The Mahavastu (great story)

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

This page describes mahagovindiya-sutra which is Chapter XX 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 XX - The Mahāgovindīya-sūtra

The monks said to the Exalted One, “Behold, Lord, how, when the Exalted One went forth to the religious life, he was accompanied by a large multitude of people.” The Exalted One said, “That was not the first time, monks, that a large multitude of people went with me when I went forth to the religious life.” The monks asked, “Was there another occasion, Lord?” The Exalted One replied, “Yes, monks.”[1]

“Once upon a time, monks, long ago there was a king named Diśāmpati,”[2] said he, and he went on to expound the Mahāgovindīya sūtra.[3]

The Exalted One, the perfect Buddha having attained the end he had set himself, was staying at Rājagṛha, on Mount Gṛddhakūṭa, and teaching devas and men. He was honoured, revered, esteemed, worshipped and adored—the description of the occasion is to be supplied[4] up to—and he abode in those states[5] in which exalted Buddhas desire to abide. Now when the night was far spent,[6] Pañcaśikha,[7] one of the Gandharvas, whose exceeding beauty irradiated the whole of Mount Gṛddhakūta, came to the Exalted One, bowed at his feet and stood to one side. And as he thus stood to one side, he said to the Exalted One, “Lord, I would tell (198) to the Exalted One, I would make known to the Exalted One, what I heard and learned from the devas of Trāyastriṃśa, from Śakra, lord of devas, and from Great Brahmā, as they sat and conversed in the devas’ Hall of Good Counsel.”[8]

When this had been spoken, the Exalted One said to Pañcaśikha, the Gandharva, “Tell me, Pañcaśikha, make known to me, Pañcaśikha, what you heard and learned from the devas of Trāyastriṃśa, Śakra, lord of devas, and Great Brahmā as they conversed.”

Then Pañcaśikha the Gandharva said to the Exalted One:

Once upon a time, Lord, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa, Śakra, lord of devas, and Great Brahmā, were sitting gathered together in the Hall of Good Counsel on some business of the devas. And, Lord, there were some devas who had been reborn there later than the rest, but who excelled them in the five deva attributes of length of life, power, glory, honour and retinue.[9] Then, Lord, some devas spoke and said, “Friends, now look at these devas who were reborn here later, but excel those born here before them in length of life, power, glory, honour and retinue.” Whereupon some other devas said, “Verily, friends, these are disciples of the Exalted One. They lived the brahma-life, and at death and on the dissolution of the body they were reborn in heaven among the devas of Trāyastriṃśa. And though reborn here later, they greatly excel those reborn as devas before them in the five deva attributes of length of life, power, glory, honour and retinue.”

Then, Lord, some others again of the devas said, “Friends, would that four Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas arose in the world (199) and taught dharma. It would be for the welfare of devas and men. The hosts of the Asuras would wane; the hosts of the devas would wax.”

But then, Lord, some other devas said, “It is impossible, friends, that four Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas should arise in the world. But, friends, would that three Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas, arose in the world and taught dharma. It would be for the welfare of devas and men. The hosts of the Asuras would wane; the hosts of the devas would wax.”

But then again, Lord, some other devas said, “It is impossible, friends, that three Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas should arise in the world. But, friends, would that two Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas arose in the world and taught dharma. It would be for the welfare of devas and men. The hosts of the Asuras would wane; the hosts of the devas would wax.”

When this had been said, Lord, Śakra, sovereign of devas, spoke to the devas of Trāyastriṃśa, and said, “But this, too, friends, is impossible and inopportune, that at one and the same time two Tathāgatas, Arhans, perfect Buddhas should appear in the world and teach dharma.” Then were the devas of Trāyastriṃśa glad, thrilled, elated, joyful and pleased. And when Śakra, lord of the devas of Trāyastriṃśa, saw that the devas were glad, thrilled, elated, joyful and pleased, he said, “If, friends, (200) you were to hear the eight wonderful and marvellous truths[10] about the Exalted One, Arhan, perfect Buddha, you would be still more glad, thrilled, elated, joyful and pleased.”

When this had been spoken, Lord, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa said to Śakra their sovereign, “Lord Kauśika,[11] we should like you to proclaim[12] the eight wonderful and marvellous truths about the Exalted One, Arhan, and perfect Buddha.”

Then Śakra, lord of devas, proclaimed the eight wonderful and marvellous truths about the Exalted One. “When, friends,” said he, “an Exalted One, Arhan, and perfect Buddha has arisen in the world, the hosts of the Asuras wane, the hosts of the devas wax. And, friends, I do not see, whether I survey the past, present or future, any master arisen in the world who has so wrought for the welfare of the multitude like[13] this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha. For the beautifully proclaimed dharma and discipline of the Tathāgata, Arhan, and perfect Buddha, bears on this present life and is independent of time.[14] It welcomes[15] and guides,[16] and is for the inward comprehension of those who are wise. For this beautifully proclaimed dharma and discipline means the crushing of pride,[17] the repression of longing, the destruction of clinging, the breaking-up of sensorial states,[18] the end of craving, passionlessness, cessation and nirvana. Again, friends, I say that I do not see, whether I survey the past, present or future, any teacher of such a dharma and discipline[19] arisen in the world other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha. And friends, the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha has won disciples, students who are in the Way,[20] and Arhans who abide in immoveable states. The Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha sends them away,[21] and makes his home in the forests,[22] which are remote,[23] isolated, away from the habitations of men,[24] abodes unknown to men, and most fitting for seclusion.[25] There he dwells by himself aloof from the crowd, (201) all alone, giving himself to concentration.[26] A master so intent on concentration, friends, I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.

“Again, friends, the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha gets choice solid and soft food of proper and exquisite flavour, and he makes his meals thereof. But he eats without indulgence and wantonness,[27] being aware of the peril in pleasures of sense, knowing the way of escape, and being free of intoxication. A master, friends, who eats his food so free from self-indulgence, I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.

“Again, friends, it is out of his knowledge that the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha teaches the dharma and the discipline, not out of ignorance. And, friends, a master so possessed of the method of teaching dharma I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.

“This Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha, friends, has crossed the sea of doubt, is rid of perplexity,[28] and has won assurance in good states. A master, friends, who has so passed beyond doubt I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.

“Again, friends, the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha run together one into the other.[29] Just as, friends, the waters of the Ganges and the Jumna flow one into the other and run together into the great ocean, so do the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha flow together. A master, friends, with such a well-taught and well-revealed nirvana and Way leading to nirvana (202) I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.”

When this had been said, Lord, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more glad and thrilled, elated and joyful, pleased and happy. And they said to Śakra, sovereign of devas, “Therefore, friend Kauśika, we should like you to proclaim[30] again the eight wonderful and marvellous truths about the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha. So Śakra, lord of devas, proclaimed over again the eight wonderful and marvellous truths about the Exalted One. “Well then, again, friends,” said he, “whenever the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha appears in the world, the hosts of the Asuras wane; the hosts of the devas wax. A master, friends, who has so wrought for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.”

