Ja 537 Mahāsutasomajātaka
The Long Story about (King) Sutasoma (80s)

In the present the monks are talking about the conversion of the murderer Aṅgulimāla. The Buddha tells a story of a king who fell into cannibalism and was exiled from his country, but was converted by the honesty of his friend from his school days and became king again, abiding by the moral precepts.

The Bodhisatta = king Sutasoma (Sutasomarājā),
Aṅgulimāla = the man-eating king (porisādo rājā),
Anuruddha = (the King of the Devas) Sakka,
Kassapa = the Tree Devatā (Rukkhadevatā),
Ānanda = the brahmin Nanda (Nandabrāhmaṇa),
Sāriputta = (the general) Kāḷahatthi,
the great king’s family = mother and father (mātāpitaro),
the Buddha’s disciples = the other kings (sesarājāna).

Past Compare: Ja 503 Sattigumba, Ja 513 Jayaddisa, Ja 537 Mahāsutasoma, Cp 32 Sutasomacariya, Jm 31 Sutasoma.

Keywords: Truth, Promises, Devas.

“Teacher of dainty flavours.” [5.246] This story the Teacher while dwelling at Jetavana told concerning the elder Aṅgulimāla. For the story of Aṅgulimāla see Aṅgulimālasuttaṁ (MN , No. 86, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 97). The manner of his birth and admission to the Saṅgha is to be understood as fully described in the Aṅgulimālasutta [MN 86]. Now from the time when by an Assertion of Truth he saved the life of a woman having a difficult delivery he easily obtained offerings of food and by cultivating retirement he afterwards attained to Arahatship and became recognised as one of the eighty great elders.

At that time they started this subject in the Dhamma Hall, saying: “Oh! What a miracle, sirs, was wrought by the Fortunate One in that he thus peacefully and without using any violence converted and humbled such a cruel and blood-stained robber as Aṅgulimāla: Oh! Buddhas verily do mighty works!” The Teacher seated in the Perfumed Chamber by his divine sense of hearing caught what was said and, knowing that today his coming would be very helpful and that there would be an exposition of a great Dhamma, with the incomparable grace of a Buddha he went to the Dhamma Hall and there sitting on the seat reserved for him he asked what theme they were discussing in the meeting; and when they told him what it was he said: “There is no marvel, monks, in my converting him now, {5.457} when I have attained to the highest Awakening. I also tamed him when I was living in a previous stage of existence and in a condition of only limited padesañāṇaṁ. See Śikshāsamuccaya, Index, p. 385, s.v. prādeśika, 1. local, provincial, 2. limited, as in prādeśikayānam, Mahāvyutpatti, § 59. knowledge,” and with these words he told a story of the past.

In the past a king named Koravya exercised a righteous rule in the city of Indapatta, in the kingdom of Kuru. The Bodhisatta came to life as the child of his chief queen, and from his fondness for pressed soma juice they called him Sutasoma. When he was come of age his father sent him to Taxila to be educated by a teacher of world-wide fame. So taking his teacher’s fee he started on his way there. At Benares, too, prince Brahmadatta, son of the king of Kāsi, was sent by his father for a like purpose and set out upon the same road.

In the course of his journey Sutasoma to rest himself sat down on a bench in a hall by the city gate. Prince Brahmadatta, too, came and sat down with him on the same bench. After a friendly greeting Sutasoma asked him, saying: “Friend, you are tired with your journey. Whence have you come?” On his saying “From Benares,” he asked whose son he was. “The son of Brahmadatta.” “And what is your name?” “Prince Brahmadatta.” “With what object are you come?” “To be instructed in arts,” he replied. Then prince [5.247] Brahmadatta said: “You too are tired with your journey,” and questioned him in like manner. And Sutasoma told him all about himself. And they both thought: “We are two princes going to receive instruction in arts at the hands of the same teacher,” and struck up a friendship one with another.

Then entering the city they repaired to the teacher’s house and saluted him, and after declaring their origin they said they had come to be instructed in arts. He readily agreed with their proposals. Offering him the fee for instruction they entered upon their studies, and not merely they, but other princes who were at that time in Jambudīpa, to the number of one hundred and one, received instruction from the teacher. Sutasoma being the senior pupil soon attained to proficiency in teaching, and without visiting the others {5.458} he thought: “This is my friend,” and went to prince Brahmadatta only, and becoming his private teacher piṭṭhi-ācariya. This word occurs in Jātaka vol. ii. 100. 13, and in both passages seems to mean an assistant teacher, supplementing the master’s teaching. he soon educated him, while the others only gradually acquired their learning.

They, too, after zealous application to their studies bade farewell to their teacher, and forming an escort to Sutasoma set out on their return journey. Then Sutasoma standing in front of them dismissed them, saying: “After you have given a proof of your learning to your respective fathers you will be established each in your own kingdom. When so established see that you obey my instructions.” “What are they, Teacher?” “On the days of the new and full moon For pakkhadivasā, the two chief fortnightly fast-days, see Jātaka iii. 292. 19, 342. 5 and vi. 97. 3. to keep Uposatha precepts and to abstain from taking the life of anything.” They readily agreed to this. The Bodhisatta, from his power of prognosticating from personal appearance, knew that great danger would arise with regard to the prince of Benares in the future, and thus after due admonition he dismissed them. And they all returned to their own countries, and after an exhibition of their learning to their fathers succeeded to their respective kingdoms. And to make known this fact and that they were continuing in his admonition, together with a present, they sent letters to Sutasoma. The Great Being on learning the state of affairs answered their letters, bidding them be earnest in the faith.

One of them, the king of Benares, never ate his rice meal without meat, and to observe a holy day they would take his meat and put it on one side. Now one day when the meat was thus reserved, by the carelessness of the cook the well-bred dogs in the king’s palace ate it. The cook not finding it took a handful of coins and going a round failed to procure any meat and said: “If I should serve a meal without meat, I am a dead man. What am I to do?” But thinking: “There is still a way,” late in the evening he went to a cemetery where dead bodies are exposed and taking some flesh from the thigh of a man who had just died, he roasted it [5.248] thoroughly and served it up as a meal. No sooner was a bit of the meat placed on the tip of the king’s tongue than it sent a thrill through the seven thousand nerves of taste and continued to create a disturbance throughout his whole body. Why was this? From his having previously resorted to this food. For it is said that as a Yakkha, in the birth immediately preceding this, he had eaten quantities of human flesh, and so it was agreeable to his taste. Throughout the Jātakas Yakkhas are frequently mentioned as eating human flesh. The only cases of cannibalism are those of men who have either been reared by a Yakkha or such as have been Yakkhas in a previous birth, as in this story. Compare an interesting paper, “Piśāca = Ὠμοφάγος,” contributed by Dr. Grierson to the JRAS 1905, on legends connected with cannibalism in the modern Piśāca country. {5.459} The king thought: “If I shall eat this in silence, he will not tell me what this meat is,” so in spitting he let a piece fall to the ground. When the cook said: “You may eat it, sire; there is nothing wrong with it,” he ordered all his attendants to retire and said: “I know it is all right, but what meat is it?” “What your Majesty has enjoyed on previous days.” “Surely the meat had not this flavour at any other time?” “It was well cooked today, sire.” “Surely you cooked it exactly like this before?” Then seeing him reduced to silence he said: “Either tell me the truth or you are a dead man.” So he prayed for an assurance of indemnity and told the exact truth. The king said: “Do not say a word about it. You are to eat the usual roast meat and cook human flesh only for me.” “Surely this is a difficult matter, sire.” “Do not be afraid: there is no difficulty.” “Whence shall I be able to get it continually?” “Are there not numbers of men in prison?” Thenceforth he acted on this suggestion.

By and by, when prisoners failed him, he said: “What am I to do now?” The king said: “Throw down in the high road a parcel of a thousand pieces of money and seize as a thief any one that picks it up and put him to death.” He did so. By and by, not finding a creature so much as looking at the packet of money, he said: “Now what am I to do?” “At the time when a drum sounds the night watches, the city is crowded with people. Then, taking your stand in the cleft With gharasandhi, a hole in the wall of a house, compare Manu, IX. 276. of a house wall or at a crossroads, strike down a man and carry off some of his flesh.” From that day he used to come with some fat flesh, and in various places dead bodies were found.

A sound of lamentation was heard, “I have lost my father, I have lost my mother, or brother or sister.” The men of the city were panic-stricken and said: “Surely some lion or tiger or Yakkha has devoured these people.” On examining the bodies they saw what looked like a gaping wound and said: “Why it must be a man that eats their flesh!” The people gathered together in the palace-yard and made a complaint. The king asked, “What is it, my friends?” “Sire,” they said, “in this city is some man-eating robber: have him [5.249] seized.” “How am I to know who it is? Am I to walk round and guard the city?” The people said, {5.460} “The king has not a care for the city: we will report it to the commander-in-chief, Kāḷahatthi.” They told him and said: “You must search for this robber.” He answered, “Wait for seven days and I will seek out the robber and hand him over to you.” And dismissing the people he gave orders to his officers, saying: “My friends, they say there is a man-eating robber in this city. You are to lay an ambuscade in various places and capture him.” They said: “All right,” and from that day they surrounded the whole city.

Now the cook was concealed in a hole in the wall of a house and he killed a woman and began to fill his basket with pieces of solid flesh. So the officers seized and buffeted him, and tying his arms behind him they raised a loud cry, “We have caught the man-eating robber.” A crowd of people gathered around them. Then beating him soundly and fastening the basket of flesh upon his neck they brought him before the commander-in-chief. On seeing him he thought: “Can it be that this fellow eats this flesh or does he mix it with other meat and sell it, or does he kill people at the bidding of somebody else?” And inquiring into the matter he spoke the first verse:

1. “Teacher of dainty flavours, what dire need
Has urged you on to do this dreadful deed?
Have you for food to eat or wealth to gain,
Misguided wretch, these men and women slain?”

The verses that follow are of obvious connection and are to be understood as uttered by alternate speakers in accordance with the scripture context:

2. “Neither for wife or child, friends, kin or pelf,
Nor did I slay this woman for myself;
My gracious lord, the sovereign of this land,
Eats human flesh: I did wrong at his command.”

