Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births
Book 21 Asītinipāta
536. Kunala Jātaka
“This is the report and the fame thereof” This was a story told by the Master, while dwelling beside lake Kunala, concerning five hundred Brethren who were overwhelmed with discontent. Here follows the story in due order. The Sakiya and Koliya tribes had the river Rohini which flows between the cities of Kapilavatthu and Koliya confined by a single dam and by means of it cultivated their crops. In the month Jetthamula when the crops began to flag and droop, the labourers from amongst the dwellers of both cities assembled together. Then the people of Koliya said, “Should this water be drawn off on both sides, it will not prove sufficient for both us and you. But our crops will thrive with a single watering; give us then the water.” The people of Kapilavatthu said, “When you have filled your garners with corn, we shall hardly have the courage to come with ruddy gold, emeralds and copper coins, and with baskets and sacks in our hands, to hang about your doors. Our crops too will thrive with a single watering; give us the water.” “We will not give it,” they said. “Neither will we,” said the others. As words thus ran high, one of them rose up and struck another a blow, and he in turn struck a third and thus it was that what with interchanging blows and spitefully touching on the origin of their princely families they increased the tumult. The Koliya labourers said, “Be off with your people of Kapilavatthu , men who like dogs, jackals, and such like beasts, cohabited with their own sisters. What will their elephants and horses, their shields and spears avail against us?” The Sakiya labourers replied, “Nay, do you, wretched lepers, be off with your children, destitute and ill-conditioned fellows, who like brute beasts had their dwelling in a hollow jujube tree (koli). What shall their elephants and horses, their spears and shields avail against us?” So they went and told the councillors appointed to such services and they reported it to the princes of their tribes. Then the Sakiyas said, “We will show them how strong and mighty are the men who cohabited with their sisters,” and they sallied forth, ready for the fray. And the Koliyas said, “We will show them how strong and mighty are they who dwelt in the hollow of a jujube tree,” and they too sallied forth ready for the fight. But other teachers tell the story thus, “When the female slaves of the Sakiyas and Koliyas came to the river to fetch water, and throwing the coils of cloth that they carried on their heads upon the ground were seated and pleasantly conversing, a certain woman took another’s cloth, thinking it was her own; and when owing to this a quarrel arose, each claiming the coil of cloth as hers, gradually the people of the two cities, the serfs and the labourers, the attendants, headmen, councillors and viceroys, all of them sallied forth ready for battle.” But the former version being found in many commentaries and being plausible is to be accepted rather than the other. Now it was at eventide that they would be sallying forth, ready for the fray. At that time the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi, and at dawn of day while contemplating the world he beheld them setting out to the fight, and on seeing them he wondered whether if he were to go there the quarrel would cease, and he made up his mind and thought, “I will go there and, to quell this feud, I will relate three Birth Stories, and after that the quarrelling will cease. Then after telling two Birth Stories, to illustrate the blessings of union, I will teach them the Attadanda Sutta and after hearing my sermon the people of the two cities will each of them bring into my presence two hundred and fifty youths, and I shall admit them to holy orders and there will be a, huge gathering.” Thus after performing his toilet, he went his rounds in Savatthi for alms, and on his return, after taking his meal, at eventide he issued forth from his Perfumed Chamber and without saying a word to any man he took his bowl and robe and went by himself and sat cross-legged in the air between the two hosts. And seeing it was an occasion to startle them, to create darkness he sat there emitting (dark-blue) rays from his hair. Then when their hearts were troubled he revealed himself and emitted the six-coloured rays. The people of Kapilavatthu on seeing the Blessed One thought, “The Master, our noble kinsman, is come. Can he have seen the obligation laid upon us to fight?” “Now that the Master has come, it is impossible for us to discharge a weapon against the person of an enemy,” and they threw down their arms, saying, “Let the Koliyas slay us or roast us alive.” The Koliyas acted in exactly the same way. Then the Blessed One alighted and seated himself on a magnificent Buddha throne, set in a charming spot on a bed of sand, and he shone with the incomparable glory of a Buddha. The kings too saluting the Blessed One took their seats. Then the Master, though he knew it right well, asked, “Why are ye come here, mighty kings?” “Holy Sir,” they answered, “we are come, neither to see this river, nor to disport ourselves, but to get up a fight.” “What is the quarrel about, sires?” “About the water.” “What is the water worth?” “Very little, Holy Sir.” “What is the earth worth?” “It is of priceless value.” “What are warrior chiefs worth?” “They too are of priceless value.” “Why on account of some worthless water are you for destroying chiefs of high worth?” “Verily, there is no satisfaction in this quarrel, but owing to a feud, sire, between a certain tree-sprite and a black lion a grudge was set up, which has reached down to this present aeon,” and with these words he told them the Phandana Birth. Then he said, “There ought not to be this blind following of one another. A host of quadrupeds in a region of the Himalayas, extending to three thousand leagues, following one another at the word of a hare, all rushed headlong into the great sea. Therefore this following one of another ought not to be,” and so saying he related the Daddabha Birth. Moreover he said, “Sometimes the feeble see the weak points of the mighty, at other times the powerful see the weak points of the feeble, and a quail, a hen-bird, once killed a royal elephant,” and he related the Latukika Birth. Thus to appease the quarrel he told three Birth Stories, and to illustrate the effects of unity he told two Birth Stories. “In the case of such as dwell together in unity, no one finds any opening for attack,” and so saying he told the Rukkhadhamma Birth. He also said, “Against such as were at unity, no one could find a loophole for attack, but when they quarrelled one with another, a certain hunter brought about their destruction and went off with them: verily there is no satisfaction in a quarrel,” and with these words he related the Vattaka Birth . After he had thus related these five Birth Stories, he finished up by reciting the Attadanda Sutta. Becoming believers the kings said, “Had not the Master come, we should have slain one another and set flowing rivers of blood. It is owing to the Master that we are alive. But if the Master had adopted the lay life, the realm of the four great island-continents, together with two thousand lesser islands, would have passed into his hands and he would have had more than a thousand sons. Moreover he would have had an escort of warrior lords. But foregoing this glory he gave up the world and attained to Perfect Wisdom. Now too let him wander forth with a following of warrior lords.” So the two peoples each of them offered him two hundred and fifty princes. The Blessed One after ordaining them retired to a great forest. From the next day onward, escorted by them, he goes his rounds for alms in the two cities, sometimes in Kapilavatthu, at other times in Koliya, and the people of both cities paid him great honour. Amongst these men, who were ordained not so much for their own pleasure as out of respect to the Teacher, spiritual discontent sprang up. And their former wives to stir up their discontent sent such and such messages to them, and they grew yet more dissatisfied. The Blessed One on reflection discovered how discontented they were and thought, “These Brethren, though living with a Buddha like me, are discontented. I wonder what kind of preaching would be profitable to them”; and he bethought him of the religious discourse of Kunala. Then this notion struck him, “I will conduct these Brethren to the Himalayas and after illustrating the sins connected with womankind by the Kunala story and removing their discontent, I will bestow upon them the first stage of Sanctification.” So in the morning putting on his under garment and taking his alms bowl and robes he went his rounds in Kapilavatthu, and having returned and taken his noonday meal, when the repast was finished, he addressed these five hundred Brethren and asked, “Was the delightful region of the Himalayas ever seen by you before?” They said, “Nay, holy sir?” “Will you go on pilgrimage to the Himalayas?” “Holy sir, we have no supernatural powers; how should we go?” “But supposing some one were to take you with him, would you go?” “Yes, sire.” The Master by his miraculous power caught them all up with him in the air and transported them to the Himalayas and standing in the sky he pointed out to them in a pleasant tract of the Himalayas various mountains, Golden Mount, Jewel Mount, Vermilion Mount, Collyrium Mount, Table-land Mount, Crystal Mount, and five great rivers, and the lakes, Kannamundaka, Rathakara, Sihappapata, Chaddanta, Tiyaggala, Anotatta and Kunala, seven lakes in all. The Himalaya is a vast region, five hundred leagues in height, three thousand leagues in breadth. This charming part of it by his mighty power did he show them, and the dwelling places that were built there, the quadrupeds too, troops of lions, tigers, elephants and so forth did he show from this place—sacred closes and other pleasances, flowering and fruit-bearing trees, flocks of all manner of birds, water and land plants,—on the east side of Himalaya a golden table land, on the west side a vermilion one. From the first sight of these charming regions, the passionate longing of these Brethren for their former wives passed off. Then the Master with these Brethren alighting from the air on the west side of Himalaya on a rocky plateau sixty leagues in extent, in Red Valley three leagues long, beneath a sal tree covering seven leagues and lasting a whole aeon, the Master, I say, escorted by these Brethren, emitting the six-coloured rays and stirring up the depths of Ocean and blazing like the sun took his seat, and speaking with a voice sweet as honey he thus addressed these Brethren: “Brethren, inquire of me about some marvel ye have never seen before in this Himalaya.” At that moment two spotted cuckoos, seizing a stick at both ends in their mouths, in the centre of it had placed their lord. Eight cuckoos in front and eight behind, eight on the right and eight on the left, eight below and eight above, thus casting a shadow over their lord as they escorted him, were flying through the air. These Brethren on seeing this flock of birds asked the Master, “What, sir, is the meaning of these birds?” “Brethren,” he said, “this is an ancient custom of our family, a tradition set up by me; in a former age they thus escorted me. Now at that time there was a vast gathering of these birds. Three thousand five hundred young hen-birds escorted me. Gradually wasting away the flock has become such as you see.” “In what kind of forest did they escort you, sir?” Then the Master said, “Well, hearken, Brethren,” and recalling it to mind he told a story of the past and thus taught them.