And he continued as before as far as[31]

“Again, friends, the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One and perfect Buddha run together one into the other. Just as, friends, the waters of the Ganges and the Jumna run into each other and flow on together into the great ocean, so do the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha flow together. And, friends, a master who has so devoted himself to preaching a well-taught and well-revealed truth about nirvana, I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.”

When he had so spoken, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more thrilled, elated, joyful, pleased and happy.

Then, Lord, when Great Brahmā saw that the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more thrilled, elated, pleased and happy, he said to Śakra, lord of devas, “Therefore, friend Kauśika, (203) we would like you to proclaim[32] the eight wonderful and marvellous truths about this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.” So Śakra, lord of devas, proclaimed the eight, wonderful and marvellous truths about the Exalted One. “When, friends,” said he, “the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha arises in the world, the hosts of the Asuras wane; the hosts of the devas wax. And, friends, a master who has so wrought for the welfare and happiness of the multitude I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Tathāgata, Arhan and perfect Buddha.”

And he continued as far as[33]

“And, friends, the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha run together one into the other. Just as, friends, the waters of the Ganges and the Jumna run one into the other and flow on together to the great ocean, so do the nirvana and the Way leading to nirvana as taught by this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha flow together. And, friends, a master who has so devoted himself to preaching his well-taught and well-revealed truth about nirvana, I do not see arisen in the world, whether I survey the past, present or future, other than this Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha.”

When this had been said, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more thrilled, elated, pleased and happy.

Then, Lord, when Great Brahmā saw that the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more thrilled, elated, pleased and happy, he addressed them in verses:[34]

Verily the devas of Trāyastriṃśa together with Śakra rejoice. They adore the Tathāgata and the well-being that dharma brings.[35]

Thus then did the devas rejoice and become pleased and happy. (204) Then, Lord, when Great Brahmā saw that the devas of Trāyastriṃśa were still more thrilled, joyful, pleased and happy, he said to them, “If, friends, you had listened in faith[36] to the ancient[37] instruction of the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha, you would be even still more thrilled, elated, joyful, pleased and happy.”

When this had been said, Lord, the devas of Trāyastriṃśa said to Great Brahmā, “Therefore, O Great Brahmā, we would like you to proclaim[38] how ancient the great instruction of the Exalted One, Arhan and perfect Buddha is.” And then Great Brahmā revealed how ancient the great instruction of the Exalted One was.

Once upon a time, honoured sirs, said he, long ago, there was a king named Diśāmpati. Now King Diśāmpati’s priest and tutor was a brāhman named Govinda,[39] who was intelligent, clever and prudent in all affairs. Again, honoured sirs, King Diśāmpati had a son named Reṇu, who was beloved and popular, and intelligent, clever and prudent in all affairs. The brāhman Govinda, too, had a son named Jyotipāla. He was an only son, beloved and popular, and intelligent, clever and prudent in all affairs.

Now, honoured sirs, after the lapse of a long time, the brāhman Govinda died. And when Govinda the brāhman died, King Diśāmpati mourned for him, pined, wept, cried, beat his breast and was beside himself with grief. “Alas!” said he, “just when I had entirely entrusted all my affairs to Govinda, and when in the possession and endowment of the five strands of sensual desires, I was amusing, enjoying and diverting myself, Govinda the brāhman died.”

(205) Prince Reṇu heard that King Diśāmpati was mourning, pining, weeping, beating his breast, crying and beside himself with grief for the death of Govinda the brahman. And he went to King Diśāmpati and said to him, “Your majesty, do not mourn, nor pine, nor weep, nor beat your breast, nor cry, nor be beside yourself with grief. And why do I say this? Because, your majesty, the brahman Govinda had a young son named Jyotipāla, who is beloved and popular, intelligent, clever and prudent in all things, in fact, more intelligent, more clever and more accomplished than his father. All that his father knew was secretly learnt by heart by the young Jyotipāla. Therefore, let your majesty appoint him to his father’s place, that is to the chaplaincy and stewardship.”[40]

Then, honoured sirs, King Diśāmpati summoned a certain man and said to him, “Go, my good man, to the young brāhman Jyotipāla and say to him, “King Diśāmpati summons the honourable Jyotipāla. Let the honourable Jyotipāla repair to where King Diśāmpati is.” On hearing this the man replied, “So be it, sire,” and went to the young brāhman Jyotipāla and said to him, “King Diśāmpati summons the honourable Jyotipāla. Let the honourable Jyotipāla go to King Diśāmpati now that the brāhman Govinda is dead.” “So be it, sir,” said the young brāhman Jyotipāla in obedience to the man. And he went to King Diśāmpati, and, having exchanged courteous and polite greetings with him (206), he sat down to one side.

And while the young brāhman Jyotipāla thus sat down to one side, King Diśāmpati said to him, “Let the honourable Jyotipāla advise me; let the honourable Jyotipāla administer for me. Let him not refuse to advise me and to administer for me. Here and now do I appoint Jyotipāla to his father’s place, namely, the chaplaincy and the stewardship.”

Thus, honoured sirs, the young brāhman Jyotipāla was established in his father’s place, namely, the chaplaincy and the stewardship. Whatever task his father had performed, that did the young Jyotipāla perform. Whatever works his father had accomplished,[41] those did the young Jyotipāla accomplish. Whatever affairs his father had administered, those did the young Jyotipāla administer. Whatever projects his father had accomplished, those did the young Jyotipāla accomplish. This became known,[42] and the brahmans and householders, townsmen and countrymen said, “The young brahman Jyotipāla is a Steward; Jyotipāla is a Great Steward.” So the young Jyotipāla became known[43] as Govinda and Mahā-Govinda. Thus did the name first become current.[44]

Then, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda approached the nobles[45] and said to them, “Honoured sirs, go to Prince Reṇu and say to him, ‘When our lord Reṇu is happy, then are we, too, happy. When our lord Reṇu is unhappy, then are we, too, unhappy. Now, lord Reṇu, King Diśāmpati is old, aged, full of years, past his prime and near the term of his life. It is inevitable, lord Reṇu, that life should end in death. (207) Now if, when King Diśāmpati is gone, the kingmakers will anoint our lord Reṇu king, he will be able to share the sovereignty with us.’

When this had been said, the lord Prince Reṇu replied to the six nobles, “If, gentlemen, the king-makers will anoint me king when King Diśāmpati is dead, I will share the sovereignty with you. For who should prosper in my realm other than you?”

Then, honoured sirs, after the lapse of a long time King Diśāmpati died. And the king-makers went to Prince Reṇu and said to him, “Prince, you have ascended the throne. We will anoint you king.” Prince Reṇu replied to the kingmakers, “Let it be then as you wish,[46] gentlemen.”

When anointed king Prince Reṇu, in the possession and endowment of the five strands of sensual desires, amused, enjoyed and diverted himself. Then, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda went to the six nobles and said to them, “Behold, gentlemen, King Reṇu has been anointed king. And now, in the possession and endowment of the six strands of sensual desires, he is amusing, enjoying and diverting himself. But, gentlemen, these pleasures, of sense are intoxicating. Go then to King Reṇu and say to him, ‘Does our lord Reṇu remember his promise?’” “So be it, lord,” said they in obedience to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda. They went to King Reṇu and said to him, (208) “Does our lord Reṇu remember his promise?”

