from her high rank and made someone else his queen consort. At that time king Kuṇāla was Brahmadatta, and so it was that he told this story as of something he had seen with his own eyes, and by way of illustration he repeated this verse:

23. “Fair Piṅgiyānī was as wife adored
By Brahmadatta, earth’s all conquering lord,
Yet did wrong with devoted husband’s slave,
And lost by lechery both king and cheat.” {5.445}

Summary Verses

After telling of the defilements of women in old world stories, in yet another way, still speaking of their misdeeds, he said:

24. “Poor fickle creatures women are, ungrateful, treacherous they,
No man if not possessed would deign to credit aught they say.

25. Little reck they of duty’s call or plea of gratitude,
Insensible to parents’ love and ties of brotherhood,
Transgressing every law of right, they play a shameless part,
In all their acts obedient to the wish of their own heart. [5.241]

26. However long they dwell with him, though kind and loving he,
Tender of heart and dear to them as life itself may be,
In times of trouble and distress, leave him they will and must,
I for my part in womenfolk can never put my trust.

27. How often is a woman’s mind like shifty monkey’s found,
Or like the shade cast by a tree on height kanna, apparently Skt skanna, but one would have expected the compound to be pakkanna. cf. Pischel, Gramm. der Prākrit-Sprachen, § 206. or depth around,
How changeful too the purpose lodged within a woman’s breast,
Like tire of wheel revolving swift without a pause or rest.

28. Whene’er with due reflection they look round and see their way
To captivate some man of wealth and make of him their prey,
Such simpletons with words so soft and smooth they captive lead,
E’en as Cambodian groom with herbs will catch the fiercest steed.

29. But if when looking round with care they fail to see their way
To get possession of his wealth and make of him a prey,
They drive him off, as one that now has reached the furthest shore
And cuts adrift the ferry boat he needeth nevermore.

30. Like fierce devouring flame they hold him fast in their embrace,
Or sweep him off like stream in flood that hurries on apace;
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
E’en as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore.

31. They not to one or two belong, like open stall are they,
One might as soon catch wind with net as women hold in sway. {5.446}

32. Like river, road, or drinking shed, papā, a roadside shed where travellers are supplied with water. cf. Jātaka i. 302. 3. assembly hall or inn,
So free to all are womenfolk, no limits check their sin.

33. Fell as black serpent’s head are they, as ravenous as a fire,
As kine the choicest herbage pick, they lovers rich desire.

34. From elephant, black serpent, and from flame that’s fed on ghee,
From man besprinkled to be king, and women we should flee.
All these whoso is on his guard will treat as deadly foe,
Indeed their very nature it is very hard to know.

35. Women who very clever are or very fair to view,
And such as many men admire – all these one should eschew:
A neighbour’s wife and one that seeks a man of wealth for mate,
Such kind of women, five in all, no man should cultivate.” {5.447}

When he had thus spoken the people applauded the Great Being, crying, “Bravo, well said!” and after telling of the faults of women in these instances he held his peace.

King of the Vultures Ānanda

On hearing him Ānanda, the vulture king, said: “My friend, Kuṇāla, I too by my own powers of knowledge will tell of women’s faults,” and he began to speak of them. The Fortunate One by way of illustration said: “Then, verily, Ānanda, the vulture king, marking the beginning, middle and end of what the bird Kuṇāla had to say, at this time uttered these verses: {5.448}

36. “Although a man with all this world contains of golden gear
Should her endow of womankind his heart may count most dear,
Yet, if occasion serves, she will dishonour him withal –
Beware lest you into the hands of such vile wretches fall. [5.242]

37. A manly vigour uṭṭhāhaka. See Dhp 280, anuṭṭhahāno, and its archaic form in the Journal Asiatique, IXme Sér., tome xii. p. 215, where from the verbal base uṭṭhah we find an analogous form anuṭhahatu. he may show, from worldly taint be free,
Her maiden wooer may perhaps winsome and loving be,
In times of trouble and distress leave him she will and must,
I for my part in womankind can never put my trust.

38. Let him not trust because he thinks she fancies me, I know,
Nor let him trust because her tears oft in his presence flow;
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
Just as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore.

39. Trust not a litter strewn with leaves and branches long ago, For fear it may harbour a snake.
Trust not your whilom friend, perchance now grown into a foe,
Trust not a king because you think, ‘My comrade once was he,’
Trust not a woman though she has borne children ten to thee.