This is the report and the fame thereof: a region yielding from its soil all manner of herbs, overspread with many a tangle of flowers, ranged over by the elephant, gayal, buffalo, deer, yak, spotted antelope, rhinoceros, elk, lion, tiger, panther, bear, wolf, hyena, otter, kadali antelope, wild cat, long-eared hare, inhabited by numberless herds of different kinds of elephants, and frequented by various kinds of deer, and haunted by horse-faced yakkhas, sprites, goblins and ogres, overspread with a thicket of trees blooming at the top with flowers, stalked and high-standing, and pithless, re-echoing to the cries of hundreds of birds, all mad with joy, ospreys, partridges, elephant-birds, peacocks, pheasants, Indian cuckoos, adorned and covered with hundreds of mineral substances, collyrium, arsenic, yellow orpiment, vermilion, gold and silver—it was in such a delightful forest lived the bird Kunala : very bright was it and covered with gay feathers. This Kunala bird had three thousand five hundred hen-birds in attendance on him. Then two birds seizing a stick in their mouths seated the Kunala bird between them and flew up, fearing lest fatigue in the course of the long distance should cause him to move from his position and he should fall. Five hundred young birds fly below, for they thought, “If this Kunala bird should fall from his perch, we will catch him in our wings.” Other five hundred birds fly above him, for fear lest the heat should scorch Kunala. Five hundred birds fly on either side of him, to prevent cold or heat, grass or dust, wind or dew from coming nigh him. Five hundred fly in front of him, lest cowherds or neat-herds, grass-cutters, or stick-gatherers or foresters should strike Kunala with stick or potsherd, with fist or clod, with staff or knife or gravel, or lest Kunala should come into collision with shrub or creeper or tree, with post or rock, or with some powerful bird. Five hundred fly behind, addressing him with gentle, kindly words, in charming, sweet tones, lest Kunala should grow weary, sitting there. Five hundred birds fly hither and thither, bringing a variety of fruits from different kinds of trees, lest Kunala should be distressed with hunger. Then the birds swiftly transport Kunala for his satisfaction from pleasance to pleasance, from garden to garden, from one river’s bank to another, from mountain peak to mountain peak, from one mango grove to another, from rose-apple orchard to rose-apple orchard, from one bread-fruit grove to another, from one cocoa-nut plantation to another. So Kunala day by day escorted by these birds thus upbraids them: “Perish, ye vile creatures, yea, perish utterly, ye thievish, knavish creatures, heedless, flighty and ungrateful as ye are, like the wind going wheresoever ye list.”
After these words the Master said, “Surely, Brethren, even when I was in an animal form, I knew well the ingratitude, the wiles, the wickedness and immorality of women-folk, and at that time so far from being in their power I kept them under my control,” and when by these words he had removed the spiritual discontent of these Brethren, the Master held his peace. At this moment two black cuckoos came to this spot, raising their lord aloft on the stick, while others in fours flew below and on every side of him. On seeing them, the Brethren asked the Master of them and he said, “Of old, Brethren, I had a friend, a royal cuckoo, named Punnamukha, and such was the tradition in his family,” and in answer to the Brethren’s question, just as before, he said:
On the eastern side of this same Himalaya, the king of mountains, are green-flowing streams, having their source in slight and gentle mountain slopes; in a fragrant, charming, bright spot, blooming with the beauty of lotuses, blue, white, and the hundred-leafed, the white lily and the tree of paradise, in a region overrun and beautified with all manner of trees and flowering shrubs and creepers, resounding with the cries of swans, ducks and geese, inhabited by troops of monks and ascetics, and such as are possessed of magical or supernatural powers, and haunted by high angelic beings, demons, goblins, ogres, heavenly minstrels, fairies and mighty serpents—verily it was in such a charming forest-thicket that the royal cuckoo Punnamukha dwelt. Very sweet was his voice, and his laughing eyes were as the eyes of one intoxicated with joy. Three thousand five hundred hen-birds followed in the train of this cuckoo Punnamukha. So two birds seizing a stick in their mouths and seating Punnamukha in the middle of it fly up into the air, fearing lest fatigue, etc. Then did Punnamukha, escorted by these birds by day, thus sing their praises, saying, “Bravo, my sisters, this act of yours well becomes high-born ladies, in that ye do service to your lord.” Then in truth the cuckoo Punnamukha drew nigh to the place where sat the bird Kunala, and the birds in attendance upon Kunala saw him, and while he was yet afar off they drew nigh to Punnamukha and thus accosted him: “Friend Punnamukha, Kunala here is a fierce bird and has a rough tongue. Haply by your help we may win kindly speech from him.” “Haply we may, ladies,” he said. And so saying, he drew nigh to Kunala, and after a kindly greeting he sat respectfully on one side and thus addressed Kunala: “Wherefore dost thou, friend Kunala, behave so ill to these high-born ladies of rank, though they themselves are well-conducted. One ought, friend Kunala, to speak pleasantly even to ladies who are themselves ungracious in speech: much more to such as are gracious.” When he had so spoken, Kunala abused Punnamukha after this manner, saying, “Perish, vile wretch, yea, perish utterly. Who is to be found like you, won over by the prayers of womenfolk ?” On being thus reproached the cuckoo Punnamukha turned back. Then surely in no long time afterwards severe sickness attacked Punnamukha, and extreme suffering from a bloody flux set in, bringing him nigh unto death. Then this thought occurred to the birds in attendance upon the cuckoo Punnamukha: “This cuckoo is ill; peradventure he may be raised up from his sickness.” So leaving him quite alone they drew nigh to where the bird Kunala was. Kunala spied these birds coming from afar, and on seeing them thus addressed them, “Where, wretches, is your lord?” Friend Kunala, they said, “Punnamukha is sick: perhaps he may be raised up from his sickness.” When they had so spoken, the bird Kunala cursed them thus: “Perish, ye wretches, yea, perish utterly, ye thievish, knavish, heedless, flighty creatures, ungrateful for kindness done to you, going like the wind whithersoever ye list.” So saying, he drew nigh to where the cuckoo Punnamukha was and thus addressed him: “Ho! friend Punnamukha.” “Ho! friend Kunala,” he replied. Then the bird Kunala seized the cuckoo Punnamukha with his wings and beak and raising him up gave him all manner of medicines to drink. So the sickness of the cuckoo was relieved. And when Punnamukha was well, the birds returned and Kunala for a few days gave Punnamukha wild fruits to eat, and when he had recovered his strength, he said, “Now friend, you are well again; continue to dwell with your attendant birds, and I will return to my own place of abode.” Then Punnamukha said to him, “They left me when I was extremely ill and flew away. I have no need of these rogues.” On hearing this the Great Being said, “Well then, friend, I will tell you of the wickedness of womenfolk,” and he took Punnamukha and brought him to the Red Valley on a slope of the Himalayas and sat down on a rock of red arsenic at the foot of a sal tree, seven leagues in extent, while Punnamukha with his following sat on one side. Throughout all the Himalayas went a heavenly proclamation, “To-day Kunala, king of birds, seated on a rock of red arsenic in the Himalayas, with all the charm of a Buddha will preach the Law: hearken to him.” By proclaiming it, one to another, the gods of the six Kamavacara worlds heard of it and for the most part assembled together: many deities too in the forest, serpents, garudas, and vultures proclaimed the fact. At that time Ananda, king of the vultures, with a following of ten thousand vultures dwelt upon Vulture Peak. And on hearing the commotion he thought, “I will listen to the preaching of the Law,” and came with his followers and sat apart. Narada too the ascetic with the five Supernatural Faculties, dwelling in the Himalaya region, with his following of ten thousand ascetics, on hearing this heavenly proclamation, thought, “My friend Kunala, they say, will speak of the faults of womenkind: I too must listen to his exposition,” and accompanied by a thousand ascetics he travelled thither by his supernatural power and sat on one side apart. There was a great gathering like that which assembles to hear the teaching of Buddhas. Then the Great Being, with the knowledge of one who remembers his former births, making Punnamukha a personal witness, related a circumstance seen in a former existence, connected with the faults of women. The Master, making the matter clear, said: Then the bird Kunala thus addressed the cuckoo Punnamukha, who had recently been raised up from a bed of sickness: “Friend Punnamukha, I have seen Kanha, her that had a double parentage and five husbands, and whose affection was set upon a sixth man, a headless, crippled dwarf.” Here too we have a further verse:
In ancient story Kanha, it is said,
A single maid to princes five was wed,
Insatiate still she lusted for yet more
And with a hump-backed dwarf she played the whore.
