The Mahavastu (great story)

by J. J. Jones | 1949 | 305,330 words | ISBN-10: 086013041X

This page describes the shakyans and the koliyans which is Chapter XXXII 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 XXXII - Genesis of the world (Rājavaṃśa): the Śākyans and the Koliyans

Here begins the Rājavaṃśa.

Note: Rājavaṃśa refers to the lineage or history of kings. For a parallel account of this Buddhist “Genesis” see D. 3. 84 ff. Cf. D. 1. 17.

Monks, there comes a time, there comes an occasion when this universe after a long stretch of time begins to dissolve.[1] And while it is in the course of dissolution beings are for the most part reborn in the world of the Ābhāsvara[2] devas.

There comes a time, monks, there comes an occasion, when this universe after a long stretch of time begins to re-evolve[3] once more, and while it is re-evolving certain beings, in order to achieve the extinction of existence and karma, leave Ābhāsvara and are born in this world. These beings are self-luminous, move through space, are made of mind, feed on joy, abide in a state of bliss, and go wherever they wish. That, monks, is the appropriate condition of these beings who are self-luminous, move through space, are made of mind, feed on joy, (339) abide in a state of bliss, and go wherever they wish. The moon and sun were not yet known in the world. Hence the forms of the stars were not known, nor the paths of the constellations, nor day and night, nor months and fortnights, nor seasons and years. That, monks, is the appropriate condition of those beings who are self-luminous, move through space, are made of mind, feed on joy, abide in a state of bliss, and go wherever they wish.

Then this great earth came into being like a lake of water, goodly in colour and taste. It was sweet even as the pure[4] honey of the bee. In appearance it was like an expanse of milk or butter.

Then, monks, some being who was wanton and of greedy disposition tasted this essence of earth[5] with his finger. It pleased him by its colour, smell and taste. Now other beings, when they saw what he had done, began to follow his example, and they too tasted this essence of earth with their fingers. They also were pleased, and so on to “taste.”

On another occasion, monks, that being ate a whole mouthful of this essence of earth as ordinary food.[6] Other beings, also, when they saw him, began to follow his example, and ate whole mouthfuls of this essence of earth as ordinary food. Now, monks, from the time that these beings began to eat whole mouthfuls of this essence of earth as food, their bodies became heavy, rough and hard, and they lost the qualities of being self-luminous, of moving through space, of being made of mind, of feeding on joy, of being in a state of bliss and of going wherever they wished. (340) When these qualities[7] disappeared the moon and sun became known, and consequently the forms of the stars, the paths of the constellations, night and day, months and fortnights, and the seasons and years.

These beings, monks, lived on a very long time feeding on this essence of earth, it being the source of their appearance, nourishment and sustenance. Those who took much of it for food became ugly; those who ate little became comely. And those who were comely scoffed at the ugly saying, “We are comely; they are ugly.” But while they thus lived on, proud of their beauty, vain and conceited, this essence of earth vanished.

Then there appeared on the surface of the earth an excrescence,[8] like honey[9] in appearance. This was goodly of colour and smell, and it was sweet like the pure honey of the bee.

And, monks, when the essence of earth had vanished those beings exclaimed, “Ah! What flavour it had! Ah! What flavour it had!” Even as men now do, when they are satisfied after eating good food, and exclaim “Ah! What flavour it had! Ah! What flavour it had!” Thus does that ancient primeval[10] expression become current once more, although men do not understand the significance of it.

And so, monks, (341) those beings lived on a very long time feeding on this excrescence on the surface of the earth, it being the source of their appearance, nourishment and sustenance. Those who ate much of it became ugly; those who ate little, comely. And those who were comely scoffed at those who were ugly, saying, “We are comely, they are ugly.”

While they thus lived on, proud of their beauty, vain and conceited, the excrescence on the surface of the earth vanished, and in its place a creeping-plant appeared, like the bamboo in appearance. It was goodly of colour, smell and taste. It was sweet as the pure honey of the bee.

