Long Discourses

The Great Chapter

19. The Lord High Steward

Thus have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying at Rājagaha on Vulture-peak Hill. Now when the night was far spent, Five-crest of the Gandhabba fairies, beautiful to see, irradiating the whole of Vulture-peak, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and saluted him, and stood on one side. So standing Five-crest the Gandhabba addressed the Exalted One, and said—

‘The things, lord, that I have seen, the things I have noted when in the presence of the gods in the heaven of the Three-and-Thirty, I would tell to the Exalted One.’

‘Tell thou me, Five-crest,’ said the Exalted One.

‘In days gone by, lord, in days long long gone by, on the Fifteenth, the holy-day, at the Feast of the Invitations on the night of full moon, all the gods in the heaven of the Thirty-Three were assembled, sitting in their Hall of Good Counsel. And a vast celestial company was seated round about, and at the four quarters of the firmament sat the Four Great Kings. There was Dhataraṭṭha, king of the East, seated facing the west, presiding over his host; Virūḷhaka, king of the South, seated facing the north, presiding over his host; Virupakkha, king of the West, seated facing the east, presiding over his host; and Vessava a, king of the North, seated facing the south, presiding over his host. Whenever, lord, all the gods in the heaven of the Thirty-Three are assembled, and seated in their Hall of Good Counsel, with the vast celestial company seated around them, and with the Four Great Kings at the four quarters of the firmament, this is the order of the seats of the four. After that come our seats. And those gods, lord, who had been recently reborn in the hosts of the Three-and-Thirty because they had lived the higher life under the Exalted One, they outshone the other gods in appearance and in glory. Thereat, verily, lord, the Three-and-Thirty gods were glad and of good cheer, were filled with joy and happiness, saying, “Verily, sirs, the celestial hosts are waxing; the hosts of the titans are waning!”

‘Then Sakka, lord, ruler of the gods, when he saw the satisfaction felt by the Three-and-Thirty gods, expressed his approval in these verses—

The Three-and-Thirty, verily, both gods and lord, rejoice,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime,
Whereas they see these gods new-risen, beautiful and bright,
Who erst the holy life had lived, under the Happy One,
The Mighty Sage’s hearers, who had won to higher truths,
Come hither; and in glory all the other gods outshine.
This they behold right gladly, both lord and Thirty-Three,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime.

‘Then Sakka, lord, perceiving the satisfaction of the Three-and-Thirty gods, addressed them thus—

“Is it your wish, gentlemen, to hear eight truthful items in praise of that Exalted One?” “It is our wish, sir, to hear them.” Then Sakka, lord, ruler of the gods, uttered before the Three-and-Thirty gods these eight truthful items in praise of the Exalted One—

“Now what think ye, my lords gods Three-and-Thirty? Inasmuch as the Exalted One has so wrought for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, for the advantage, the good, happiness of gods and men, out of compassion for the world—a teacher of this kind, of this character, we find not, whether we survey the past or whether we survey the present—save only the Exalted One.

“Inasmuch, again, as the Doctrine has been proclaimed by that Exalted One, a Doctrine for the life that now is, a Doctrine not for mere temporary gain, a Doctrine of welcome and of guidance, to be comprehended by the wise each in his own heart—a preacher of such a Doctrine so leading us on, a teacher of this kind, of this character we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only the Exalted One.

“‘This is good; that is bad’—well has this been revealed by that Exalted One, well has he revealed that this is wrong, and that is right, that this is to be followed, that to be avoided, that this is base and that noble, that this is of the Light and this of the Dark. Such a Revelation of the nature of things, a teacher of this kind, of this character we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only the Exalted One.

“Well revealed, again, to his disciples by that Exalted One is the Way leading to Nirvana; they run one into the other, Nirvana and the Way. Even as the waters of the Ganges and the Jumna now one into the other, and go on together united, so it is with that well-revealed Way leading to Nirvana; they run one into the other, Nirvana and the Way. A revealer of such a Way leading to Nirvana, a teacher of this kind, of this character we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only that Exalted One.

