by J. J. Jones | 1949 | 502,133 words | ISBN-10: 086013041X
This page describes jataka of nalini (the king’s daughter) which is Chapter XIV 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..
When the Exalted One had foretold of these sixty nayutas of Asuras that they would win the incomparable perfect enlightenment, and had established many thousands of beings in the Āryan ways, he dismissed King Śuddhodana and his retinue. Then King Śuddhodana and his retinue rose from their seats, bowed their heads at the feet of the Exalted One, and departed.
And when the night had passed, King Śuddhodana had a plentiful supply of solid and soft food prepared. He had the city of Kapilavastu sprinkled and cleaned, cleared of dust, stones, gravel and pebbles, strewn with garlands of flowers, perfumed with pots of incense, gaily decorated, canopied, and festooned with streamers of silk. All the way from the Banyan Grove to Kapilavastu he stationed here and there actors, dancers, athletes, wrestlers, tambourine players, tam-tam players, clowns, dvistvalas and buffoons. Thus, with great royal majesty and splendour he celebrated the entry of the Exalted One into the city.
Then with every manifestation of honour King Śuddhodana led the Exalted One and his company of disciples into the royal palace. (142) And the Exalted One having entered the home of Śuddhodana sat down on the seat appointed him, and so likewise did his company of disciples. King Śuddhodana with his own hand regaled and served the Exalted One with exquisite and plentiful solid and soft food, as his friends and counsellors did the company of disciples. When the Exalted One had finished eating, washed his hands and put away his bowl, he instructed, roused and gladdened King Śuddhodana with a discourse on dharma. He then rose from his seat and departed. Another day, Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī entertained the Exalted One and his company of disciples; on another Yaśodharā; on another, the women of the court, and on another the general body of the Śākyans.
Now when Yaśodharā had prepared the sweetmeats for the Exalted One and his company of disciples she invited the whole group of her relatives. The Exalted One with his awareness of the right time, opportunity, and occasion, and with his knowledge of the difference between individuals, dressed betimes, took his bowl and robe, and, escorted and honoured by his company of monks, entered the dwelling of Yaśodharā. He sat down on the appointed seat, as did also his company of monks. Then Yaśodharā, Rāhula’s mother, and Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī and the group of their relatives regaled and served the Exalted One and his company of disciples with exquisite food, solid and soft. Yaśodharā put some excellent and exquisite sweetmeat, which was good in colour, smell and taste, in the hands of Rāhula, and said to him, “Go, give this sweetmeat to your father.” Rāhula went and put the sweetmeat in his father’s bowl. He then sat down in his shadow, and said to his mother, “Pleasant, mother, is the shadow of the recluse.” But Yaśodharā said to the young Rāhula, “Ask for your father’s wealth.” So the young Rāhula said to the Exalted One, “Recluse, give me my father’s wealth.” The Exalted One replied, “Rāhula, leave home, then I will give you your father’s wealth.” (143) The king, the women of his court and his Śākyan retinue were thrilled, glad, and elated, and they said, “Rāhula is the Exalted One’s son. What fault can Yaśodharā find in the discipline?” But Yaśodharā decked herself out in all her finery, went to the Exalted One and asked him, “How can our noble son go out into the homeless life? Is it not possible for the Exalted One to make him change his mind?” The Exalted One, however, after he had finished his meal, washed his hands and put away his bowl, and instructed, roused, gladdened, and thrilled King Śuddhodana, the women of his court, Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī, Yaśodharā and all the court with a discourse on dharma, rose up from his seat and departed.
The monks said to the Exalted One, “Behold, Lord, how Yaśodharā sought to entice the Exalted One with sweetmeats.” The Exalted One replied, “Monks, that is not the first time that Yaśodharā sought to entice me with sweetmeats.” The monks asked, “Was there another occasion, Lord?” The Exalted One replied, “Yes, there was, monks.”
Once upon a time, monks, long ago, to the north of the city of Benares in the province of Kāśi, on the slopes of the Himalayas, there was a hermitage called Sāhañjanī, which was peaceful, sequestered, remote, aloof from men. It was a fitting spot for seclusion, and abounded in roots, leaves, flowers and water. There a seer named Kāśyapa dwelt. He had mastered the five super-knowledges, achieved the four meditations, and had great power and influence.
