The Mahavastu (great story)

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

This page describes jataka of gangapala which is Chapter XIX 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 XIX - The Jātaka of Gaṅgapāla

Note: Cf. Fausböll, No. 421. As will be seen, however, there are important differences in the two versions.

The monks said to the Exalted One, “Behold, Lord, how the royal attendants at the Exalted One’s command bowed at the feet of the venerable Upāli, lowly of birth though he was.” The Exalted One replied, “Monks, that was not the first time they did so.”[1] The monks asked, “Lord, was there another occasion?” The Exalted One replied, “Yes, monks, there was.”

Once upon a time, monks, long ago, in the city of Benares in the province of Kāśi, two poor boys, carrying junket for food in their knapsacks, were going out to fetch wood when a Pratyekabuddha[2] was coming in to beg for alms. He was graceful of deportment, both in approaching and in taking his leave, in looking forwards and backwards, in extending and withdrawing his hand, and in carrying his cloak, bowl and robe.[3] He was like a Nāga. He had accomplished his task. His faculties and his mind were turned inwards.[4] He was steadfast as one who had achieved harmony with dharma. He was mindful, self-possessed, composed and tranquil of heart; his faculties were under control and his gaze fixed. When the boys saw him they experienced a feeling of trust.[5]

Then with their hearts full of trust they said to each other, “All we boys whose way of life is hard,[6] who have no food nor home, are unfortunate, miserable, and wretched, and others like us, have not planted the roots of merit in the fields of merit provided by men such as this Pratyekabuddha.[7] But all those (183) who are rich, wealthy and opulent, like nobles and brahmans in their great halls, and others who are fortunate and well-to-do, have planted roots of merit in men like this. What now if we were to put this junket in the bowl of this seer?”

And so they put the junket in the bowl of the Pratyekabuddha. He accepted the alms from the boys and then flew away through the air like a king of swans. When the boys saw the Pratyekabuddha travelling through the air they were glad and said, “He whom we honoured by putting alms in his bowl was surely a great seer.” Then glad and joyful they made their vows. One said, “May I through this root of merit become a king, an anointed noble.” The other said, “May I through this root of merit be reborn in the family of a brahman possessing great halls and become rich, wealthy and opulent.”

For not insignificant is an offering made with a trusting heart to a Tathāgata, a perfect Buddha, or even to disciples of the Buddhas.

Treasure heaps dwindle away; growth ends in decay. Union in disunion ends and life in death.[8]

Then the two boys, when their time was up and karma worked out, died together in the city of Benares. One was reborn in a king’s family to the king’s chief wife. The other was reborn in the family of the king’s priest to the priest’s wife. The king’s wife and the priest’s wife were delivered at the same time. Both children were boys. For both boys joyful birthday festivities were celebrated for seven days, and after the seven days were over (184) the king’s son was given the name of Brahmadatta, and the priest’s son the name of Upaka. Competent nurses were appointed, and the king’s son and the priest’s son grew like lotuses.[9]

As has been said by the Exalted One:

The righteous[10] grow like the banyan tree in fertile soil, but the unrighteous wither[11] like trees growing in the roadway.

Now when the boys had duly grown up and reached years of discretion,[12] they were taught[13] writing, reading, the arts, numeration, mnemonics, and reckoning with the fingers.[14] Brahmadatta, the king’s son, also trained himself[15] all the time in riding elephants and horses, in the use of bows and arrows, in running, leaping, racing and archery. And when his father died, Prince Brahmadatta was anointed king in Benares by the counsellors.

The young brāhman Upaka became infatuated with a young girl. Everywhere and at all times he languished for her, but she did not condescend to look at him. Then the festival of the full moon in the month Kārttika[16] was celebrated in Benares. And the young girl, being really in love with the young Upaka, came to him and said, “Young man, the festival of the full moon is here. Provide me with perfume and a garland that I may celebrate it joyfully.” When he heard the young girl saying this, the young man became glad and elated. “How lucky I am,” said he, “that the young girl has turned to me.”