40. Women are pleasure-seekers all and unrestrained in lust,
Transgressors of the moral law: in such put not your trust.
A wife may feign unbounded love before her husband’s face;
Distrust her: women common are as any landing place.

41. Ready to mutilate or slay, from nothing do they shrink,
And after having cut his throat they e’en his blood would drink:
Let no man fix his love on them, creatures of passions base,
Licentious and as common as some Ganges landing place.

42. In speech they no distinction make betwixt the false and true,
As kine the choicest herbage pick, rich lovers they pursue.

43. One man they tempt with looks and smiles, another by their walk,
Some they attract by strange disguise, The commentator refers to the story of Ja 526 Naḷinikā, as an instance of this. others by honeyed talk.

44. Dishonest, fierce and hard of heart, as sugar sweet their words,
Nothing there is they do not know to cheat their wedded lords.

45. Surely all womenfolk are vile, no limit bounds their shame,
Impassioned and audacious they, devouring as a flame.

46. Women are not so formed, this man to love and that abhor,
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
E’en as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore. {5.449}

47. ’Tis not a case of love or hate with womenfolk we see,
It is for gold they hug a man, as parasites a tree.

48. A man may corpses burn or e’en dead flowers from temples rake, pupphachaḍḍaka, a low-caste man who removes dead flowers from temples, Thag v. 620, Questions of Milinda, v. 4, vol. ii. p. 211 (Sacred Books of the East xxxvi.).
Be groom of horse or elephant, or care of oxen take,
Yet women after such low castes will run for money’s sake.

49. One nobly born they leave if poor, as ’twere a low outcaste,
To such a one, like carrion vile, if rich, they hie them fast.” {5.450}

Thus did Ānanda, the vulture king, keeping to facts within his own knowledge, tell of the bad qualities of women, and then held his peace.

The Ascetic Nārada

Nārada, too, after hearing what he had to say, keeping to what [5.243] he himself knew, spoke of their bad qualities.

In illustrating this the Teacher said: “Then verily Nārada, hearing the beginning, middle and end of what Ānanda, the vulture king, had to say, at this point repeated these verses:

50. “Four things can never sated be – list well to these my words –
Ocean, kings, brahmins, womankind, these four, O king of birds.

51. All streams in earth that find their home will not the ocean fill,
Though all may with its waters mix, something is lacking still.

52. A brahmin cons For the form adhiyānaṁ compare v. 24. 4, khādiyānaṁ, v. 143. 9, anumodiyānaṁ, v. 505. 28, paribhuñjiyāna. Compare Pischel, Grammatik der Prākrit-Sprachen, § 592. his Vedas and his legendary lore,
Yet still he sacred knowledge lacks and craves for more and more.

53. A king by conquest holds the world, its mountains, seas and all,
The endless treasures it contains his very own may call,
Yet sighs for worlds beyond the sea, for this he counts too small.

54. One woman may have husbands eight, compliant to her will,
All heroes bold, well competent love’s duties to fulfil,
Yet on a ninth her love she sets, for something lacks she still.

55. Women like flames devour their prey,
Women like floods sweep all away,
Women are pests, like thorns are they,
Women for gold oft go astray.

56. That man with net might catch the breeze,
Or single-handed bale out seas,
Clap with one hand, who once should dare
His thoughts let range on woman fair.

57. With women, clever jades, truth aye is found a rarity,
Their ways as much perplex as those of fishes in the sea. These lines occur on p. 52, supra. {5.451}

58. Soft-speaking, ill to satisfy, as rivers hard to fill,
Down – down they sink: who women know should flee far from them still. Vol. ii. p. 226, vol. iv. p. 292, English version.

59. Seducing traitresses, they tempt the holiest to his fall,
Down – down they sink: who women know should flee afar from all.

60. And whomsoever they may serve for gold or for desire,
They burn him up as fuel burns cast in a blazing fire.”

When Nārada had thus set forth the vices of women, the Great Being once more by special instances illustrated their bad qualities. {5.452}

The Kuṇāla Bird

To show this the Teacher said: “So verily the bird Kuṇāla, after learning the beginning, middle and conclusion of what Nārada had to say, repeated at this time these verses:

61. “E’en a wise man may dare to exchange a word
With Yakkha foe armed with sharp whetted sword,
Fierce snake he may assail, but ne’er too bold
Alone with woman should he converse hold. [5.244]

62. Man’s reason is o’ercome by woman’s charms,
Speech, smiles, with dance and song, their only arms:
Unstable souls they harass, as erewhile
Fell Yakkhas merchants slew in Yakkha isle.