When the excrescence on the surface of the earth had disappeared those beings groaned, “Alas! Oh! Alas! Oh!” Just as now, when men are afflicted by any calamity, they groan, “Alas! Oh! Alas! Oh!” In this way does that ancient primeval expression become current once more, although men do not understand the significance of it. Thus, then, did those beings, when the excrescence on the surface of the earth had disappeared, groan, “Alas! Oh! Alas! Oh!”

Now, monks, when the excrescence on the surface of the earth had disappeared, those beings went on living for a very long time on the creeping-plant, which became the source of their appearance, nourishment and sustenance. Those who ate much of it became ugly; those who ate little, comely. And those who were comely scoffed at those who were ugly, saying, “We are comely, they are ugly.” While they thus became proud of their beauty, vain and conceited, the creeping-plant vanished.

In its place there appeared rice (342) which was without powder or husk, being just fragrant grain. If it was cropped at evening, by the morning it had sprouted, ripened and fully grown, without any signs of its having been cut. If it was cropped in the morning, by the evening it had sprouted, ripened and fully grown, without any signs of its having been cut.

Now, monks, at the disappearance of the creeping-plant, those beings groaned, “Alas! Oh! Alas! Oh!” Even as men now do when they are afflicted by any calamity. In this way does an ancient primeval expression become current once more, although men do not understand the significance of it.

Then, monks, after the disappearance of the creeping-plant, those beings lived on a very long time feeding on the rice which was without powder or husk, but was just fragrant grain. And from the time that they did so,[11] the distinguishing characteristics of female and male appeared among them. They looked on one another with inordinate passion in their hearts. Looking on one another with passion in their hearts they became inflamed with passion for one another. Becoming inflamed with passion they violated one another.

And, monks, those who witnessed them violating one another, threw sticks at them, and clods of earth and mud. For, my friends, wrong and sin appear in the world when one being violates another. Just as now, monks, when the young bride is being carried away, people throw sticks and clods. In this way does an ancient primeval custom[12] become current once more, although men do not understand the significance of it. Then, indeed, this was considered immoral, irreligious andirregular, but now it is considered moral, religious, and regular.

Now, monks, those beings, (343) because of their immorality, got into trouble, and they were shunned by their fellows. So they left their homes for one day, for two days, for three, four or five, for a fortnight or for a month, in order to conceal their immorality, and during this time had their housework done by others.

Then, monks, this thought occurred to some being who had gone to gather rice, “Why should I tire myself, as I have hitherto been doing, by gathering rice at evening for supper, and again in the morning for breakfast? What if I were to gather once daily enough rice for both the evening and morning meals?” So, monks, this being gathered once a day enough rice for evening and morning. Then some other being said to him, “Come, good being, let us go and gather rice.” When this had been said, that other being replied, “You go, good being. As for me, I have fetched at one and the same time enough rice for both evening and morning.”

Then, monks, it occurred to that other being also, “This is surely a splendid practice. What if I in my turn were to gather at one and the same time enough rice for two or three days?” And he went and gathered enough rice at one time for two or three days.

Then yet another being said to him, “Come, good being, let us go and gather rice.” When this had been said, that being replied, “Do you go, good being, for I have gathered at one time enough rice for two or three days.”

Then, monks, it occurred to that being also, “Surely this is a splendid practice. What if I in my turn were to gather at one time enough rice for four or five days?” And he went and gathered enough rice for four or five days at one time.

From the time, monks, that these beings began to live by hoarding the rice that was without powder or husk, but was just fragrant grain, powder and husk began to appear on it. And when it was cropped at evening it did no longer sprout, ripen and fully grow by the morning, while the signs of its having been cut were clearly seen.

(344)Then, monks, those beings hurriedly gathered together and took counsel. “Friends,” said they, “in the past we were self-luminous, moved through space, were made of mind, fed on joy, lived in bliss, and went wherever we wished. And while we were thus self-luminous, moved through space, were made of mind, fed on joy, lived in bliss, and went wherever we wished, the moon and sun were not known in the world, nor the forms of the stars, nor the paths of the constellations, nor day and night, months and fortnights, nor seasons and years.