Now the young brāhman Upaka had begged and obtained a penny[17] from a man on the banks of the river Ganges. And he had stowed it away safely there. So now, in order to retrieve the penny, (185) he went in the heat of a cloudless noon to the banks of the Ganges, blithely singing sweet songs like a fairy.[18]

And, monks, King Brahmadatta from an upper balcony of his palace saw the young brahman Upaka going out of the city in the cloudless noon singing with a sweet voice. On seeing him he fell in love with the young man.

As has been said by the Exalted One:

By[19] living together in the past and by kindness in the present, love is born as surely as the lotus is born in water. When love enters the mind and the heart is glad the understanding man will be assured[20] and say “This woman lived[21] with me in the past.”

So, at the mere sight of the young brahman Upaka, King Brahmadatta was filled with love for him. He sent messengers, saying to them “Go, men, and bring the young brahman Upaka who is going out of the city singing.” And the messengers went and said to him, “Come, young man, the king summons you.” The king’s men brought him into the presence of the king. “Sire,” said they, “the young brāhman has been brought.”

Then King Brahmadatta addressed the young brāhman Upaka in verse:

It is high noon,[22] the earth is like hot embers.[23] But you sing your songs and the heat does not burn you.

Above the sun is blazing, below, the sands, but you blithely and happily sing your songs.

(186) But, monks, the young brahman Upaka replied to King Brahmadatta in verse:

It is not the heat that burns me, but desires.[24] It is these sundry wants that burn one, O king, not the heat.

A trifling thing indeed is the heat that burns my frame. It is various tasks to be done that burn one, and not the heat.

King Brahmadatta addressed the young brahman Upaka in verse:

What causes this agitation, by what heat is this tormented body of yours burnt? This I bid you tell me.

Then, monks, the young brāhman Upaka replied to King Brahmadatta in verse:

Sire, I am in love with a Śūdra[25] woman, a water-carrying slave, O vanquisher of the foe. I am wholly hers;[26] my body is afire with love for her.

Then, monks, King Brahmadatta said to the young brāhman Upaka, “Where are you going, young man?”

And Upaka replied in verse:

There’s a penny I got by begging and I have it safely hidden on the banks of the Ganges, to the east of the city. I am going out to fetch it.

But, monks, King Brahmadatta said to the young brahman Upaka “Wait here (187) a while, young man. You shall go presently when it is cool.”

The young brahman Upaka, however, replied to King Brahmadatta in verse:

The things he wants are beyond him who stands still.[27] They even run away from him who runs after them by riding in a carriage. Your majesty, Ī’m bent to go after that fenny.

King Brahmadatta replied to the young brahman Upaka in verse:

If what you want is a penny, I’ll give you one. Do what you want to do with the fenny. Only, young man, do not travel in this heat.

The young brahman Upaka said, “If his majesty will give me a penny, that will make it two. With these two pennies my poor woman will be happy and will be able to celebrate the festival without difficulty.”

And he spoke to King Brahmadatta in verse:[28]

If your majesty gives me a penny, that will make it two. With these two pennies my foor woman will be happy.

The king said, “I will give you two pennies, only don’t go and get baked in this heat.”

King Brahmadatta spoke to the young brahman Upaka in verse:

If what you want are pennies, I’ll give you two. Do what you want to do with the pennies; only, young man, do not travel in this heat.

(188) Upaka said, “These two pennies will make it three, and we shall have a party,[29] and my poor woman will have a merry festival.”

Your two pennies, sir, will make it three. With these three pennies my poor woman will he happy.

King Brahmadatta said to the young brahman Upaka, “Young man, do not travel in this heat. I will give you the three pennies.”

If you are in need of pennies, I will give you still more. Do what you want to do with the pennies; only, young man, do not travel in this heat.

The young brahman said, “Your majesty, these three pennies will make it four, and we shall have a still bigger party. And so I shall have a merry time at the festival with my poor woman.”

Your three pennies, sir, will make it four. With these four pennies my poor woman will be delighted.

In this manner King Brahmadatta went on to offer a hundred thousand pennies to the young brahman Upaka, but the latter would not give up his own penny. Even when he was offered half as much again he would not forego that penny.

Then King Brahmadatta offered the young brahman Upaka half his kingdom, half his harem, half his treasury and granary, and half his counsellors and army officers. So they both ruled the kingdom jointly, and both administered its affairs. The young brahman Upaka, being endowed with the five strands of sensual desires, enjoyed, delighted and amused himself.