“Comrades too has this Exalted One gotten, both students only, travelling along the Way, and Arahants who have lived the life. Them does he not send away, but dwells in fellowship with them whose hearts are set on one object. A teacher so dwelling, of this kind, of this character, we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only that Exalted One.

“Well established are the gifts made to that Blessed One, widely established is his fame, so much so that the nobles, methinks, continue well disposed towards him. Yet notwithstanding, that Exalted One takes sustenance with a heart unintoxicated by pride. One so living, a teacher of this kind, of this character, we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only that Exalted One.

“The acts, again, of that Exalted One conform to his speech; his speech conforms to his acts. One who has so carried out hereby the greater and the lesser matters of the Law, a teacher of this kind, of this character, we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present; save only that Exalted One.

“Crossed, too, by that Exalted One has been the sea of doubt, gone by for him is all question of the ‘how’ and ‘why,’ accomplished for him is every purpose with respect to his high resolve and the ancient rule of right. A teacher who has attained thus far, of this kind, of this character, we find not, whether we survey the past, or whether we survey the present, save only that Exalted One.”

‘These eight true praises, lord, of the Exalted One did Sakka, ruler of the gods, utter before the Three-and-Thirty gods. Hereat the Three-and-Thirty gods were even more abundantly pleased, gladdened and filled with joy and happiness over the things they had heard.

‘Then certain gods, lord, spoke thus—“Oh, sir! If only four supreme Buddhas might arise in the world and teach the Doctrine even as the Exalted One! That would make for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for compassion to the world, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men.”

‘And certain other gods spoke thus—“It would suffice, sir, if there arose three supreme Buddhas in the world.”

‘And certain other gods spoke thus—“It would suffice, sir, if two supreme Buddhas arose in the world … for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men.”

‘Then answered Sakka, ruler of the gods to the Three-and-Thirty—“Nowhere, gentlemen, and at no time is it possible that, in one and the same world-system, two Arahant Buddhas supreme should arise together, neither before nor after the other. This can in no wise be. Ah, gentlemen! Would that this Blessed One might yet live for long years to come, free from disease and free from suffering! That would make for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for loving compassion to the universe, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men!

‘Then, lord, the Three-and-Thirty gods having thus deliberated and taken counsel together concerning- the matter for which they were assembled and seated in the Hall of Good Counsel, with respect to that matter the Four Kings were receivers of the spoken word, the Four Great Kings were receivers of the admonition given, remaining the while in their places, not retiring.

Taking the uttered word and speech, the kings stood there, serene and calm, each in his place.

‘Then, lord, from out of the North came forth a splendid light, and a radiance shone around, surpassing the divine glory of the gods. Then did Sakka, ruler of the gods, say to the dwellers in the heaven of the Three-and-Thirty—“According, gentlemen, to the signs now seen, the light that ariseth, the radiance that appeareth—will Brahma now be made manifest. For this is the herald sign of the manifestation of Brahma, when the light ariseth and the glory shineth.

Even by yonder signs great Brahma draweth nigh. For this is Brahma’s sign, this glorious splendour vast.

Then, lord, the Three-and-Thirty gods sat down again in their own places, saying—“We will ascertain what shall be the result of this radiance; when we have realized it, we will go to meet him.” The Four Kings also sat down in their places, saying the same- And when they heard that, the Three-and-Thirty gods were all agreed saying: “We will ascertain what will be the result of this radiance; when we have verified it, we will go to meet him.”