“Then this great earth appeared, like a lake of water. In appearance it was like an expanse of butter or milk, and had a goodly colour, smell and taste. It was as sweet as the pure honey of the bee. But, friends, some being who was wanton and of greedy disposition tasted this essence of earth with his finger, and it delighted him with its colour, smell and taste. Then that being on another occasion ate a whole mouthful of this essence of earth as ordinary food. And we, seeing him, followed his example and ate whole mouthfuls of this essence of earth as ordinary food.

“Now, friends, from the time that we began to eat whole mouthfuls of this essence of earth as ordinary food, our bodies acquired weight, roughness and hardness, while the attributes we had before of being self-luminous, of moving through space, of being made of mind, of feeding on joy, of living in a state of bliss, and of going wherever we wished, were lost. And with the loss of these attributes,[13] moon and sun became known in the world (345), and the forms of the stars, the paths of the constellations, days and nights, months and fortnights, and seasons and years.

“Friends, we lived on for a very long time feeding on that essence of earth, which was the source of our appearance, our nourishment and our sustenance. But when wrong and sinful states came to be known among men,[14] when wrong and sinful states came to be known among us, then this essence of earth disappeared. And in its place there appeared an excrescence on the surface of the earth, like honey in appearance and of goodly colour and smell. It was as sweet as the pure honey of the bee.

“For a very long time, friends, we lived on that excrescence, which was the source of our appearance, nourishment and sustenance. But when wrong and sinful states came to be known among men, then the excrescence on the earth disappeared. And in its place there appeared a creeping-plant, like the bamboo in appearance, goodly of colour, smell and taste. It was as sweet as the pure honey of the bee.

“And for a very long time, friends, we lived on that creeping-plant, which was the source of our appearance, nourishment and sustenance. But when wrong and sinful states came to be known among men, when wrong and sinful states came to be known among us, then did this creeping-plant disappear. In its place rice appeared, which was without powder or husk, being just fragrant grain. If this was cropped at evening, by the morning it had sprouted, ripened and fully grown, without any signs of its having been cut.

“For a very long time, friends, we lived on this rice, which was without powder or husk, but was just fragrant grain, and it was the source of our appearance, nourishment (346) and sustenance. But when wrong and sinful states came to be known among men, powder and husk began to envelop the rice. And now when cropped at evening it did not sprout, ripen and fully grow by the morning, while the signs of its having been cut were clearly seen. Nor when cropped in the morning did it sprout, ripen and fully grow by the evening, while the signs of its having been cut were clearly seen.

“What if we were now to divide the rice-fields and set boundaries to them? Let us allot this field to you, and this to ourselves.” And so, monks, they set boundaries to the rice-fields, saying, “This field is yours, this is ours.”

Then, monks, this thought occurred to some being who had gone to gather rice: “What will become of me? How shall I get a living, if my plot of rice fails? What if now I were to steal and take another’s?”[15] And so, monks, while he was watching over his own plot of rice, he stole and took another’s.

Another being saw him steal and take another’s rice, and when he had seen him, he went to him and said, “Indeed, good being, you have stolen and taken another’s rice.” And he replied, “Yes, good being, but it will not happen again:”

But, monks, the thought occurred to him a second time when he had gone to gather rice: “What will become of me? How shall I get a living, if my plot of rice fails? What if now I were to steal and take another’s rice?” And a second time did that being, while watching over his own plot, steal and take another’s rice.

That other being saw him thus a second time steal and take another’s rice, and when he had seen him, he went to him and said, “Good being, it is the second time (347) that you have stolen and taken another’s rice.” And a second time, monks, did he reply, “Yes, but it will not happen again.”

But a third time, monks, did the thought occur to that being when he had gone to gather rice: “What will become of me? How shall I get a living if my plot of rice fails? What if now I were to steal and take another’s rice?” And so a third time did that being while watching over his own plot steal and take another’s rice.

The other being saw him thus a third time steal and take another’s rice, and when he had seen him he went to him and beat him with a stick, saying, “Good being, this is the third time you have stolen and taken another’s rice.” Then, monks, he stretched out his arms, wailed, and cried, “Sir, wrong and injustice have made their appearance in the world, now that violence is known.” But, monks, the other being, throwing his stick on the ground, stretched out his arms, wailed and cried out, “Sir, it is when theft and falsehood make their appearance in the world that wrong and injustice are known.”