Now (189) King Brahmadatta had exceeding great trust in the young brāhman Upaka, and wherever he went he used to lie down with his head on the young man’s bosom. But once it happened that while King Brahmadatta was lying down, this thought occurred to Upaka. “How,” thought he, “can there be two kings in one kingdom? What now if I were to kill King Brahmadatta and thus become sole king myself?” But he thought again; “It would not be right for me nor seemly to be ungrateful to King Brahmadatta who has been so kind to me.” A second and a third time he thought, “Nor is it right nor seemly that there should be two kings in one kingdom. Let me then kill King Brahmadatta and become myself the sole king of Kāśi.” But again a second and a third time he thought: “It would not be right for me nor seemly to be ungrateful to King Brahmadatta who has been so kind to me.”

And so he went away crying avidha! avidha![30] Thereupon King Brahmadatta woke up and said to him, “Upaka, did you shout out avidha! avidha?” Upaka replied, “Yes, because the thought was in me to kill King Brahmadatta and become myself the sole king of Kāśi.” But King Brahmadatta would not believe[31] him. Upaka said, “Sire, it was so as I have said.”

Then King Brahmadatta addressed the young brahman Upaka in verse:

Little by little, young man, I gave you all you asked, even to half my kingdom. But as you won’t forgo your penny, how can there be an end?[32]

The young brahman Upaka replied:

In this world there is no end to endless craving. I will go forth to the religious life. I have no delight in ruling.

(190) I have had enough of these many desires with which even a fool would not be satisfied.[33] I have had enough of all desires. I will go forth to the religious life.

O desire, I know thy root; thou art born of the wish. I will no more wish for thee; then wilt thou not survive.[34]

A fool will not be satisfied with few desires nor even with many. When he has abandoned all desires he will understand as one who awakes from sleep.

I wish for a gift, but these desires overwhelm me.[35] When the wish is stifled, then the desires no longer survive. Seeing then, that the fruit of desire is this, I will not desire either a son, cattle, or wealth.

Then the young brahman Upaka said to King Brahmadatta, “Sire, allow me to go forth to the religious life.” The king replied, “Do not go forth, but let us rule jointly.” Upaka said, “No, your majesty, to rule is nothing to me. Allow me to go forth.” King Brahmadatta then gave him permission, saying, “Since it is your wish, go forth.”

Now at that time in the north of Kāśi a potter, who was a recluse and a seer possessing the five super-knowledges, had his hermitage. And the young brāhman Upaka went to this hermitage and became a recluse with the potter. By living in constant application of vigilance, endeavour, effort and exertion he attained the four meditations, and became a seer of great magic and power. While sitting cross-legged in the hermitage he could touch the moon and sun with his hand.[36] He had control over his body,[37] even to the extent of being able to fly up to heaven.[38]

(191) But King Brahmadatta in his envy of the young brāhman Upaka was continually reciting the following verse:

That is the great fruit of a little thing.[39] Great profit has Upaka gained. Great is the well-won gain of the young brāhman who has become a recluse and forgone the delight of sensual pleasures.[40]

King Brahmadatta’s women heard him reciting this verse again and again, but they did not understand its meaning. Now King Brahmadatta had a barber named Gaṅgapāla,[41] who enjoyed his confidence and entered the women’s quarters to carry out his duties whenever he liked.

Once King Brahmadatta said to him, “Gaṅgapāla, trim my hair and beard.” When he had said this he fell asleep and his hair and beard were trimmed as he lay down. Then the king woke up and said, “Gaṅgapāla, come and trim my hair and beard.” Gaṅgapāla replied, “Sire, your hair and beard were trimmed while you were lying down.” And Gaṅgapāla fetched a looking-glass, brought it to King Brahmadatta and said, “Let his majesty take a look.” When the king saw his hair and beard in the looking-glass he was pleased with his barber Gaṅgapāla, and he said “Gaṅgapāla, I am satisfied and pleased with your handiwork. I offer you the boon of a village. Choose whatever village you wish.”[42] Gaṅgapāla replied, “When I have taken advice, then I shall accept the boon of a village from your majesty.”