3. “If thus instigated to sate your master’s greed
You have been guilty of this awful deed, {5.461}
Let us at early dawn seek out the king
And in his face the accusation fling.”

4. “O Kāḷahatthi, worshipful good lord,
So will I do according to your word,
At early dawn will I seek out the king
And in his face this accusation fling.”

So the commander had him laid down, firmly bound, and at dawn he took counsel with his officers, and as they were unanimous he stationed guards in every direction, and having got the city well in hand he bound the basket of flesh on the cook’s neck and went off with him to the palace, and the whole city was in an uproar. The king had breakfasted the day before, but had gone without his supper and had spent the whole night in a sitting posture, expecting the cook to come every moment. “Today, too,” he thought, “no cook comes, and I hear a great uproar in the city. What [5.250] can it all be about?” and looking out of the window he saw the man being dragged there as described, and thinking everything was discovered he plucked up his courage and took his seat on his throne. And Kāḷahatthi drew nigh and questioned him, and the king answered him.

The Teacher, to make the matter clear, said:

5. “ ’Twas now sunrise and day had scarce begun to break,
As Kāḷa to the court with cook his way did take,
And drawing nigh the king words such as these he spake:

6. ‘Sire, is it true this cook was sent into the street,
And men and women slew to furnish you with meat?’ {5.462}

7. ‘Kāḷa, ’tis even so; ’twas done at my request:
Why blame him then for what he did at my behest?’ ”

On hearing this the commander-in-chief thought: “With his own mouth he confesses it; Oh, the ruffian! All this long time he has been eating men: I will stop him from this,” and he said: “Sire, do not this thing; eat not the flesh of men.” “Kāḷahatthi, what is it you say? I cannot cease from it.” “Sire, if you do not cease from it, you will destroy both yourself and your realm.” “Even though my realm be destroyed, I cannot possibly cease from it.” Then the commander, to bring him to a better mind, told him a story by way of illustration.

The Fish Ānanda

In the past there were six monster fishes in the ocean. Amongst them were Ānanda, Timanda, Ajjhohāra – these three were five hundred leagues in extent – Tītimīti, Miṅgala, Timirapiṅgala – these were a thousand leagues long – and all of them fed upon the rock eelgrass The aquatic plant vallisneria. weed. Of them Ānanda dwelt on one side of the ocean and many fish came to see him. One day they thought: “Amongst all bipeds and quadrupeds kings are to be found, but we have no king: we will make this fish our king.” And being all of one mind they made Ānanda their king, and from that day the fish evening and morning came to pay their respects to him.

Now one day Ānanda on a certain mountain was feeding on rock eelgrass and unwittingly ate a fish, thinking it to be eelgrass. {5.463} Its flesh was pleasing to his taste, and wondering what it could be that was so very sweet, he took it out of his mouth and looking at it found it was a piece of fish. He thought: “All this long time in my ignorance I never ate this: evening and morning when the fish come to pay their respects to me, I will devour one or two of them, for if when they are being eaten I make the fact too clear to them, not a single one will come near me, but they will all scurry off.” So lying in concealment he struck at any that were retreating from behind and devoured them. The fish as their numbers gradually diminished thought: “From what quarter will this peril to our [5.251] kind be threatening us?” Then a sage amongst them thought: “I am not satisfied with what Ānanda is doing: I will investigate what he is about,” and when the fish came to pay homage to Ānanda, the sage hid himself in the lobe of Ānanda’s ear. Ānanda on dismissing the fish devoured those that were straggling behind. The wise fish seeing it reported it to the others and they all were panic-stricken and fled.

From that day Ānanda in his greedy longing for the flavour of fish refused every other kind of food. Growing sick from hunger he thought: “Where in the world can they be gone?” and in searching for them he espied a certain mountain and thought: “From fear of me the fish, I think, are dwelling near this mountain. I will encircle it and keep a watch over it.” So encircling it with his head and tail he compassed it on both sides, thinking: “If they live here, they will be for escaping,” and catching sight of his own tail as it coiled round the mountain he thought: “This fish lives near the mountain and is trying to elude me,” and in his rage he seized his own tail, which was fifty leagues long, and believing he had got hold of a fish, he devoured it with a crunching sound, suffering thereby excruciating pain. At the smell of the blood the fish gathered together, and pulling bit after bit out of Ānanda’s tail ate it up till they reached his head. {5.464} Having such a big carcase he could not turn round but then and there came to his end. And there was a heap of bones as big as a mountain. Holy ascetics, male and female, travelling through space, saw it and told men of it. And the inhabitants of all Jambudīpa knew of it. Kāḷahatthi, by way of illustration, told this story and said:

8. “Ānanda ate of every fish and when his suite had fled,
He his own tail right greedily devoured till he was dead.

9. The slave to appetite no other pleasure knows,
Poor careless fool, so blind is he to coming woes:
He children, kith and kin in ruin low will lay,
Then turns and rends himself, to monstrous greed a prey.

10. To these my words, O king, I pray you, hearken well,
Eat not the flesh of men; forego your purpose fell:
Lest you perchance should share that fish’s awful fate
And leave, O lord of men, your kingdom desolate.” {5.465}

The Landowner Sujāta, 1

On hearing this the king said: “Kāḷahatthi, I too know an example as well as you,” and as an instance he told a story of the past in illustration of his greed for human flesh and said:

11. “Sujāta’s son and heir for some Jambu plums loudly cried,
For loss of them the lad so grieved, he laid him down and died.

12. So, Kāḷa, I who now long time have fed on daintiest fare,
Failing this human flesh, I think, for life would cease to care.”

In the past, they say, a landed gentleman named Sujāta at Benares lodged in his park and ministered to five hundred ascetics who had come down from the Himālayas to procure salt and vinegar. Food [5.252] was constantly set out in his house for them, but these ascetics sometimes went on a pilgrimage for alms in the country and brought back pieces of big Jambu plums to eat. When they were feeding on the Jambu plums they had brought, Sujāta thought: “Today it is the third or fourth day that these holy men have not come to me here. Where in the world can they have gone?” So making his little boy take hold of his hand he went there while they were taking their repast. At that moment a novice was giving the elders water to rinse their mouths and was eating a bit of Jambu plum. Sujāta saluted the ascetics and when he was seated he asked, saying: “Venerable sirs, what are you eating?” “Pieces of large Jambu plums, sir.” The boy on hearing this felt thirsty, so the leader of the company of ascetics had a small piece given to him. The boy ate it and was so charmed with the delicate flavour that he kept on continually begging them to give him another piece. The gentleman, who was listening to the preaching of the Dhamma, said: “Do not cry; when you get home, you shall have a piece to eat,” thus deceiving the boy for fear lest the holy monks might be worn out by his cries. So comforting the boy he took his leave of the band of ascetics and returned home. From the moment they arrived there the boy kept up a cry of “Give me a piece.”

The ascetics too said: “We have stayed here a long time,” and departed for the Himālayas. Not finding the boy in the park the ascetics sent him a present of pieces of mangoes, Jambu plums, breadfruit, bananas and other fruits, all mixed with powdered sugar. This mixture was no sooner placed on the tip of his tongue than it acted like a deadly poison. For seven days he took no food and then died. {5.466} This story the king told by way of illustration.

The Son of a Brahmin

Then Kāḷahatthi thought: “This king is a great glutton: I will tell him further instances,” and he said: “Great king, desist from this.” “It is impossible,” he said. “Should you not desist, you will gradually be dropped by your family circle and deprived of your kingly glory.”

In the past too in this very Benares there was a brahmin family which kept the Five Precepts. An only son was born to this family, the darling and delight of his parents, a wise lad and well versed in the Three Vedas. He used to go about in the company of a band of youths of the same age as himself. The other members of the company ate fish, meat and similar food and took strong drink. The young boy neither ate meat nor drank strong drink.

The thought struck them, “This boy because he takes no strong drink does not pay his reckoning: let us devise a plan to make him drink.” So when they were gathered together, they said: “My friend, let us hold a festival.” He said: “You drink strong drink but I do not. You go without me.” “Friend, we will take some milk for you to drink.” He consented, saying: “All right.” The rogues went to the garden and tied up some fiery spirit in a leaf cup and put it amongst some lotus leaves. So when they began to drink they [5.253] offered the lad some milk. One of the rogues cried, “Bring us some lotus nectar,” and having had it brought to him, he cut a hole in the bottom of the leaf cup placed in the lotus, and putting it to his mouth sucked it. The others too had some brought to them and drank it. The lad asked what it was and took some strong drink, believing it to be lotus nectar. Then they offered him some broiled meat and this too he ate. And when from repeated draughts of liquor he was intoxicated, they told him, “This is no lotus nectar: it is spirit.” “All this long while,” he said: “I never knew what a sweet taste was. Bring me more strong drink, I say!” They brought it and once more gave it him, for he was very thirsty. {5.467} Then when he asked for more, they told him it was all finished. He said: “Come, I say! Fetch me some more,” and gave them his signet ring. After drinking with them all the day, being now quite drunk and his eyes bloodshot, trembling and babbling, he went home and lay down.

Then his father finding out he had been drinking, when the effects of it had passed off, said to him, “My son, you have done very wrong, being a member of a brahmin family, to drink strong drink: never do so again.” “Dear father, what is my offence?” “Drinking strong drink.” “How say you, father? In all my life I never before tasted anything so sweet.” The brahmin repeatedly besought him to give it up. “I cannot do it,” he said. Then the brahmin thought: “If this is so, our family tradition will be destroyed and our wealth will perish,” and he repeated this verse:

13. “A scion of a brahmin house, withal a comely boy,
You must not drink the accursèd thing no brahmin may enjoy.”

And after these words he said: “My dear son, abstain from it, otherwise I shall put you out of my house and have you banished from my kingdom.” The lad said: “Even so, I cannot give up strong drink,” and he repeated two verses:

14. “Since, father, from this best of tastes you fain would me debar,
To get it, where it may be found I’ll go however far.

15. Depart will I in haste and ne’er dwell with you any more,
For now the very sight of me, I think, you do abhor.”

Moreover he said: “I will not abstain from dram drinking: do what you please.” Then the brahmin, saying: “Well, as you give us up, we too will give you up,” repeated this verse: {5.468}

16. “Surely some other sons we’ll find as heirs our wealth to claim,
Go, rascal, where we never more may hear your cursèd name.”