When this had been said, honoured sirs,[47] King Reṇu replied to the six nobles, “Yes, gentlemen, I do remember my promise. But who now will be able to divide this great earth into seven parts?” The six nobles replied to King Reṇu, “Who, lord Reṇu, is more intelligent and accomplished than the lord Mahā-Govinda? He will divide this great earth into seven parts.”

Then King Reṇu summoned a man and said to him, “Go, my good man, to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, and say to him, ‘King Reṇu summons the lord Mahā-Govinda’.” “So be it, your majesty,” replied the man in obedience to King Reṇu, and he went to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda and said to him, “King Reṇu summons the lord Mahā-Govinda. Let the lord Mahā-Govinda go to King Reṇu.” “So be it,” said the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in obedience to the man, and he went to King Reṇu. Having exchanged courteous and polite greetings with him he sat down to one side. And when he had thus sat down to one side the brāhman Mahā-Govinda said to King Reṇu, “Lord, this great earth is a wide expanse of seven kingdoms.”[48]

To the south it was in seven parts[49] each shaped like a waggon’s mouth.[50] The very centre belonged to King Reṇu. Then came Dantapura[51] of the Kaliṅgas, and Potana[52] of the Asmakas,[53] Māhiṣmati[54] of the Avantis,[55] and Roruka of the Sovīras; (209) Mithilā of the Videhas, Campa[56] of the Aṅgas, did he map out, and Benares of the Kāśis. All this was mapped out by Govinda.

Then, honoured sirs, Govinda the brahman established the six nobles each in his own kingdom.[57]

The six kings had not been long anointed when they hastily assembled, went to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda and said to him, “Let our lord Mahā-Govinda advise us. Let our lord Mahā-Govinda administer for us. As our lord Mahā-Govinda administered all the affairs of King Reṇu, so let him administer all the affairs of these six kingdoms.” And so from that time the brāhman Mahā-Govinda administered all the affairs of the seven kingdoms. And he taught seven hundred thousand brahmans and seven hundred young householders[58] to recite the mantras, saying to them, “Repeat after me.”

All this became known,[59] and brāhmans and laymen, townsmen and countrymen came to recognise that the brahman Govinda was a man of great parts. “The Āryan Mahā-Govinda,” said they, “beholds Great Brahmā with his own eyes. It is after deliberating and taking counsel with Great Brahmā that he administers all his affairs.”

Then, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda heard that the brāhmans and laymen, townsmen and countrymen were regarding the Āryan Mahā-Govinda as a man of great parts and believed that he was seeing Great Brahmā with his own eyes and that it was by deliberating with Great Brahmā that he administered all affairs. So he said, “I do not see Great Brahmā with my own eyes, (210) nor do I deliberate and consult with Great Brahmā when I administer affairs. It is not well nor seemly that I should accept[60] this false and fictitious praise. Now I have heard teachers of the old things, men advanced in years, old, aged, venerable and at the end of their term of life, say that Great Brahmā comes within the vision of the man who for the four rainy months meditates in solitude the meditation of pity, and that whatever that man sets his heart on is granted him in answer to his prayer.[61] Let me now then for the four rainy months meditate the meditation of pity in solitude, if, that is, my lord Reṇu allows me.”

King Reṇu said to Mahā-Govinda, “Let it be then, O Mahā-Govinda, as you wish.”[62]

Then, honoured sirs, Mahā-Govinda meditated the meditation of pity in solitude for the four rainy months. And when the four rainy months were over, on the fast-day,[63] on the fourteenth of the month Pauṣa,[64] he washed his head and put on white[65] and clean garments. His body bathed, he lit a fire on the flag-stone which was close by between the altar and the sacred fire and which was smeared with melted butter.[66] He then sat down in “the house of the faithful”[67] with his face to the north.[68]

Then, honoured sirs, before long there appeared a great radiance in the northern quarter. And Mahā-Govinda saw it, and on seeing this wonder and marvel he trembled all over, and the hair on his body bristled, because, of a truth, he was seeing what he had never seen before. Then in no long a time Great Brahmā came through the air from the north and stood above the brāhman Mahā-Govinda. And Mahā-Govinda looking up (211) saw Great Brahmā standing over him in the air.

When he had seen this he held out his joined hands towards Great Brahmā and addressed him in a verse:

Whether, Lord, thou art Power, Glory, or Light, we, knowing thee not, ask that we may know.[69]

When this had been said, honoured sirs,[70] Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

In Brahma’s world they know me[71] as the Eternal Youth. So do the devas know me. So do you, Govinda, know me.

The brahman Mahā-Govinda said to Great Brahmā in a verse:

A seat, water for the feet, sweet cakes[72] and also drink, accept from me, O Brahmā. To thee the best[73] I bring.

Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

I accept the seat, the water for the feet, the sweet cakes, and the drink, O Govinda. Bring me the best.

The brāhman Mahā-Govinda said to Great Brahmā in verse:

Whether it be for my weal in this life or for my happiness in the world beyond, I would fain get leave to ask the question that is in my mind.

(212) Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in verse:

Whether it be for your weal in this life or for your happiness in the world beyond, I grant you leave to ask the question that is in your mind.

And then, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda reflected: “I have been offered by Great Brahmā the boon of an answer to my question. What then shall I ask Great Brahmā? Shall I consider[74] what is profitable for this world or what is profitable for the world beyond? But I know that what is profitable for this world concerns the five strands of sensual desires. Let me then ask Great Brahmā a question concerning what is profitable for the world beyond.”

So, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda asked Great Brahmā a question about what is profitable for the world beyond.

I ask Great Brahmā, the Eternal Youth, I that doubt ask thee that doubtest not concerning acts of worship.[75] How acting, what performing, and what course pursuing[76] can a mortal man attain Brahma’s immortal world?

Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

He among men who abandons thought of “me,” is intent of mind,[77] compassionate and aloof,[78] is free from reeking odours[79] and innocent of fornication, he, O brāhman, though a mortal, attains the immortal world of Brahmā.

(213) Then, honoured sirs, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda said to Great Brahmā, “I know what my lord Great Brahmā means when he talks of abandoning thoughts of ‘me It means that a man goes forth from home into the homeless state, renouncing his property, whether it be small or large, and leaving his family circle, whether it be small or large. And whether he comes from a high or low family, he sheds every mark of the householder, takes his cloak, bowl and robe, trains himself in the rules of morality, acquires purity in act and speech and lives the pure life. This I know is my lord Great Brahmā’s meaning when he talks of abandoning thoughts of ‘me’.

“I know also what my lord Great Brahmā means by ‘intentness’.[80] It is that a man, by suppressing applied and sustained thought through his mind becoming inwardly calm and intent, enters and abides in the first[81] meditation, which is born of solitude and is full of joy and ease. This I know is what my lord Great Brahmā means when he talks of ‘being intent’.[82]

“I know also what my lord Great Brahmā means by ‘aloof’ and ‘compassionate’. It is that a man abides pervading one quarter of the world with thoughts of compassion, abundant, lofty,[83] single, infinite, free from hatred and ill-will, and so with the second quarter, the third and the fourth, up and down, across, everywhere, the whole wide world. This I know is my lord Great Brahma’s meaning when he talks of ‘aloof’ and ‘compassionate’.