Now it happened that in the last of the summer months he ate ripe fruits which were sweet as honey, and then being thirsty he drank too much water. Consequently he became troubled with wind and fever, and he passed water containing some semen into a stone pot. A certain doe, being thirsty, drank this urine under the impression that it was drinking water. The doe was ripe for conception, and while her mouth was smeared with the semen she licked the orifice of her uterus with her tongue. She became stupefied and conceived.
The seer was a man of kindly disposition, and the deer and birds (144) had no fear of him. Hundreds of them roamed about and dwelt in the neighbourhood of the hermitage. The doe also dwelt near the hermitage and roamed about there. In due time she gave birth to a human child. When the seer saw this he fell to thinking, “How is it that the doe, being a brute, has a human offspring?”
Now when seers concentrate their minds knowledge comes to them. So this seer concentrated his mind. “A while ago,” he reflected, “I ate too many sweet fruits and drank too much water. So my humours became excessive, and I passed water, which was mixed with my semen, into a stone pot. This doe, being thirsty, drank it under the impression that it was drinking water. Being ripe for conception she conceived. This child, therefore, is issue of my body.”
So carrying the infant in his cloak of antelope’s hide he took him to his hermitage, the doe following behind him. The seer cut the child’s umbilical cord with a knife, rubbed him with sesamum oil, and washed off the impurities of the womb with sweet water. He put the child to the doe’s teat and she suckled him. He even put the doe’s teat in the child’s mouth. When the child happened to be lying down, the doe would roam about in the neighbourhood of the hermitage, and when she had drunk water she would come and suckle the child again, and lick him with her tongue. When the child could move about on its own feet he would grasp the doe’s teat for himself, and drink.
Remembering the saying “the one-horned beast wanders all alone,” the seer gave the child the name of Ekaśṛṅga. Now as his mother roamed about with the deer so did the seer’s son Ekaśṛṅga, playing with the young deer. Wherever his mother wandered with the herd of deer there also wandered Ekaśṛṅga, the seer’s son. (145) As he played with the young deer and wandered hither and thither, he came again with the deer and their young to the seer’s hermitage. There the seer gave him delicious fruits, good in colour, smell and taste. And when the seer’s son lay down in the hermitage then many deer and their young lay down around him. When the deer and their young wanted to go roaming, they woke up the sleeping son of the seer with their snouts.
In this way the deer and their young, and birds of various kinds enjoyed themselves at the hermitage in the company of the seer’s son. When Ekaśṛṅga the seer’s son had reached years of discretion he cleaned and swept the hermitage of the seer, fetched roots of various kinds, and leaves, water and fuel. He massaged and bathed the seer and tended the sacred fire. He served the sage with various dishes of roots, leaves, flowers and fruits, and supplied him with water. He would first serve the seer and his mother, the doe, then he would take food himself. The seer showed his son the way to the meditations and the super-knowledges. So the seer’s son by constant application of vigilance, endeavour, effort and exertion realised the four meditations and achieved the five super-knowledges.
Thus the seer’s son, having realised the four meditations and achieved the five super-knowledges, grew up into a chaste youth, powerful and influential, and known among devas and men.
Ekaśṛṅga, the seer’s son, lived in the hermitage of Sāhañjanī, on the banks of the river Ganges on the slopes of the Himalayas. Now in the city of Benares the king of Kāśi was without a son. In order to get a son he performed many elaborate sacrifices, saying, “It is in order that I may have a son.” But he did not succeed in having a son, (146) although he had daughters in his large harem.
Then the king of Kāśi heard that on the banks of the Ganges there was a hermitage called Sāhañjanī and that a seer named Kāśyapa lived there. This royal seer who dwelt in that hermitage had a son, a seer named Ekaśṛṅga, whose mother was a doe. The king said to himself, “What now if I were to give my daughter Nalinī, a royal maid, to the young seer Ekaśṛṅga? He would be a son to me, as well as a son-in-law.”