Then taking his son into court he disinherited him and had him driven out of his house. This youth later on, being a poor destitute wretch, put on a coarse garment, and taking a beggar’s bowl in his hand he went round begging for alms, and resting against a wall so died. Kāḷahatthi relating [5.254] this incident by way of a lesson to the king, said: “If, sire, you refuse to hearken to our words, they will have you banished from the kingdom,” and so saying he spoke this verse:

17. “So hearken well, O king of men, obeying my command,
Or like that drunken youth will you be banished from the land.”

The Landowner Sujāta, 2

Even after the instance thus adduced by Kāḷahatthi, the king could not desist from his habit, and to illustrate yet another story he said:

18. “Disciple of the Perfect Saints, For bhāvitattā compare Dhammasaṅgaṇī, English translation, p. 138. Sujāta, it is said,
Abstained from food and drink through love felt for a heavenly maid.

19. As dewdrop on a blade of grass to waters of the sea,
Is human love compared with love for some divinity.

20. So, Kāḷa, I who now long time have fed on daintiest fare,
Failing this human flesh, I think, for life would cease to care.”

The story is just like the one already related above. This Sujāta, they say, on seeing that the ascetics, at the time when they ate pieces of big Jambu plum did not return, thought: “I wonder why they do not come back. If they are gone anywhere, I will find it out: otherwise I will listen to their preaching.” So he went to the park and heard the Dhamma preached by the leader of the company, and when the sun set, though he was dismissed he said: “I will remain here today,” and saluting the company of saints he went into his hut of leaves and lay down.

At night Sakka, king of heaven, accompanied by a troop of angelic beings, together with his handmaids, came to pay his respects to the band of ascetics, and the whole hermitage was one blaze of light. Sujāta, wondering what this might be, rose up and looking through a chink in his hut of leaves, saw Sakka come to salute the company, {5.469} attended by a troop of Accharā, and no sooner did he see them than he was fired with passion. Sakka took a seat and after listening to a sermon on the faith departed to his own abode.

The landed proprietor next day saluted the ascetics and asked, saying: “Who was it, venerable sirs, came in the night to pay his respects to you?” “Sakka, sir.” “And who were those that sat round about him?” “They are called Devaccharās.” Saluting the band of ascetics he went home and from the moment he got there he kept up a foolish cry of “Give me a Devaccharā.” His kinsmen, standing about him, wondered if he were possessed of an evil spirit, and snapped their fingers. He said: “It is not this snapping of the fingers I speak of, but of the Devaccharā.” The Pali here has a play upon the two meanings of the word accharā, a heavenly nymph, and a snapping of the fingers. And when they dressed up and brought to him a wife or even a courtesan and said: “Here is a Devaccharā,” he said: “This is no Devaccharā, it is a female ghoul,” and went on with his [5.255] foolish cry, “Give me a Devaccharā,” and taking no food he died.

The Golden Geese

On hearing this Kāḷahatthi said: “This king is a great glutton: I will bring him to a better mind.” And he said: “The golden geese too that fly through the air perished from eating the flesh of their kin,” and to illustrate this he repeated two verses:

21. “Just as these Dhataraṭtha geese that travel through the air
All died because they lived upon a most unnatural fare,

22. So too do you, O king of men, list well to what I say,
For eating this unlawful food, you too they’ll drive away.”

In the past, they say, ninety thousand geese dwelt in the Golden Cave on mount Cittakūṭa. For four months in the rainy season they do not stir out. If they should do so, their wings being full of water, they would be unable to take a long flight and would fall into the sea, and therefore they do not stir out, but when the rainy season is drawing near, they gather wild paddy from a natural lake, and filling their cave with it live upon rice. But no sooner had they entered the cave than an spinning spider as big as a chariot wheel at the entrance of the cave used to spin a web every month, and each thread of it was as thick as a cow’s halter. The geese give two portions of food to a young goose, thinking he will then be able to break through the web. {5.470} When the sky clears, this young goose being in front of them severed the web and the rest all escape by the same way.

Now once the rainy season lasted five months, and the food of the geese grew short. They consulted as to what was to be done and said: “If we are to live, we must take the eggs.” First they ate the eggs, then the goslings and after that the old geese. At the end of five months the rain left off, the spider had spun five webs, and the geese from eating the flesh of their kin had grown feeble. The young goose that had received a double portion of food, striking at the webs broke four of them but could not break the fifth, and stuck there. So the spider cut off his head and drank his blood. First one and then another came and struck the web, and the spider said: “Here’s another of them stuck in the same place,” and sucked the blood of all of them, and at that time the family of the Dhataraṭṭha geese became extinct, they say.

The Exile

The king was anxious to give yet another illustration, but the citizens rising up said: “My lord commander, what do you propose to do? How will you proceed now you have caught the man-eating rogue? If he does not give it up, have him expelled from his kingdom,” and they would not suffer the king to say a word. Hearing the common talk of the people, the king was terrified and could say nothing more, and once again the commander said to him, “Sire, will it be possible for you to give it up?” “Impossible,” he said. So the commander placed on one side all his harem, his sons and his daughters, arrayed in all their splendour, and said: “Sire, behold this circle of your kinsfolk, this band of councillors [5.256] and your royal pomp: be not undone, but cease from eating man’s flesh.” The king said: “All this is not dearer to me than man’s flesh.” “Then depart, sire, from this city and kingdom.” “Kāḷahatthi,” he said: “I do not want my kingdom; I am ready to depart, but grant me one favour; let me have my sword and my cook.” So they let him take a sword, a vessel for cooking man’s flesh and a basket, and giving him his cook they carried out his expulsion from the kingdom. {5.471} Taking his cook he set out from the city and entered a forest and made his dwelling at the foot of a banyan tree.

Living there he would take his stand on the road which led through the forest, and killing men he would bring their bodies and give them to the cook, and he cooked the flesh and served it up and both of them lived after this manner. And when he sallied forth, crying, “Here am I, the man-eating robber!” no one could hold his own, and they all fell to the ground and any one of them that he fancied, he seized, heels upwards or not as it might happen, and gave him to his cook.

One day, he did not find any man in the forest, and when on his return the cook said: “How is this, sire?” he told him to put the pot on the brazier. “But where is the meat, sire?” “Oh! I will find some meat,” he said. Thought the cook, “I am a dead man,” and all of a tremble he made a fire and put the pot on the brazier. Then the man-eater killed him with a stroke of his sword and cooked and ate his flesh. Thenceforth he was quite alone and had to cook his food himself. The rumour spread throughout all Jambudīpa: “The man-eater murders wayfaring men.”

The Caravan Leader

At that time a certain wealthy brahmin who traded with five hundred wagons was travelling from the east in a westerly direction and he thought: “This man-eating robber, they say, murders men on the road. By a payment of money I will make my way through the forest.” So he paid a thousand pieces of money to the people who lived at the entrance of the forest, bidding them convoy him safely through it and set out on the road with them. He placed all his caravan in front of him, and having bathed and anointed himself and put on sumptuous apparel he seated himself in an easy carriage drawn by white oxen, and escorted by his convoy he travelled last of all.

The man-eater climbing up a tree was on the look out for men, but though he felt no appetite for any of the rest of the convoy, no sooner did he catch sight of the brahmin than his mouth watered through desire to eat him. When the brahmin came up to him, {5.472} he proclaimed his name, crying, “Here am I, the man-eating robber,” and brandishing his sword, like to one filling men’s eyes with sand, he leaped upon them and no man was able to stand up against him, but they all fell prone upon the ground. Seizing the brahmin as he sat in his easy carriage by the foot he slung him on his back, head downwards, and striking his head against his heels so carried him off. The men rising up cried one to another, “Ho! My man, bestir yourself. We received a thousand pieces of money from the [5.257] brahmin’s hands. Who amongst us wears the semblance of a man? Let us, one and all, strong man or weakling, pursue him for a short space.” They pursued him and the man-eater stopped and looked back, and not seeing anyone went slowly on.

At that moment a bold fellow running at full speed came up with him. On seeing him, the robber leaping over a fence trod upon an acacia splinter The construction of this passage is not very clear, even if one takes khānuṁ to be a nominative as dhanuṁ, Jat. ii. 88. 14. Perhaps khānuṁ piṭṭhipādena nikkhami means, he got rid of the splinter by rubbing the top of the other foot against it. which, wounding him, came out at the top of his foot, and the robber went limping along with the blood trickling from the wound. Then his pursuer on seeing it said: “Surely I have wounded him: you just follow on behind and I will catch him.” They saw how feeble he was and joined in the pursuit. When the robber saw that he was pursued he dropped the brahmin and secured his own safety. The brahmin’s escort as soon as they had recovered him thought: “What have we got to do with this robber?” and turned back.

But the man-eater, going to the foot of his banyan tree, lay down amongst the shoots and offered up a prayer to the spirit of the tree, saying: “My lady, Tree Devatā, if within seven days you can heal my wound, I will bathe your trunk with blood from the throats of one hundred and one princes from all Jambudīpa, and will hang the tree all round with their inwards and offer up a sacrifice of the five sweet kinds of flesh.” Now, in consequence of having nothing to eat or drink, his body wasted away, and within the seven days his wound healed. He recognised that his cure was due to the Tree Devatā, and in a few days he recovered his strength by eating man’s flesh and thought: “The Devatā has been very helpful to me. I will discharge my vow.”

Taking his sword he sallied forth from the foot of the tree {5.473} and set out, purposing to bring the kings. Now, a Yakkha which had gone about as his comrade, eating man’s flesh with him, when in a former existence he himself had been a Yakkha, caught sight of him and knowing that he had in a former existence been his friend he asked him, saying: “Do you not recognise me, friend?” “I do not,” he said. Then he told him about something they had done in a former state and the man-eater recognised him and gave him a kind greeting. When asked where he had been reborn, he told him of his place of birth and how he had been banished from his kingdom and where he was now living. He told him moreover how he was wounded by a splinter and that he was now going on an expedition to redeem his promise to the Devatā. “I must get over this difficulty of mine by your help: we will go together, my friend,” he said. “I cannot go, but there is one service I can render you. I certainly know a spell characterised by words of priceless value. It ensures strength, speed of foot, and an increase of prestige. Learn this spell.” He readily agreed to [5.258] this, and the Yakkha gave it to him and went off.