(214) “But I do not know what my lord Great Brahmā means when he talks of ‘being free of reeking odours’.”

O Brahmā, what are these reeking odours among men? I do not understand this. Tell me, O Mighty One.[84] What is it by which men are cloaked and enveloped,[85] doomed to the ways of woe in hell,[86] and shut out from Brahmā’s world?[87]

Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

Anger and lies and doubt, meanness, overweening conceit and envy,[88] jealousy, hate and words of wrath against others. These, O brāhman,[89] are the reeking odours whereby men are cloaked and enveloped, doomed to ways of woe in hell and shut out from Brahmās world.

Then the lord Mahā-Govinda said to Great Brahmā, “Now

I know what my lord Great Brahmā means when he talks of ‘reeking odours’. But then it is not possible for me while I stay at home to live the wholly bright,[90] the wholly blameless, the wholly pure and wholly clean brahma-life. Life is a brief affair.[91] We must go on to the world beyond, for there is no avoiding death for one who has been born. Therefore we must gain knowledge, take thought, wake up, do good, live the brahma-life and eschew every sinful act in this world.[92] (215) So, my lord Great Brahmā, I will go forth from home into the homeless state, if thou dost consent.”

When this had been said, honoured sirs, Great Brahmā replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, “Let it be as you wish, O Mahā-Govinda.”[93]

“I[94] have heard that the Exalted One was at that time the brāhman named Mahā-Govinda. Does the Exalted One remember?” The Exalted One replied to Pañcaśikha the Gandharva, “Even so, Pañcaśikha. I was at that time the brāhman named Mahā-Govinda, and I remember it. But you have not heard, Pañcaśikha, how the brāhman Mahā-Govinda went forth from home into the homeless state.”

I, Pañcaśikha, being then the brāhman Mahā-Govinda,[95] went to King Reṇu and said to him,

To you, King Reṇu, lord of the land, I declare that I am going forth, leaving your kingdom and my ministry here.

But, Pañcaśikha, King Reṇu replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

If aught is lacking to your pleasures, I will make it good. If there be a man who molests you, then will I support you. You, my lord, are my father, and I your son. Do not, Govinda, go forth.

The brāhman Mahā-Govinda[96] went to King Reṇu and replied to him in a verse:

Naught is lacking to my pleasures. I know of no one who molests me. But I have heard a voice that is not of man. What other course is there for me?

(216) King Reṇu said to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

What was this divine being who spoke, like? What did he say that, on hearing it you leave my house and everything?

The brāhman Mahā-Govinda replied to King Reṇu in a verse:[97]

I used to be[98] always eager for sacrifice when the festal day came round.[99] I would kindle the sacred fire, arrayed in robes of kuśa grass.

But then Brahmā the Eternal Youth appeared to me,[100] and when I had heard his words I fain would leave your house and everything.

King Reṇu said to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda in a verse:

I believe the words that you have spoken, lord Govinda. Having heard the voice divine, what other course could you take?[101]

And lord Mahā-Govinda communicated other good words

he had heard. [Then King Reṇu said][102] “Whatever course be the lord Mahā-Govinda’s that also will be mine.”

As a gem of beryl, pure without flaw[103] or dross, pure like that shall I live with Govinda to instruct me.

The brahman Mahā-Govinda said to King Reṇu in verses[104]:

If you give up the sensual pleasures by which wordly men are stained,[105] it will be praiseworthy.[106] Be firm and steady in the power of forbearance.

(217) This is the Way to Brahma’s city; this is the Way Eternal, the Way that is proclaimed by those who know the true dharma, the Way that leads to birth in Brahma’s world.[107]

Now, Pañcaśikha, the six kings heard that the brahman Mahā-Govinda was going forth from home into the homeless state, and they hastily gathered together. Then, Pañcaśikha, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda went to the six kings and said to them, “Come, gentlemen, come, gentlemen. Seek another counsellor who will administer all affairs in each of your kingdoms. And why? Because I am going forth from home into the homeless state. For I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible for one who dwells at home to live the wholly bright,[108] the wholly blameless, the wholly pure and the wholly clean brahma-life. Life is a brief affair. We must go on to the world beyond. There is no avoiding death for one who has been born. Therefore we must seek knowledge, gain it, wake up, do good, and live the brahma-life, and commit no sinful act in this world.”

Then, Pañcaśikha, those six kings reflected: “Now these brahmans are greedy for wealth. What if we were to coax him with wealth.”

So, Pañcaśikha, the six kings sought to coax the brahman Mahā-Govinda with wealth. “O Mahā-Govinda,” said they, “in these six kingdoms there is an abundance of worldly wealth, honest, honestly won, gathered[109] and amassed by honest effort. Let the lord Mahā-Govinda, therefore, take of this wealth. Only, let him not go forth from home into the homeless state.”

But, Pañcaśikha, (218) the brahman Mahā-Govinda replied to the six kings and said, “We have, as you say, an abundance of worldly wealth, which is honest, honestly won, gathered and amassed by honest effort. It is just that which I am renouncing in order to go forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible for one who dwells at home to live the wholly bright, the wholly blameless, the wholly pure and clean brahma-life. Life is a brief affair. We must go on to the world beyond. There is no avoiding death for one who has been born. Therefore we must seek knowledge, gain it, wake up, do good and live the brahma-life, and commit no sin in this world

Then, Pañcaśikha, the six kings reflected: “These brāhmans are greedy for women. What now if we were to coax him with women?” So the six kings sought to coax the brāhman Mahā-Govinda with women. “O Mahā-Govinda,” said they, “there are in these six kingdoms plenty of lovely, beautiful, and high-class women possessing perfect beauty of complexion. Therefore, let the lord Mahā-Govinda take of these women. Only let him not go forth from home into the homeless state.”

But, Pañcaśikha, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda replied to the six kings and said, “Gentlemen, I have already forty wives of equal standing, who are lovely, beautiful, high-class women possessing perfect beauty of complexion. These, too, I renounce in order to go forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible for one who dwells at home to live the wholly bright, the wholly blameless, pure and clean brahma-life. Life is a brief affair. (219) We must go on to the world beyond. There is no avoiding death for one who has been born. Therefore we must seek knowledge, gain it, wake up, do good and live the brahma-life, and commit no sin in this world.” The six kings said to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, “Well, then, Mahā-Govinda, wait for seven years, so that we may establish our sons and brothers[110] in our several kingdoms. Then will we come with you. For whatever be the lord Mahā-Govinda’s course, that also will be ours.” Mahā-Govinda replied to the six kings and said, “Nay, gentlemen, your seven years is far too long a time. I am going forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible, etc.”[111] Then the six kings said to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, “Well, then, Mahā-Govinda, wait for six years.” And they went on to ask him to wait for five years, four years, three years, two years, one year.[112] “Wait for seven months, so that we may establish our sons and brothers in our several kingdoms. Then will we come with you. For whatever be the lord Mahā-Govinda’s course, that also will be ours’.” But the brāhman Mahā-Govinda replied to the six kings and said, “Nay, gentlemen, your seven months is far too long a time. I am going forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible, etc.”[113]

Then the six kings said to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, (220) “Well then, Mahā-Govinda, wait for six months, so that we may establish our sons and brothers in our several kingdoms. Then will we come with you.” And they went on to ask him to wait for five months, four months, three months, two months, one month,[114] (saying), “so that we may establish our sons and brothers in our several kingdoms. Then will we come with you. For whatever be the lord Mahā-Govinda’s course, that also will be ours.”