Then Gaṅgapāla spoke to King Brahmadatta’s women, saying, “To-day, I gave satisfaction to King Brahmadatta with my handiwork. He offered me the boon of a village and I intend to choose one.” (192) But the women replied, “Refuse[43] the boon of a village.

The king is continually reciting this verse:

That is the great fruit of a little thing. Great profit has Upaka gained. Great is the well-won gain of the young brahman who has become a recluse and forgone the delight of sensual pleasures.

“And we do not know[44] the meaning of it. Therefore go and tell King Brahmadatta, ‘Sire, I do not want the boon of a village. But with regard to the verse your majesty is continually reciting,[45] I pray your majesty that you tell me the meaning of it,’” So Gaṅgapāla went to King Brahmadatta and said to him,’ “Sire, I do not want the boon of a village. But with regard to the verse your majesty is continually reciting,[46]I pray your majesty that you tell me the meaning of it. Let this be my boon.” The king replied and said (193) “The young brahman Upaka renounced his half of the kingdom when he saw the peril of the pleasures of sense, and went forth to the religious life. And now he has acquired the five super-knowledges and become a powerful seer, while I slothfully enjoy the pleasures of sense. So out of envy for the young brāhman Upaka I am continually reciting that verse.”[47]

Then Gaṅgapāla, on hearing the king, went into the harem and said to the women, “Do not worry about this, the king will not go forth to the religious life. It is because of his envy of the young brahman Upaka that he is continually reciting that verse.” The women then, glad, happy and elated made a great heap of gold, money, clothes and jewels, and said to Gaṅgapāla, “Let this be your reward.”[48] But Gaṅgapāla said to himself, “Now the young brāhman Upaka, though he was rich and wealthy, left home and went forth to the religious life. Why should I, too, not do so? Let me then go forth. Why should I care what other people think?” And to the women he said, “I want none of your gold and money, for I, too, am going forth to the religious life.”

He then went to King Brahmadatta and said to him, “Sire, allow me to go forth.” The king said, “Under whom will you live the religious life?” He replied, “Under the seer Upaka.” The king said, “I give you permission. Go forth.”

Gaṅgapāla then went to Upaka’s hermitage and took up the religious life. By living in constant application of vigilance, endeavour, effort and exertion, he achieved the five super-knowledges, and became a seer who could touch the moon and sun. And, monks, King Brahmadatta heard that all the three seers[49] had come to possess the five super-knowledges and were seers of great magic and power. There arose in him the desire to see those seers, (194) and he spoke to his counsellors and attendants, saying, “Let us go to the hermitage to visit these seers, the potter who became a recluse, Upaka and Gaṅgapāla. All three seers have achieved the four meditations and attained the five super-knowledges, and have great magic and power. It is time to go to visit and do homage to such worthy men.” The counsellors and attendants replied, “Let not your majesty go to them, but let them rather be brought here.”

[Then[50] Gaṅgapāla went into the Mango Park of King Brahmadatta. He hung up his barber’s instruments there and went forth to the religious life. A certain counsellor, thereupon, addressed King Brahmadatta in verse:

This Mango Park belongs to glorious King Brahmadatta, yet here a barber who has turned religious has hung up his razor and his tools.]

“Your majesty should not go into the presence of men of mean birth. Rather should they be made to come into your majesty’s presence.” But the king replied, “It is not dharma that worthy men should be ordered to come to visit the king. It is we who ought to go to visit the seers.”

So King Brahmadatta escorted by princes and counsellors set out to go to the seers. Gaṅgapāla the seer came to meet King Brahmadatta and said to him, “Welcome, King Brahmadatta. Let King Brahmadatta sit down.” But the counsellors and attendants of King Brahmadatta scolded Gaṅgapā la, and scared him stiff.[51] “Why” (195) said they, “do you, Gaṅgapāla, a man of mean birth address[52] King Brahmadatta by name?” King Brahmadatta, however, replied to the counsellors in verse:

Say nothing against Gaṅgapāla who is trained in the silent ways of sages. He has crossed the ocean flood, and they who have crossed this are rid of passion.[53]

Through penance they have left their sins behind.[54] Through penance they dispel the darkness. Through penance Gaṅgapāla has risen above his birth, and now calls on Brahmadatta by name.[55]

Behold what the fruit of forbearance and gentleness[56] even in this present life is. On earth and in heaven the religious life is worthy of the praise of devas and men.

