The Mahavastu (great story)

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

This page describes story of yashoda which is Chapter XXXIX 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 XXXIX - The story of Yaśoda

Note: The same story, with certain variations, is found in the Mahāvagga (V. 1.15ff). Windisch (op. cit., p. 26) points out that the details of Yasa’s (or Yaśoda’s) youth and upbringing formed the model for the later history of Gotama’s youth. See Yasa in D.P.N.

The Exalted One was staying in Benares, on the banks of the river Varaṇā,[1] teaching devas and men and so on.[2] Now on the banks of the river Varaṇā there was a huge banyan-tree with wide-spreading roots, a big trunk and thickly growing branches and leaves. It was a handsome, lovely tree, looming dark (402) like a black cloud.[3] A prayer which a man chanced to make at that banyan-tree was answered.[4] Therefore great veneration and honour were paid to the tree. Seeing what had happened to that man, other men and women, believing that the banyan-tree answered prayers, came and prayed to it. The banyan-tree became known to the whole of Benares as a tree which answered prayers,[5] for whatever a man prayed for at that tree came to pass.

There was once a man who approached a goddess to pray for prosperity. And quite by chance he secured it.[6] It is just like this that false beliefs arise.

In the city of Benares there was a guild-president who was rich, wealthy and opulent, having great possessions and property, much money and money’s worth, large treasuries and granaries, abundance of gold, silver and other resources, and a large number of elephants, horses, sheep and goats, and female and male slaves and servants. But he had no son. In order to try and have a son he made several hundreds of sacrifices and prayers, but without success.

Then the guild-president’s wife heard that on the banks of the river Varaṇā there was a banyan-tree which answered prayers;[7] whoever made a prayer there had the prayer answered. And so she said to the guild-president, “My good man, I have heard that on the banks of the river Varaṇā there is a big banyan-tree which answers prayers;[8] whoever prays at that tree has his prayer answered. Let us go there to the banyan-tree and pray for a son.”[9]

The guild-president then, with his retinue and with great pomp and ceremony, went to the banyan-tree. He rendered it great veneration and worship, and with his wife addressed a prayer to it, saying, (403) “We wish to have a son through thee.[10] If a son is born to me, I shall set up a shrine here and in it render thee great veneration and worship.”

Women are able to coerce men. When a man is successful, his wife is the cause of it. And when great heroes are slain in battle, women again are the cause of their misfortunes.

The guild-president’s wife also offered a prayer. “O banyan-tree,” said she, “thou art reputed to answer prayers. Just as the guild-president has promised thee a shrine and honour and worship, so I do also. But if thou dost not grant me a son, then shall I cut thee down to the very roots.”

Now a tree deva of the same name as the tree dwelt there, that is, in the banyan-tree there resided a deva called Banyan.[11] And when that deva was prayed to by the guild-president’s wife in that way, he became alarmed. “For,” said he, “I do not give to anyone, nor take away from anyone.[12] But now here is this guild-president’s wife who prays to me on these terms, namely, that if she does not have a son, she will have this dwelling-place of mine cut down with an axe.”

So Banyan the deva entreated[13] Śakra, lord of devas, saying to him, “O Kauśika,[14] I do not give to anyone nor take away from anyone. But now here is this guild-president who has rendered veneration and worship at my dwelling and offered up a prayer. This is then my request, that it be so arranged that this guild-president of Benares may have a son, lest my dwelling-place be cut down.” Śakra, the lord of devas, reassured Banyan the deva, saying, “Be not afraid. I will so arrange that he will have a son and that your dwelling-place be not cut down.”