But the brahman Mahā-Govinda replied to the six kings and said, “Nay, gentlemen, your half-a-month[115] is far too long. I am going forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard, etc.”[116] Then the six kings said to the brahman Mahā-Govinda “Well then, Mahā-Govinda, wait for one week, so that we may establish our sons and brothers in our several kingdoms. Then will we come with you. For whatever be the lord Mahā-Govinda’s course, that also will be ours.”

Then did the brāhman Mahā-Govinda reply to the six kings and say, “Well, gentlemen, your week is short enough. Let it be then as you wish.”[117] Then the brāhman Mahā-Govinda went to the seven thousand wealthy brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders[118] and said to them, “Come, gentlemen, come, gentlemen. Now choose another preceptor who will teach you to recite the mantras. I am going forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours.....”[119]

(221) The seven thousand wealthy brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders replied to the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, saying, “Let not the lord Govinda go forth from home into the homeless state. This going forth, Mahā-Govinda, brings little profit, little wealth, little power and little praise. To be a brāhman, on the other hand, brings great profit, wealth, power and praise.”

But the brāhman Mahā-Govinda said to the seven thousand wealthy brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders, “Sirs, speak not so. For this going forth brings great success, gain, power and praise, while to be a brahman brings little profit, gain, power and praise. For, sirs, whatever you have hitherto learned, all that is now the explanation of what I do.”[120]

The seven thousand brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders replied to the brahman Mahā-Govinda, saying, “Even so, preceptor, even so, preceptor. This going forth brings great success, gain, power and praise, while to be a brahman, O preceptor, brings little profit, gain and praise. And whatever we have hitherto learnt all that is now the explanation of what you do.[121] Whatever be the course of our lord preceptor, that also will be our course.”

The brāhman Mahā-Govinda said to the seven thousand wealthy brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders, “Let it be then, sirs, as you wish.”

(222) Then the brāhman Mahā-Govinda went to his forty wives, who were all of equal standing, and said to them, “Let each lady who wishes go back to her own family and, if she wishes, choose another husband. Let those who wish stay in this brāhman household. There is in this brāhman household an abundance of worldly wealth, honest, honestly gained, gathered and amassed by honest effort. As for me, I am going forth from home into the homeless state. And why? Because I have heard Great Brahmā with his own lips speak of reeking odours. Now it is not possible for one who dwells at home to live the wholly bright, the wholly blameless, pure and clean brahma-life. And why?[122] Life is a brief affair. We must go on to the world beyond. There is no avoiding death for one who has been born. Therefore we must seek knowledge, gain it, wake up, do good, and live the brahma-life, and commit no sin in this world.”

Then the forty wives, who were of equal standing, said to the brahman Mahā-Govinda, “But the noble Mahā-Govinda is our husband when we need a husband,[123] and our friend when we need a friend. And whatever be the course of our noble Mahā-Govinda, that also will be ours.”

The brahman Mahā-Govinda replied to his forty wives, who were of equal standing, and said, “Let it be then, ladies,[124] as you wish.”

Then, Pañcaśikha, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda on that seventh day had his hair and beard cut. He put on the yellow robes and went forth from home into the homeless state. And when he had gone forth the seven kings also went forth after him, (223) and the seven thousand wealthy brāhmans and the seven hundred young householders and the forty wives of equal standing, without mentioning a number of courtesans, all went forth after him. The whole company was several hundreds, several thousands.

Then, Pañcaśikha, the brāhman Mahā-Govinda, aloof from desires and rid of passion, taught the dharma to his disciples to fit them for the companionship of Brahmā’s world.[125] And, Pañcaśikha, those of the disciples of the brāhman Mahā-Govinda who wholly and on all points understood the dharma taught by him, were reborn into the companionship of Brahmā’s world, while those who did not wholly and on all points understand the dharma taught by him, were reborn among the Kāmāvacara devas. Some of them were reborn in the company of the Cāturmahārājika devas,[126] others in the company of the devas of Trāyastriṃśa,[127] others in the company of the Yāma devas,[128] others in the company of the Tuṣita devas,[129] others in the company of the Nirmāṇarati devas,[130] and others in the company of the Paranirmitavaśavartin devas.[131]

Again, Pañcaśikha, the women and men who showed hardness of heart to the brahman Mahā-Govinda and his disciples were, on the dissolution of their bodies at death, reborn to woe, to the way of ill, to ruin in the hells. But, Pañcaśikha, those who were kindly disposed[132] towards the brāhman Mahā-Govinda and his disciples were, on the dissolution of their bodies at death, reborn in the way of bliss, in heaven, in the company of devas.

Again, Pañcaśikha, whatever village or town the brāhman Mahā-Govinda came to and stayed at, there he became as a king of a kingdom,[133] as a deva to the laymen, and as Brahmā to the brahmans. And whenever he walked along an unfrequented[134] way, there also was he as a king of a kingdom, as a deva to the laymen, and as Brahmā to the brahmans.

Now this became known,[135] and when brahmans and laymen, townsmen and countrymen tripped,[136] they recited the solemn utterance, ‘Glory be to the noble Mahā-Govinda. Glory be to the minister of seven’.[137]

(224) This did the Exalted One relate when he was staying at Rājagṛha on Mount Gṛdhrakūta. And while this exposition was being given to him, the elated Pañcaśikha, the Gandharva, rejoiced at the speech of the Exalted One which was free of passion and dross and had clear dharma-insight into things.

The Exalted One said, “It may be again, monks, that you will think that at that time the brahman named Govinda was somebody else. That, verily, you must not think. And why? I, monks, at that time and on that occasion was the brahman named Govinda. Then, too, when I went forth to the religious life a great multitude accompanied me. And now, also, has a great multitude accompanied me as I have gone forth.”[138]

Here ends the Govindīya-sūtra dealing with a former life of the Exalted One.

Notes on the the Mahāgovindīya-sūtra:

The Pali version of this celebrated sūtra is found at D. 2.220 ff., but the Mhvu. version is not a translation from the Pali. Differences in the order of relation alone are sufficient to disprove the supposition that it is. As in so many other instances of parallel versions in Pali texts and in the Mhvu., the evidence is such as to prove that the Mhvu. version is completely independent of the Pali, and, if not written down from a floating oral tradition, is based on some unknown recension. Rhys Davids has some instructive remarks on the relation between the two versions in Dial. 2, P. 252ff.