And so, monks, the three wrong and sinful states of theft, falsehood, and violence made their first appearance in the world.

Then, monks, those beings hurriedly gathered together and took counsel. “Friends,” said they, “what if we were to select him who is most kind-hearted among us, and most authoritative, to reprove whoever among us deserves reproof, and to approve whoever deserves approval? And we will assign[16] to him a portion of the rice in the fields of each of us.”

And so, monks, those beings selected him (348) who was the most kind-hearted and authoritative among them, and said to him, “Let your majesty reprove whosoever among us deserves reproof, and approve whosoever deserves approval. We elect you to sovereignty over us all, and we give you a sixth part of the rice in the fields of each of us.”

So originated the idea that Mahā-Sammata[17] means “elected by the great body of the people.” So originated the idea that rājan means he who is worthy[18] of the rice-portions from the rice-fields. So originated the idea that an anointed [noble][19] means he who is a perfect guardian and protector. So originated the idea that he who achieves security for his country[20] is as a parent to towns and provinces. That is how a king can say, “I am king, an anointed noble, and one who has achieved security for my people.”

The son of King Sammata was Kalyāṇa, whose son was Rava. Rava’s son was Upoṣadha, and Upoṣadha’s son was King Māndhātar.[21]

King Māndhātar had many thousand sons, grandsons, and grandsons’ grandsons, all of them kings. The last of these was Ikṣvāku,[22] styled Sujāta, king in the great city of Śāketa. King Ikṣvāku Sujāta had five sons, Opura, Nipura, Karakaṇḍaka, Ulkāmukha and Hastikaśīrṣa, and five young daughters, Śuddhā, Vimalā, Vijitā, Jalā and Jalī. Also he had a son named Jenta by a concubine.[23] Jenta’s mother was named Jentī. King Sujāta was pleased by her womanly qualities, and he thus became gracious to her and offered her the choice of a boon. “Jentī,” said he, “I grant you a boon. Whatever boon you ask of me I will give it to you.” Jentī replied, “Sire, after I have consulted with my parents, I shall make a request of you.”

Then Jentī informed her parents and said, “The king has offered me the choice of a boon. What do you say? What shall I ask of the king?” And they both(349) expressed what was in the mind of each and said, “Ask for the boon of a village.”

But there was a certain female devotee who was clever, cute and crafty, and she said, “Jentī, you are yourself a concubine’s daughter, and your son has no right to his father’s estate, not to speak of that of a king’s. It is those five boys, the sons of a noble woman, who have the right to their father’s kingdom and estate. Now the king has offered you the choice of a boon, and King Sujāta does not go back on his word, but is truthful and keeps his promises. Do you, therefore, ask this of him and say, ‘Banish those five sons of yours from the kingdom, and anoint my young son Jenta as heir to the throne. And he shall become king in the great city of Śāketa after you.’ After that everything will be yours.” And so Jentī asked this boon of the king. “Your majesty,” said she, “banish these five sons of yours from the kingdom, and anoint the young boy Jenta as heir to the throne, so that he will become king in the great city of Śāketa after his father. Let your majesty grant me this boon.”

When Sujāta heard this, he was sorely troubled, for he loved those boys. And yet, having offered a boon, he could not do otherwise. So he said to the woman Jentī, “So be it. Let this boon be granted you.”

Cities and provinces heard of this granting of the boon, of how the young men were to be banished, and the young Jenta, a concubine’s son, anointed heir to the throne. Then, owing to the sterling worth of those young men, there was great sorrow among the people, and they said, “Where they go, we go.”

King Sujāta heard that the people were intending to leave Śāketa and the provinces with the princes, and he caused a proclamation to be made in the great city of Śāketa: “To all who go out of Śāketa with the princes will be given all they want from the royal[24] store. If they want elephants, horses, chariots, carts, carriages, waggons, oxen, rams,[25] goats, antelopes, corn, or anything else, such as clothes, ornaments, (350) male and female slaves, all these will be given them from the royal store." And at the king’s command, his ministers produced and gave from his store-house, granary and treasury, whatever any of those going into exile asked for.