Then King Brahmadatta and his counsellors and attendants bowed at the feet of these seers and sat down on one side.

Now she who was the wife of Gaṅgapāla when he was a layman remained devoted to him, and not even in thought did she desire another man. But, in order to test her, Gaṅgapā la came to her disguised as a deva,[57] and carrying a golden vessel, and he tried to seduce her. “Take this golden vessel,” said he, “and have your pleasure with me.” But she replied, “No, for I am devoted to my husband.” (196) Although rebuffed that day, the deva came another day carrying a silver vessel, and said, “Take this silver vessel and have your pleasure with me.” But she replied, “No, for I am devoted to my husband.” Rebuffed that day again, he came on yet another day carrying a bronze vessel, and said to her, “Take this bronze vessel and have your pleasure with me.” And then the woman addressed the deva in verse:

A man draws a woman by offering her more and more wealth[58] so that she does his will. But it is otherwise among the devas, for here are you,[59] rejected for offering less and less.[60]

The deva replied to the woman in verse:

In this world of men the beautiful woman is doomed to lose her age and her beauty. You should profit by your beauty, for already you are fading, already you are getting older.

The Exalted One said, “It may be again, monks, that you will think that at that time and on that occasion the seer named Upaka was somebody else. You must not think so. And why? I was then the seer named Upaka. Nor was King Brahmadatta somebody else. Śuddhodana here was then the king of Kāśi named Brahmadatta. Nor, monks, was the barber named Gaṅgapāla (197) who took up the religious life of a seer any other than Upāli. Then, too, lowly of birth though he was, the royal attendants by my orders bowed at his feet, just as now they have bowed at this barber’s feet.”

Here ends the Jātaka of Upāli and Gaṅgapāla.

Footnotes and references:


The text, of course, repeats the whole statement.


See vol. 1, p. 40, n. 3.


A conventional description of a Pratyekabuddha. Cf. vol. 1, p. 250. The text should be emended to read sammiñjitaprasāritena saṃghātī pātracīvaradhāraṇena, in accordance with 1.301 (text).


1.301 (text) has antargatehi indriyehi abahirgatena mānasena, “his faculties were turned inwards; his mind was not turned outwards.” Certain other differences of phraseology between the two passages may be worth noting.


Prasādaṃ upasaṃkramanti, “they approached trust.” The expression is unusual, the usual expression used to denote the influence of a Pratyekabuddha on his beholder being cittaprasādaṃ utpannam or jātam. Can it be that prasādam is here used adverbially, to give the meaning “they approached him trustfully”?


Rucchavṛttika. For ruccha, see vol. 2, p. 30, n. 5. Cf. B.H.S.D.


Cf. vol. 1, p. 276, n. 2.


The second distich has occurred above p. 152 (text). See p. 147.


Lotuses of four varieties of colour are named.


This verse is found at 2. p. 423 (p. 376 trans.).


Vihīnā. Vol. 2, l.c. has viruhyati “grows badly.”


Vijñaprāpta. See p. 128, n. 1.


Sekhiyanti. See p. 157, n. 2.


Cf. vol. 2, p. 376.


Gatiṃgata, “went the course.” B.H.S.D. has “skilled, experienced, adept.” But at Vol. 2, p. 73, at least, the word would seem to denote the process of becoming adept, i.e. the training. (See vol. 2, p. 70 trans.), though at 2. 76 it does mean fully trained (vol. 2, p. 73 trans.).


Kaumudī cāturmāsi. See p. 76, n. 5.


Literally, “a small coin,” māṣa, properly “a bean,” which was a measure of weight, and also denoted a small coin. See P.E.D. for references.


Reading Kinnarī (or -a) -viya for the text kinnarīya, which is inconstruable. Possibly Senart’s restoration of kinnarīya is to be regarded as doubtful. For the Kinnaras see vol. 1, p. 54, n. 1.


These stanzas have occurred at 2. 98 (95, trans.), 168 (163, trans.) and above, p. 148 (text).