‘When, lord, Brahma Sanaṅkumāra appears before the Three-and-Thirty gods, he manifests himself as an individual of relatively gross substance which he has specially created. For Brahma’s usual appearance is not sufficiently materialized for the scope of the sight of the Three-and-Thirty gods. And, lord, when Brahma Sanaṅkumāra is manifested before these gods, he outshines the other gods in his appearance and his glory. Just as a figure made of gold outshines the human frame, so, when Brahma Sanaṅkumāra is manifested before the Three-and-Thirty gods, does he outshine the other gods in his appearance and his glory. And when, lord, Brahma Sanaṅkumāra is manifested before the Three-and-Thirty gods, not one god in that assembly salutes him, or rises up, or invites him to be seated. They all sit in silence with folded hands and cross-legged, each thinking: ‘Of whichever god Brahma Sanaṅkumāra now desires anything, he will seat himself on that god’s divan. And that god by whom he does so seat himself is filled with a sublime satisfaction, a sublime happiness, even as a khattiya king that is just anointed and crowned, is filled with a sublime satisfaction, a sublime happiness.

‘Then, lord, Brahma Sanaṅkumāra, perceiving how gratified were those Three-and-Thirty gods, uttered his approval while invisible in these verses—

The Three-and-Thirty, verily, both gods and lord, rejoice,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime,
Whereas they see these gods new-risen, beautiful and bright,
Who erst the holy life had lived, under the Happy One,
The Mighty Sage’s hearers, who had won to higher truths,
Come hither; and in glory all the other gods outshine.
This they behold right gladly, both lord and Thirty-Three,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime.

‘This, lord, was the substance of Brahma the Eternal Youth’s speech. And he spoke it with a voice of eightfold quality—a voice that was fluent, intelligible, sweet and audible, sustained and distinct, deep and resonant. And whereas, lord, he made himself audible to that assembly by his voice, the sound thereof did not penetrate beyond the assembly. He whose voice has these eight qualities is said to have a Brahma-voice.

‘Then, lord, to Brahma the Eternal Youth the Three-and-Thirty gods spoke thus—

“’Tis well, O Brahma! We do rejoice at this that we have noted. Moreover Sakka, ruler of the gods, hath rehearsed to us eight truthful praises of that Exalted One, and these too we have marked and do rejoice thereat.”

‘Then, lord, Brahma the Eternal Youth spoke thus to Sakka, ruler of the gods—“Tis well, O ruler of the gods; we too would hear the eight truthful praises of that Exalted One.”

“So be it, O Great Brahma,” replied Sakka. And thereupon, beginning “Now what thinketh my lord, the Great Brahma?” [He uttered once more those eight truthful praises of the Blessed One, §§ 21-27]. Hereat, lord, Brahma the Eternal Youth was pleased and gladdened, and was filled with joy and happiness when he had heard those praises.

‘And so, lord, Brahma the Eternal Youth materializing himself and becoming in appearance like the youth Five-crest, manifested himself to the Three-and-Thirty gods, and rising up into the air, he sat down cross-legged in the sky. Just, lord, as easily as a strong man might sit down cross-legged on a well-spread divan or a smooth piece of ground, even so did Brahma the Eternal Youth, rising up into the air, sit down cross-legged in the sky. And he addressed the Three-and-Thirty gods thus—

“Now what think ye, my lord gods Thirty-and-Three? For how long hath the Blessed One been of great wisdom?

Once upon a time there was a king named Disampati. And king Disampati’s minister was a brahmin named Govinda (the Steward). And king Disampati had a son named Reṇu, and Govinda had a son named Jotipāla. And prince Reṇu and the young Jotipāla and six other young nobles—these eight—were great friends. Now in the course of years Govinda died. And king Disampati mourned for him, saying—‘Alas! Just when we had devolved all our duties on Govinda the brahmin, and were surrounded by and giving ourselves up to the pleasures of sense, Govinda has died!’

Then said prince Reṇu to the king—‘Mourn not, sire, so excessively for Govinda, the brahmin. Govinda has a son, young Jotipāla, who is wiser than his father was, better able to see what is profitable than his father. Let Jotipāla administer all such affairs as were entrusted to his father.’

‘I do, sire.’