So the young princes accompanied by several thousands of their countrymen left the city of Śāketa in a strong body with many thousands of waggons, carts and carriages, and made for the north. There they were befriended by the king of Kāśi and Kośala[26]. For the young men were good, masterly, gentle,[27] pleasant,[28] virtuous and honourable, and all the people of Kāśi and Kośala were entirely delighted with them. “Ah!” said they, “how good and honourable are these young men.”

But then it happened with this king as the Exalted One says in the Questions of Śakra:[29] “Devas and men, Asuras, Garuḍas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Piśācas, Kumbhāṇḍas, and all other denizens of earth are bound in the fetters of jealousy and envy.”

And so jealousy took hold of the king of Kāśi and Kośala. “As this people of mine,” thought he, “have been attracted by these young men, it is possible they will kill me and then anoint them as heirs to the throne.” Therefore the king of Kāśi and Kośala drove them out of the land.

Now there dwelt on the slopes of the Himalayas a seer named Kapila, who was in possession of the five super-knowledges, had achieved the four meditations, and was of great might and power. His hermitage was extensive, delightful, rich in roots, flowers, leaves, fruits, and water, was bright with a thousand plants, and included a large wood of śākoṭa[30] trees.

And the young men sojourned there in the wood of śākoṭa trees. Thither there came some merchants on their way to the lands of Kāśi and Kośala. (On their return home) somebody asked these merchants, “Whence do you come?” And they replied, “From the forest of śākoṭa trees yonder. Men of Śāketa in(351) Kośala also are travelling there in the forest of śākoṭa trees. For we asked them, “Where are you going?” And they replied, “To the śākoṭa forest in the Himalayas’.”[31]

Now those young princes said among themselves, “There must be no corruption of our race.” And from fear of such a corruption they each married a half-sister born of a different mother.[32]

Then King Sujāta asked his ministers, saying, “My ministers, where do the princes dwell?” And his ministers replied, “Your majesty, the princes dwell in a great wood of śākoṭa trees in the Himalayas.”

Next, the king asked his ministers, “Whence do the princes get themselves wives?” They replied, “We have heard, your majesty, that the princes, through fear of corrupting their race, each married a half-sister of a different mother, saying, ‘There must be no corruption of our race

Then the king asked his priest and other learned brāhmans, “Can that be done as it has been done by these princes?” And the learned brāhmans with the priest at their head replied, “It can be done, your majesty, and thereby the princes do not contract any taint.”

When he heard the learned brāhmans, the king, gladdened, delighted and enraptured, exclaimed, “Cunning,[33] sirs, are these princes.” And from the “cunning” of these princes arose their name, appellation and designation of Śākiyans.[34]

Then it occurred to those princes, “What sort of dwelling-place shall we prepare for ourselves here in the śākoṭa forest? For it is a great multitude that has come with us. What if we were to found a city?”

And the princes went into the presence of Kapila the seer, and having bowed at his feet, said, “If the blessed Kapila permits, we shall found a city here, and call it Kapilavastu after the seer’s name.”

The seer replied, “If in founding your city you will make this hermitage of mine (352) the site of your royal palace, then I give my consent.” The princes answered, “As is the seer’s wish, so will we do. In founding our city we shall make this hermitage the site of our royal palace.”

So the seer with the water he had brought in a pitcher[35] handed over the property to the princes, and they founded their city, making the hermitage the site of their royal palace. The name Kapilavastu arose from the land having been given by Kapila the seer.

And the city of Kapilavastu became prosperous, rich, peaceful, well-supplied with food, and densely peopled with happy citizens, with a wide area of populous country around. It was known far and wide, and had many festivals and fairs; it was a favourite resort of merchants and the centre of a busy trade.

Now of these five princes Opura, Nipura, Karaṇḍaka, Ulkāmukha and Hastikaśirṣa, Opura was the eldest, and he was anointed to the throne of Kapilavastu. King Opura’s son was Nipura; his son was Karaṇḍaka; his son was Ulkāmukha; his son was Hastikaśīrṣa, and his son was Siṃhahanu.[36]

King Siṃhahanu had four sons Śuddhodana, Dhautodana, Śuklodana and Amṛtodana, and he had a daughter named Amitā.