Niṣṭhām gaccheyuḥ. See p. 143, n. 4.


Saṃvutthā, which, according to Senart, is a Prakrit form for samuṣita. See Edgerton, Gram., § 2. 54; 34. 11. At 2. 168 and 3. 148 we have the completely different words saṃstava and santuṣṭā, respectively. This latter part of the verse is not found at 2. 98, nor at J. 2. 235.


Literally, “midday is past,” madhyantike vītinate (= vy-ati-nate).


Literally, “from (something) like embers,” kukkulavattato. Kukkulavant, adj. from kukkula, BSk. and Pali for kukūla. Cf. Kukkula, name of one of the hells, see vol. 1, pp. 7, 10.


Or “ardours,” “exertions,” ātappā. Senart can hardly be right in rejecting the guidance of J. (3. 447) here. In the first line he reads antakā for ātappā of J., assuming for the former word the meaning of “destruction,” though properly it is an adj. formation denoting “making an end of.” His translation would thus be “It is not the heat that burns me, it is destruction”! In the next line he reads, antakāśca vighātāśca te tāpenti, “destructions and vexations, it is these that burn.” It seems much more consonant with the tenour of the whole verse to retain the Pali version, that is, ātappā (though no Sk. or BSk. form of this Pali word seems to be available) for the first antakā, and for the second arthās and restore the second line as arthāśca vividhās rāja te tāpenti na ātāpo. The idea contained in this line is then reinforced in the next stanza, kāryā nāma vividhā (so read for vivādā, “squabbles”!) Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) gives antaka = “low, vile” (person or thing), adding that the clue to this meaning is itvara, “trifling,” in the next stanza. But there is no analogy between the two terms, for the point of the passage is that what really burns one are the antakā (whatever they are). The heat of the sun is trifling by comparison, and to be ignored. The desires which really burn one, on the contrary, are to be rooted out. In giving antaka this sense Edgerton seems to have overlooked antako si duḥkhasya, “thou art the ender of ill” (3. 401), as well as antaka “ender” as name for Māra. See p. 94, n. 6.


I.e. of the lowest caste, though she is termed māṇavikā above, properly, but not always,” a young brāhman girl.”


Literally, “I am entirely as her disposal,” tasyā upasthito sarvo.


? ayānasya, “without moving”. Or, perhaps, “he who is without a carriage,” by way of antithesis to yāne vahyamānasya of the next line.


From this point the rejoinders are given in prose as well as in verse.


Literally, “there will be an invitation,” āmantraṇaṃ bhaviṣyati.


See vol. 1, p. 251, n. 2; vol. 2, p. 401, n. 4.


Pattīyati. See vol. 2, p. 106, n. 2. See also B.H.S.D.


I.e., the king implies that he must go on with his offers until Upaka gives up the thought of retrieving his penny.


It is instructive to compare these and the following stanzas with those at J. 3. 450. The vocabulary is practically identical, but there are slight differences in meaning. With the same or similar words the sentences in one set have obviously been refashioned, and it would seem that the verses which have undergone such changes are those in J. The Mhvu. verses have every appearance of being more original and more in keeping with the context. For example, in this particular stanza, where the latter has bahūhi kāmehi alam me, J. has appāpi kāmā na alum, “little desire is not enough.” (J. trans.) Not only is the use of alam as a predicate adjective incorrect, but the sentiment conveyed by such a text is not in harmony with Buddhist thought.


Cf. stanza 39 at J. 3. 450.


Prabhavanti ca te, where, as Senart says, te can only refer to the implied objects of desire. But the reading is not certain. J. has no stanza corresponding to this.


This is one of the ṛddhis (iddhis) or magical powers, one of a stock list of ten. See P.E.D. for references, and cf. vol. 2, p. 46.


Kāyena vaśe varteti, more literally, “he got (things) under control with (in) his body.” Should the corresponding formula at D. 1.79 =A. 1.170, kāyena va saṃvatteti, be amended into k. vasaṃ (or vase) vatteti? Such an emendation would make the expression more intelligible, and bring it into line not only with the form as found in the Mhvu. but also with that in S. 2.121 and 5.265, where we have kāyena vasaṃ pavatteti. Cf. the note on p. 216 of vol. 5 of KS., where it is said that the reading of S. is preferable.