Then king Disampati summoned a man and said: ‘Come you, good man, go to Master Jotipāla, and say to him—May good fortune attend the honourable Jotipāla! King Disampati calls for the honourable Jotipāla. King Disampati would like to see the honourable Jotipāla.’

‘So be it, sire,’ responded the man, and going to Jotipāla he repeated the message.

‘Very good, sir,’ responded Jotipāla, and went to wait upon the king. And when he had come into the king’s presence, he exchanged with the king the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and sat down on one side. Then said king Disampati to Jotipāla—“We would have the honourable youth Jotipāla administer for us. Let him not refuse to do so. I will set him in his father’s place and appoint him to the Stewardship.”

‘So be it, sire,’ replied Jotipāla in assent.

So king Disampati appointed Jotipāla as his Steward, and set him in his father’s place. And thus appointed and installed, whatever matters his father had administered, those did Jotipāla administer; and whatever his father had not administered, those matters did he too not administer. And whatever works his father had accomplished, and no others, even such works, and no others, did he too accomplish. Of him men said—‘The brahmin is verily a Steward! A Great Steward is verily this brahmin!’ And on this wise Jotipāla came to be called the High Steward.

Now it came to pass that the Great Steward went to those six nobles, and said to them: ‘Disampati the king is old and wasted with age, full of years, and arrived at the term of life. Who indeed can answer for the survival of the living? When the king dies, it will behove the king-makers to anoint Reṇu the prince as king. I suggest, gentlemen, that you wait on prince Reṇu, and say to him thus: ‘We are the dear, beloved, and congenial friends of our lord Reṇu. We are happy when our lord is happy; unhappy when he is unhappy. Disampati, our lord king, is old and wasted with age, full of years and arrived at the term of life. Who indeed can answer for the living? When the king dies, it will behove the kin-makers to anoint our lord Reṇu kin. If our lord Reṇu should gain the sovereignty, let him divide it with us.”’

‘So be it,’ responded the six nobles, and waiting upon prince Reṇu they repeated these words to him.

‘Why, sirs, who besides myself ought to prosper in this realm if it be not you? If I, sirs, shall gain the sovereignty, I will divide it with you.’

And it came to pass in course of time that king Disampati died. And after his death, the kingmakers anointed Reṇu his son king. And he, when he was made king, lived surrounded by and given up to the pleasures of sense. Then the High Steward went to those six nobles and said thus—

‘Disampati, gentlemen, is dead, and my lord Reṇu lives surrounded by and given up to the pleasures of sense. Well, gentlemen, who can say? The pleasures of sense are intoxicating, I would suggest, gentlemen, that you wait on king Reṇu and say to him: “King Disampati, my lord, is dead, my lord Reṇu is anointed king. Does my lord remember his promise?”

‘Very good, sir,’ responded the six nobles, and going into Reṇu’s presence, they said—

‘King Disampati, sire, is dead, and my lord Reṇu is anointed king. Does my lord remember his promise?’

‘Who, sire, is able if it be not the Great Steward, the brahmin?’

Then king Reṇu sent a man to the Great Steward, saying—‘Come, my good fellow, go to the Great Steward, the brahmin, and say: “The king has sent for you, my lord.” And the Great Steward was told and obeyed, and, coming into the king’s presence, exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and sat down on one side. Then said the king to him: ‘Will you go, my lord Steward, and so divide this great earth wide on the north and…. on the south into seven equal portions, all …’

‘Very good, sire,’ responded the High Steward, [And this he did.]

And king Reṇu’s country held the central position. As it is said—

Dantapura of the Kalingas, and Potana for the Assakas,
Mahissati for the Avantis, and Roruka in the Sovīra land.
Mithila of the Videhas, and then Campā among the Aṅgas,
Lastly Benares in the Kāsi realm—
all these did the Great Steward wisely plan.

Then were those six nobles well pleased each with his allotted gain, and at the success of his plan. For they said—‘What we wished for, what we desired, what we intended, what we aimed at, lo, that is what we have gotten!’ And the seven kings were named—

Sattabhu and Brahmadatta, Vessabhu with Bhārata, Kenu and two Dhataraṭṭhas—These are the seven Bhāratas.