“I have seen, friend Punnamukha, the case of a female ascetic named Saccatapavi, who dwelt in a cemetery and gave away even a fourth meal. She sinned with a goldsmith. I witnessed too, friend Punnamukha, the case of Kakati, the wife of Venateyya, who dwelt in the midst of the sea and yet sinned with Natakuvera. I have seen, friend Punnamukha, the fairhaired Kurangavi , who though in love with Elakamara sinned with Chalangakumara and Dhanantevasi. This too was known to me, how the mother of Brahmadatta, forsaking the king of Kosala, sinned with Pancalacanda. These and other women went wrong, and one should not put trust in women nor praise them. As the earth is impartially affected towards all the world, bearing wealth for all, a home for all sorts and conditions of men (good and bad alike), all-enduring, unshaken, immovable, so also is it with women (in a bad sense). A man should not trust them.
As lion fed upon raw flesh and blood,
With his five paws fierce ravening for food,
In others’ hurt will his chief pleasure find—
Such like are women. Man, beware their kind.
Verily, friend Punnamukha, these creatures are not mere harlots, wenches or street-walkers, they are not so much strumpets as murderesses —I mean these harlots, wenches, and street-walkers . They are like unto robbers with braided locks, like a poisoned drink, like merchants that sing their own praises, crooked like a deer’s horn, evil-tongued like snakes, like a pit that is covered over, insatiate as hell, as hard to satisfy as a she-ogre, like the all-rapacious Yama, all-devouring like a flame, sweeping all before it as a river, like the wind going where it lists, undiscriminating like mount Neru, fruiting perennially like a poison tree.” Here too occurs a further verse:
Like poisoned draught or robber fell, crooked as horn of stag,
Like serpent evil-tongued are they, as merchant apt to brag,
Murderous as covered pit, like Hell’s insatiate maw are they,
As goblin greedy or like Death that carries all away.
Devouring like a flame are they, mighty as wind or flood,
Like Neru’s golden peak that aye confuses bad and good,
Pernicious as a poison-tree they fivefold ruin bring
On household gear, wasters of wealth and every precious thing.
Once upon a time, they say, Brahmadatta, king of Kasi, owing to his having an army, seized on the kingdom of Kosala, slew its king and carried off his chief queen, who was then pregnant , to Benares and there made her his consort. By and bye she gave birth to a daughter, and as the king had neither son nor daughter of his own begetting, he was greatly pleased and said, “Fair lady, choose some boon at my hands.” She accepted the boon but reserved her choice. Now they named the young princess Kanha. So when she was grown up, her mother said, “Dear child, your father offered me a boon, which I accepted but put off my choice: do you now choose whatever you like.” From the excess of her passion breaking through maidenly shame she said to her mother, “Nothing else is lacking to me; get him to hold an assembly to choose me a husband.” The mother repeated this to the king. The king said, “Let her have whatever she wishes,” and he had an assembly for choosing a husband proclaimed. In the palace yard a host of men assembled, arrayed in all their splendour. Kanha, who with a basket of flowers in her hand stood looking out of an upper lattice window, approved of no single one of them. Then Ajjuna, Nakula, Bhimasena, Yudhitthila, Sahadeva, of the family of king Pandu, these five sons of king Pandu, I say, after receiving instruction in arts at Takkasila from a world-famed teacher, travelling about with the idea of mastering local customs, arrived at Benares, and hearing a commotion in the city and learning in answer to their inquiry what it was all about, they came and stood all five of them in a row, in appearance like so many golden statues. Kanha on seeing them fell in love with all five, as they stood before her, and threw a wreathed coil of flowers on the head of all the five and said, “Dear mother, I choose these five men.” The queen told this to the king. The king, because he had given her the choice, did not say, “You cannot do this,” but was greatly vexed. On asking however what was their origin and whose sons they were, when he learned that they were sons of king Pandu, he paid them great honour and gave them his daughter to wife, and by the force of her passion she won the affection of these five princes in her seven-storied palace. Now she had as an attendant a humpbacked cripple, and when by the force of passion she had won the hearts of the five princes, as soon as they had gone forth from the palace, finding her opportunity and fired by lust she sinned with the hump-backed slave, and conversing with him she said, “There is no one dear to me like you; I will slay these princes and have your feet smeared in the blood from their throats.” And when she was in the company of the eldest of the royal brothers, she would say, “You are dearer to me than those other four. For your sake I would even sacrifice my life. At my father’s death I will bestow the kingdom on you alone.” But when she was in the company of the others, she acted in just the same way. They were greatly pleased with her, thinking, “She is fond of us and owing to this the sovereignty will be ours.” One day she was sick, and gathering about her, one sat chafing her head, and the rest each of them a hand or foot, while the hump-back sat at her feet. To the eldest brother, prince Ajjuna, who was chafing her head, she made a sign with her head, implying, “No one is dearer to me than you are: so long as I live I shall live for you and at my father’s death I will bestow the kingdom on you,” and so she won his heart. To the others too she made signs with hand or foot to the same effect. But to the hump-back she made a sign with her tongue which said, “You only are dear to me: for your sake shall I live.” All of them, owing to what had been said by her before, knew what was meant by this sign. But while the rest of them each recognised the sign given to himself, prince Ajjuna when he saw the motions of hand, foot or tongue, thought, “As in my case, so also with the others, by this sign some token must be given, and there must be some intimacy with this hump-backed fellow”; so going outside with his brothers he asked, “Did you see the lady with five husbands making a sign with her head to me?” “Yes, we did.” “Do you know the meaning of it?” “We do not.” “The meaning of it was so and so: do you know what was meant by the sign given you with hand or foot?” “Yes, we know.” “In the same way she gave me too a sign. Do you know the meaning of the sign given to the humpback by a motion of her tongue?” “We do not know.” Then he told them, “With him too she has sinned.” And when they did not believe him, he sent for the hump-back and asked him, and he told him all about it. When they heard what he had to say, they all lost their passionate love for her. “Ah! surely,” they said, “womankind is evil and vicious. Leaving men like us, nobly born and blest by fortune, she goes wrong with a disgusting, loathsome, hump-backed fellow like this. Who that is wise will find any pleasure in consorting with women so shameless and wicked as this?” Thus censuring womenfolk in many a turn the five princes thought, “We have had enough of married life,” and retired into the Himalayas, and after going through the Kasina rite, at the end of their life they fared according to their deeds. Kunala the bird-king was prince Ajjuna, and it was for this reason that in setting forth anything that he himself had seen, he began his story with the words “I saw.” In relating other things that he had seen of old he used the same words, and here follows an explanation of an incident given in the first introductory story.