(404) At that time in the world of the Trāyastriṃśa devas. there was a certain deva who was meritorious, distinguished, of great magic and power, who had rendered service to former perfect Buddhas, whose root of merit was mature, who was near nirvana, liable to only one more rebirth and in a condition to depart from[15] among the devas of Trāyas-triṃśa. Śakra, lord of the devas, spoke to him thus. “You are in a condition to depart, for the signs of it are manifest. You will therefore pass away hence and be reborn. Reappear then in the womb of the guild-president’s wife.” The deva replied to Śakra, lord of the devas, saying, “I do want to be reborn among men, for I should then take up the religious life following the teaching of the exalted Buddha and thus make an end of ill. But it will not do for me to be reborn in Benares in the guild-president’s family, because his family will provide me with pleasant things and bar the way to good states. I will, therefore, be reborn in some middle-class family. Then to my heart’s content and without impediment I shall embrace the religious life after the teaching of the Exalted One and shall make an end of ill.”

Śakra replied and said, “Set your heart on rebirth in that guild-president’s family. For I will see to it that you will go forth from home and embrace the religious life after the teaching of the Exalted One.” So at the bidding of Śakra, lord of the devas, that deva set his heart on the family of the guild-president, Oka.[16] Leaving the devas of Trāyastriṃśa he reappeared in the womb of the wife of the guild-president in Benares, and after a period of nine or ten months she was delivered.

She gave birth to a boy who was lovely, handsome, noble of appearance, possessing the perfect flower of beauty. When he was born, the guild-president celebrated joyous birthday festivities. (405) Drink and solid and soft foods, perfumes, garlands and ointments were dispensed to recluses and brahmans, to the poor and the beggars, and to other people. Oil, ghee and drink flowed in streams. When a week was up a number of brahmans skilled in astrology were summoned and bidden to give a name to the boy. They gave him a name, calling him Yaśoda. The brahmans were then regaled and served with solid and soft foods, given a large quantity[17] of gold and money,[18] and then dismissed. Four nurses were put in charge of Yaśoda. One anointed and bathed him; the second suckled him; the third washed off his faeces and urine, and the fourth carried him about in her arms. So the young Yaśoda grew up like a blue or red or white lotus.

As was said by the Exalted One:

The meritorious man grows like a banyan-tree; but the man of little merit becomes stunted like a tree planted in the roadway.[19]

When the lad had reached years of discretion[20] he was taught writing, mathematics,[21] mnemonics,[22] and business. His father had three palaces built for him, one for the winter, the second for the summer and the third for the rainy season, and established for him a harem of sixty thousand women. These palaces had staircases fitted by means of mechanical devices[23] which took five hundred men to bring up and remove. And when they were being brought up and removed the noise could be heard for half a yojana.

Now a kinsman[24] who had been to the eastern country on business returned home. The guild-president sent him a message, saying, (406) “Come and see the prowess of my son.” So the kinsman came to the guild-president’s house. The guild-president made him sit down on the same sofa as he. He then called for the young Yaśoda, who, having saluted his father and his kinsman, was also made to sit on the same sofa. So all three settled themselves on one and the same sofa.

Then it happened that the king sent a message to the guild-president, telling him that there was some urgent state business to be done and that he was to come at once. The guild-president said to his kinsman, “Sit here with the lad until I return from the king’s palace.” He then went to the king’s palace, and his kinsman, who was a layman, sat with the young lad Yaśoda.