The man-eater got the spell by heart, and from that time became swift as the wind and very bold. Within seven days he found a hundred and one kings on their ways to parks and other places and leapt upon them with the swiftness of the wind, proclaiming his name, and by jumping about and shouting he greatly terrified them. Then he seized them by the feet and held them head downwards, and striking their heads with his heels carried them off with the swiftness of the wind. Next he drilled holes in the palms of their hands and hung them up by a cord on the banyan tree, and the wind striking them as they just touched the ground with the tips of their toes, they hung on the tree, revolving like withered wreaths of flowers in baskets.

Sutasoma

But he thought: “Sutasoma was my private teacher: let not Jambudīpa be altogether desolate,” and did not bring him. Being minded to make an offering to the tree he lighted a fire and sat down, sharpening a stake. The Tree Devatā on seeing this thought: “He is preparing to offer sacrifice to me, but it was not I that healed his wound: {5.474} he will now make a great slaughter. What is to be done? I shall not be able to stop him.” So she went and told the Four Great Kings of it and bade them stop him. When they said they could not do it, she approached Sakka and told him the whole story and asked him to stop him. He said: “I cannot do it, but I will tell you someone who can.” She said: “Who is that?” “In the world of men and gods,” he answered, “there is no one else, but in the city of Indapatta in the Kuru kingdom is Sutasoma, prince of Kuru. He will tame and humble this man and will save the lives of these kings, and cure him of eating human flesh and will shower nectar over all Jambudīpa. If you are anxious to save the lives of the kings, bid him first bring Sutasoma and then offer his sacrifice to the tree.” “All right,” said the Tree Devatā and went quickly, disguised as an ascetic, and approached the man-eater.

At the sound of footsteps he thought: “Can one of the kings have escaped?” Looking up and seeing him he thought: “Ascetics surely are nobles. If I capture him, I shall make up the full number of one hundred and one kings and offer my sacrifice.” As Sutasoma was left behind, one more victim was still wanting to complete the number. He rose up and sword in hand pursued the ascetic, but though he chased him for three leagues he could not overtake him, and streams of sweat poured from his limbs. He thought: “I once could pursue and catch an elephant, or horse, or chariot going at full speed, but today though I am running with all my might I cannot catch this ascetic who is going just his natural pace. What can be the reason for this?” Then thinking: “Ascetics are accustomed to obey: if I bid him stand and he does so, I shall catch him,” he cried, “Stand, venerable sir.” “I am standing,” he answered, “do you too try and [5.259] stand.” Then he said: “Ho there! Ascetics even to save their life do not tell a lie, but you speak falsely,” and he repeated this verse: {5.475}

23. “Although I bid you stand, you still do forward fly,
And crying ‘Lo! I stand,’ I think you do but lie:
Unseemly ’tis; this sword, O monk, you must assume
To be a harmless shaft equipped with heron’s plume.” A heron’s feather was fixed on an arrow.

Then the nymph spoke a couple of verses:

24. “Steadfast in righteousness am I,
Nor change my name or family,
Here robbers but brief moment dwell,
Soon doomed to pass to woes of hell.

25. Be bold and captive here great Sutasoma bring,
And by his sacrifice shall you heaven win, O king.”

With such words the Devatā put off her disguise as an ascetic and stood revealed in her own form, blazing in the sky like the sun. The man-eater hearing what she had to say and beholding her form asked who she was, and on her replying that she had come to life as the Tree Devatā, he was delighted and thinking: “I have looked upon my tutelary divinity,” he said: “O heavenly sovereign, be not troubled by reason of Sutasoma, {5.476} but enter once more into thine own tree.” The Devatā entered into the tree before his very eyes. At that moment the sun set and the moon arose.

The man-eater being versed in the Vedas and their auxiliaries and acquainted with the movements of the astral bodies, looking at the sky, thought: “Tomorrow it will be the Phussa asterism; Sutasoma will come to the park to bathe and then will I lay hands upon him. But as he will have a strong guard and the dwellers throughout all Jambudīpa will come to guard him for three leagues around, at the first watch, before the guard is posted, I will go to the Migācira park and descend into the royal tank and there take my stand.” So he went down into the tank and stood there, covering his head with a lotus leaf.

By reason of his great glory the fish, tortoises and the like fell back and swam about in large bodies at the water’s edge. Whence, it may be asked, came this glory of his? From his devotion in a former existence. For at the time of Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, he started a distribution of milk by ticket. Owing to this he became very mighty, and having got the Saṅgha of the monks to erect a hall for a fire to dispel the cold, he provided fire, firewood and an axe to cleave the wood. As the result of this he became famous.

So now when he had gone into the garden, while it was still early dawn, they picked a guard for three leagues round about, and king Sutasoma quite early in the morning after breakfast, mounted on a richly caparisoned elephant, with a complete force of four arms, sallied from the city.

The Brahmin Nanda

At that very moment a brahmin named Nanda from Taxila, [5.260] bringing with him four verses, each worth a hundred pieces of money, reached the city after a journey of one hundred and twenty leagues, and took up his abode in a suburb. At sunrise on entering the city he saw the king issuing forth by the eastern gate, and raising his hand he cried, “Victory to the king.” Now the king being far-sighted, as he was riding along, saw the outstretched hand of the brahmin as he stood on some rising ground, and drawing nigh to him on his elephant he spoke after this manner:

26. “Born in what realm and why, I pray,
Do hither come, O brahmin, say; {5.477}
This said, today I grant to you
Your prayer, whatever it may be.”

Then the brahmin answered him:

27. “Four verses, mighty king, to you
Of import deep as is the sea
I hither bring; list to them well,
Secrets of highest worth they tell.”

“Great king,” he said, “these four verses taught me by Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, are worth a hundred pieces of money each, and having heard that you take pleasure in libations suta. A play upon the double meaning of the word, juice and sacred literature. of soma juice, I am come to teach you.” The king was greatly pleased and said: “Teacher, in this you have done well, but it is impossible for me to turn back. Today, because it is the Phussa conjunction, it is the day for bathing my head: when I return I will listen to you. Be not dissatisfied with me.” And with these words he bade his councillors, saying: “Go you and in a certain house of a brahmin prepare a couch and arrange a dining place under cover,” and he retired into his park.

This was girt about by a wall eighteen cubits high and guarded all round by elephants within touch of one another. Then came horses, then chariots, and finally archers and other foot-soldiers – like a mighty troubled ocean was the army that had been transported there. The king, when he had put off his heavy adornments and had been shaved and shampooed, bathed in all his royal majesty in the lotus tank, and coming up out of the water he stood there clad in bathing garments, and they brought him scented garlands to adorn him.

The man-eater thought: “When he is fully dressed, the king must be a heavy weight. I will seize him just when he is light to carry.” {5.478} So shouting and jumping about and whirling a sword above his head as quick as lightning he proclaimed his name, crying, “Ho! Here am I, the man-eating robber,” and he laid his finger on his forehead As a mark of reverence for the Bodhisatta. and stepped out of the water. As soon as they heard his cry, the elephant-riders with their elephants, the horsemen with their horses, and the charioteers with their chariots fell to the ground, and all the host of them dropping the weapons they held lay [5.261] prone upon their bellies.

The man-eater seized Sutasoma, holding him erect. The rest of the kings he had caught by the foot and held head downwards and had gone off with them, knocking their heads against his heels, but in coming up to the Bodhisatta he stooped down and lifting him up placed him on his shoulders. Thinking it would be a roundabout way by the gate he leaped over the wall, eighteen cubits high, at the point where it faced him, and going forward he trampled on the temples of elephants exuding the juice of rut, overthrowing them as it were mountain peaks. Next he trod on the backs of the horses – swift as the wind were they and of priceless worth – laying them also low. Then as he stepped on the fronts of the splendid chariots, he was like to one whirling a humming top Compare Bālarāmāyaṇa, Act IX. Verse 51, bhramarakabhrāmam bhrāmyate rathaḥ. or as it were one crushing the dark green phalaka phalaka, the plant Mesua Roxburghii, or it might be the seed-pods of the lotus. In Jātaka vol. i. 304. 26, 28, and Jātaka vol. ii. 68. 17, we find phalakattharasayana, a bed of phalaka leaves. plant or banyan leaves, and at a single burst he ran a distance of three leagues. Then wondering if anyone were following to rescue Sutasoma, he looked and seeing no one he went on slowly.

The Dialogue

Noticing the drops that fell upon him from Sutasoma’s hair he thought: “There is no man living free from the fear of death, Sutasoma, too, I think, is weeping from fear,” and he said:

28. “Men versed in lore, in whom high thoughts arise,
Such never weep, the learned and the wise;
All find herein a refuge and a stay,
That sages thus can sorrow drive away.

29. Is it your kin, wife, child, perchance thyself,
Your stores of grain, your gold and silver pelf – {5.479}
What, Sutasoma, caused your tears to flow?
Great Kuru lord, your answer we would know.”

Sutasoma said:

30. “Nay, I no tears am shedding for myself,
Nor for my wife or child, my realm or pelf.
The practice of the saints of old I keep,
And for a promise unfulfilled I weep.

31. Once to a brahmin I my word did plight,
What time in mine own realm I ruled with might;
That plighted word I fain would keep and then,
My honour saved, return to you again.”

Then the man-eater said:

32. “I’ll not believe if any one should be
By happy chance from jaws of death set free,
He would return to yield him to his foe;
No more would you, if I should let you go. {5.480}

33. Escaped from fierce man-eater should you come,
Full of sweet longings, to your royal home,
Dear life with all its charms restored to you,
Why in the world should you come back to me?” [5.262]

On hearing this the Great Being, like a lion still fearless, said:

34. “If innocent, a man would death prefer
To life o’erclouded with some odious slur;
Should he, to save his life, a falsehood tell,
It may not shield him from the woes of hell.