Then, monks, the king of Kāśi gave instructions to his brāhman priest and tutor, saying, “Go, priest, and give Nalinī here, the royal maid, to Ekaśṛṅga, the young seer. He will thus become my son-in-law.” So, monks, the brāhman priest and royal tutor placed the royal maid Nalinī and her attendants in a chariot drawn by horses, and taking with him a large quantity of food and drink, sweetmeats of various kinds, and solid and soft food, he set out for the hermitage of Sāhañjanī. When they arrived there they stopped in the neighbourhood not far from the hermitage. There Nalinī the royal maid played and laughed with her friends. But when the beasts and birds saw them play they were frightened and fled in all directions.
Then, monks, the young seer Ekaśṛṅga asked himself, “Why are the beasts and birds frightened, and flee in all directions?” And, monks, Ekaśṛṅga the young seer, came to where Nalinī, the royal maid, was. He saw Nalinī, the royal maid, adorned and attired in costly garments, and playing with her friends. (147) When he had seen her he again said to himself, “Beautiful are these seers, fine are their garments of antelope’s hide, their braided hair, and girdles of antelope’s hide.” He considered the royal maidens, and he saw their girdles of antelope’s hide shining with exceeding brilliance on their bodies.
Ekaśṛṅga asked Nalinī, “Are these beautiful antelope hides yours, and the braided hair, girdles, and neckbands?” Nalinī, the royal maid, took Ekaśṛṅga, the young seer, by the hand and said to him, “Yes, these beautiful antelope hides are ours, and the girdles, neckbands and bracelets.” She then offered the young seer sweetmeats and drink, saying, “Here, eat this sweetmeat in my hand.” He ate the sweetmeats and swallowed the drink. Now in the hermitage his sense of taste had been offended by the bitterness of the various fruits there, so as he ate these sweetmeats he was charmed by the exceeding sweetness of their flavour. And when he had drunk the various beverages he said, “Delightful are these fruits of yours, your beverages, your girdles of antelope’s hide, your neckbands and your bracelets. We have no such exquisite food here in the hermitage.”
Then, monks, Nalinī the royal maid said to Ekaśṛṅga the young seer, “Come, young seer, here are our portable huts. We go wherever we wish taking our huts with us. Come, enter my hut and I will show you my own hermitage.” And Nalinī mounted her carriage, held out her hand to Ekaśṛṅga, and said, “Come, enter my hut, and I shall take you to my hermitage.” But he, seeing the horses yoked to the carriage, said, “My mother is a doe, and here is a hut drawn by deer. (148) I will not enter it.” Nalinī, however, held on to the hand of Ekaśṛṅga, the young seer. She clung to his neck, embraced him, kissed him, and strove to entice him. The young seer noted the various features of Nalinī from her head to her feet. He saw that his and her braided hair were different. He saw that his form was different to hers; his girdle of rush was different to her girdle, and his bracelets were different to hers. But she made conversation with the young seer, won his confidence and inspired him with love.
As has been said by the Exalted One.
By living together in the past and by kindness in the present, so is this love born, as a lotus is born in water.
For a long time in the course of recurrent lives, a thousand koṭis of births, the two had had intercourse together as wife and husband. Therefore, as soon as they saw each other they fell in love. Then Nalinī in her desire and love for Ekaśṛṅga the young seer, gave him costly sweetmeats and solid and soft food to eat and choice beverages to drink. And when she had embraced him and kissed him, she stopped clinging to his neck, mounted her horse-carriage and returned to Benares. There she related all that had happened.
As for Ekaśṛṅga, the young seer, he returned to his hermitage, where he sat thinking of the ravishing features of Nalinī from her head to her feet. No longer did he fetch roots and fruits, nor water and wood. He did not sweep out the hermitage nor tend the sacred fire. (149) The seer, seeing that there was something on the lad’s mind, questioned him, saying, “You no longer cut wood; you do not fetch water; you do not make up the sacred fire. What are you thinking about?” The seer’s son replied, “Hither there came a young seer from some other hermitage, accompanied by many other young seers. He was lovely and handsome, with beautiful braided hair, garment of antelope’s hide, necklaces, bracelets, and rush girdle. They had delicious fruits and drink, not at all like ours. They travelled in a hut drawn by deer. I saw them yonder in a part of the hermitage, and I and the young seer got to love each other. He fell on my neck and publicly put his mouth to my mouth, making a sound as he did so. This gave me a thrill. I am now sad of countenance as I think of him. Without him I have no joy in this hermitage.”