Now when the kinsman saw the accomplishments of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, he thought, “Surely this boy must not be accepted[25] as a home-dweller, though he has such ample means of enjoyment at his disposal. There is no doubt that he is to be accepted as one who has rendered service to a Buddha, Pratyekabuddhas and distinguished disciples, who has been given all good qualities, has the memory of past lives,[26] has achieved a previous association with a Buddha,[27] who is unique, and who has planted the roots of merit.[28] If the lad were to see the exalted Buddha, the deva above all devas, it would do him great good.”[29] The layman then said, “My boy, all youth ends in old age, all good health in sickness, all life in death, and all prosperity in adversity. From all things dear and pleasant sooner or later there comes parting[30] and separation and deprivation. You will leave this father of yours or you will leave this life. Have you not, my boy, seen the Exalted One?” The lad asked, “Whom do you mean by the Exalted One?” The layman answered and said, “I mean the deva who is above all devas, the Exalted One, Tathāgata, Arhan, perfect Buddha, (407) who is gifted with knowledge and conduct, the Sugata, the peerless knower of the world, the driver of tameable men, teacher of devas and men, who has the thirty-two marks of a Great Man and his eighty lesser characteristics, whose body is radiant, who is gifted with the eighteen special attributes of a Buddha, who is strong with the ten powers of a Tathāgata, who is confident on the four grounds of confidence, who is gracious and comforting, who has his faculties and mind under control, who has attained the utmost perfection of self-restraint and calm, who is like a Nāga, who has accomplished his task, whose faculties are turned inwards not outwards, who is resolute and has attained conformity with the dharma, who is a Nāga with his faculties well-guarded and subdued, who is transparent as a pool, not turbid, but serene, erect like a bejewelled or golden sacrificial post, who shines in glory like a flame of fire, who is lovely, not repellent to behold. He is staying here in Benares, on the farther bank of the river Varaṇā, himself released and with a company of men who are released, himself tranquil and with a company of men who are tranquil, himself self-controlled and with a company of men who are self-controlled, himself a brāhman[31] and with a company of men who are brahmans, himself learned[32] and with a company of men who are learned, himself bathed[33] and with a company of men who have bathed, himself expert in knowledge[34] and with a company of men who are expert in knowledge, himself having passed beyond ill and with a company of men who have passed beyond ill, himself standing on firm ground and with a company of men standing on firm ground. He has left behind him all wrong states and has won all good states. He is triumphant and invincible. He has insight into wisdom and what is good. He has mastery and exercises mastery. He fares on, teaching what is good to devas and men.”

Thus did the layman, his relative, speak the praises of the Buddha before the young lad Yaśoda. Now the young lad Yaśoda, because of his association with a Buddha in a former life,[35] was in his last existence. And there arose in him a desire to see the Exalted One. There arose in him, too, a feeling of disgust with his sensual pleasures. He gave his mind entirely to the thought of leaving home. To this did his heart turn, and there it stood and settled.

Now it happened that at midnight he woke up and saw the women of the harem asleep. One was clasping a vīṇa,[36] another a tūṇa,[37]another a sughoṣakā,[38] another a nakula,[39] another a veṇu,[40] another a mahatī,[41] another a vādiśa,[42] another a vikūṭaka,[43] another a bhramarikā,[44] another an ekādaśikā,[45] another a mṛdaṅga,[46] another an āliṅgikā,[47] another a paṇava,[48] and another a dardura,[49] Some had their arms round one another’s necks, some were holding up their chins, (408) and others were drivelling. When the young man saw this sorry change in his harem, there arose in him a presentiment of the burial-ground, and he became eager to leave home. “I will go forth from home,” said he, “into the homeless state in the company of the Exalted One.”

Then Śakra, lord of the devas, came with a retinue of countless thousands of devas carrying fragrant garlands. The stairs were brought up by the devas, and when Yaśoda had set his foot on the last step, the devas scattered a shower of celestial flowers so that in the guild-president’s house there was a sea of flowers a knee deep. Thus the young man, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of devas, left the city of Benares and went to where the Exalted One was. A radiance was shed by the Exalted One, and the noble Yaśoda beheld him on the farther bank of the river Varaṇā, lovely and attractive to look on.

He then doffed his bejewelled sandals,[50] and addressed the Exalted One in a verse:

“I am oppressed, O Recluse; I am oppressed, honoured sir.”

The Exalted One said, “Come, young man, be not afraid of this oppression. When you have heard this dharma of mine preached you will be rid of passion.”

Then Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, approached the Exalted One, bowed his head at his feet, and sat down to one side. And the Exalted One delivered to him an edifying discourse, that is to say, a discourse on charity, morality, heaven, merit and the ripening of merit. And Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, trustfully put his faith in the Exalted One.

The Exalted One then revealed to Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, the Four Noble Truths. He taught, made known, explained, communicated, manifested,[51] and revealed the noble truth of ill, the noble truth of the arising of ill, the noble truth of the cessation of ill and the noble truth of the course that leads to the cessation of ill. (409) And Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, as he sat there, attained the three superknowledges,[52] the six super-knowledges and mastery of the powers, and acquired[53] the various kinds of magic power.