Once upon a time, they say, a white nun named Saccatapavi had a hut of leaves built in a cemetery near Benares, and living there she abstained from four out of five meals, and throughout the city her fame was blazed abroad like as it were that of the Moon or Sun, and natives of Benares, if they sneezed or stumbled, said, “Praise be to Saccatapavi.” Now on the first day of a festival some goldsmiths had a tent erected in a certain spot where a crowd was gathered, and bringing fish, meat, strong drink, perfumes, wreaths and the like, they started a drinking bout. Then a certain goldsmith, who was addicted to drink, in vomiting said, “Praise be to Saccatapavi.” On a certain wise man amongst them saying, “Alas! blind fool, you are paying honour to a fickle-minded woman—Oh! you are a fool,” he replied, “Friend, speak not thus, nor be guilty of a deed that leads to hell.” Then the wise man said, “You fool, hold your tongue. Lay a wager with me for a thousand crowns and on the seventh day from this, seated in this very spot, I will deliver into your hands Saccatapavi in splendid apparel and made merry with strong drink and I too will have a good drink myself with her: so unstable are womenkind.” He said, “You will not be able to do so,” and took his wager for a thousand crowns. So he told the other goldsmiths, and early next morning, disguised as an ascetic, our wise man made his way into the cemetery, and not far from her place of abode stood worshipping the Sun. She saw him as she was setting out to collect alms, and thought, “Surely this must be an ascetic with miraculous powers. I dwell on one side of the cemetery, but he in the centre of it: his heart must be full of a holy calm. I will pay my respects to him.” So she drew nigh to him and saluted him, but he neither looked nor spoke. On the next day he acted in the same way. But on the third day when she saluted him, he looked down and said, “Depart.” On the fourth day he spoke kindly to her and said, “Are you not tired begging for alms?” She thought, “I have had a kind greeting,” and departed well pleased. On the fifth day she received a still kinder greeting and after sitting awhile she saluted him and went her ways. But on the sixth day she came and saluted him as he sat there. He said, “Sister, what in the world is this great noise of song and music in Benares to-day?” She answered, “Holy Sir, do you not know that a festival is proclaimed in the city and this is the sound of those that make merry there?” Pretending not to know he said, “Yes, this doubtless is the noise I hear.” Then he asked, “How many meals, Sister, do you omit to take?” “Four, Sir,” she said, “and how many do you omit?” “Seven, Sister,” but in this he spoke falsely, for he used to eat all day and night. Then he asked, “How many years is it since you took religious vows?” And when she said, “Twelve, and how many since you took orders?” he answered, “This is the sixth year.” Then he asked, “Sister, have you attained to a holy calm?” “I have not, Sir. Have you?” “Neither have we,” he said. “We get, Sister, neither the joy of sensual pleasure, nor the bliss of renunciation. What is it to us that hell is hot? Let us follow in the way of the multitude: I will become a house-holder, and as I own the treasure which belonged to my mother, I shall come to no harm.” On hearing what he said, through her want of stability she conceived a passion for him and said, “I too, sir, feel spiritual discontent: if you do not reject me, I too will keep house with you.” So he said to her, “I will not reject you: you shall be my wife.” Then he brought her into the city and cohabited with her. And going to the drinking booth with her he himself took strong drink and handed her over to his friends the worse for liquor. So that other fellow lost his wager of a thousand crowns, and she was blest with numerous sons and daughters by the goldsmith. At that time Kunala was the goldsmith and in telling the story he began with the words “I saw.”
In the second tale is a story of the past which is told at length in the Fourth Book in the Kakati Birth Story. Now at this time Kunala was the Garuda, and this is the reason why in illustrating what he had seen with his own eyes he began with the words “I saw.” In the third story once upon a time Brahmadatta slew the king of Kosala and seized on his kingdom. Carrying off his chief queen, who was big with child, he returned to Benares, and, though he knew her condition, he made her his queen consort. When her time was fully come she gave birth to a son like an image of gold. And the queen thought, “When he is grown up, the king of Benares will say , “He is a son of my enemy: what is he to me?” and will put him to death. Nay, let not my boy perish by an enemy’s hand.” So she said to his nurse, “Cover this child, my dear, with a coarse cloth and go and lay him in the charnel ground.” The nurse did so and after bathing returned home. The king of, Kosala too after death was born in the form of a guardian angel of the boy, and by his divine power a she-goat belonging to a goat-herd, who was keeping his flock in this spot, on seeing the child conceived an affection for him and after giving him milk to suck wandered off for a bit, and then came back twice, thrice or even four times, and gave him suck. The goat-herd, on seeing what the goat was about, came to the spot, and when he saw the child conceived an affection for it and brought it to his wife. Now she was childless and therefore had no milk to give him. So the she-goat continued to give it suck. From that day two or three goats died every day. The goat-herd thought, “If this boy goes on being tended by us, all our goats will perish. What is he to us?” Then he laid him in an earthenware vessel, covering him up with another, and smeared his face all over, without leaving any chink, with the flour of beans, and dropped him into the river. The child was carried down by the stream and was found on the lower bank near the king’s palace by a low-caste mender of old rubbish, who was there with his wife, washing his face. He ran up in haste pulled the vessel out of the water and laid it on the bank. “What have we here?” he thought, and uncovering the vessel found the child. His wife too was childless and she also conceived an affection for him. So she took him home and watched over him. When he was seven or eight years old, his father and mother would take him with them when they went to the palace. When he was sixteen years old, the lad often went to the palace to mend old things. And the king and queen consort had a daughter named Kurangavi, a girl of extraordinary beauty. From the moment she set eyes upon him she fell in love with the youth, and not caring for any one else she constantly repaired to the place where he worked. From their repeatedly seeing one another they were mutually enamoured, and secretly within the royal precincts guilty relations were established. In course of time the servants told the king. In his rage be called his councillors together and said, “Such and such acts have been committed by this low-caste fellow: consider what must be done with him.” His councillors made answer: “Great is his offence; after exacting all manner of punishment we must put him to death.” At this moment the lad’s father (the king of Kosala), who had become his guardian angel, took possession of the body of the youth’s mother, and under the influence of the divine being she drew nigh to the king and said, “Sire, this youth is no low-caste fellow. He is the son born to me by the king of Kosala. In saying that my boy was dead, I lied to you. Knowing him to be the child of your enemy I gave him to a nurse and had him exposed in a charnel ground. Then a goat-herd watched over him, but when his goats all began to die, he had him cast into the river, and being transported hither by the stream, he was found by the low-caste man who repairs old rubbish in our palace and fostered by him, and if you do not believe me, call for all these people and inquire of them.” The king summoned all of them, beginning with the nurse, and learning on inquiry that the facts were as she stated, he was delighted to find that the youth was nobly born, and giving directions that he should take a bath and put on splendid apparel, he gave him his daughter in marriage. Now from his having brought about the death of the goats they named him Elakamara (Goat’s Bane). Then the king assigned him a transport and an army and sent him off, saying, “Go and take possession of the kingdom that was your father’s.” So he set off with Kurangavi and was established on the throne. Then the king of Benares thought, “He is quite uneducated,” and to instruct him in arts he sent Chalangakumara to be his teacher. Accepting him as his teacher he conferred on him the post of commander-in-chief. By and bye Kurangavi misconducted herself with him. And the commander-in-chief had an attendant named Dhanantevasi, and he sent by his hand robes and other adornments to Kurangavi, and she went wrong with him too. So vicious and immoral are wicked women, and therefore I praise them not. This the Great Being taught in telling a story of the past, for at that time he was Chalangakumara, and therefore the incident he related was one he saw with his own eyes.