When the seer heard the lad he said to himself, “From the description the lad gives of their beauty those were not young seers. They must have been women.” Then to the young seer Ekaśṛṅga he said, “My son, those were not young seers. They were women who seduce seers and keep them from their austerity. Seers should keep them at a distance, for they are a stumbling-block to those who would live chastely. Have nothing to do with them. They are like snakes, like poisonous leaves, like charcoal pits.”
Then the king of Kāśi said to his priest, “Plant miniature groves of Aśoka trees on the ships, with the trees laden with flowers and fruits. You are then to sail up the Ganges and go to that hermitage together with Nalinī and her train. Take the young seer on board and bring him here.” The priest, in obedience to the king of Kāśi, made Nalinī the royal maid and her companions embark on ships which were exceeding brilliant fore and aft and throughout. They had canopies stretched over them; they were carpeted with bright cloth, draped with festoons of fine silk, fragrant with incense, (150) and strewn with garlands of flowers. Sailing up the Ganges he came to the hermitage of Sāhañjanī. He anchored the ships near the hermitage and sent Nalinī the royal maid to the young seer Ekaśṛṅga. “Go,” said he to her, “and fetch the young seer.”
Nalinī the royal maid, with her companions, then disembarked, and sat down in the grounds of the hermitage lopping off various flowers and twigs of the trees. When the beasts and birds saw her they uttered each its own cry and scurried away from the hermitage in all directions. Now the young seer saw that the beasts and birds were frightened, and he came to the place. There he saw Nalinī the royal maid with her companions lopping off the flowers and twigs of the trees. And when he saw her he went up to her. Even more than before did Nalinī find pleasure at seeing the young seer. Even more than before did she cling to his neck, embrace and kiss him. He ate sweetmeats and various other kinds of things and drank costly beverages. He then went on board the ship with Nalinī. She said to him, “These hermitages of ours can travel over the water.” Seduced in this way by her, he came by ship to Benares.
The priest married Nalinī and the young seer by joining their hands. The young seer sat and dallied with her, but did not have intercourse with her. He only saw in her a young seer who was his friend.
Then in company with Nalinī he sailed on the ship to the hermitage of Sāhañjanī. And the doe who was Ekaśṛṅga’s mother saw him coming with Nalinī the king’s daughter. She asked him, “My son, where have you been?” He replied, “I have been to the hermitage of this friend of mine. He is my friend. We went round the fire by the right with the water-pot and I took his hand.” But the doe said to herself, “Verily (151) this young seer does not realise that his friend is his wife, or even that she is a maid, while the young seer is a most excellent man who took her to wife when they went round the fire by the right with the water-pot and joined hands. Then who is there who will make the young seer aware of this and tell him that this is not a young seer, but the daughter of the king of Kāśi, named Nalinī, and that she has been given him to wife?”
Now below the hermitage of Sāhañjanī on the banks of the Ganges there was a hermitage of devout women ascetics. As the young seer was on the point of entering this hermitage he was stopped by the women. “You may not come into this hermitage,” said they. “You are a man, and this is a hermitage of women vowed to chastity. It is not permitted for a man to enter.” The young seer asked a woman ascetic, “What is a woman, and what is a man?” And she explained to him the attributes of a woman, adding, “This is not a friend who is with you, nor is he a young seer. She is a woman, named Nalinī, a royal maid, daughter of the king of Kāśi. And you are a man born of a doe. Do you not know then that she has been given you to wife by the water ritual, that you are her husband and that you may not forsake each other?”
When he had heard the women ascetics, the young seer, together with Nalinī, came to the hermitage of Sāhañjanī and went to his father, Kāśyapa the seer, bowed at his feet, and he and Nalinī told him all that had happened. The seer thought to himself, “The young seer cannot live here in the hermitage apart from Nalinī. These two are bound to each other by love.” And to his son, the young seer Ekaśṛṅga, he said, “My son, Nalinī, the king’s daughter, was married to you when you called the deva of fire to witness, had the water ritual performed for you, and you joined hands together. You cannot forsake each other; go with her to the city of Benares.” They then bowed at the seer’s feet and took respectful leave of Ekaśṛṅga’s mother. (152) They went to Benares and there approached the king of Kāśi. The king gave the young seer a fitting abode, a retinue, rugs and cushions, and all means of enjoyment and sustenance.