But when the night was over the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, failing to find him, sobbed and wept. Accompanied by a large crowd of kinsfolk and thousands of other people, they left Benares and came to the Exalted One seeking after Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son. On the banks of the river Varaṇā the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, saw his bejewelled sandals. And on seeing them they picked them up and kissed them, weeping, crying, mourning and lamenting the while. Thus weeping, crying, mourning and lamenting they approached the Exalted One, bowed at his feet and said to him, “Has the Exalted One seen Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son?”

Now Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, was immersed in such rapt concentration of thought that neither his parents nor anyone else saw him sitting there. The Exalted One said to the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, “Sit down, layman. The opportunity is now here. Look at Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, and seeing him have faith in him.” Then the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, bowed at the feet of the Exalted One and sat down to one side, and so did the rest of the crowd.

Then the Exalted One mentally addressed Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, bidding him to display a miracle of magic. And Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, rose up in the air to the height of a palm-tree, and displayed various miracles of magic. From being one he became many; from many he became one. (410) He appeared standing over against a wall,[54] a rock and mountains without touching[55] them. He emerged from the ground and sank into it. Just as a man sinks into and rises from the water without dividing it,[56] so did he emerge from and sink into the ground. Sitting down cross-legged he stroked and touched the mighty and powerful moon and sun with his hand. He did what he liked with his body[57], even to flying up to Brahmā’s heaven.[58] He performed various miracles of double appearance.[59] The lower part of his body would be in flames, while five hundred jets of cold water streamed from the upper part. The upper part of his body would be in flames, while five hundred jets of cold water streamed from the lower part. His left side would be in flames, while five hundred jets of cold water streamed from his right side. His right side would be in flames while five hundred jets of cold water streamed from his left side.

Next Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, transformed himself by his magic power into a bull of a blue-black colour, which disappeared in the east and reappeared in the west. It disappeared in the west and reappeared in the east; it disappeared in the south and reappeared in the north; it disappeared in the north and reappeared in the south. Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, transformed himself by his magic power into a lion, king of beasts, fanged, powerful and maned, which thrice roared a lion’s roar. It then disappeared in the east and reappeared in the west; it disappeared in the west and reappeared in the east; (411) it disappeared in the south and reappeared in the north; it disappeared in the north and reappeared in the south. It disappeared from the earth and reappeared in the sky; it disappeared from the sky and reappeared on the earth.

By his magic power Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, transformed himself into an all-white[60] elephant, with six tusks, a red[61] head, and seven sturdy limbs, the colour of a white lotus. It disappeared in the east and reappeared in the west; it disappeared in the west and reappeared in the east; it disappeared in the south and reappeared in the north; it disappeared in the north and reappeared in the south. It disappeared from the earth and reappeared in the sky; it disappeared from the sky and reappeared on the earth.

Then Yaśoda, the young man of good family,[62] transformed himself into the guise of a universal king, possessing the seven treasures and attended by an army of the four arms. He disappeared in the east and reappeared in the west; he disappeared in the west and reappeared in the east; he disappeared in the south and reappeared in the north; he disappeared in the north and reappeared in the south. He disappeared from the earth and reappeared in the sky; he disappeared from the sky and reappeared on the earth.

Next Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, rose up in the air to the height of a palm-tree. He moved, he stood, he sat, he lay down,[63] he rushed around with his scorching heat.[64]

Just as in the last month of summer the winds called the “Smashers”[65] blow, so did Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, having risen in the air to the height of a palm-tree, move, stand, sit, lie down and rush about with his scorching heat. While he stood at the height of one or two palm-trees, from being one he became many, and from being many he became one. The story is to be continued as in the first chapter[66] up to—from the height of seven palm-trees (412) he descended to the height of six, from six to five, from five to four, from four to three, from three to two, from two to one, and from the height of one he descended to the ground. From being one he became many, and from being many he became one. He appeared standing over against a wall, a rock and mountains without touching them. He emerged from and sank into the ground. Rising up from the ground, he moved, stood, sat, lay down, and rushed about with his scorching heat.