In the fifth story once upon a time a king of Kosala seized the kingdom of Benares and made the king’s chief queen, who at that time was pregnant, his queen consort, and then returned to his own city. By and bye she gave birth to a son. The king, because he had no children of his own, fondly cherished the boy and had him instructed in all learning, and when he was of age he sent him away, bidding him take possession of the kingdom which had belonged to his father. He went and reigned there. Then his mother saying she longed to see her boy took leave of the king of Kosala, and setting out for Benares with a large escort took up her abode in a town lying between the two kingdoms. In this place dwelt a certain handsome brahmin youth named Pancalacanda. He brought her a present. On seeing him she fell in love and misconducted herself with him. After spending a few days there, she went to Benares and saw her son. On returning she took up her abode in the same town and, after spending several days in guilty intercourse with her lover, she departed to Kosala city. Very soon after this, giving this or that reason for visiting her son, she took leave of the king and in going and returning stayed a fortnight in the same town, misconducting herself with her lover. So wicked and false, Sampunnamukha, are women. And in telling this story of the past he began with the words, “To the same effect also is this tale.” Hereafter, in a variety of ways exhibiting the charm with which he preached the Law, he said, “Friend Punnamukha, there are four things which, if certain circumstances arise, prove injurious—these, I say, are not to be lodged in a neighbour’s household—an ox, a cow, a chariot, a wife. From these four things a wise man would keep his house clear:
The cow is over-milked ere long,
The wife in kinsman’s house goes wrong.
There are six things, friend Punnamukha, which under certain circumstances prove injurious—a bow lacking its string, a wife living in a kinsman’s family, a ship, a car with broken axle, an absent friend, a wicked comrade, under certain circumstances, prove injurious. Verily on eight grounds, friend Punnamukha, a woman despises her husband: for poverty, for sickness, for old age, for drunkenness, for stupidity, for carelessness, for attending to every kind of business, for neglecting every duty towards her—verily, on these eight grounds a woman despises her lord. Here moreover occurs this verse:
If poor or sick or old, a sot, or reckless thought,
If dull or by his cares of business overwrought,
Or disobliging found—such lord a wife esteems as nought.
Verily on nine grounds does a woman incur blame: if she is fond of frequenting parks, gardens, and river banks, fond of visiting the houses of kinsfolk or of strangers, given to wearing the adornment of cloth worn by gentlemen, if she is a drinker of strong drink, given to staring about her, or of standing before her door—on these nine grounds, I say, a woman incurs blame. Here moreover occurs the following verse:
A woman drest in smart cloth vest, dram-drinking, apt to roam
In pleasance, park, by river side, to friend’s or stranger’s home,
Standing before her door, to stare about with idle gaze,
In nine such ways corrupted soon from path of virtue strays.
Verily, friend Punnamukha, in forty different ways a woman makes up to a man . She draws herself up, she bends down, she frisks about, she looks coy, she presses together her finger tips, she plants one foot on the other, she scratches the ground with a stick, she dances her boy up and down, she plays and makes the boy play, she kisses and makes him kiss her, she eats and gives him to eat, she either gives or begs something, whatever is done she mimics, she speaks in a high or low tone, she speaks now indistinctly, now distinctly, she appeals to him with dance, song and music, with tears or coquetry, or with her finery, she laughs or stares, she shakes her dress or shifts her loin-cloth, exposes or covers up her leg, exposes her bosom, her armpit, her navel, she closes her eye, she elevates her eyebrow, she pinches her lip, makes her tongue loll out, looses or tightens her cloth dress, looses or tightens her head-gear. Verily in these forty ways she makes up to a man. Verily, friend Punnamukha, a wicked woman is to be known in twenty-five different ways: she praises her lord’s absence from home, she rejoices not in his return, she speaks in his dispraise, she is silent in his praise, she acts to his injury, and not to his advantage, she does whatever is harmful to him and refrains from what is serviceable, she goes to bed with her clothes on and lies with her face averted from him, she tosses about from side to side, she makes a great ado, she heaves a long-drawn sigh, she feels a pain, she frequently has to solicit nature, she acts perversely, on hearing a stranger’s voice she opens her ear and listens attentively, she is a waster of her lord’s goods, she is intimate with her neighbours, she gads abroad, she walks the streets, she is guilty of adultery, disregarding her husband she has wicked thoughts in her heart. Verily in these twenty-five ways, friend Punnamukha, is a wicked woman to be known. Here moreover occurs this utterance:
Her husband’s absence she approves nor grieves should he depart,
Nor at the sight of his return rejoices in her heart,
She ne’er at any time will say aught in her husband’s praise,
Such are the signs that surely mark the wicked woman’s ways.
Undisciplined, against her lord some mischief she will plot,
His interest neglects and does the thing that she ought not,
With face averted lies she down beside him, fully dressed,
By such like signs her wickedness is surely thus confessed.
Restless she turns from side to side nor lies one moment still,
Or heaves a long drawn sigh and groans, pretending she is ill,
As if at nature’s call from bed she oftentimes will rise,
By such like signs her wickedness a man may recognise.
Perverse in all her acts she does the thing she should eschew,
And hearkens to the stranger’s voice, her favours should he sue,
Her husband’s wealth is freely spent some other love to gain,
By signs like these her wickedness to all is rendered plain.
The wealth that by her lord with toil was carefully amassed,
The gear so painfully heaped up, behold, she squanders fast,
With neighbours far too intimate the lady soon will grow,
And by such signs the wickedness of women one may know.
Stepping abroad behold her how she walks about the streets,
And with the grossest disrespect her lord and master treats:
Nor of adultery stops short, corrupt in heart and mind—
By such like signs how wicked are all womenfolk we find.
The while with troubled heart she looks around on every side—
By such like signs the wickedness of women is descried.
As groves are made of wood, as streams in curves and windings flow,
So, give them opportunity, all women wrong will go.
Yea give them opportunity and secrecy withal,
And every single woman will from paths of virtue fall:
Thus will all women wantons prove, should time and place avail,
And e’en with humpback dwarf will sin, should other lovers fail.
Women that serve for man’s delight let every one distrust,
Fickle in heart they ever are and unrestrained in lust.
Ladies of pleasure fitly called, the basest of the base,
To all then such as common are as any bathing place.