Now a certain chieftain of the Śākyans had a daughter who was charming, comely, strikingly handsome, and gifted with consummate beauty. But leprosy attacked this young girl, and she was being consumed by this disease. Physicians exerted themselves, and everything possible was done for her, but she was not cured. Salves after salves, emetics, and purgatives were applied, but the leprosy was not checked. Her whole body became one sore, and all the people were filled with pity at sight of her.

Then her brothers put her in a litter, and carried her to the slopes of the Himalayas. There on the crest of a hill they dug a hole and put the young girl in it. They placed with her a plentiful supply of food and water, as well as bedding and covering. (353) Having sealed the mouth of the hole carefully and raised a big mound of earth over it, they returned to the city of Kapilavastu.

Now while the young girl was living in the hole she got rid of all her leprosy, because the hole was sheltered from the wind and therefore warm. Her body became clean and spotless, and regained its former exquisite beauty. To see her no one would think her human.

Then a tiger marauding around came to the spot.

Beasts perceive with their noses, brahmans by means of the Vedas, kings by means of spies, but ordinary folk with their eyes.

The tiger scented the smell of human flesh, and with its paws scratched away the big mound of earth.

Not far away there dwelt a royal seer,[37] named Kola,[38] who possessed the five superknowledges and had achieved the four meditations. His hermitage was delightful, and furnished with roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, water and divers trees.

Now as he was strolling up and down his hermitage he came to the spot where the Śākyan maiden was buried in a hole. By that time the tiger had scratched away with its paws all the heap of earth, leaving only the wooden framework. At the sight of the seer, however, the tiger slinked off. When he saw the earth scratched away by the tiger, the seer was greatly disturbed, and he pulled away the pieces of wood so that the entrance to the hole was revealed. When he saw the Śākyan maiden in the perfection of her bloom, he exclaimed, “This is no human female that I see here.”

The seer questioned her. “Good lady,” said he, “who may you be?” The woman replied, “I am from Kapilavastu, the daughter of a Śākyan there. I was afflicted with leprosy and was abandoned alive here.”

When he saw the peerless beauty of the Śākyan maiden violent passion stirred in him.

(354) Though a man live a chaste life for a long time, yet the latent fires of passion in him are not put out. But once again will the poison of passion break out, just as the fire[39] that is latent[40] in wood can not be suppressed.

So the royal seer had intercourse with the Śākyan maiden, thus apostasizing from his meditations and his super-knowledges. He took the Śākyan maiden with him to his hermitage. There she lived with Kola, the royal seer, and bore him sixteen pairs of twin sons. The seer’s thirty-two young sons were prepossessing and beautiful, and wore antelope’s hide and kept their hair braided.

When they had grown up they were sent by their mother to Kapilavastu. “Go, my sons,” said she, “to the great city of Kapilavastu. A Śākyan of such and such a name is my father and your grandfather. That Śākyan’s sons are your uncles, and almost all the Śākyan nobles are your kinsmen. Such is the great family to which you belong. They will provide you with means to live.”

And she trained them in the ways of the Śākyans, saying, “Thus are you to approach the assembly of the Śākyans; thus are you to address them; thus are you to sit down among them.” And when they had all been instructed in the ways of the Śākyans, they were sent off. They respectfully took leave of their mother and father, departed, and in due time reached Kapilavastu.

They entered Kapilavastu one after the other in the order of their ages. When the multitude saw these young hermits they remarked on them, saying, “Ah! look at these young hermits. How charming and beautiful they are in their antelope’s hide and braided hair.”

And so the young men, escorted by a great crowd, proceeded to the public place of assembly. About five hundred Śākyans were seated there, having come together on some business. The young men approached the assembly in the manner taught them by their mother, so that when the assembly of the Śākyans saw the young hermits (355) comporting themselves like Śākyans, they were amazed.

Then the Śākyans asked the young hermits, “Where do you come from?” In reply they related all the circumstances as they had been instructed by their mother. “We are the sons of Kola, a royal seer of a certain hermitage on the slopes of the Himalayas, and our mother is the daughter of a certain Śākyan.” And repeating what they had heard from their mother they told the Śākyans in full how the Śākyan maiden had been driven forth to that place.