Then two Wanderers belonging to other sects[67] and the female recluse Ulūkapakṣikabhaginī,[68] on seeing such various and divers miracles of magic performed by Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, were astonished, amazed, excited and thrilled that the well-proclaimed dharma and discipline of the exalted Gotama had been revealed, its swathings cut as with a stick.[69] And they said, “This is what comes of adornment, this is what comes of faith.[70] For when this man was taken up by his father he was dressed all in white, wearing garments of pure Benares cloth. His body was anointed with sandalwood ointment and he wore bracelets and earrings. And now he has realised this dharma.”

Then on that occasion the Exalted One made this solemn utterance touching Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son.

Not baldness, nor matted hair, nor mire, nor fasting, nor lying on the bare ground, nor dust and dirt,[71] nor striving when one is squatting on the ground,[72] brings freedom from ill.

Though he be brightly arrayed, if he live the life of dharma, calm, tamed, restrained, living the brahma-life, forbearing to use violence against all creatures, then is he a brahman, a recluse, a monk.

(413) The Exalted One then preached an edifying discourse on dharma to Yaśoda’s parents and the crowd of people with them, that is to say a discourse on charity, morality, heaven, merit and the ripening of merit. Yaśoda’s parents believed in the Exalted One, and the large crowd did likewise. The Exalted One revealed to Yaśoda’s parents and the large crowd the Four Noble Truths of ill, of the arising of ill, of the cessation of ill, and of the Way that leads to the cessation of ill. And while the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, were seated on those seats, they won the pure and stainless dharma-insight into things and came to understand the states[73] of several thousands of beings.

Then the parents of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, said to the Exalted One, “Lord, initiate Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son. O Sugata, ordain Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son.” And the Exalted One pronounced the formula of “Come, monk”, saying, “Come, monk, live the brahma-life under the Tathāgata.”

When Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, had been addressed with the words “Come, monk,” every mark of a layman, every badge, every emblem and every sign disappeared from him.”[74] He was seen to have the three robes and the sumbhaka[75] bronze bowl, his hair in its natural state, and his deportment established—all just like those of a monk who had been ordained a hundred years. Such then was the initiation of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son, his ordination and his admission as a monk.

Here ends the story of Yaśoda, the guild-president’s son.

Footnotes and references:


See D.P.N.


Vistareṇa nidānaṃ kṛtvā.


Añjanameghasaṃkāśa. But Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) says, against P.E.D., that there is no authority for the use of añjana as an adj. This example seems to prove him wrong.


Literally “flourished” or “prospered”, etc., samṛddha.


Literally, “known because of its being a thing having true prayer” satyopayācanāto abhijñāta.


Yadṛcchayā taṃ padamupaneti, “by accident (spontaneously) he reached that stage.” This follows Senart’s interpretation of upaneti as = upeti (upaiti), with n as a hiatus-bridger. See p. 86, n. 1, where reference is made to Edgerton’s stricture on this interpretation (Gram. § 4. 65), and his suggested alternative reading param upanamati. But it is not easy to give a translation of this new reading which would suit the context.


Satyopayācanam, a neuter substantive, not an adj. in agreement with nyagrodho. See n. 1.


Satyopayācano, an adj. here.


Cf. Sujātā’s offering to a banyan-tree, vol. 2, p. 126, n. 7.


Tava mūlāto, “from you”.


Or “Nyagrodha.”


The text here is difficult. Senart prints na kasya cidemināpi ācchindāmi, where eminā is inexplicable. Senart proposes to emend into cid manāpi (for manāgapi), and render “Je n’ai jamais été coupé (taking ācchindāmi in passive sense) si peu que ce fût (manāgapi) par personne.” Edgerton (B.H.S.D., s.v. acchindati) proposes a different restoration: ahaṃ na kasyaci demi nāpi ācchindāmi (adopting the form and meaning of Pali acchindati). This certainly gives a clear grammatical construction, and makes excellent sense. For the BSk. (= Pali) ācchindati (so written by Senart), see vol. 2, p. 434 (text) and vol. 3. 7 (text).