63. Given to strong drink and meat, one tries in vain
To curb their appetite or lust restrain,
Like to some fabled monster of the deep,
Into their maw a man’s whole wealth they sweep.

64. Lust’s five-fold realm they own as their domain,
Their swelling pride uncurbed none may restrain:
As rivers all to ocean find their way,
So careless souls to women fall a prey.

65. The man in whom these women take delight,
Moved by their greed or carnal appetite,
Yea such a one inflamed by strong desire,
They clean consume as fuel in the fire.

66. If one they know is rich, on him they fall
And off they carry him, his wealth and all,
Round him thus fired with lust their arms they fling,
As creepers to some forest Sāl tree cling.

67. Like bimba Momordica monadelpha. fruit red-lipped, vimboṣṭha. so bright are they,
’Gainst man they many a stratagem essay,
With laughter now assailing, now with smiles,
Like Saṁvara, Saṁvara, the name of a demon. that lord of many wiles.

68. Women with gold and jewels rich bedecked,
By husband’s kin received with due respect, {5.453}
Though strictly guarded ’gainst their lords do sin,
Like her the Yakkha’s maw conveyed within. Ja 436 Samuggajātaka.

69. A man may very famous be and wise,
Revered and honoured in all people’s eyes,
Yet fall’n ’neath woman’s sway no more will shine
Than moon eclipsed by Rāhu’s Rāhu, a Asura supposed to swallow the moon and cause an eclipse. power malign.

70. The vengeance wreaked by angry foe on foe,
Or such as tyrants to their victims show,
Yea a worse fate than this o’ershadows all
That through their lust ’neath woman’s sway shall fall.

71. Threatened with person scratched or hair pulled out,
Scourged, cudgelled, buffeted or kicked about,
Yet woman to some low-born lover hies
Delighting in him as in carrion flies.

72. Shun women in highways and lordly hall,
In royal city or in township small,
A man of insight, would he happy be,
Avoids the snare thus laid by Namuci. A name of Māra. See Windisch, Māra and Buddha, p. 185.

73. He who relaxes good ascetic rule,
To practise what is mean and base, poor fool,
Will barter heaven for hell, like unto them
Who change a flawless for a blemished chedagāmimaṇi. gem. [5.245]

74. Despised is he in this world and the next
And, willingly by evil women vexed,
Goes stumbling recklessly, fall upon fall,
As vicious ass runs wild with car and all.

75. Now in silk-cotton grove of iron spears, Compare Saṅkiccajātaka, p. 139, supra.
Now in Patāpana he disappears,
Now lodged in some brute form is seen to flit
In ghostly realms that he may never quit.

76. In Nandana Nandana, a garden in Indra’s heaven. love’s heavenly sport and play,
On earth the monarch’s universal sway,
Is lost through woman, and through her, alas,
All careless souls to state of suffering pass. {5.454}

77. Not hard to attain are heavenly sport and play,
Nor upon earth the world-wide monarch’s sway,
Accharā too in golden homes by these are won
Who with sensual desire long since have done.

78. To pass from Realm of Sense with life renewed
To World of Form, with higher powers endued,
Is by rebirth in the lustless sphere won
By these who with sensual desire have done.

79. The bliss that does all sense of pain transcend,
Unwavering, unconditioned, without end,
Is by pure souls, now in Nibbāna, won
Who with sensual desire long since have done.” {5.456}

Thus did the Great Being, after bringing about their attainment of the Eternal Great Nibbāna, end his lesson. And the elves and mighty serpents and the like in the Himālayas, and the angels standing in the air, all applauded, saying: “Bravo! Spoken with all the charm of a Buddha.” Ānanda, the vulture king, Nārada, the lordly brahmin, Puṇṇamukha, the royal cuckoo, each with his own following, retired to their respective places, and the Great Being too departed to his own abode. But the others from time to time returned and received instruction at the hands of the Great Being, and abiding by his admonition became destined to Heaven.

The Teacher here ended his lesson and identifying the Jātaka repeated the final verse:

80. “Udāyi royal cuckoo was, Ānanda vulture king,
Good Sāriputta Nārada, Kuṇāla I that sing.”

Thus are you to understand this Jātaka.

Now these monks, when they came, came by the supernatural power of the Teacher, and on returning returned by their own power. And the Teacher revealed to them in the Great Forest the means by which Absorption may be induced, and that very day they attained to Arahatship. There was a mighty gathering of Devas, so the Fortunate One declared to them the Mahāsamayasutta [DN 20].