When the Śākyans heard this they were delighted. Now their grandfather, a chieftain of the Śākyans, and a large number of their relatives were still living. Further, Kola, the royal hermit, was from Benares, whence he had gone into seclusion after anointing his eldest son to the throne, and he was a distinguished seer, known far and wide.

Thus the Śākyans were delighted that these young men were the sons of a royal seer and not of a common man. And the thought occurred to them: “These young men are of our blood, so let them be given Śākyan maidens and means to live.” So Śākyan maidens were given them, as well as tracts of arable land, namely, Āśrama, Nigama, Sumukta, Karkarabhadra,[41] and other tracts—a rich estate for their very own.

The Koliyans were so named from their being the offspring of Kola the seer, and Vyāghrapadyā[42] was so named after the tiger’s haunt.

Here ends the chapter of the Mahāvastu-Avadāna on the origin of the name of the Koliyans.

Note: The chapter has, however, dealt mainly with the history of the Śākyans, that of the Koliyans being only a supplement. Possibly the subscription to the main chapter has dropped out.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Saṃvartati. See note p. 43.

2.

See note p. 44.

3.

Vivartati. See p. 43.

4.

Aneḍaka, see note p. 211.

5.

Pṛthivīrasa. The parallel Pali version (D. 3. 85) has rasapaṭhavi which is translated (Dial. 3. 82) as “savoury earth.” In S. 1. 134 paṭhavīrasa is used of the earth’s surface or humus which receives and nourishes the fallen seed. The Pali Dictionary rendering of “essence of earth” suits the Mahāvastu context very well, as it expresses the inchoate state of the earth at the time.

6.

Kārakamāhāram. For this sense of kāraka Senart compares sannidhikāram (p. 345), “en provision,” “par provision.”

7.

The text repeats their enumeration.

8.

Parpaṭaka, a reading which Senart, without being aware of the Pali pappaṭaka (D. 3. 87), established for the paryaṭaka of the MSS., basing his conjecture on Śanskrit parpaṭa, which the lexicographers give as meaning not only “a medicinal plant” but also “fragrant substance” and “perfumed earth.”

9.

Chātraka = chātra, “eine Art Honig” (Böhtlingk and Roth).

10.

Making the obvious emendation of °agninyam into °agrajñam Pali aggañña), “recognised as primitive,” “primeval.” (Pali Dictionary).

11.

Text repeats the preceding sentence.

12.

Akṣara, translated above in its usual sense of “expression.” But “custom” is not wholly unconnected with its primary sense of “non-transitory,” “durable,” “lasting.”

13.

Text repeats in full.

14.

Literally “among them,” sānam. Not necessarily a use of the 3rd person for the 1st. Apparently the whole phrase has been inadvertently repeated from its first occurrence when it had an objective application, in which case its further repetition here with mo, “among us,” is an explanatory interpolation. Mo is frequently 1st pers. plural in the Mahāvastu.

15.

Anyātaka. Etymologically, this can only be a Buddhist Sanskrit equivalent of Pali aññātaka, “he who is not a kinsman” (DhA i. 222), which in classical Sanskrit would be ajñātaka, from a-jñāti. But the word is here obviously used in the sense of “another,” anya, and the sense may have influenced the orthography. At the same time, if the word were written ajñātaka it would be possible to render “(steal and take the rice of one) who is not a kinsman,” which at a later stage of tribal development would be an apposite way of expressing “another,” and might imply justification of a theft from him as being an “alien” without rights.

16.

The text has deśaye cāyam, “and he shall designate,” which is not satisfactory in view of what is explicitly said later that the rice portions were assigned by the owners themselves. Senart, therefore, proposes deśeyyema vayam or dadyāma vayam, and this has been followed in the translation.

17.

The first king of the present age, and the progenitor of the Śākyan clan, his name being here explained from his having been thus “elected” or “selected” (sammata).

18.

I.e., arahati, “he deserves or merits” is here taken to be etymologically connected with rājan, “king.”

19.

There is a lacuna in the text, but Senart makes the obvious conjecture and supplies kṣatriyati, for this seems just the word the fanciful etymology requires to connect with rakṣati, “to protect.”

20.