Literally “as far as Brahmā’s world,” yāvadbrahmalokam. Or, perhaps, the yāvad here is simply enumerative, implying that the reader or listener is to supply the other stock magical achievements until he comes to this, the final one. Brahmaloka in this connection denotes the material heaven of popular conception, and not that sublime state which was nirvana.


I.e. desire for a little.


Senart rightly remarks that the text of this stanza here is superior to the Pali version (J. 3. 450). In the Pali, Udaya, the king, is made to apostrophise himself and boast of what he has gained. But the point of the whole tale is that the real gain was the young brahman’s. There can be no doubt that in the line Udayo ajjhagamā mahattapattam, (“Great is the glory Udaya acquires,” J. trans.), Udaya has been substituted for Upaka under a mistaken notion of the meaning of the stanza. Probably the error began when in the first fine phalam mama-y-idaṃ “my fruit,” was substituted for mahāvipāka, “great fruit.” In order to keep up this mistaken notion J. trans. (3. 262) has gratuitously rendered the words introducing the stanza, udānaṃ sakalaṃ katvā udānento chaṭṭhaṃ gātham āha “spake the sixth stanza in complete expression of ecstasy.” But udānaṃ udāneti means simply “to make a solemn utterance,” whether the occasion be one of joy or of sorrow. Further it renders suladdhalābhā māṇavassa by “mighty the gains if one is resolute.” But māṇava means “a young man,” especially “a young brāhman.” The line stands in the Pali exactly as it is in the Mhvu., and presumably in the original, and means “great is the gain of the young brāhman.” The resemblance between the names Udaya and Upaka made the corruption easy, but it is arguable that the naming of the king as Udaya is an innovation of the Pali tradition. For at a crucial point at the end of the tale he is called Brahmadatta, as he is throughout in the Mhvu.


Gaṅgamāla in J.


Sayadi icchasi. Yadi, ‘if’, is, of course, a locative formation of yad, ‘which’. Here it is preceded, as if for emphasis, by its correlative, but in the nom. masc. form, instead of the neut. tad. Apart from the anomalous grammar the phrase would thus mean ‘that which you wish’, or ‘that if you wish it.’ B.R. cites other instances of sa being used indifferently for all genders of its correlative, and one is almost an exact parallel of that in our text. It is sa yadi sthāvarā āpo bhavanti... tā (Śat. Br.


The text has marṣehi, but as this word gives no sense here, Senart suggests in his note that we should read mellehi. For the latter word see vol. 1. p. 308, n. 1 and vol. 2 p. 399, n. 1. Edgerton, (B.H.S.D.), however, refers marṣehi to marṣayati, caus. of Sk. mṛṣ, ‘asks to be excused from, declines.’


Vijānāmatha. For the ending see p. 4, n. 1.


The text repeats it.


The text again repeats it.


The explanation of the verse given in J. (3. 451-2) is, of course, consistent with the different text there found. But the consistency is not quite successful enough to give point to the story. The king there says that the former half of the verse describes his own glory, which he has gained as a result of once in a former life observing half a fast-day. The latter half refers to the religious career of his partner, he himself, in the meantime, though left sole king, remaining in slothfulness (ahaṃ pamatto hutvā, as both J. and Mhvu. have it). Although, in order to give verisimilitude to the tale, J. trans. renders these words by “I in my pride,” it is obvious that the story in J. has taken a wrong turning. It is true that Gaṅgamāla concludes that the king’s glory is the reward for the observance of a fast-day, but his subsequent action goes far beyond that small detail of ritual or ceremonial, which he could well observe without ceasing to be a layman. What he actually does, both in J. and in the Mhvu., is to copy the example of the king’s partner, give up all worldly goods, and go forth to the religions life. In J. he even becomes a Paccekabuddha.


Abhicchāda, also abhicchādana and ācchāda. See p. 36, n. 2.


I.e. the nameless potter, Upaka and Gaṅgapāla.


This passage is enclosed in brackets in the text, for, as Senart says it is obviously out of place here. The circumstances of Gaṅgapāla’s going forth have already been given in our story. The passage is interesting, however, as being an interpolation from a version of the story somewhat resembling that preserved in J. (3. 452), though there is here no reference to Gaṅgapāla’s having become a Paccekabuddha.