Then he anointed him as heir to the throne.
Treasure heaps dwindle away; growth ends in decay.
Union in disunion ends, and life in death.
Now the king of Kāśi, being beholden to the conditions of time, died, and Ekaśṛṅga ascended the throne of Benares. By Nalinī he had thirty-two sons born in pairs as twins. When he had ruled his kingdom for a long time in righteousness, he anointed his eldest son as heir to the throne, and again took up the religious life of a seer. By constant application of vigilance, endeavour, effort and exertion after the manner of brāhmans he attained the four meditations and achieved the five super-knowledges. Thus passing beyond the sphere of desires, on the dissolution of his body he was reborn among the Brahmā devas.
The Exalted One said, “He who at that time was the seer Kāśyapa is now Śuddhodana. She who was the doe, monks, was Mahāprajāpatī. He who was the king of Kāśi was the Śākyan Mahānāma. I was he who at that time was the young seer Ekaśṛṅga. And she who was the royal maid named Nalinī was Yaśodharā. Then, too, did she allure me by decking herself out in finery, just as she did on this other occasion.”
Here ends the Jātaka of Nalinī the king’s daughter.
Footnotes and references:
For some of these entertainers see the longer list, p. 113 (text).
Sampravāreti BSk., Pali sampavāreti.
Cf. vol. 1, p. 4, n. 9.
For the Rāhula episode cf. V. 1.82 and the references in I. B. Horner, Bk. of Disc. 4, p. 103.
Cf. vol. 2, p. 200, n. 2.
This, besides being the name of a Buddha, was also the name of several well-known seers or wise men, and is thus a fitting conventional name for a seer in story.
Literally, “his wind and heat overflowed or became excessive,” abhisyaṇṇā vātātapā saṃvṛttā. For abhiṣyaṇṇa, from abhiṣyand, cf. vol. 2, p. 276 (text), vol. 3, p. 311. See also B.H.S.D.
Dārakaṃ only in text, but manussadārakam in the Alambarā Jātaka (Fausböll 523, J. 5. 152) in which this strange birth is described. Fausböll 526, the Pali Jātaka corresponding to the Mhvu. one here, merely refers to it in passing as a story already given.
Reading, with two MSS., dṛṣṭvā for the text dṛṣṭā “when she was seen.”
Samanvāharitvā from samanvāharati, BSk., cf. Pali samannāharati.
Dhātu. Cf. DA. 1.253.
Abhiṣyaṇṇa, see n. 1.
Parilehati. Lehati from lih, “apparently a blend of leḍhi and lihati,” (Edgerton, Gram. § 32. 23). Cf. Pali lehati.
Aṇvita, past part, in middle sense of aṇvati = ṛṇvati, but, as Senart remarks, the form is influenced by the analogy of anvita from anveti “to follow.” Possibly, the sense meant to be conveyed here is “when the child could follow.” See also B.H.S.D.
Or “quoting”, = ti in ekacaraṃ, śṛṅgakaṃ jātanti (=jātam ti). The horned beast is here taken to denote the Indian one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), the lonely habits of which were proverbial and a type of the solitary lives of Pratyekabuddhas. See, e.g., the celebrated Khaḍgaviṣāṇa-sūtra, vol. 1, p. 303 f, and n. p. 250, and the Pali version at Sn. 35ff. The implied explanation of the name Ekaśṛṅga thus rests on the child’s loneliness as a human among the brutes, and also on his destiny to live the life of a seer similar to that of a Pratyekabuddha. If this interpretation is correct, we need not, with Senart, doubt the correctness of the text. The Jātakas call the child Isisiṅga, and in the same folktale in the Rāmāyaṇa he appears as Ṛṣyaśṛṅga. J. trans., (5. 80), also refers to Barlaam and Josaphat.
Aṇviya aṇviya. See n. 2.
Vijñaprāpta. See p. 128 n. 1.
Parivisati, BSk. = Pali; Sk. pariviṣ (viveṣ, viviṣ, veṣa).