Senart prints the form janapadasthāmavīryaprapta, which, however, as he says in his note, is inexplicable in this context. He cites the form janapadasthāvīryaprapta given in some other MSS, and interprets this as “qui excerce sur le pays l’autorité de l’âge.” That the latter form is the correct one is proved by the Pali janapadathāviriya, literally “security of a country,” i.e. an appeased country as one of the blessings of the reign of a Cakkavattin (see Pali Dictionary for references). It seems better to give sthāvirya here its primary sense of “fixity,” “security,” etc. (√sthā), rather than the derivative one of “age.” (Cf. Pali thera and thāvara.)

21.

The genealogy in most Pali texts is, Mahāsammata, Roja, Vararoja, Kalyāṇa, Varakalyāṇa, Uposatha and Mandhātā. (D.P.N.)

22.

Pali Okkāka, “although it is unlikely that the latter is identical with the Ikṣvāku of the Purāṇas, the immediate son of Manu.” (D.P.N.) The story here given, with some differences in nomenclature, follows pretty closely that in the Pali texts.

23.

Vailāsikā, seems to occur only here in this sense, but is evidently related to vilāsinī, “courtesan,” “harlot.”

24.

Rājakṛtya. For this use of kṛtya as a genitival suffix Senart compares one or two instances in Lal. Vist., as well as the parallel formation in Prakrit and certain modern Indian languages, e.g. the genitive ending , ke, in Hindī.

25.

The text has masniyehi (masniya) which is obviously corrupt. Senart takes the reading of one MS., maśniyehi as being, palaeographically, an approximation to the true reading, which he says should be meṇḍa, Pali for “ram” (Prakrit meṇṭha or miṇṭha, see Pali Dictionary). But, to speak without the palaeographical evidence, the regular Sanskrit meṣa, “ram,” seems quite as close, if not closer, to the reading of both text and manuscript.

26.

These two countries were often at war, now one and now the other being conquered and ruled by one king.

27.

Nivāta, cí. Pali nivāta (“sheltered from the wind” and therefore “low”), “lowliness,” “humbleness,” “obedience,” “gentleness.” (Pali Dictionary.)

28.

Sukhasaṃsparṣā, “pleasant to touch, deal with.”

29.

The reference is to the Sakkapañha Sutta, D. 2. 263 ff. In the particular extract quoted (p. 276) the Pali text names only devas, men, Nāgas, and Gandharvas.

30.

An unidentified tree.

31.

The text here is very corrupt.

32.

The word mātriyo, if the reading is correct, presents a serious grammatical difficulty. Senart, on the basis of the Tibetan account translated by Csoma, proposes to read, svakasvakā paramātriyo bhaginīyo, and this has been followed in translation. But the form mātriyo, which must be nom. pi., cannot be satisfactorily accounted for.

33.

I.e. in its etymological sense as a derivative from “can,” (A.S. cunnan.) The Sanskrit is śakya from śak, “to be able.”

34.

Or Śākyans according to the usual orthography in the Mahāvastu.

35.

I.e. the water was given to the princes as a sanction or ratification of the gift, a type of formality common in primitive conveyancing.

36.

In the Pali texts Siṃhahanu (Sīhahanu) is the son of Jayasena. He there has five, not four, sons, although the names are identical as far as they go.

37.

Rājaṛṣi, a king or member of the military caste who has become a recluse. The regular Sanskrit form is rājaṛṣi, which is found on page 210 as an honorific title of the Buddha.

38.

The Pali Commentaries contain a very similar tale, but the sufferer from leprosy there is a daughter of Okkāka, and she is discovered and married by a king, Rāma. They build a city in the forest, removing a big jujube tree (kola) for the purpose, whence their descendants are called Koliyans. (D.P.N.)

39.

The text has tiṣṭham, which is obviously corrupt. Tigma which can mean “fire” is a plausible conjecture and may be palaeographically possible, although Senart cannot think of any emendation which can be made “sans violence à la leçon des manuscrits.”

40.

Literally “gone to the wood,” kāṣṭhagataṃ.

41.

The last of these names alone is known elsewhere as that of a Koliyan township.

42.

Pali Vyagghapajjā.