Adhīṣṭa, past. part. pass, of adhyeṣati. See B.H.S.D.


I.e., Śakra. See vol. 2, p. 49, n. 4 and p. 60, n. 10.




The first time he has been named.


Utsaṅga. This expression has already occurred in vol. 2, p. 421 (text), where the translator (vol. 2, p. 374, n. 2) has suggested that utsaṅga can well be taken, in its sense of “lap”. They were given, that is, a “lapful” of gold. This seems more natural than saying “a high-number” (say “myriads”) of gold. This latter is the sense given by Senart to utsaṅga, however, on the basis of Lal. Vist. 76. It is now seen that Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) gives it the same sense, but it is pertinent to note that he quotes the Tibetan definition of the word in the Mvyut. as meaning “lap-top”.


Hiraṇyasuvarṇa. Better, perhaps, “gold” simply.


This verse has already been quoted with reference to Ikṣvāku. See vol. 2, p. 423 (p. 376, trans.).




Nikṣepaṇa. See p. 394, n. 7.




Yantramantrayuktāni sopānāni.


Dvitīyakulika, which Senart interprets as “wife’s kinsman”. But Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) doubts this meaning, as it would require dvitīyā-, and he would prefer to give the word the meaning of “a second or fellow kinsman.” On the next page kulika alone is used.


Icchitavya, according to a normal use of Sk. icchati, “to wish”. See B.H.S.D., where, in apposition to Senart’s theory that icchitavya stands here for īkṣitavya, “to be regarded”, it is pointed out that in Pali and Prakrit icchati seems always to represent Sk. iṣ “to desire”, Still īkṣitavya is the more straightforwardly apposite word, though the sense is clear on either interpretation.




Kṛtapūrvayoga. Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) says that Senart in his note on 1.267 is wrong in assuming that pūrvayoga necessarily implies “réunion antérieure” with a Buddha. But the context here, and probably always, implies such an association. Cf. vol. 2, p. 245, n. 2.


Avaruptakuśalamūla. See vol. 2, p. 295, n. 3.


Literally, “he would be joined to or endowed with great good,” mahatārthena saṃyujyeya.


Nānābhāva. B.H.S.D. cites a similar usage in MPS. 3.


In the Buddhist sense of course, and so for the following brāhmanical terms. Cf. p. 396, n. 1.






Vedaka. See p. 397, n. 1.



Literally, “being endowed with a previous association.” Cf. p. 406, n. 3.


Indian lute. This list of musical instruments differs considerably from that in vol. II, p. 159 in a similar context. See trans. p. 154-5.


Tūṇaka in vol. 2, “perhaps a kind of drum” (B.H.S.D.)


Sughoṣa in vol. 2. Śee also vol. 1, p. 183, n. 3.


“A kind of musical instrument = AMg. ṇaula” (B.H.S.D.).


Flute or reed-pipe.


“Presumably a kind of lute. So in Sk. of Nārada’s seven-stringed lute” (B.H.S.D.).


“Represents, possibly corruptly, the same original as vevādika, the reading of the MSS. in vol. 2 which Senart restores there as vipañcika” (B.H.S.D.).


Not in vol. 2. “Some musical instrument” (B.H.S.D.).


Not in vol. 2. “AMg. bhamarikā, Sk. id., and Pali bhamarikā = “humming-top”. A kind of musical instrument (B.H.S.D.).


Ekādaśikā. Not in vol. 2, but cf. vol. 3, p. 70 (text).


A kind of drum or tabour.


Cf. āliṅga in vol. 2. “A kind of drum” (B.H.S.D.).


A small drum or tabour or kind of cymbal.


Not in Vol. 2. A flute.