Footnotes and references:

1.

As is seen, the preamble is of the usual type introducing a Jātaka, and the sūtra is referred to as a Jātaka at J. 1.45, 46 and 3. 469. Also the colophon describes it as a “sūtra relating to a former life of the Exalted One.” Even in D. the tale closes with the Buddha’s explanation of the “birth.”

2.

A king of long ago, also mentioned in the Dipavaṃsa and Mahāvaṃsa (D.P.N.).

3.

As the text stands it would seem that it was Diśāmpati who told the story, for there is nothing to show that the subject of vyākaroti is different from that of abhūṣi, except, perhaps, the absence of ca to co-ordinate the two verbs.

4.

I.e. the stereotyped description of such occasions. See e.g. vol. 1, p. 29 f.

5.

Vihārā.

6.

Reading abhikrāntāyāṃ (rātriyam) for abhikrāntakāyo, which could only be construed as qualifying Pañcaśikha, and his beauty has already been described by the adjective abhikrāntavarṇa. The emendation also restores the phrase into its usual form as found e.g. at vol. 2, p. 257, 258 (text). See vol. 2, p. 243, n. 1.

7.

See vol. 2, p. 46 ff.

8.

Devasabhāsudharmā, so rendered in Dial. 2. 259, etc.

9.

Elsewhere in the Mhvu. these attributes are given as ten. See vol. 1, p. 25, and 2, p. 183. At vol. 2, p. 350 we have a slightly different group of five.

10.

Dharmā. D. 2. 222 has aṭṭha yathā-bhucce vaṇṇe, “eight truthful items in praise of” (Dial. 2. 261.)

11.

A name of Śakra (Indra). See vol. 2, p. 49, n. 4, p. 60 n. 10.

12.

Literally, “let it occur to you, proclaim,” pratibhātu te, udāhara.

13.

Literally “other than,” anyatra.

14.

Sāndṛṣṭikaṃ akālikam.

15.

“Is welcoming,” ehipaśyika, Pali ehipassika.

16.

Aupanayika, Pali opanayika.

17.

Mada-nirmadana, “the making without pride,” or “de-priding” as P.E.D. puts it. See s.v. nimadana “which is related to nimmādeti, either = Sk. nirmṛdayati [sic for nirmardayati], from mṛd “to crush” or *nirmādayati to nirmada, “free from pride.” See B.H.S.D. for an alternative explanation.

18.

Dharmopaccheda. Dharma here is the “phenomenon” of the material world, and is practically synonymous with the skandhas. See DhA. 1.55 and S. 3. 39.

19.

These six words are supplied in translation.

20.

Pratipadam, adv. D. 2. 223 has paṭipadānam agreeing with sekhānam.

21.

Teṣām. (gen. for acc.) pranudya. The Pali (D. 2. 223) is different: te apanujja ekārāmataṃ anuyutto viharati, “them does he not send away, but dwells in fellowship with them whose hearts are set on one object” (Dial. 2. 262).

22.

Literally “dwells on his bed and seat in the forest,” śayyāsanānyadhyāvasati.”

23.

Prānta. See vol. 2, p. 119, n. 3.

24.

Gatajanapada. At p. 143 we have vigatajanapada in the same sense.

25.

Pratisaṃlayana.

26.

The text has eko nāma ekanāmanāmatāmanuyukto, which seems a bad case of dittography. The Pali, as has been seen, has ekārāmataṃ anuyutto. The translation assumes that ekanāmatam conceals some word like ekāgratā. Possibly, however, it is for ekārāmatam, where ārāmata denotes the solitude which one enjoys in an ārāma.

27.

Or, “without attachment and infatuation,” anadhyavasita anadhimūrchita. See vol. 2, p. 134, nn. 1, 2.

28.

Vigatakathaṃkatha, so in Pali also, D. 2. 224, “gone by for him is all question of how or why.” (Dial. 2. 262.)

29.

This unusual figure is expressed in practically identical terms in D. 2.223.

30.

Pratibhātu, only, but obviously udāhara must be supplied. See p. 195. n. 3.

31.

Peyālaṃ yāvad. Peyāla is in Pali peyyāla “a māgadhism for pariyāya, so Kern Toev. s.v. after Trenckner.” (P.E.D.). The meaning is “repetition,” “succession,” “formula,” etc.

32.

Pratibhātu. See p. 195, n. 3.

33.

Peyālaṃ yāvad.

34.

Only one verse is given. Rhys Davids (Dial. 2, p. 258) suggests that the ethical standpoint of the others as found in D. 2. 227 “did not appeal any more to the Lokottaravādins.” But as these consist of praise for the new devas who had been the Buddha’s disciples on earth, that is not necessarily so. For the Mhvu. has already eulogised the great glory of these devas. The omission, therefore, is either accidental or due to difference in the respective contexts in which the verses are introduced.

35.

Dharmasya sukhadharmatāṃ (so for -dharmatā). D. has dhammassa sudhammatam, “the cosmic law sublime.” (Dial 2. 260).

36.

Reading śrāddhā for śuddhā, as Senart is inclined to do.

37.

Or “long-standing.” Dīrgharātram, is properly an adv. acc. “for a long time,” but in sense it qualifies mahāprajñapti, “the great instruction (which has lasted) a long time.” Cf. D. 2. 230, where the tide of Govinda is introduced as answer to the question, yāva digharattaṃ mahāpañño ca so Bhagavā ahosi,” “for how long has the Blessed One been of great wisdom” (Dial. 2. 266). Cf. 5. 2. 106, where the Buddha says he is treading an ancient way.

38.

Pratibhātu. See p. 195, n. 3.

39.

“It is evident that Govinda, literally ‘Lord of the Herds’ was a title, not a name, and means Treasurer or Steward” (Dial. 2.266, fn.). For simplicity’s sake, however, it is taken as a proper name in the present translation.

40.

Paurohitye govindiye. There is no ca, “and,” but the priesthood and stewardship must be regarded as two separate offices, though held by one and the same person.

41.

Abhisambhuṇoti, Pali abhisambhoti. See vol. 1, p. 35, n. 3.

42.

Jitam. See p. 177, n. 2.

43.

Api hi jitaṃ Jyotipālasya. See preceding note, but the explanation for the genitive case is obscure.

44.

Akṣaramagninyaṃ upanipate, but reading agrajñam lor agninyam. See vol. 1, p. 287, n. 3.

45.

Properly, “those nobles,” te kṣatriyās. The reference is to the six nobles who were the great friends of Reṇu and Jyotipāla. See D. 2. 230, the Mhvu. itself, below, also makes them six.

46.

Sukhī bhavatha yasyedāni kālaṃ manyatha. See Vol. I, p. 209, n. 1, p. 272. n. 1.

47.

This formula will be generally omitted henceforward.

48.

There is a difficulty here. This sentence appears to be Govinda’s reply to Reṇu after he had divided the earth (sc. India) into seven kingdoms. The Mhvu., therefore, omits Reṇu’s request to Govinda to do so. In D. 2. 235 we have both the request and the statement that Govinda did as requested.