35. The wind These verses have occurred in vol. iv. p. 286. English version. may sooner move some mountain high,
Or sun and moon to earth fall from the sky,
Yea, rivers all up stream may flow, my lord,
Ere I be guilty of one lying word.”

Though he spoke thus, the man-eater still did not believe him. So the Bodhisatta, thinking: “He does not believe me; by means of an oath I will make him believe,” said: “Good mister man-eater, let me down from your back and I will take an oath and make you believe me.” After these words he was let down by the man-eater and placed upon the ground, and in taking an oath he said: {5.481}

36. “Lo! As I touch this spear and sword
To you I pledge my solemn word,
Release me and I will debt-free,
My honour saved, return to thee.”

Then the man-eater thought: “This Sutasoma swears under penalty of violating noble rules. What do I want with him? Well, I too am a noble king. I will take blood from my own arm and make an offering to the Tree Devatā. This is a very faint-hearted fellow.” And he said:

37. “The word you once did to a brahmin plight,
What time in thine own realm you ruled with might,
That plighted word I bid you keep and then,
Your honour saved, return to me again.”

Then the Great Being said: “My friend, do not vex yourself. After I have heard the four verses, each worth a hundred pieces of money, and have made an offering to the preacher of the Dhamma, I will return at daybreak.” And he spoke this verse:

38. “The word I once did to a brahmin plight,
What time in mine own realm I ruled with might,
That plighted word I first will keep and then,
My honour saved, return to you again.”

Then the man-eater said: “You have taken an oath under penalty of violating the custom of nobles. See that you act accordingly.” “My man-eating friend,” he said, “you have known me from a boy: never even in jest have I previously told a lie, and now that I am established on the throne and know right and wrong, why should I lie? Trust me, {5.482} I will provide an offering for you.” Being induced to believe him he said: “Well, sire, depart, and, if you do not return, there can be no offering and [5.263] the Tree Devatā does not agree to it without you: do not place any obstacle in the way of my offering,” and he let the Great Being go.

Like the moon escaped from the jaws of Rāhu and with the strength of a young elephant he speedily reached the city. And his soldiers thought: “King Sutasoma is wise and a sweet preacher of the Dhamma. If he can have a word or two with him he will convert the man-eater and will return, like a furious elephant escaping from the lion’s mouth.” And thinking: “The people will chide us and say, “After giving up your king to the man-eater are you come back to us?” they remained encamped outside the city walls, and when they saw him coming from afar off they went out to meet him and saluting him with a friendly greeting they asked, “Were you not, sire, heartily sick of the man-eater?” “The man-eater,” he said, “did something far harder than anything my parents ever did. For being such a fierce and violent creature, after listening to my preaching of the Dhamma, he let me go.” Then they decked out the king and mounting him on an elephant escorted him into the city.

The Four Verses

On seeing him the inhabitants rejoiced, and owing to his zeal for the Dhamma, he did not visit his parents but thinking: “I will see them by and by,” he entered his palace and took his seat upon his throne. Then he summoned the brahmin and gave orders for him to be shaved, and when his hair and beard had been trimmed and he was washed and anointed and decked out with brave apparel, they brought him to the king. And when the brahmin was presented, Sutasoma himself afterwards took a bath and ordered his own food to be given to the brahmin, and when he had eaten he himself partook of the food. Then he seated the brahmin on a costly throne and to mark his reverence for him he made offerings of scented garlands and the like to him, and seating himself on a low seat he prayed him, saying: “Teacher, we would hear the verses which you have brought to us.”

To throw light upon this the Teacher said:

39. “Released from fierce man-eater’s hand he flies
To brahmin friend and ‘Fain would we,’ he cries, {5.483}
‘Hear verses worth a hundred pieces each,
Us for our good if you would deign to teach.’ ”

The brahmin, when the Bodhisatta made his request, after shampooing his hands with perfumes, pulling a beautiful book out of a bag took it in both hands and said: “Well, sire, listen to my four verses, each worth a hundred pieces of money; they were taught me by Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, and are destructive of passion, pride and similar vices, and procure for man the removal of desire, the cessation of the faculties, even the eternal mighty Nibbāna, to the decay of lust, the cutting of the circle of transmigration [5.264] and the rooting out of attachment,” and with these words, looking at his book, he repeated these verses:

40. “In union with the saints just once, O Sutasoma, be,
And ne’er consort with evil men and peace shall compass you.

41. With holy men consorting aye, as friends such only know,
From holy men true Dhamma learn and daily better grow.

42. As painted cars of royalty wax dim and fade away,
So too our bodies frail wear out and suffer swift decay.
But Dhamma of holy men abides and never waxes old,
Good men proclaim it to the good through ages yet untold.

43. The sky above us stretches far, far stretches earth below,
And lands beyond the boundless sea far distant are we know,
But greater still than all of these and wider in its reach
Is Dhamma whether good or bad that saints or sinners preach.” {5.484}

Thus did the brahmin teach him the four verses, each worth a hundred pieces, just as he had been taught them by Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, and then remained silent. The Great Being was delighted at hearing them and said: “My journey here is not without its reward,” and thinking, “these verses are not merely the words of a disciple or a saint nor the work of a poet, but were spoken by the Omniscient One; I wonder what they are worth. Though one were to give a whole world that extends to the Brahmā Realm, after filling it with the seven precious things, one could not make an adequate return for these verses. Surely I can give him sovereignty in the city of Indapatta covering seven leagues in the realm of Kuru, which extends over three hundred leagues. Doubtless it is his merited fate to be king.” But regarding him with the power he possessed of divining a man’s future from his personal appearance, he found no such signs. Then he bethought him of the office of commander-in-chief and similar posts, but did not find that he was destined even to the headship of a single village. Next, considering the case of acquisition of wealth and starting from a crore of money he found he was destined to receive four thousand pieces, and thinking to honour him with just this sum he bestowed on him four purses containing a thousand pieces each and he asked him, saying: “Teacher, when you teach other princes these verses, how much do you receive?” “A hundred for each one, sire,” he said, “so they are worth just a hundred pieces.” The Great Being said: “Teacher, you are ignorant of the priceless value of the goods you hawk about. Henceforth let them be considered worth a thousand pieces,” and so saying he repeated this verse:

44. “Not hundreds merely are they worth, nay thousands rather say,
So brahmin here four thousand take and, quick, with them away.”

Then he presented him with an easy carriage {5.485} and gave orders to his men, saying: “Convey this brahmin safely to his home,” and so dismissed him. At this moment loud sounds of applause were heard and cries of “Bravo, bravo! King Sutasoma has highly honoured these verses, deeming [5.265] worth a thousand pieces what was valued at a hundred.” The king’s parents hearing the noise asked what it meant, and on learning the true state of things, by reason of their covetousness were angry with the Great Being, but after dismissing the brahmin he went to them and stood saluting them. Then his father said: “My son, you have escaped from the hands of one described as a fierce robber,” and instead of expressing pleasure at seeing him, through his greed of money he asked, “Is it true what they say, that you gave four thousand pieces of money for hearing four verses,” and on his confessing it was so, his father repeated this verse:

45. “Verses may be worth eighty pieces each,
Or e’en a hundred may in value reach,
But, Sutasoma, you thyself must own
A verse worth a thousand is unknown.”

Then the Great Being, to induce him to see things in a different light, said: “Dear father, it is not increase in wealth I desire, but increase in learning,” and he uttered these verses:

46. “Increase in holy lore I most desire
And to the friendship of the saints aspire;
No rivers can the void of ocean fill,
So I good words imbibe, insatiate still.

47. As flames for wood and grass insatiate roar,
And seas aye fed with streams crave more and more,
E’en so do sages, mighty lord of lords,
Insatiate hearken to well-spoken words.

48. If from the mouth of my own slave I e’er
Should verses full of deepest import hear, {5.486}
His words I would accept with honour due,
Unsated still with doctrines good and true.”

After having thus spoken he said: “Do not just for the sake of money blame me. I have come here, after swearing an oath that when I had heard the Dhamma I would return. Now then I will go back to this monster; do you then accept this sovereignty,” and handing it over to him he spoke this verse:

49. “This realm is thine with all its wealth of gold,
Trappings of state and joy and bliss untold.
Why blame, should I from sensual pleasures fly
And at man-eater’s hand go forth to die?”

At this moment the heart of the king’s father grew hot within him and he said: “What, my dear Sutasoma, is this you say? I will come with a complete host of all four arms Elephants, cavalry, chariots, and infantry. and will seize the robber,” and he repeated this verse:

50. “For our defence lo! valiant soldiers come,
Some riding elephants, on chariots some,
Foot-soldiers these, these horsemen armed with bow –
Marshal our host and let us slay our foe.” [5.266]

Then his father and mother, their eyes swimming with tears, besought him, saying: “Go not, my son, nay, you cannot go,” and sixteen thousand dancing girls and the rest of his suite lamented and said: “Leaving us helpless, whither would you go, sire?” and no one throughout the city could restrain his feelings and they said: “He has come, they tell us, after giving a promise to the man-eater, and now {5.487} that he has heard four verses worth a hundred pieces each and has paid due honour to the preacher of the Dhamma and bidden farewell to his parents, he will return once more to the robber,” and the whole city was greatly stirred. And on hearing what his father and mother said, he repeated this verse:

51. “Wondrous this deed of our man-eating foe,
To capture me alive and let me go.
Calling to mind his friendly acts of yore
How can I violate the oath I swore?”

Comforting his parents he said: “Dear father and mother, be not anxious about me: I have wrought a virtuous action, and mastery over the desires of the six senses See Jātaka, iii. 234. 18. is no hard matter,” and bidding farewell to his parents he admonished the rest of the people and so departed.

The Teacher, to make the matter clear, said:

52. “Farewell to parents said, with counsel wise
Townsmen and soldiers he did straight advise,
Then true to plighted word refused to lie,
And to man-eater back again did hie.”