Here ends the first Portion for Recitation.

Now those six nobles came to the High Steward and said to him—‘Just as the honourable Steward was dear, beloved and congenial as companion to Reṇu the king, so has he been also to us a companion, dear, beloved and congenial. We would that the honourable Steward administer our affairs; we trust he will not refuse to do so.’

‘Very good, sirs,’ replied the Great Steward. And so he instructed those seven anointed kings in government; and he taught the mantras to seven eminent and wealthy Brahmins and to seven hundred young graduates.

Now later on the excellent reputation of the brahmin, the High Steward, was noised abroad after this fashion—‘With his own eyes the High Steward sees Brahma! Face to face does the High Steward commune with Brahma, converse and take counsel with Him!’ Then the High Steward thought: This flattering rumour is noised abroad about me, that I both see Brahma and hold converse with Him. Now I neither see Him, nor commune with Him, nor converse or take counsel with Him. But I have heard aged and venerable brahmins, teachers and pupils, say: “He who remains in meditation the four months of the rains, and practises the ecstasy of pity, he sees Brahma, communes, converses, takes counsel with Brahma? What if I now were to cultivate that discipline?”’

So the High Steward waited on king Reṇu, and telling him of the reputation imputed to himself, and of his wish to practise seclusion, added: ‘I wish, sir, to meditate during the four months of the rains and to practise the ecstasy of pity. Noone is to come near me save someone who will bring me my meals.’

‘Do, honourable Steward, whatever seems to you fit.’

And the High Steward went round to each of the six nobles, told them the same, and took his leave of them also.

Then he went to those seven eminent and wealthy Brahmins, and to the seven hundred graduates, and telling them [too of the rumours and of his wish to practise seclusion], said—‘Wherefore, sirs, according as you have heard the mantras and have committed them to memory, continue to rehearse them in full, and teach them to each other. I, sirs, wish to meditate during the four months of the rains, and to practise the ecstasy of pity. No one is to come near me save someone who shall bring me my meals.’

‘Do, honourable Steward, whatever seems to you fit.’

Next the High Steward went to his forty wives who were all on an equality, and told them [too of the rumours and of his wish to practise ecstasy in seclusion. And they replied like the others.]

Then the High Steward had a new rest-house built eastward of the city, and there for the four months of the rains he meditated, rapt in the Ecstasy of Pity; nor did anyone have access to him save one who brought him his meals. But when the four rainy months were over, then verily came disappointment and anguish over him as he thought: ‘Here have I heard aged and venerable brahmins, teachers and their pupils, say: “He who remains in meditation the four months of the rains, and practises the Ecstasy of Pity, he sees Brahma, communes, converses, and takes counsel with Brahma.” But I see not Brahma, I commune not, nor converse, nor take counsel with Him.’

Then Brahma, the Eternal Youth, when in his mind he knew the thoughts of the High Steward’s mind, vanished from his heaven, and, like a strong man shooting his arm out or drawing back his out-shot arm, appeared before the High Steward. Then verily came fear, then came trembling upon the High Steward, then did the hair of his flesh stand up * when he saw this thing that had never been seen before. And he, full of fear and dread with stiffening hair, addressed Brahma the Eternal Youth in these verses—

‘O Vision fair, O glorious and divine!
Who art thou, lord?
Knowing thee not we ask,
That we may know!’

‘To a Brahma Blest
Let seat and water for the feet and sweet
Cooked cakes and drink be brought.
We ask what gift The Lord would take.
Would he himself decide
The form for us.

‘Hereby we take thy gift, and now—whether it be for good and gain, in this thy present life, or for thy weal, in that which shall be—Thou hast leave. Come, ask, Govinda, whatsoe’er thou fain would’st have?’

