The Mahavastu (great story)

by J. J. Jones | 1949 | 502,133 words | ISBN-10: 086013041X

This page describes hell named raurava (...) which is Chapter II-e of the English translation of the Mahavastu (“great story”), dating to the 2nd-century BC. This work belongs to the Mahasanghika school of early Buddhism and contains narrative stories of the Buddha’s former lives, such as Apadanas, Jatakas and more..

Chapter II-e - The hell named Raurava (...)

Thousands of beings in this hell are confined each in a narrow cell, where they are denied the exercise of the four postures.[1] Fire blazes in their hands. While the fire burns they cry out. As often as this fire goes out they become silent. In this state they suffer agonies beyond measure.

As a maturing of what karma are beings reborn there? Those who in this world enslave beings who are without protection or refuge, those who set houses (23) and forests on fire, those who light a fire at the openings of the dens, burrows, enclosures, and traps of sāhikas,[2] monkeys, rats, cats, and the holes of serpents, guarding the exits; those who destroy bees with the betel-leaf[3] or with fire, have rebirth there as a maturing of such karma. This again is only a principal cause of rebirth there. Those reborn there reap the fruit of still other wicked and sinful deeds. [##missing##]

Footnotes and references:


Īryāpatha, Pali iriyāpatha. The four were, walking, standing, sitting, lying-down. Or, perhaps, chinnīryāpathā here simply means crippled, as in V. i. 91.


See above p. 16.


Read tāmbūlena for tāmbūlāni, that is, this pungent leaf is used to “smoke out” the bees.