The Return

Then the man-eater thought: “If my friend Sutasoma wishes to return, let him return, otherwise not, and let my Tree Devatā {5.488} do whatsoever she pleases, and I will put these princes to death and make an offering of their flesh with the five sweet things.” So he reared a funeral pile and kindled a fire, thinking he would wait till the coal was red hot, and while he sat and sharpened his spit Sutasoma returned. Then the man-eater at the sight of him was glad at heart and asked, saying: “My friend, have you gone and done what you wanted to do?” The Great Being said: “Yes, your majesty, I have heard the verses that were taught the brahmin by Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, and I paid due honour to the preacher of the Dhamma, and so I have come back, having done the thing I had to do.” To illustrate this, he repeated this verse:

53. “My word I once did to a brahmin plight,
What time in mine own realm I ruled with might,
And now that I have kept my plighted word
And saved my honour, have returned, my lord.
So slay and offer me to your sprite
Or for man’s flesh sate your fell appetite.” [5.267]

On hearing this the man-eater thought: “This king has no fear; he speaks with all the terrors of death dispelled. I wonder from whence comes this power. It can be nothing else. He says, ‘I have heard the verses that Kassapa, the One with Ten Powers, taught.’ This supernatural power must come from them. I will make him utter these verses in my hearing, and so will I too be free from all fear.” And being so resolved he repeated this verse:

54. “The fire still smokes: though I somewhat delay,
I forfeit not the right to eat my prey.
Meat roast o’er embers clear is roasted well;
These strains a hundred pieces worth, come, tell.” {5.489}

The Great Being on hearing this thought: “This man-eater is a sinner: I will rebuke him somewhat and by my words I will put him to shame,” and he said:

55. “You, O man-eater, are a wicked wight,
Fall’n from your throne through carnal appetite;
These verses do proclaim Dhamma to me,
But how can Dhamma and Adhamma agree?

56. To wicked robber, one whose hands are steeped in gore,
Whence comes Truth or Dhamma? What profits holy lore?”

Even when addressed in these words the man-eater was not angry. Why was this? It was owing to the mighty power of generosity in the Great Being. So he said: “Am I only, friend Sutasoma, unrighteous?” and he repeated this verse:

57. “The man that hunts a beast to make him savoury meat,
And one that slays a man, his fellow’s flesh to eat,
Both after death in guilt are counted much the same:
Then why am I alone for wickedness to blame?”

On hearing this the Great Being, in refuting his heresy, repeated this verse:

58. “Of five-clawed things a warrior prince all witting five may eat, [Hares, porcupines, iguana, hedgehogs, tortoise.]
Wicked are you, O king, in that you eat forbidden meat.” {5.490}

On receiving this rebuke, as he saw no other means of escape, he tried to conceal his own wrong-doing and repeated this verse:

59. “Escaped from fierce man-eater did you come
Full of sweet longings to your royal home,
And then to foe entrust your life once more?
Well versed are you, forsooth, in astral lore!”

Then the Great Being said: “Friend, one like me must be well versed in the lore of nobles. I know it well, but I do not regulate my actions accordingly,” and he spoke this verse: [5.268]

60. “All such as are in noble Dhamma See supra, p. 123, where by Kṣatriyadhamma it is maintained that a man is justified in doing evil to serve his own interests. versed
In hell are mostly doomed to life accursed.
Therefore I have all noble lore abhorred
And here returned, true to my plighted word:
Make then your sacrifice and eat me up, dread lord.”

The man-eater said:

61. “Palatial halls, broad acres, steeds and kine,
Perfumes, rich robes and many a concubine,
All these as mighty lord you hold in fee –
In truth what blessing, pray you, do you see?” {5.491}

The Bodhisatta said:

62. “Of all the sweets this world can yield to me
None sweeter than the joys of truth I see:
The brahmins and monks that in truth abide,
Birth, death, escaping, reach the further side.”

Thus did the Great Being discourse to him of the advantages of Dhamma. Then the man-eater, regarding his face, glorious as a lotus in bloom or as the full moon, thought: “This Sutasoma sees me preparing a pile of embers and sharpening a spit and yet does not show an atom of fear. Can this be the magic power in these verses that are worth a hundred pieces or does it arise from some other truth? I will ask him.” And in the form of a question he repeated this verse:

63. “Escaped from fierce man-eater did you come
Full of sweet longings to your royal home,
And then once more return to meet your foe?
You, surely, prince, no fear of death can know,
To keep your plighted word and worldly sensual desires forego.”

The Great Being in answer to him said:

64. “As mine I countless acts of virtue claim,
My bounteous offerings are known to fame,
To the next world a path I have kept clear:
Who abides in Dhamma holds death in fear?

65. As mine I countless acts of virtue claim,
My bounteous offerings are known to fame, {5.492}
With no regrets to heaven I’ll take my way,
So sacrifice and then devour your prey.

66. My parents have I cherished with fond care,
My rule wins praise as eminently fair,
To the next world a path I have kept clear:
Who abides in Dhamma holds death in fear?

67. My parents have I cherished with fond care,
My rule wins praise as eminently fair,
With no regrets to heaven I’ll take my way,
So sacrifice and then devour your prey. [5.269]

68. To friends and kin due service I have done,
My rule was just and praise from all has won,
With no regrets to heaven I’ll take my way,
So sacrifice and then devour your prey.

69. Gifts manifold to many I supplied,
Yea, monks and brahmins fully satisfied,
To the next world a path I have kept clear:
Who abides in Dhamma holds death in fear?

70. Gifts manifold to many I supplied,
Yea monks and brahmins fully satisfied,
With no regrets to heaven I’ll take my way,
So sacrifice and then devour your prey.” {5.493}

On hearing this the man-eater thought: “This king Sutasoma is a good and wise man: supposing I were to eat him, my skull would split into seven pieces, or the earth would open her mouth and swallow me up,” and being terrified he said: “My friend, you are not the sort of man that I ought to eat,” and he repeated this verse:

71. “He knowingly would quaff a poison cup
Or fiery snake, so fell and fierce, take up,
Yea into fragments seven his head would fly
That dares to eat a man that cannot lie.”

Thus did he address the Great Being, saying: “You are, as it were, a deadly poison, I think; who will eat you?” and being anxious to hear those verses he besought him to tell him them, and when in order to produce a due reverence for holy things his prayer was rejected by the Great Being, on the ground that he was no proper recipient of verses of such exceptionable morality, he said: “In all Jambudīpa there is no sage like this, for when he was released from my hand he went and heard these verses, and after paying due honour to the preacher of the Dhamma he came back again with death written on his forehead. These verses must be of transcendent excellence,” and being still more filled with a reverent desire to hear them, he besought the Great Being and repeated this verse:

72. “Hearing the truth men soon discern betwixt the good and ill;
Perchance if heard these strains my heart with joy in truth may fill.”

Then the Great Being thought: “The man-eater is now eager to hear: I will reveal them to him,” and he said: “Well then, my friend, listen carefully,” and having gained his attention he sang the praises of these verses exactly as he was taught them by the brahmin Nanda, while the gods in the six worlds of sense all broke into one loud cry, {5.494} and the Devas in heaven shouted applause, and the Great Being thus proclaimed the Dhamma to the man-eater:

74. “In union with the saints just once, O Sutasoma, be, [5.270]
And ne’er consort with evil men and peace shall compass you.

75. With holy men consorting aye, as friends such only know,
From holy men true Dhamma learn and daily better grow.

76. As painted cars of royalty wax dim and fade away,
So too our bodies frail wear out and suffer swift decay.
But Dhamma of holy men abides and never waxes old,
Good men proclaim it to the good through ages yet untold.

77. The sky above us stretches far, far stretches earth below,
And lands beyond the boundless sea far distant are we know,
But greater still than all of these and wider in its reach
Is Dhamma whether good or bad that saints or sinners preach.”

Owing to these verses being so well delivered by the Great Being and to the fact that he himself was wise, the man-eater thought: “These verses are, as it were, the words of an Omniscient Buddha,” and his whole body thrilled with the five kinds of joy, and he felt a tender pity for the Bodhisatta and regarded him in the light of a father that was ready to confer on him the white umbrella of royalty.

The Boons

And he thought: “I see no offerings of yellow gold to give to Sutasoma, but for each verse I will grant him a boon,” and he spoke this verse:

78. “Pregnant with meaning and in accents clear
Your goodly words, O prince, fall on mine ear,
So glad am I at heart, that I rejoice
Four boons, good friend, to offer you for choice.”

Then the Great Being upbraided him and said: “What boon, forsooth, will you offer me?” and he repeated this verse: {5.495}

79. “One his own mortal state that fails to learn,
Or good from evil, heaven from hell discern,
The slave of carnal appetite, how can
A wretch like you know any boon for man?

80. Suppose I say ‘Grant me this boon’ and then
You should your promised word take back again,
Who that is wise would knowingly incur
So clear a risk of quarrelling, good sir?”

Then the man-eater said: “He does not believe me; I will make him believe me,” and he repeated this verse:

81. “No one should claim to grant a boon and then
His promised word, false man, take back again:
Amongst these boons, my friend, all fearless choose;
I’ll grant it you, though life itself I lose.”

Then the Great Being thought: “He has spoken like a brave fellow and will do what I tell him; I will accept his offer. But if I should choose as the very first boon that he should abstain from eating human flesh, he will be very sick at heart. I will first choose three other boons, and after that I will choose this,” and he said:

82. “Who with a saint lives face to face sakkhi. The commentator renders it “friend,” apparently from the v.1. sakhi. ever with saint agrees,
So too a sage is ever sure a brother sage to please:
Thus safe and sound a hundred years I pray to see you live:
This is the first of all the boons I fain would have you give.” {5.496}

The man-eater, on hearing this, thought: “This man, even though I have driven him from his sovereignty, now wishes long life for me, the noted robber that lusts after human flesh and would do him a mischief. Ah! He is my well-wisher.” And he was glad at heart, not knowing that this boon had been chosen to cheat him to his good, and in granting the boon he uttered this verse: [5.271]

83. “Who with a saint lives face to face ever with saint agrees,
So too a sage is ever sure a brother sage to please:
You fain would see me safe and sound for years twice fifty live:
Lo! At your prayer this first of boons to you I gladly give.”

Then the Bodhisatta said:

84. “These warrior chiefs held captive in your hand,
By sprinkling hailed as kings in many a land,
These mighty lords of earth you must not eat:
For this as second boon I next entreat.”