49.

? Reading saptadhā for saṅkṣiptā.

50.

Śakaṭamukhasaṃsthitam. The acc. saṃsthitam, where we should expect the nom. to agree with mahāpṛthivī in the last sentence in prose, would appear to be closer to the tradition of the original as we have it in D. 2. 235. The verses in the Mhvu. are very corrupt. The first line should be part of Reṇu’s request to Govinda to do the dividing, or of the statement that Govinda did so. Neither is the second line part of the original verse, which, as Rhys Davids says (Dial. 2. p. 270) is “no doubt a very old mnemonic doggerel.” Śakaṭamukha is a crux. See Rhys Davids, op. cit., p. 269 fn., where reference is made to the Sinhalese translation, “on the south side like a waggon’s mouth.” The note continues, “Buddhaghosa has nothing here; but below as applied to the kingdoms he explains ‘with their mouths debouching together.’.Neither is satisfactory. It has been suggested that it might mean facing the “Wain,” that is, the constellation of the Great Bear. But this is unfortunately in the north. The front opening of a bullock waggon is (now) elliptical in form.” It may be noted, however, that in D. 2. 235 sakaṭamukham is antithetical to āyatam. Govinda is to divide the land so that it is āyata to the north and sakaṭamukha to the south. Can it be that the meaning is that the seven kingdoms were to have a long boundary to the north running in a single though irregular line, but each tapering from this basis towards a common apex in the South, the whole and each part thus forming a triangle? If, “the front opening of a bullock waggon is (now) elliptical in form,” it could conceivably be triangular at one time or other. If this were so the meaning of the Pali sabbāni sakaṭamukhāni aṭṭhapesi (v. 1. 2 paṭṭhapesi) would be “and made them all (or each) into triangles.” Exact geography, of course, is not to be sought for in such an old doggerel verse. Still, many of the kingdoms as known to history are more or less in line with one another, and even so far north the southward tapering shape of India as a whole would tend to give a triangular shape to equal divisions of the land having their bases to the north.

51.

Reading Dantapuram, as in D., for ataḥ puram. One MS. has antapuram.

52.

So reading, with D., for yo + lacuna of the text.

53.

Pali Assakas.

54.

Pali Māhissati.

55.

Supplied from D. Text has lacuna. The MSS. have ca varttinām and vartinām, which can plausibly be restored c'avantinām.

56.

Supplied from D.

57.

D. 2.237 goes on to name them.

58.

Snātaka. Pali nahātaka. Dial. 2. 271 renders “graduates.”

59.

Api hi jitam. See p. 177, n. 2.

60.

Adhivāsayati, Pali adhivāseti, “consent,” “agree to.”

61.

Pṛcchitena visarjiyati, “it is granted when it has been asked for.” Pṛcchitena, past part, of pracch, on the analogy of Pali pucchita, is instrumental absolute. Or it may conceivably be taken as a substantive, when the preceding gen. asya would depend on it, instead of being regarded as the indirect object of visarjiyati. The causal visarjayati (Pali vissajjeti) is regularly used in BSk. in the sense of “answering” questions.

62.

Sukhīmeva yasya va kālaṃ manyasi. See p. 202, n. 6.

63.

Poṣadha, Pali uposatha.

64.

December—January.

65.

Reading odāta for āhata.

66.

Senart is far from satisfied that his restoration of the text here is correct.

67.

Śrāddhānāṃ gṛha.

68.

Rhys Davids, Dial. 2, pp. 257-8, thus comments on the introduction of these details in the Mhvu. version of the story: “The whole point of the story in the Dīgha is the way in which Brahmā describes his ideal brahmin as quite emancipated from animistic superstitions and practices. He gains access to Brahmā by practising... the Rapture of Mercy, one of the Brahma-vihāras or sublime conditions. The Mahāvastu is not satisfied with that. It makes him add to it the kindling of the Mystic Fire, Agni.” At the same time, it is worth considering whether this may not be due to the fact that the Mhvu. is following an older version of the story where the purely religious motive was stronger and not yet weakened by a humanistic ethicalism.

69.

It is interesting to note that while the second line is exactly the same in D. (2. 240), the first is entirely different. D. has vaṇṇavā yasavā sirimā ho nu tvam asi mārisa, “O vision fair, O glorious and divine I Who art thou, lord?” (Dial. 2. 273).

70.

This formula is, in the translation, omitted from the rest of the dialogue.

71.

Reading mam for yam.

72.

Literally, “sweet-preparation,” madhu(ra)kalpa. D. 2.240 has madhupāka.

73.

Agram. The Mhvu. text is here simpler than D., and may possibly suggest that aggha in the latter, occurring as the word does in the strange and obscure expressions aggham pucchati and agghaṃ no karoti, should be emended into agga “the best,” to correspond with the agra of our text.

74.

Literally, “considering”, ārabhya.

75.

Paricāriyeṣu. Senart suggests that paricāriya here is for paricariyā, D. 2.241 has paravediyesu, “the things that others want to know.” The readings of the MSS., pavarevediyesu for D. and parivārayeṣu for the Mhvu., would seem to leave the question open as to which has the better reading.

76.

Senart restores this line on the model of J. 4. 339. 25 and 5. 148. 14. D. is different, katthaṭṭhito kiṃhi ca sikkhamāno, “wherein proficient, in what method trained” (Dial. 2. 273). The last line is identical in both D. and Mhvu.

77.

Or “one-pointed,” ekotibhūta, Pali ekodibhūta.

78.

Karuṇo vivikto. The reading of D. (2. 241), karuṇādhimutta, “to compassion given,” is better here, for karuṇa is not well used in the sense of “pitying”; it is rather,” pitiful,” etc.

79.

“Without smell of the flesh,” nir-āmagandha.

80.

Ekotibhāva. Cf. n. 2.

81.

But this is a description of the second meditation (dhyāna, jhāna), except for vivekajam, ‘born of solitude’, instead of samādhijam, ‘born of concentration’. See vol. 1, p. 184.

82.

This is entirely different from D. (2. 242) which explains in terms of physical solitariness.

83.

Vipulena(m) udgatena. D. 2.242 has vipulena mahaggatena, “far-reaching, expanded.” (Dial. 2. 274.)

84.

Vīra. D. 2. 242 has dhīra, “wise”.

85.

Reading vṛtā prajā for vārivahā of the text, which is inexplicable. Senart proposes to read vāhirakā. Taking this with the next word kukūla, which he assumes is for kukkulā, he renders, “sortis de l’enfer.” But the point is that the men referred to (prajā) are doomed to go to hell. Prajā (pajā) is the reading of D., and seems to be suggested by the reading pāripaha of one MS. for the Mhvu. also.

86.

Or in kukūla (=Kukkula, see vol. 1, pp. 7ff). Kukūla-āpāyikā is to be regarded as one compound. Āpāyika is an adjectival form from apāya.

87.