Maṇipādukeṣu uttaritvā, “having stepped out of his sandals,” locative case for ablative.


Uttānīkaroti. Cf. Pali uttāna “open” (of countenance, mukha).


These three do not seem to be specified anywhere.


Pratyanubhavati. For this sense of the verb see B.H.S.D.


Literally, “he went to a manifestation over against a wall” āvirbhāvam tirokuḍyam... gacchati. Cf. D. 1.78 = A. 3.280.


Asajjamāna, Pali id., negative of pres. part. pass, of sañj.


This simile is much lengthened in translation so as to make it clearer. The phrase udake pi abhidyamāno corresponds to the Pali stock phrase in the description of this miracle—udake pi abhijjamāne. See P.E.D. for the numerous instances, in about half of which the reading is, however, abhijjamāno. On this reading and on that of the Mhvu. the translation is “(he goes in) the water without splitting it,” that is, the participle is to be taken as middle. On the other reading, we have “(he goes in) the water which is not split,” that is, the participle is passive. The point of the simile would seem to be that in rising from and sinking into the ground, he left no permanent mark on the surface, any more than he would do in the case of water.


See p. 186, n. 3.


See p. 186, n. 4.


See p. 115, n. 4.


Sarvaśveta, but his head was red.


Indragopa (or indrogopaka). In Sk. and Pali both forms denote a red insect. According to B.R. “the cochineal insect” (B.H.S.D.). Miss I. B. Horner, in a letter, gives it as her opinion that the colour denoted by indragopa is that of a lady-bird, pinkish or vermilion.




Literally, “made his bed”, śeyyām (Pali id., Sk. śayyām) kalpayati. Cf. Pali seyyaṃ kappeti.


Literally, “he scorched all round and rushed all round,” paritapati pi paribhramati pi.


So Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) for saṅghaṭṭakā, a name given to the monsoon winds. Only here apparently.


Parivartake. The “first chapter” presumably refers to the beginning of the account of Yaśoda’s magic-working, where, however, the stock description of rising in the air by stages of the height of one palm-tree to that of seven is not given.


The translation here is a summary to avoid the cumbersome and obscure terms denoting each sectarian. As the female recluse is said to be third, trityā, implying a series of three sectaries, it is assumed (so Senart) that her companions were two male sectaries, a traidaṇḍikamānandikaguruputraka and a gautamadharmacintikavṛddhaśrāvaka. Otherwise these two long compounds admit of being split up into the names of several sects. Thus traidaṇḍika “carrying the tripod” is a Brāhman ascetic (B.H.S.D. According to schmidt, there quoted, a Śaiva); ānandika is “a kind of ascetic(?)” (B.H.S.D.); guruputraka, “some kind of heretical ascetic or sectarian” (B.H.S.D.); gautama, “name of a non-Buddhist sect” (B.H.S.D. with instances from Śikṣ. 331 and Lal. Vist. 380); dharmacintika, “apparently some kind of heretical ascetic” (B.H.S.D. citing only this instance); vṛddhaśrāvaka, “according to pw. a Śivaitic mendicant monk” (B.H.S.D., citing another instance from Lal. Vist. 380).


Senart takes this to be a proper name, but it would be possible to take it as meaning “a sister wearing a dress or decoration of owl’s feathers” (ulūkapakṣika, Pali ulūkapakkhika). See B.H.S.D.


Daṇḍachinnapilotika. For chinnapilotika see p. 64, n. 5. The force of daṇḍa, “stick”, however, is obscure, and it is apparently found only here in this connection.


Alaṃ alaṃkārāya alaṃ prasādāya.


Rajojalam, which would in itself mean dust and water. But there can be no doubt that the word is intended for rajojallam, as in the Pali version of these verses, i.e., Dh. 141-2. The verses also occur at Divy. 339, where the word appears as rajomalam, “dirt and impurity.


Utkuṭukapradhānam, Pali ukkuṭikappadhānam (Dh. 141)


Adhigatā ca dharmā.


See p. 67, n. 2.


See p. 67, n. 3.

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