Then the High Steward thought: ‘Leave is given me by Brahma the Eternal Youth! What now shall I ask of him, some good thing for this life, or a future good?’ [24l] Then it occurred to him: ‘I am an expert regarding what is profitable for this life. Even others consult me about that. What now if I were to ask Brahma the Eternal Youth for something of advantage in a life to come?’ And he addressed the god in these verses—

‘I ask the Brahma, the Eternal Youth,
Him past all doubt I, doubting, ask about
The things that others would fain know about.
Wherein proficient, in what method trained
Can mortal reach th’ immortal world of Brahm?’

‘He among men, O Brahmin, who eschews
All claims of “me “and “mine”;
he in whom thought
Rises in lonely calm, in pity rapt,
Loathing all foul things, dwelling in chastity—
Herein proficient, in such matters trained,
Mortal can reach th’ immortal heav’n of Brahm.’

‘What the Lord saith touching “eschewing all claims of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ I understand. It is to renounce all property whether it be small or large, and to renounce all family life, whether the circle of one’s kin be small or large, and with hair and beard cut off and yellow robes donned, to go forth from the home into the homeless life. Thus do I understand this.

‘What the Lord saith touching “thought rising in lonely calm” I understand. It is when one chooses a solitary abode—the forest, at the foot of a tree, a mountain brae, a grotto, a rock-cavern, a cemetery, or a heap of grass out in the open field. Thus do I understand this .

‘What the Lord saith touching “in pity rapt” I understand. It is when one continues to pervade one quarter of the horizon with a heart charged with pity, and so the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere does one continue to pervade with a heart charged with pity, far-reaching, expanded, infinite, free from wrath and ill will. Thus do understand this.

‘Only in what He saith touching “loathing the foul “do I not understand thee, Lord.

‘What mean’st thou by “foul odours among men,” O Brahma, here I understand thee not. Tell what these signify, who knowest all. When cloaked and clogged by what is man thus foul, Hell-doomed, and shut off from the heaven of Brahm?’

‘Anger and lies, deceit and treachery,
Selfishness, self-conceit and jealousy,
Greed, doubt, and lifting hands ‘gainst fellow men,
Lusting and hate, dulness and pride of life—
When yoked with these man is of odour foul,
Hell-doomed, and shut out from the heav’n of Brahma.’

‘As I understand the word of the Lord concerning these “foul odours”, they cannot easily be suppressed if one live in the world. I will therefore go forth from the home into the life of the homeless state.’

‘Do, lord steward, whatever seems to you fit.’

Then the High Steward waited on king Reṇu and said to him— ‘Will my lord now seek another minister, who will administer my lord’s affairs? I wish to leave the world for the homeless life. I am going forth in accordance with the word of Brahma which I have heard concerning foul odours. These cannot be easily suppressed when one is living in the world.’

‘King Reṇu, lord o’ the land, I here declare—do thou thyself take thought for this thy realm! I care no longer for my ministry.’

‘If for thy pleasures aught there lacketh yet,
I’ll make it good. If any injure thee,
Them I’ll restrain, warlord and landlord I!
Thou art my father, Steward, lo! I am thy son!
Abide with us, Govinda, leave us not.’

‘Naught lack I for my pleasures,
nor is there One who doth injure me.
But I have heard Voices unearthly.
Henceforth home holds me not.’

What like is this Unearthly?
What did He say to thee,
that having heard thou will straightway
Forsake our house and us and all the world?’

‘Ere I had passed through this Retreat,
my care was for due altar-rites,
the sacred fire was kindled,
strewn about with kusa-grass.
But lo! Brahma I saw, from Brahma’s heav’n, Eternal god.
I asked; he made reply; I heard.
And now irksome is home to me.’

‘Lo! I believe the words that thou hast said, Govinda,
Having heard the Unearthly Voice.
How could it be thou should’st act otherwise?
Thee will we follow after.
Be our guide, our teacher!
So, like gem of purest ray,
Purg’d of all dross, translucent, without flaw—
As pure as that we’ll walk according to thy word.’