Edgerton (B.H.S.D. s.v. nirvṛta) restores the text as nirvṛtabrahmalokam, which he takes as adverbial = “in such a way that the brahma-world is cut off.” But he amplifies this meaning with the words “shut out, excluded from the brahma-world.” These two meanings, however, are by no means identical, and can hardly be got from the same word. The second one is the more appropriate here, and it would seem better to retain Senart’s nirvṛtā (though unmetrical) and emend brahmalokam into -lokā(t), ablative of separation.

88.

In the second line Senart prints atimāno only, leaving the rest a lacuna. Kadaryatā and asūyā have been supplied after kadaryiatā and usuyyā of D. 2. 243. A reminiscence of these two words may possibly be seen in the reading of the MSS., kariyaṃ atimāno ti andha (°māto ti aṃdha).

89.

Brahma (!) in text.

90.

Reading śaṅkhalikhitam for saṃlikhitam. See vol. 2, p. 114, n. 2.

91.

Cf. A. 4. 136, appakaṃ brāhmaṇa jīvitaṃ manussānam.

92.

This passage is differently placed in D. (2.243), where it forms part of Govinda’s talk with the kings at a later point in the story. But the language in both versions is strikingly similar.

93.

Sukhībhava yasyedāniṃ kālaṃ manyasi. See p. 202, n. 6.

94.

Sc. Pañcaśikha, who here resumes his tale. This passage comes at the very end of the sūtra in D. (2.251).

95.

This is a curious turn of the story, at least when it is compared with the Pali version. ft would seem at first sight to be a later addition, inserted to supply what was omitted when the Mhvu. passed from Govinda’s conversation with Brahmā straight to the end of the story, without retailing his subsequent conversation with the nobles. It all may be, of course, a device to show that the Buddha’s memory was better even than that of a Gandharva.

96.

The words evamukte Pañcaśikha, “when this was said, Pañcaśikha,” with which each stage in the Buddha’s narrative are introduced, are omitted in translating.

97.

There are two verses.

98.

Literally me sato, “me being,” genitive absolute. D. 2. 244 has pubbe, “formerly” for sarvato “always.”

99.

Literally “of the festal day,” upavustasya. Senart retains this orthography for the Prakrit-Pali upavuttha on the analogy of the frequent nivasta for nivattha.

100.

Haṃmi. Senart assumes this to be a locative of aham, analogous to the forms amhammi and mahammi cited by Hemacandra (3.116). Cf. Edgertoa Gram. § 20. 36.

101.

Reading vartesi for vartemi.

102.

Omitted in text, but necessary to the context.

103.

Reading akāco, as in D. 2. 244, for ākāśe, “in the air.” It is interesting to note that in D. one MS. has akāse.

104.

In D. (2. 246) these verses are addressed to the six kings. That they are mistakenly placed here is proved by the plural verbs jahatha and bhavatha.

105.

Rakta. D. has satta, “cursed ".

106.

Literally, “a praised thing,” śastam. D. (2. 246) is different just here.

107.

Saddharmavidbhirākhyāto brahmalokopapattaye. D. has saddhammo sabbhi rakkhito brahmalokūpapattiyā, “the Righteous Path that good men guard, to birth in Brahmā’s heaven” (Dial. 2. 277).

108.

See p. 210, n. 1.

109.

Abhisāhṛta. On the principle of choosing the lectio difficilior, Senart prefers this form here and on p. 222 (text) for the abhisāhita of the MSS., and on p. 218 for abhyāhṛta. The ā in -sā- is due to compensatory lengthening. Cf. siha for siṃha. Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) says that abhisāhita is probably to be read.

110.

Putrabhrātṛka, cf. Pali puttabhātuka (DhA. 1.214).

111.

Lacuna in text. But the words omitted are so obvious that they need not be supplied even in translation. It is not clear whether this lacuna is in the MSS. or whether it is Senart’s device to avoid repetition.

112.

The text is evaṃ peyālaṃ pañca, etc., “and so on for five years, etc.” For peyāla, see p. 198, n. 2.

113.

Lacuna, as before.

114.

Evaṃ sarvatra kartavyaṃ peyālaṃ pañca, etc.

115.

Ardhamāse. But this period has not been named above. For this motif of reducing a stipulated period from seven years to one week cf. V. 2, 182; M. 1. 62-3 (=D. 2, 214). (The translator owes these references to Miss I. B. Horner.)

116.

Lacuna as before.

117.

Sukhi bhavatha yasyedāniṃ kālani manyatha.

118.

See p. 205.

119.

Lacuna as before.

120.

Literally, “our (= my) reason,” asmākaṃ eva nidānam, i.e. the reason for what I do. The expression is obscure, but it seems to mean that even the brāhmanic teaching, if followed to its logical conclusion, would endorse renunciation of the world. This sentiment is not in D. (2. 248).

121.

Tava nidānam.

122.

This question is strangely placed. It does not occur here in the repetitions.

123.

Literally, “on the occasion for a husband,” bhartākāle. D. 2. 249 has bhattā bhattukāmānam, “husband of our heart’s desire” (Dial. 2. 279).

124.

Bhotīyas, pl. of bhotī, fem. of bhovant.

125.

Text has sahavratāye only, dative of purpose. Sahavratā is here the equivalent of Pali sahavyatā. At 2. 118 (text) it has a meaning more in accord with its supposed Sk. derivation from saha-vrata, namely, “communal devotion” or “belief held in common.” See vol. 2, p. 114, n. 9.

126.

See vol. 1, p. 25, n. 3.

127.

Ibid., n. 2.

128.

Ibid., p. 28, n. 1.

129.

Ibid., p. 4, n. 11.

130.

Ibid., p. 28, n. 3.

131.

Ibid., n. 4.

132.

Cittāni only in the text; it is obviously the latter part of a compound the first part of which must have been an adjective of this meaning to form the antithesis to paruṣacittāni. The apparatus affords no clue to the exact adjective missing.

133.

D., 2.250, has rājā raññam, “king of kings.”

134.

Nirūha, which Senart says is inexplicable. Possibly, however, it is for niruḍha,?“isolated” “removed”, from nir-ūh (uh) “to remove” etc. But, perhaps, Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) is right in saying that the meaning cannot be “a wild, deserted place” as people are shown to be present. Still, it obviously is antithetical to “town” or “village.”

135.

? Api hi jitam. See p. 177, n. 2.

136.

Utkhalitā, past part, from utkhalati. Senart, however, sees a difficulty here, and in his note on the passage would emend into utkalitā, from utkal “to open out”, “be cheerful”. D. 2. 250 has upakkhalanti, with the variant ukkhalanti, which the P.E.D. does not recognise. The right reading here, therefore, would seem to be utkhalitā as in the text. Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) says the form is semi-MIndic for utskhalati, “to trip”, “stumble.”

137.

Sc. the Seven Kings. Such a recital of an auspicious saying in order to counteract an ill omen is, of course, a commonplace of primitive custom and still survives in folklore. Cf. M. 2.209.

138.

In D. 2. 252 the object of the sūtra is shown to be doctrinal; it is given as a proof that renunciation always brings its reward. In the Mhuv., with its fondness for edifying tales, it is a jātaka illustrating and emphasising an incident in the Buddha’s career by recalling a similar one in a former life of his.