Thus did he in choosing a second boon gain the boon of life for over a hundred nobles, and the man-eater in granting the boon to him said:

85. “These warrior chiefs held captive in my hand,
By sprinkling hailed as kings in many a land,
These mighty lords, I’ll not eat them, I swear:
This second boon too grant I to your prayer.” {5.497}

Well, did these kings hear what they were talking about? They did not hear it all. For when the man-eater lighted a fire, for fear of any injury to the tree from the smoke and flame, he stepped back a space from it, and the Great Being conversed with him, seated in the interval between the fire and the tree, and consequently these kings did not hear all that they said, but heard only partially, and they comforted one another, saying: “Fear not: now will Sutasoma convert the man-eater,” and at this moment the Great Being spoke this verse:

86. “You captive hold a hundred kings and more,
All strung up by their hands and weeping sore,
Restore then each to his own realm again:
This the third boon I would from you obtain.”

Thus did the Great Being in making his third choice choose the restoration of these nobles, each to his own kingdom. Why was this? Because the Yakkha, supposing he did not eat them, through fear of their hostility would either enslave them all and make them dwell in the forest, or would slay them and expose their dead bodies, or would bring them to the border country and sell them as slaves; and therefore he made choice as his boon of their restoration to their own kingdoms, and the man-eater in granting his request spoke this verse:

87. “I captive hold a hundred kings and more,
All strung up by their hands and weeping sore,
All will I to their realms restore again:
This third boon too you shall from me obtain.”

Now in making his fourth choice the Bodhisatta spoke this verse:

88. “Distracted is your realm and sick with fright,
In caves much people hide them from your sight.
From eating human flesh, O king, abstain:
This the fourth boon I would from you obtain.” [5.272] {5.498}

When he had so spoken, the man-eater clapped his hands and laughing said: “Friend Sutasoma, what in truth is this that you say? How can I grant you this boon? If you are anxious to receive another boon, choose something else,” and he uttered this verse:

89. “Much to my taste I surely find this food;
’Twas for this cause I hid within the wood.
How then from such delights should I abstain?
For your fourth boon, good sir, pray, choose again.”

Then the Great Being said: “Because you love man’s flesh, you say, “I cannot abstain from it.” He verily that does evil because it is pleasant is a fool,” and he repeated this verse:

90. “A king These verses are repeated from Jātaka vol. iii. p. 177, English version. like you should not his pleasure take
Nor sacrifice his life for pleasure’s sake.
Life in its highest sense, best gift, attain
And future joys you shall by merit gain.”

When these words had been spoken by the Great Being, the man-eater was overcome with fear and thought: “I can neither repudiate the choice Sutasoma has made nor abstain from human flesh. {5.499} What in the world am I to do?” and with his eyes swimming in tears he repeated this verse:

91. “I love man’s flesh: you too must know,
Great Sutasoma, it is so.
From it I never can abstain,
Think of something else: choose again.”

Then the Bodhisatta said:

92. “Whoso shall ever his own pleasure take
And sacrifice e’en life for pleasure’s sake,
The poison cup like drunkard will he drain,
And so hereafter suffers endless pain.

93. Who knowingly shall pleasure here eschew,
The arduous path of duty to pursue,
As one in pain that drains the healing cup,
So he to bliss in the next world wakes up.”

After he had thus spoken, the man-eater sorely lamenting repeated this verse:

94. “The five-fold joys that from our senses spring
And parents dear and all abandoning,
For this cause came I in this wood to live;
How then can I the boon you ask for give?”

Then the Great Being spoke this verse:

95. “Sages in speech duplicity ne’er show,
True to their promise are good men, we know: {5.500}
Choose, friend, some boon is what you said to me;
What now you say with this will scarce agree.” [5.273]

Once more, still weeping, the man-eater spoke this verse:

96. “Demerit, with disgrace and shame combined,
Misconduct, lust and wrong of every kind,
All this, to eat man’s flesh, I did incur:
Why then should I this boon on you confer?”

Then the Great Being said:

97. “No one should claim to grant a boon and then
His promised word, false man, take back again:
Amongst these boons, my friend, all fearless choose;
I’ll grant it you, though life itself I lose.”

When he had thus pointed out the verse uttered in the first instance by the man-eater, to inspire him with courage to grant the boon, he spoke this verse:

98. “Good men will life give up, but never right,
True to their word e’en in their own despite;
If you should promise, best of kings, a boon,
Perfect they work and see it done right soon. avākarohi here and in Jātaka vi. 280. 13, must mean “pay, fulfill,” but avākareyya in Jātaka v. 495. 6, and 500. 19, seems to mean “not to pay.” Is it possible that for datvāna avākareyya we should read datvā na avākareyya?

99. One who to save a limb rich treasure gave
Would sacrifice a limb, his life to save, {5.501}
Yea, wealth, limbs, life and all away would fling,
Right and its claims alone remembering.”

Thus did the Great Being by these means establish the man-eater in the Dhamma, and now to make clear to him his own title to respect he spoke this verse:

100. “One from whose lips a man Dhamma may prove,
Yea all good men that will his doubts remove,
A refuge sure is he, a rest, a stay;
The wise man’s love for him should ne’er decay.”

After repeating these verses he said: “My man-eating friend, it is not right that you should transgress the words of so excellent a master, and I, too, when you were young, acted as your private teacher and gave you much instruction, and now with all the charm of a Buddha I have repeated to you verses worth a hundred pieces each: therefore you ought to obey my words.” On hearing this the man-eater thought: “Sutasoma was my teacher and a learned man, and I granted him the choice of a boon. What am I to do? Death verily is a certainty in the case of an individual existence. I will not eat human flesh but will grant him the boon he asks,” and with tears streaming front his eyes he rose up and fell at king Sutasoma’s feet, and in granting the boon he repeated this verse: {5.502}

101. “Sweet to my taste and pleasant is this food,
’Twas for this cause I hid within the wood;
But if you askest me to do this thing,
This boon I’ll grant to you, my friend and king.” [5.274]

Then the Great Being said: “So be it, friend; to one firmly grounded in moral practice, verily even death is a boon. I accept, sire, the boon you have offered me. From this very day you are established in the path of a spiritual guide, and this being so I beg this favour of you; if you have any love for me, accept, sir, the Five Precepts.” “Very good,” he answered, “teach me, friend, these precepts.” “Learn then from me, sire.” So he saluted the Great Being with the five rests [It means with palms, feet and head all on the floor.] and took a seat apart, and the Great Being established him in the precepts.

Releasing the Kings

At that moment the deities that dwell on the earth gathered together and said: “There is no one else from the inhabitants of the Avīci hell to those of the highest of the Formless Worlds that by inspiring affection for the Great Being could make this man-eater abstain from eating human flesh. Oh! A miracle has been wrought by Sutasoma,” and they applauded, making the jungle re-echo with their loud cries, and hearing the tumult the Four Great Kings did likewise and there was one universal roar reaching even to the Brahmā Realm.

And the kings suspended on the tree heard this noise of applauding Devatā, and the Tree Devatā still standing in her abode uttered a sound of applause. So the cry of the Devatā was heard, but their form was invisible. The kings on hearing the loud applause of the Devatā thought: “Owing to Sutasoma our lives are saved: Sutasoma has wrought a miracle in converting the man-eater,” The sense is clear, but the construction of damento is irregular. and they offered up their praises to the Bodhisatta. The man-eater after bowing down to the feet of the Great Being stood apart. Then the Great Being said to him, “Friend, release these warrior princes.” He thought: “I am their enemy; if they are released by me, they will say, ‘Seize him, he is an enemy of ours,’ and will do me a mischief, but even if I lose my life, I cannot transgress the precepts which I have accepted at the hands of Sutasoma: I will go with him and release them and in this way I shall find safety.” Then bowing to the Bodhisatta he said: “Sutasoma, we will go together and release the warrior princes,” and he repeated this verse: {5.503}

102. “My teacher and my friend are you in one,
Behold, good sir, your bidding I have done:
Do you in turn what I have bidden thee
And straight we’ll go and set these princes free.”

Then the Bodhisatta said to him:

103. “Your teacher and your friend am I in one,
And you in truth my bidding, sir, have done:
I too will do what you have bidden me
And straight we’ll go and set these princes free.”

And drawing nigh to them he said

104. “Strung up upon this tree your tears fast flow
Because of Yakkha that has wronged you so,
Still we would fain from you a promise wring
Never to lay a finger on this king.” [5.275]

Then they replied:

105. “Strung up upon this tree and weeping sore
This Yakkha that has wronged us we abhor,
Yet will we all a solemn promise give
To harm him not, if only we may live.” {5.504}

Then the Bodhisatta said: “Well, give me this promise,” and he repeated this verse:

106. “Just as fond parents to their children may
A merciful and tender love display,
E’en such a father may he ever prove
And may you him as children dearly love.”

They, too, agreeing to this, repeated this verse:

107. “Just as fond parents to their children may
A merciful and tender love display,
E’en such a father may he ever prove
And may we him as children dearly love.”

Thus did the Great Being exact a promise from them and summoning the man-eater he said: “Come and release these princes,” and the man-eater took his sword and severed the bonds of one of the kings, and as this king had been fasting for seven days and was maddened with pain, no sooner was he released by the cutting of his bonds than he fell on the ground, and the Great Being on seeing this was moved with compassion and said: “My man-eating friend, do not cut them down like this,” and taking hold of a king firmly with both hands he clasped him to his breast and said: “Now cut his bonds.” So the man-eater severed them with his sword and the Great Being, endowed as he was with great strength, placed him on his breast, and letting him down tenderly as though it were his own son laid him flat upon the ground. Thus did he lay them all on the ground, and after bathing their wounds he gently pulled the cords from their hands, just as it were a string from a child’s ear, and washing off the clotted blood he rendered the wounds harmless. And he said to the man-eater, “My friend, pound some bark from the tree on a stone and bring it to me.” And when he had got him to fetch it, he performed an Assertion of Truth and rubbed the palms of their hands, and at that very moment their wounds were healed. The man-eater took some husked rice and cooked it as a prophylactic, {5.505} and the pair of them gave it to the hundred and odd warrior princes to drink as a prophylactic, and so all of them were satisfied and the sun set.