Sacchambitaṃ karensu. Sacchambita is taken to be a compound of chambita, the past participle, as in Pali, of chambeti, which corresponds to the causative of Sk. stabh or stambh, “to fix, make rigid, stiff (with fear), etc.” For the prefix sa-, which is equivalent to sam-, cf. the Latin conin conterritus, consternatus. Cf. B.H.S.D.


Samudācarati. See p. 178, n. 1.


Cf. stanza 44 at J. 3. 453.


Cf. the first line of stanza 42, op. cit., which, however, is spoken by the queen in scorn of Gaṅgamāla.


Cf. the last two lines of stanza 42.


Kṣāntisaurabhya. Saurabhya, properly “fragrance,” is represented in this expression in Pali by soracca, but Senart in a long note argues against restoring the Sk. equivalent, sauratya, “gentleness, mildness,” of the Pali. Not only is the etymology of the Pali (su-rata) difficult to reconcile with the accepted sense of the word, but also BSk. texts have saurabhya quite as often as sauratya. See e.g. Lal. Vist. 37, 181, 431; Mhvu. 2. 354, 362; 3. 278 and Divy. 39, 40. Rhys Davids has a note on soracca in his Questions of King Milinda (S.B.E. 35, p. 230) in which he points out that Mvyut. has the form sauratya in the same expression. But the semantic difficulty remains, for Sk. surata “high pleasure” is, he says, used “almost without exception in an obscene sense.” Edgerton (B.H.S.D.), however, maintains that the correct form is sauratya, and that saurabhya is “false writing,” although the BSk. instances of the word which he cites are about equally divided between the two forms.


This incident is not in J.


Reading nārīṃ naro vṛddhyantena dhānena for nāri naro jihmaye vāraṇena of the text. Senart admits that his restoration here is very uncertain, and the translation which he offers in his note on the passage makes it obvious that the text of the line, as he has restored it, causes the whole stanza to miss the point which one would naturally expect it to make.

His text of the whole stanza reads

nārī naro jihmaye vāraṇena /
utkarṣaye yatra karoti cchandaṃ /
vipratyanīkaṃ khalu devatānām /
pratyākhyāto alpatareṇa eṣa //

Of this text Senart offers the translation,

“Une femme attriste les hommes par un refus, elle les exalte en obéissant à leurs désirs. C’est le contraire à l’egard des dieux, tu es repoussé par un être tres humble”

Apart from the obscurity of the meaning and the failure to bring out fully the implied difference between the conduct of divine and human suitors, there are in this text certain doubtful points of vocabulary and grammar. Naro (naras), for example, is more correctly a nom. sg. than an acc. pl. Jihmayati, an assumed denominative from jihma, “crooked, bent, etc,” whether in a physical or moral sense, is a strange antonym of utkarṣati “to draw out,” even if it could have the sense of “to make sad.” If, as we should certainly do, we relate the stanza to the context, the point intended to be made by it immediately becomes obvious. It is that man allures woman by offering her wealth, increasing the amount at each rebuff. The deva, however, had done the exact opposite, decreasing the value of his offers from gold to silver and then to bronze. As the third and fourth lines express it, “things are different among the devas, for here are you rejected because you offered less and less” (alpatareṇa). In Senart’s translation this masculine adjective is rendered as though it were feminine relating to the woman who rejects the deva’s addresses. It is obvious that in the first line we need, to qualify dhānena, some adjective of a sense opposite to alpatara (comparative of alpa, “little”). Vṛddhyantena, a passive participal adjective from vṛddh “to increase,” is, of course, only a tentative suggestion, and there is no means to ascertain whether it can be supported by the evidence of the MSS. (As for the form it is paralleled by similar ones in our text.) There may well be another synonymous adjective which has better support. In any case, the line as here restored does not seem any farther than Senart’s from the MS tradition as he gives it in his apparatus.


Eṣa, or, “here is one.”


Literally, “rejected because of less and less”; alpatareṇa, being either a substantival adjective, or a simple adjective qualifying dhānena, understood from the first line.