Moreover he said: Once upon a time at Benares was a king named Kandari who was a very handsome man, and to him daily his counsellors would bring a thousand boxes of perfume, and with this perfume they would make the house trim and neat, and then splitting up the boxes they would make scented firewood and cook the food therewith. Now his wife was a lovely woman named Kinnara, and his chaplain Pancalacanda was the same age as himself and full of wisdom. And in the wall near the king’s palace grew a rose-apple tree and its branches hung down upon the wall, and in the shade of it dwelt a loathsome, misshapen cripple. Now one day queen Kinnara looking out of her window saw him and conceived a passion for him. And at night after winning the king’s favour by her charms, as soon as he had fallen asleep, she would get up softly and putting all manner of dainty food in a golden vessel and taking it on her hips, she would let herself down through the window by means of a rope of cloth, and climbing up the rose-apple tree drop down by a branch of it and give her dainty food to the cripple and take her pleasure with him, and then ascend to the palace the same way that she had come down, and after shampooing herself all over with perfumes lie down by the king’s side. In this way she would constantly misconduct herself with this cripple and the king knew nothing of it. One day the king after a solemn procession round the city was entering his palace when he saw this cripple, a pitiable object, lying in the shade of the rose-apple, and he said to his chaplain, “Just look at this ghost of a man.” “Yes, sire?” “Is it possible, my friend, that any woman moved by lust would come nigh such a loathsome creature?” Hearing what he said the cripple, swelling with pride, thought, “What is it this king said? Methinks he knows nothing of his queen’s coming to visit me.” And stretching out his folded hands towards the rose-apple tree he cried, “O my lord, thou guardian spirit of this tree, excepting thee no one knows about this.” The chaplain noticing his action thought, “Of a truth the king’s chief consort by the help of this tree comes and misconducts herself with him.” So he said to the king, “Sire, at night what is it like when you come into contact with the queen’s person?” “I notice nothing else,” he said, “but that at the middle watch her body is cold.” “Well, sire, whatever may be the case with other women, your queen Kinnara misconducts herself with him.” “What is this you say, my friend? Would such a charming lady take her pleasure with this disgusting creature?” “Well then, sire, put it to the proof.” “Agreed,” said the king, and after supper he lay down with her, to put it to the test. At the usual time for falling asleep, he pretended to drop off, and she acted as before. The king following in her steps took his stand in the shade of the rose-apple tree. The cripple was in a rage with the queen and said, “You are very late in coming,” and struck with his hand the chain in her ear. So she said, “Be not angry, my lord; I was watching for the king to fall asleep,” and so saying she acted as it were a wife’s part in his house. But when he struck her, the ear-ornament, which was like a lion’s head, falling from her ear dropped at the king’s feet. The king thought, “Just this will be the best thing for me,” and he took it away with him. And after misconducting herself with her lover she returned just as before and proceeded to lie down by the side of the king. The king rejected her advances and next day he gave an order, saying, “Let queen Kinnara come, wearing every ornament I have given her.” She said, “My lion’s head jewel is with the goldsmith,” and refused to come. When a second message was sent, she came with only a single ear-ornament. The king asked, “Where is your ear-ring?” “With the goldsmith.” He sent for the goldsmith and said, “Why do you not let the lady have her earring?” “I have it not, sire.” The king was enraged and said, “You wicked, vile woman, your goldsmith must be a man just like me,” and so saying he threw the ear-ring down before her and said to the chaplain, “Friend, you spoke the truth; go and have her head chopped off.” So he secured her in a certain quarter of the palace and came and said to the king, “Sire, be not angry with the queen Kinnara: all women are just the same. If you are anxious to see how immoral women are, I will show you their wickedness and deceitfulness. Come, let us disguise ourselves and go into the country.” The king readily agreed and, handing over his kingdom to his mother, he set out on his travels with his chaplain. When they had gone a league’s journey and were seated by the high road, a certain gentleman of property, who was holding a marriage festival for his son, had seated the bride in a close carriage and was accompanying her with a large escort. On seeing this the chaplain said, “If you like, you can make this girl misconduct herself with you.” “What say you, my friend? with this great escort the thing is impossible.” “Well then see this, my lord?” And going forward he set up a tent-shaped screen not far from the high road and, placing the king inside the screen, himself sat down by the side of the road, weeping. Then the gentleman on seeing it asked, “Why, friend, are you weeping?” “My wife,” he said, “was heavy with child and I set out on a journey to take her to her own home, and while still on the way her pangs overtook her and she is in trouble within the screen, and she has no woman with her and I cannot go to her there. I do not know what will happen.” “She ought to have a woman with her: do not weep, there are numbers of women here; one of them shall go to her.” “Well then let this maiden come; it will be a happy omen for the girl.” He thought, “What he says is true: it will be an auspicious thing for my daughter-in-law. She will be blest with numerous sons and daughters,” and he brought her there. Passing inside the screen she fell in love at first sight with the king and misconducted herself with him, and the king gave her his signet ring. So when the deed was done and she came out of the tent they asked her, “What has she given birth to?” “A boy the colour of gold?” So the gentleman took her and went off. The chaplain came to the king and said, “You have seen, sire, even a young girl is thus wicked. How much more will other women be so? Pray, sir, did you give her anything?” “Yes, I gave her my signet ring.” “I will not allow her to keep it.” And he followed in haste and caught up the carriage, and when they said, “What is the meaning of this?” he said, “This girl has gone off with a ring my brahmin wife had laid on her pillow: give up the ring, lady.” In giving it she scratched the brahmin’s hand, saying, “Take it, you rogue.” Thus did the brahmin in a variety of ways show the king that many other women are guilty of misconduct, and said, “Let this suffice here; we will now go elsewhere, Sire.” The king traversed all India, and they said, “All women will be just the same. What are they to us? let us turn back.” So they went straight home to Benares. The chaplain said, “It is thus, Sire, with all women; so wicked is their nature. Forgive queen Kinnara.” At the prayer of his chaplain he pardoned her, but had her thrust out from the palace. And when he had ejected her from the place, he chose another queen-consort, and he had the cripple driven forth and ordered the rose-apple branch to be lopped off. At that time Kunala was Pancalacanda. So in telling the story of what he had seen with his own eyes, in illustration he spoke this stanza:
This much from tale of Kandari and Kinnara is shown;
All women fail to find delight in homes that are their own.
Thus does a wife forsake her lord, though lusty he and strong,
And will with any other man, e’en cripple vile, go wrong.
Another story is this: Once upon a time a king of Benares, Baka by name, ruled his kingdom righteously. At that time a certain poor man, who dwelt by the eastern gate of Benares, had a daughter named Pancapapa . It is said that in a former birth as a poor man’s daughter she was kneading clay and plastering a wall. Then a paccekabuddha thought, “Where am I to get clay to make this mountain cave neat and trim? I can get it in Benares.” So putting on his cloak, and bowl in hand, he went into the city and took his stand not far from this woman. She was angry, and, looking at him, thought, “In his wicked heart he is begging for clay as well as alms.” The paccekabuddha stood without moving. So, when she saw that he remained motionless, she was converted, and, looking at him once more, she said, “Priest, you have got no clay,” and she took a big lump and put it in his bowl, and with this clay he made things neat in his cave. And as a reward for this lump of clay, her person became soft to the touch, but in consequence of her angry look her hands, feet, mouth, eyes and nose became hideously ugly, and so men knew her by the name of Pancapapa (The Five Defects). Now the king of Benares was once wandering about the city by night and came to this spot, and she was playing with the village girls, and not recognising the king she seized him by the hand. As the result of her touch he lost all control over himself, and was as it were thrilled by a heavenly touch, and inflamed by passion he caught her by the hand, though she was so hideous to look upon, and asked whose daughter she was. When she answered, “Daughter of a dweller by the gate,” and he heard she was unmarried, he said, “I will be your husband: go and ask your parents’ consent.” She went to her father and mother and said, “A certain man wishes to marry me.” On their assenting, and saying, “He too must be a poor, sorry creature, if he desires one like you,” she came and told him that her parents consented. So he cohabited with her in that very house, and quite early in the morning sought his palace. From that day the king constantly came there in disguise, and did not care to look at any other woman. Now one day her father was attacked with a bloody flux. The remedy for his sickness was a constant supply of rice gruel prepared with milk, ghee, honey, and sugar, and this, owing to their poverty, they could not procure. Then the mother said to the daughter, “My dear, would your husband be able to procure us some rice gruel?” “Dear mother,” she said, “my husband must be even poorer than we are; but even if this is so, I will ask him: do not be worried.” So saying, about the time when he should return, she sat down as if in a disconsolate state. When the