On the next day at dawn and at noon and in the evening they still gave them rice water to drink, but on the third day they gave them gruel with boiled rice, and so on till they were convalescent. Then the Great Being asked them if they were strong enough to go home, and when they answered they were equal to the journey he said: “Come, my man-eating friend, let us depart to our own kingdom.” But weeping he fell at the Great Being’s [5.276] feet and cried, “Do you, my friend, take these kings and depart, but I will continue to live here on roots and wild berries.” “What would you do here, my friend? Your kingdom is a delightful one: go and reign at Benares.” “Friend, what is this you say? It is out of the question for me to go there: all the inhabitants of that city are my enemies. They will revile me and say, ‘This fellow ate my mother or my father; seize this brigand,’ and with a clod of earth they will deprive me of life, but if I am firmly established in the precepts by you, I could not kill anyone else, not even to save my life. I will not go. In consequence of my abstaining from eating human flesh how long shall I live? And now I shall no more set eyes on you,” and he wept, saying: “Do you go.” And the Great Being stroked him on the back and said: “My friend, my name is Sutasoma: I have ere now tamed just such a cruel wretch as yourself, and if you ask what story you are to tell in Benares, why, I will either establish you there, or dividing my own kingdom I will hand over half of it to you.” “In your city too I have enemies,” he said. Sutasoma thought: “In obeying my word this man has achieved a difficult task: by some means or other I must establish him in his former state of glory,” and to tempt him he sang the praises of the great glory of his city and said:

108. “Of beasts and birds of every kind the flesh you once did share,
By skilful cooks prepared was it, in truth a dainty fare,
Yielding such joy as Sakka felt, to taste ambrosial food
Why leave it all, to take delight alone within this wood? {5.506}

109. These noble dames with slender waists, magnificently dressed,
That round about you formerly, a thronging bevy, pressed,
While you, like Sakka ’midst his gods, did step in happy mood –
Why leave them thus, to take delight alone within this wood?

110. In ’midst of ample couch, O king, you once at ease did lie,
With many a woollen coverlet around you piled on high,
And pillow red beneath your head and bedding clean and white –
Why leave it thus, within this wood alone to take delight

111. There you oft times at dead of night the beat of drum would hear,
And sounds surpassing human strains nippurisa. The word is applied to music and means “not human,” “not produced by human beings,” but by gandharvas, or heavenly musicians. would strike upon the ear,
Music and song in unison, inspiring cheerful mood –
Why leave it all, to take delight alone within this wood?

112. You had a charming park wherein flowers in abundance grew,
Migācira, so known to fame, as park and city too,
There horses, elephants, and cars innumerable stood –
Why leave them all, to take delight alone within this wood?” {5.507}

The Great Being thought: “Haply this man, calling to mind the flavour of dainties he enjoyed long ago, will be eager to come with me,” and so he tempted him first with food, next by appealing to his passions, thirdly by the thought of a bed, fourthly by song, dancing and music, fifthly [5.277] by remembrance of a park and a city – with all these thoughts he tempted him, saying: “Come, sire, I will go with you to Benares and firmly establish you there and afterwards return to my own kingdom; but if we shall fail in securing the kingdom of Benares, I will grant you half of my realm. What have you to do with a forest life? Only do what I tell you.” The man-eater after hearing his words was eager to go with him and he thought: “Sutasoma is anxious for my well-being and is a merciful man. He first established me in virtue and now he says he will restore me to my former glory, and he will be able to do so. I ought to go with him. What have I to do with a forest?” And being glad at heart he was eager by reason of his merit to sing Sutasoma’s praises, and he said: “Friend Sutasoma, there is nothing better than consorting with a virtuous friend, nothing worse than consorting with a wicked one,” and he repeated these verses:

113. “As in the dark half of the month the moon wanes day by day,
So friendship with the bad, O king, will suffer like decay;

114. Thus I consorting with that cook, the lowest of the low,
Wrought evil deeds, for which in time to hell I’m doomed to go.

115. As in the month’s clear half the moon aye waxes day by day,
So friendship with the good, O king, will suffer no decay:

116. Thus with you, Sutasoma, I consorting, you must know,
Shall after working righteousness to heaven all blissful go.

117. As copious floods when shed upon dry ground
Are ever fleeting, transitory found, {5.508}
E’en so is union of bad men, O king,
Like water on dry land, a fleeting thing.

118. But copious floods when shed upon the sea
Enduring long are ever found to be,
E’en such is union of good men, O king,
Like water in the sea, a lasting thing.

119. No transient thing is union of the good,
As long as life endures such brotherhood,
But union of the bad soon falls away,
From virtue’s course bad men go far astray.”

The Return

Thus did that man-eater in seven verses sing the praises of the Great Being. But he took the man-eater and those kings and went to a frontier village, and the inhabitants on seeing the Great Being went to the city and reported it, and the king’s ministers came with an army and escorted the Great Being, and with this escort he came to the kingdom of Benares. And on his way there the country people brought presents and followed in his train, and a great company reached Benares with him.

At that time the man-eater’s son was the king and Kāḷahatthi was still commander-in-chief, and the people of the city reported it to the king, saying: “Sutasoma, they tell us, sire, has tamed the man-eater and is come here with him: we will not allow him to enter the city,” and they hastily closed the city gates and stood by with arms in their hands.

The Great Being, when he discovered [5.278] that the gate was closed, left the man-eater and the hundred and odd kings and coming with a few of his counsellors he cried, “I am king Sutasoma, open you the gate,” and the officers went and told the king, and he ordered them to open the gate with all speed, and the Great Being entered the city. And the king and Kāḷahatthi came out to meet him {5.509} and took him up with them to the tower of the palace. The Great Being seating himself on the royal throne summoned the man-eater’s chief consort and the rest of his counsellors, and addressing Kāḷahatthi said: “Why, Kāḷahatthi, do you not suffer the king to enter the city?” He answered, “The wicked wretch that he was, while he was ruling as king in this city, devoured many men and did that which is not lawful for nobles to do, and rent asunder all Jambudīpa: that is the reason why we act thus.” “Do not suppose,” he answered, “that he will act after this sort now. I have converted him and established him in the precepts. Not even to save his life will he do anyone an injury: you are in no danger from him; act not after this manner. Verily children ought to watch over their parents, they who cherish their father and mother go to heaven, the others go to hell.” Thus did he admonish the king’s son, as he sat by him on a low seat. And he instructed the commander-in-chief and said: “Kāḷahatthi, you are a friend and follower of the king, and were firmly established by him in great power; you too ought to act in the king’s interests.” And admonishing the queen he said: “You, O queen, came from a noble stock and from his hand acquired the position of chief consort and were blessed with many sons and daughters by him; you too ought to act in his interests.” And, to bring this matter to a head, in teaching the Dhamma he said:

120. “No king should conquer one who aye inviolate The commentator explains this to be a man’s father or mother. should be,
No friend should get the better of a friend by treachery;
She of her lord that stands in fear is no true wife, I hold,
Nor children they that nourish not a father when he’s old.

121. No council-hall is that wherein the wise do not appear,
Nor wise are they that do not preach the Dhamma far and near.
The wise are they that lust and hate and error lay aside,
And never fail to preach Dhamma to mortals far and wide.

122. The sage midst fools if silent none at once discern as wise,
He speaks and all a teacher of the deathless recognise.

123. Preach, glorify the Dhamma, and lift the sages’ flag on high,
Emblem of saints is goodly speech, Dhamma the flag they fly.” {5.510}

The king and the commander-in-chief on hearing his exposition of the Dhamma were highly pleased and said: “Let us go and bring the great king here,” and having made proclamation in the city by beat of drum, they called together the inhabitants and said: “Be not afraid; the king, they tell us, is established in Dhamma: let us conduct him here.” So with a great multitude and with the Great Being at their head they went and [5.279] saluted the king. And they provided barbers and when his hair and beard had been shorn and he had taken a bath and put on goodly raiment, they placed him on a pile of precious stones and besprinkled him and then conducted him into the city. The man-eating king paid great honour to the hundred and more nobles and the Great Being, and there was great excitement throughout all Jambudīpa at the report that Sutasoma, lord of men, had converted the man-eater and re-established him on the throne. And the inhabitants of the city Indapatta sent a message bidding the kings return.

The Great Being stayed there just a month and admonished the king, saying: “Friend, we will be going; see that you are zealous in good works and have five alms halls erected at the city gates and at your palace door, and observe the ten royal virtues and guard against evil courses.” And from a hundred and more royal cities a numerous army {5.511} assembled together, and with this escort he went forth from Benares. The man-eater too going forth with him halted midway on the road. The Great Being presented horses to ride to such as had them not and then dismissed them all. And they exchanged friendly greetings with him, and then after fitting salutations and embraces they returned each to his own people.

The Great Being too on reaching Indapatta with great majesty entered the city, which its inhabitants had decorated like as it were a city of the gods. After paying his respects to his parents and expressing his pleasure at seeing them he ascended the palace tower.

While exercising just rule in his kingdom the thought occurred to him, “The Tree Devatā was very helpful to me; I will see that it receives an offering.” So he had a vast lake constructed near the banyan tree and transported there many families and founded a village. It grew into a big place supplied with eighty thousand shops. And starting from the farthest limits of its branches he levelled the ground about the roots of the tree and surrounded it with a balustrade vedikā. This word is discussed in Senart’s Mahāvastu, i. pp. 529 and 544, and in Vinaya Texts, iii. 104 and 162. furnished with arches and gates; and the Tree Devatā was propitiated. And owing to the fact of the village having been settled on the spot where the Yakkha was converted, the place grew into the town of Kammāsadamma. And all the kings, abiding in the admonition of the Great Being, performed good works such as alms-giving and the like, and attained to heaven.

The Teacher here ended his Dhamma instruction and said: “Not only now, monks, do I convert Aṅgulimāla, in former times too was he converted by me, and he identified the Jātaka: at that time the man-eating king was Aṅgulimāla, Kāḷahatthi was Sāriputta, the brahmin Nanda was Ānanda, the Tree Devatā was Kassapa, Sakka was Anuruddha, the rest of the kings were the followers of Buddha, the king’s father and mother were members of the great king’s household, and king Sutasoma, it is said, was I myself.”