‘If the honourable Steward goes forth from the home into the homeless, I too will do the like. For whither thou goest, I will go.’

Then the High Steward, the brahmin, waited upon the six nobles, and said to them: ‘Will my lords now seek another minister who will administer my lords’ affairs? I wish to leave the world for the homeless life. I am going forth in accordance with the word of Brahma which I have heard concerning-foul odours. These cannot be easily suppressed when one is living in the world.’

Then the six nobles went aside together and thus deliberated—‘These brahmin folk are greedy for money. What if we were to gain him over through money?’ And coming to the High Steward they said—‘There is abundance of property, sir, in these seven kingdoms. Wherefore, sir, take of it as much as seems profitable to you.’

‘Enough, sirs! I have already abundant possessions, thanks to the action of my lords. It is that luxury that I am now relinquishing in leaving the world for the homeless life, [even as I have told you].’

Then the six nobles went aside together, and thus deliberated: ‘These brahmin folk are greedy about women. What if we, were to gain him over through women?’ And coming to the High Steward they said: ‘There is, sir, in those seven kingdoms abundance of women. Wherefore, sir, conduct away with you as many as you want.’

‘Enough, sirs! I have already these forty wives equal in rank. All of them I am forsaking in leaving the world for the homeless life, [even as I have told you].’

‘If the honourable Steward goes forth from the home into the homeless life, we too will do the like. Whither thou goest we will go.’

If ye would put off fleshly lusts
that worldling’s heart coerce,
Stir ye the will,
wax strong,
firm in the power of patience.
This is the Way, the Way that’s Straight,
the Way unto the End,
The Righteous Path that good men guard,
to birth in Brahma’s heaven.’

‘Wherefore, my lord Steward, wait yet seven years, and when they are over, we too will go forth from the world into the homeless life. Whither thou goest we will go.’

‘Too long, my lords, are seven years! I cannot wait for my lords seven years. For who can answer for the living? We must go toward the future, we must learn by wisdom, we must do good, we must walk in righteousness, for there is no escaping death for all that’s born. Now I am going forth in accordance with the word of Brahma which I have heard concerning foul odours. They cannot be easily suppressed when one is living in the world.’

‘Well then, lord Steward, wait for us six years … [or] wait five years … four years … three … two years … one year. When a year has gone by we too will leave the world for the Homeless State. Whither thou goest we will go.’

‘Too long, my lords, is one year. I cannot wait for my lords one year. For who can answer for the living? We must go towards the future, we must learn by wisdom, we must do good, we must walk in righteousness, for there is no escaping death for all that’s born. Now I am going forth in accordance with the word of Brahma which I have heard concerning foul odours. They cannot easily be suppressed when one is living in the world.’

‘Well then, lord Steward, wait for us seven months … six months … five … four … three … two months … one month … half a month … seven days, till we have devolved our kingdoms on to our sons and brothers. When seven days are over, we will leave the world for the Homeless State. Whither thou goest we will go.’

‘Seven days, my lords, is not a long time. I will wait, my lords, for seven days.’

Then the High Steward, the brahmin, came to those seven eminent and wealthy brahmins and to those seven hundred graduates, and said—‘Will ye now seek another teacher, sirs, who will (by repetition) teach you the mystic verses? I wish to leave the world for the homeless life. I am going forth in accordance with the word of Brahma which I have heard concerning foul odours. These cannot easily be suppressed when one is living in the world.’

‘Let the honourable Steward not leave the world for the homeless life! Leaving the world means little power and little gain; to be a brahmin brings great power and great gain.’

‘Speak not so, gentlemen, of leaving the world or of being a brahmin. Who for that matter has greater power or wealth than I? I, sirs, have been hitherto as a king of kings, as Brahma to brahmins, as a deity to householders. And this, all this, I put away in leaving the world, in accordance with the word of Brahma…’

‘If the lord Steward leaves the world for the Homeless State, we too will do the like. Whither thou goest, we will go.’