king came he asked why she was so sad, and on hearing what was the matter, he said, “My dear, whence shall I get this very powerful remedy?” And he thought, “I cannot continually keep coming here in this way; one must consider the risk one runs in the journey to and fro; but if I were to take her to the court, being ignorant of her possession of a soft touch, they will make a mock of me and say, “Our king has returned with a female goblin.” But if I make all the city acquainted with her touch, I shall do away with all reproach against myself.” So he said to her, “My dear, do not vex yourself: I will bring your father some rice gruel,” and so saying, after taking his pleasure with her he returned to his palace. The next day he had some rice gruel such as she described boiled for her, and, taking some leaves, made two baskets with them, and in one he put the rice gruel, and in the other he placed a jewelled diadem and fastened them up. And at night he came and said, “My dear, we are poor: I got this with great difficulty. You are to say to your father, “To-day eat the rice gruel from this basket, and to-morrow from that.” She did accordingly. So her father, after eating a very little of it, from its invigorating qualities was soon satisfied, and the rest she gave to her mother, and herself partook of it, and all three of them felt very happy, and the basket containing the jewelled diadem they reserved for the needs of the next day. The king on reaching his palace washed his face and said, “Bring me my diadem.” On their saying, “We cannot find it,” he said, “Search through the whole city.” They searched, but still did not find it. “Well then,” he said, “search in the houses of the poor outside the city, beginning with the baskets of leaves for food.” They searched and found the jewel diadem in this house, and crying out, “This woman’s father and mother are thieves,” they bound them and brought them to the king. Then her father said, “My lord, we are no thieves; a certain man brought us this jewel.” “Who was it?” he said. “My son-in-law,” he answered. When asked where he was, he said, “My daughter knows.” Then he had a word with her. “My dear,” he said, “you know who your husband is.” “I do not know.” “If this is so, we are undone.” “Dear father, he comes when it is dark, and departs before it is light, so I do not know his appearance, but I can recognise him by the touch of his hand.” Her father told this to the king’s officers, and they told the king. The king, pretending ignorance of the whole matter, said, “Well, place the woman in a tent screen in the palace yard and cut a hole in the curtain as big as a man’s hand and call the citizens together, and detect the thief by the touch of his hand.” The officers did as he bade them. On going to her and seeing what she was like they were filled with loathing, and said, “She is a goblin,” and in their disgust they did not dare to touch her. But they brought and placed her within a screen in the palace yard and gathered together all the citizens. Seizing hold of the hand of every one that came, as it was stretched out through the hole, she said, “This is not the man.” The people were so captivated by the heavenly touch of her they could not tear themselves away. They thought, “If she be worthy of punishment, though we should have to inflict blows upon her with a stick, yet we should be ready to undergo any servile tasks for her, and to take her home as our wedded wife.” Then the king’s men beat them and drove them away, and all of them, beginning with the viceroy, behaved like madmen. Then the king said, “Could I possibly be the man?” and stretched forth his hand. The woman, seizing his hand, cried aloud, “I have got the thief.” The king inquired of his men, “When your hand was seized by her what did you think of it?” They told him exactly how it was with them. So the king said, “This is why I made them bring her to my house. Had they known nothing of her touch, they would have despised me. And now that all of you have learned the facts from me, say in whose house ought she to dwell as wife.” They said, “In your house, Sire.” So, with the ceremonious sprinkling, he recognised her as his chief consort, and bestowed great power on her father and mother. Thenceforth in his infatuation he neither set on foot any inquiries about her, nor so much as looked at any other woman. The other queens sought to discover the mystery respecting her. One day she saw in a dream some indication of her being the chief queen of two kings, and she told her dream to the king. The king summoned the interpreters of dreams and asked, “What is the meaning of such and such a dream being seen by her?” Now they had received a bribe from the other women, and said, “The fact of the queen’s sitting on the back of a perfectly white elephant is a token of your death, and that she touches the moon as she rides upon the elephant’s back is a sign of her bringing some hostile king against you.” “What then is to be done?” said he. “You cannot put her to death, Sire, but you must place her on board a ship and let her drift down the stream.” The king in the night put her on board, with food, garments, and adornments and sent her adrift on the river. As she was carried down in the vessel by the stream she came face to face with king Pavariya, as he was disporting himself in the river. His commander-in-chief on seeing it said, “This ship belongs to me.” The king said, “Its cargo is mine,” and when the ship reached them and they saw the woman he said. “Who are you, so like a goblin as you are?” She, smiling, said she was the chief consort of king Baka, and told him all her story, and that she was renowned throughout India as Pancapapa. Then the king, taking her by the hand, lifted her out of the vessel, and no sooner had he taken her hand than he was inflamed with passion at her touch, and in the case of his other wives ceased to regard them as worthy the name of women, and he raised her to the position of chief queen, and she was as dear as his own life to him. Baka, on hearing what had happened, said, “I will not allow him to make her his queen consort,” and getting together an army, he took up his quarters in a port on the opposite side of the river, and sent a message to this effect, that Pavariya was either to surrender his wife or give battle. His rival was ready for battle, but the councillors of the two kings said, “For the sake of a woman there is no need to die. From his being her first husband she belongs to Baka, but from his having rescued her from the ship she belongs to Pavariya. Therefore let her be for the space of seven days at a time in the house of each of them.” After due deliberation they gained over the two kings to this view, and they both were highly pleased, and built cities on opposite banks of the river and took up their abode there, and the woman accepted the position of chief consort to the pair of kings, and they were both infatuated with her. Now she dwelt seven days in the house of one of them, and then crossed over in a ship to the abode of the other, and when in mid-stream she misconducted herself with the pilot who steered the vessel, a lame and bald old man. At that time Kunala , the king of birds, was Baka, and so he spoke of this as something he had seen with his own eyes, and to illustrate it he repeated this stanza:
Wife of Pavarika and Baka too,
(Two kings whose lust no pause or limit knew)
Yet sins with her devoted husband’s slave;
With what vile wretch would she not misbehave?
Yet another story: Once upon a time the wife of Brahmadatta, Pingiyani by name, opening her window looked out and saw a royal groom, and, when the king had fallen asleep, she got down through the window and misconducted herself with him, and then again climbed back to the palace and shampooed her person with perfumes and lay down with the king. Now one day the king thought, “I wonder why at midnight the person of the queen is always cool: I will examine into the matter.” So one day he pretended to be asleep and got up and followed her and saw her committing folly with a groom. He returned and climbed up to his chamber, and she too after she had been guilty of adultery came and lay down on a truckle bed. Next day the king, in the presence of his ministers, summoned her and made known her misconduct, saying, “All women alike are sinners.” And he forgave her offence, though it deserved death, imprisonment, mutilation, or cleaving asunder, but he deposed her from her high rank and made some one else his queen consort. At that time king Kunala was Brahmadatta, and so it was that he told this story as of something he had seen with his own eyes, and by way of illustration he repeated this stanza:
Fair Pingiyani was as wife adored
By Brahmadatta, earth’s all conquering lord,
Yet sinned with her devoted husband’s slave,
And lost by lechery both king and knave.
Poor fickle creatures women are, ungrateful, treacherous they,
No man if not possessed would deign to credit aught they say.
Little reck they of duty’s call or plea of gratitude,
Insensible to parents’ love and ties of brotherhood,
Transgressing every law of right, they play a shameless part,
In all their acts obedient to the wish of their own heart.
However long they dwell with him, though kind and loving he,
Tender of heart and dear to them as life itself may be,
In times of trouble and distress, leave him they will and must,
I for my part in womenfolk can never put my trust.
How often is a woman’s mind like shifty monkey’s found,
Or like the shade cast by a tree on height or depth around,
How changeful too the purpose lodged within a woman’s breast,
Like tire of wheel revolving swift without a pause or rest.
Whene’er with due reflection they look round and see their way
To captivate some man of wealth and make of him their prey,
Such simpletons with words so soft and smooth they captive lead,
E’en as Cambodian groom with herbs will catch the fiercest steed.
But if when looking round with care they fail to see their way
To get possession of his wealth and make of him a prey,
They drive him off, as one that now has reached the furthest shore
And cuts adrift the ferry boat he needeth nevermore.
Like fierce devouring flame they hold him fast in their embrace,
Or sweep him off like stream in flood that hurries on apace;
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
E’en as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore.
They not to one or two belong, like open stall are they,
One might as soon catch wind with net as women hold in sway.