Iṣṭi-prakriyā-sthānāni, lit. “sacrifice-ceremony conditions,” (or positions), but the exact force of the last term in the compound is obscure, and it would serve no useful purpose to attempt to explain it, especially as the reading of two MSS. given in the footnotes shows that Senart has good reason to doubt the correctness of his restoration.
Jāmātika, Sk. jāmātṛka, Pali jāmātar. Cf. p. 23 n. 2.
In J. 5.196, Nalinī is made to assume an ascetic fashion of dress as a disguise, although it was of a specially beautiful bark and adorned with splendid ornaments. The Mhvu., however, hints at a folk-tale theme, according to which Ekaśṛṅga, having known no dress but that of the ascetic style worn by him and his father, would describe all articles of dress in terms of those known to him. Just as, having known no female human being he assumes that the maidens were young male seers like himself, although the narrator seems to have missed this point when he uses the fern. tāsām (“their”) for the masc. teṣām.
Uṭajāni saṃcārimāni, referring, as the sequel shows, to covered-in carriages. The story keeps up the theme of the ignorance of the “wild boy of the woods.”
Not having seen a horse before, the lad calls it by the name of a quadruped already familiar to him. Cf. the Latin Lūca bos for the elephant.
Lagnati. See p. 125, n. 3.
This first stanza is found at J. 2. 235 and Mhvu. 2.98 (p. 95, trans., where see note) and 168 (p. 163 trans.). In the last instance cited it is followed by two other stanzas. The first verse of the third of these stanzas is identical with the first one of the second stanza here, but the last verse in each is different.
Niṣṭhām gaccheyā. Cf. Pali niṭṭham gacchati, “to come to the logical conclusion.”
Literally “she will be (= will have been) happy with me in the past,” santuṣṭā me pure saha. The verb bhave or bhavet is supplied from the repetition of this verse on p. 185. Possibly it is the right reading here instead of saha.
Literally “of wife and husband,” bhāryāpatiṣām, a strange form of the gen. pl. which Senart adopts only with great hesitation. It is the only example known to Edgerton (Gram. § 10. 206) and he can only suggest that it is due to the influence of s-stems. “Or,” he asks, “could the -sām ending of pronouns be involved?”
As Senart remarks, this passage is metrical and should have been printed as a śloka; both cadence and sense would be better, however, by reading kintuvaṃ abhidhyāyasi (which is actually the reading in the Pali version) for dhyānaṃ dhyāyasi.
Antarāyakora. See vol. 2, p. 39, n. 1.
Mā tehi sārdham samaṃ karohi, “do not make it equal (or common) with them.” Tehi, if correct, is masc. because of the point of view of the young boy. But it could also be fem., see Edgerton, Gram. § 21. 37.
Āśīviṣa. See vol. 2, p. 363, n. 3. But the translator would not now, in this case and in many others, so readily adopt the P.E.D.’s explanation of BSk. forms as Sanskritisation of Pali forms.
Aṅgārakarṣu, Pali aṅgārakāsu.
Aśokavanikāni,? “little woods of Aśoka” (Jonesia asoka).
Bhūyo, “(still) more,” Pali bhiyyo.
Reading āśramā for āśrame (?sic) of the text.
Literally, “he knew” (thought) “the young seer is my friend,” jānāti vayasyo me ṛṣikumāro ti.
The text has udakena, “with water,” simply. Water was used at many stages of the marriage rite, but the translation assumes that the allusion here is to the water-pot borne by a carrier who followed the pair as they went round the fire and sprinkled them with water at various points of the circumambulation. See e.g., the Gṛhya-sūtra of Gobhila, II. 1. 13 and 2. 15 (S.B.E., XXX, pp. 43, 46).
Udakena, “with water.” See n. 2.
Agnidevaṃ sākṣītkṛtvā, i.e., when they went round the fire.
Udakena simply, again.
Samucchrayās, here in its etymological sense of “uprisings,” as antithetical to patana, “falling,” rather than in its derived BSk. sense of “body”, for which see vol. I, p. 134, n. 1.
At the beginning of the tale the attempted allurement was said to be “by means of sweetmeats,” modakehi.