Then the High Steward, the Brahmin, went to his forty wives, all on an equality, and said—‘Will each of you, ladies, who may wish to do so, go back to her own family and seek another husband? I wish, ladies, to leave the world for the homeless life, in accordance with the word of Brahma …’

And so the High Steward, the brahmin, when those seven days were past, let his hair and beard be cut off, donned the yellow robes and went forth from his home into the Homeless State. And he having so acted, the seven kings also, anointed khattiyas, as well as the seven eminent and wealthy brahmins and the seven hundred graduates, the forty wives all on an equality, several thousand nobles, several thousand brahmins, several thousand commoners and several young women from women’s quarters, let their hair be cut, donned the yellow robes and went forth from their homes into the Homeless State. And so, escorted by this company, the High Steward, the brahmin, went a-wandering through the villages, towns, and cities. And whether he arrived at village or town or city, there he became as a king to kings, as Brahma to brahmins, as a deity to commoners. And in those days when any one sneezed or slipped, they called out—‘Glory be to the High Steward, the brahmin! Glory be to the Minister of Seven!’

Now the High Steward, the brahmin, continued to pervade each of the four quarters of the horizon with a heart charged with love … with pity … with sympathy in joy … with equanimity. And so the whole wide world above, below, around, and everywhere did he continue to pervade with heart charged with equanimity, far-reaching, expanded, infinite, free from wrath and ill will. And he taught to disciples the way to union with the world of Brahma.

Now all they who at that time had been the High Steward’s disciples and in all points wholly understood his teaching, were after their death reborn into the blissful world of Brahma. They who had not in all points wholly understood his teaching, were after their death reborn into the company either of the gods who Dispose of Joys purveyed from without, or of the gods of the Heaven of Boundless Delight, or of the gods of the Heavens of Bliss, or of the Yama gods, [25l] or of the Three-and-Thirty gods, or of the gods who are the Four Kings of the Horizon. Even they who accomplished the lowest realm of all, attained to the realm of the Gandhabba fairies.

Thus of all those clansmen there was not one whose renunciation proved vain or barren; in each case it bore fruit and development.’

‘Does the Exalted One remember?’

‘I do remember, Five-crest. I was the High Steward of those days. I taught my disciples the way to communion with the Brahma world. But, Five-crest, that religious life did not conduce to detachment, to passionlessness, to cessation of craving, to peace, to understanding, to insight of the higher stages of the Path, to Nirvana, but only to rebirth in the Brahma-world. On the other hand my religious system, Five-crest, conduces wholly and solely to detachment, to passionlessness, to cessation of craving, to peace, to understanding, to insight of the higher stages of the Path, to Nirvana. And that is the Aryan Eightfold Path, to wit, right views, right intention, right speech, right, action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right rapture.

‘Those of my disciples, Five-crest, who in all points wholly understand my teaching, they from the destruction of the Deadly Taints have by and for themselves understood, realized and attained to, even in this life, freedom from taint, liberty of heart, liberty of intellect. Those who do not in all points wholly understand my teaching, some of them, in that they have broken away the five Fetters belonging to the Hither Side, are reborn without parents, where they will utterly pass away, being no more liable to return to this world. And some of them, in that they have broken away three [other] Fetters, and have worn down passion and hate and dullness, become Once-Returners, who after once returning to this world shall make an end of Ill. And some of them, again, in that they have broken away those three Fetters, become Stream-Attainers, not liable to be reborn in any state of woe, but assured of attaining to the Insight. And so, Five-crest, of all, even all those persons, there is not one whose renunciation is vain or barren; in each case it will have brought fruit and development.’ Thus spoke the Exalted One. And Five-crest of the Gandhabba fairies was pleased at the word of the Exalted One, and in delight and gladness he saluted the Exalted One, and with the salutation of the right side he vanished from that place.

Here endeth the Story of the Lord High Steward.