Fell as black serpent’s head are they, as ravenous as a fire,
As kine the choicest herbage pick, they lovers rich desire.
From elephant, black serpent, and from flame that’s fed on ghee,
From man besprinkled to be king, and women we should flee.
All these whoso is on his guard will treat as deadly foe,
Indeed their very nature it is very hard to know.
Women who very clever are or very fair to view,
And such as many men admire—all these one should eschew:
A neighbour’s wife and one that seeks a man of wealth for mate,
Such kind of women, five in all, no man should cultivate.
When he had thus spoken the people applauded the Great Being, crying, “Bravo, well said!” and after telling of the faults of women in these instances he held his peace. On hearing him Ananda, the vulture king, said, “My friend, Kunala, I too by my own powers of knowledge will tell of women’s faults,” and he began to speak of them. The Blessed One by way of illustration said: “Then, verily, Ananda, the vulture king, marking the beginning, middle and end of what the bird Kunala had to say, at this time uttered these stanzas:
Although a man with all this world contains of golden gear
Should her endow of womenkind his heart may count most dear,
Yet, if occasion serves, she will dishonour him withal—
Beware lest thou into the hands of such vile wretches fall.
A manly vigour he may show, from worldly taint be free,
Her maiden wooer may perhaps winsome and loving be,
In times of trouble and distress leave him she will and must,
I for my part in womankind can never put my trust.
Let him not trust because he thinks “she fancies me, I trow,”
Nor let him trust because her tears oft in his presence flow;
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
Just as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore.
Trust not a litter strewn with leaves and branches long ago,
Trust not thy whilom friend, perchance now grown into a foe,
Trust not a king because thou thinkst, “My comrade once was he,
Trust not a woman though she has borne children ten to thee.
Women are pleasure-seekers all and unrestrained in lust,
Transgressors of the moral law: in such put not your trust.
A wife may feign unbounded love before her husband’s face;
Distrust her: women common are as any landing place.
Ready to mutilate or slay, from nothing do they shrink,
And after having cut his throat they e’en his blood would drink:
Let no man fix his love on them, creatures of passions base,
Licentious and as common as some Ganges landing place.
In speech they no distinction make betwixt the false and true,
As kine the choicest herbage pick, rich lovers they pursue.
One man they tempt with looks and smiles, another by their walk,
Some they attract by strange disguise, others by honeyed talk.
Dishonest, fierce and hard of heart, as sugar sweet their words,
Nothing there is they do not know to cheat their wedded lords.
Surely all womenfolk are vile, no limit bounds their shame,
Impassioned and audacious they, devouring as a flame.
Women are not so formed, this man to love and that abhor,
They court the man they hate as much as one that they adore,
E’en as a ship that hugs alike the near and farther shore.
A man may corpses burn or e’en dead flowers from temples rake,
Be groom of horse or elephant, or care of oxen take,
Yet women after such low castes will run for money’s sake.
One nobly born they leave if poor, as ’twere a low outcast,
To such an one, like carrion vile, if rich, they hie them fast.”
Thus did Ananda, the vulture king, keeping to facts within his own knowledge, tell of the bad qualities of women, and then held his peace. Narada, too, after hearing what he had to say, keeping to what he himself knew, spoke of their bad qualities. In illustrating this the Master said: “Then verily Narada, hearing the beginning, middle and end of what Ananda, the vulture king, had to say, at this point repeated these stanzas:
Four things can never sated be—list well to these my words—
Ocean, kings, brahmins, womenkind, these four, O king of birds.
All streams in earth that find their home will not the ocean fill,
Though all may with its waters mix, something is lacking still.
A brahmin cons his Vedas and his legendary lore,
Yet still he sacred knowledge lacks and craves for more and more.
A king by conquest holds the world, its mountains, seas and all,
The endless treasures it contains his very own may call,
Yet sighs for worlds beyond the sea, for this he counts too small.
One woman may have husbands eight, compliant to her will,
All heroes bold, well competent love’s duties to fulfil,
Yet on a ninth her love she sets, for something lacks she still.
Women like flames devour their prey,
Women like floods sweep all away,
Women are pests, like thorns are they,
Women for gold oft go astray.
That man with net might catch the breeze,
Or single-handed bale out seas,
Clap with one hand, who once should dare
His thoughts let range on woman fair.
With women, clever jades, Truth aye is found a rarity,
Their ways as much perplex as those of fishes in the sea .
Seducing traitresses, they tempt the holiest to his fall,
Down—down they sink: who women know should flee afar from all.
And whomsoever they may serve for gold or for desire,
They burn him up as fuel burns cast in a blazing fire.”
When Narada had thus set forth the vices of women, the Great Being once more by special instances illustrated their bad qualities.
Man’s reason is o’ercome by woman’s charms,
Speech, smiles, with dance and song, their only arms:
Unstable souls they harass, as erewhile
Fell demons merchants slew in goblin isle.
Given to strong drink and meat, one tries in vain
To curb their appetite or lust restrain,
Like to some fabled monster of the deep,
Into their maw a man’s whole wealth they sweep.
Lust’s five-fold realm they own as their domain,
Their swelling pride uncurbed none may restrain:
As rivers all to ocean find their way,
So careless souls to women fall a prey.
The man in whom these women take delight,
Moved by their greed or carnal appetite,
Yea such an one inflamed by strong desire,
They clean consume as fuel in the fire.
If one they know is rich, on him they fall
And off they carry him, his wealth and all,
Round him thus fired with lust their arms they fling,
As creepers to some forest sal tree cling.
Like vimba fruit red-lipped, so bright and gay,
‘Gainst man they many a stratagem essay,
With laughter now assailing, now with smiles,
Like Samvara, that lord of many wiles.
A man may very famous be and wise,
Revered and honoured in all people’s eyes,
Yet fall’n ‘neath woman’s sway no more will shine
Than moon eclipsed by Rahu’s power malign.
The vengeance wreaked by angry foe on foe,
Or such as tyrants to their victims show,
Yea a worse fate than this o’ershadows all
That through their lust ‘neath woman’s sway shall fall.
Threatened with person scratched or hair pulled out,
Scourged, cudgelled, buffeted or kicked about,
Yet woman to some low-born lover hies
Delighting in him as in carrion flies.
Shun women in highways and lordly hall,
In royal city or in township small,
A man of insight, would he happy be,
Avoids the snare thus laid by Namuci .
Despised is he in this world and the next
And, willingly by evil women vext,
Goes stumbling recklessly, fall upon fall,
As vicious ass runs wild with car and all.
Now in silk-cotton grove of iron spears,
Now in Patapana he disappears,
Now lodged in some brute form is seen to flit
In ghostly realms that he may never quit.
In Nandana love’s heavenly sport and play,
On earth the monarch’s universal sway,
Is lost through woman, and through her alas!
All careless souls to state of suffering pass.
To pass from Realm of Sense with life renewed
To World of Form, with higher powers endued,
Is by rebirth in sphere of Arhats won
By these who with concupiscence have done.
The bliss that doth all sense of pain transcend,
Unwavering, unconditioned, without end,
Is by pure souls, now in Nirvana, won
Who with concupiscence long since have done.”
Thus did the Great Being, after bringing about their attainment of the Eternal Great Nirvana, end his lesson. And the elves and mighty serpents and the like in the Himalayas, and the angels standing in the air, all applauded, saying, “Bravo! spoken with all the charm of a Buddha.” Ananda, the vulture king, Narada, the brahmin angel, Punnamukha, the royal cuckoo, each with his own following, retired to their respective places, and the Great Being too departed to his own abode. But the others from time to time returned and received instruction at the hands of the Great Being, and abiding by his admonition became destined to Heaven.
The Master here ended his lesson and identifying the Birth repeated the final stanza:
Udayi royal cuckoo was, Ananda vulture king,
Good Sariputta Narada, Kunala I that sing.
Thus are ye to understand this Birth.
Now these Brethren, when they came, came by the supernatural power of the Master, and on returning returned by their own power. And the Master revealed to them in the Great Forest the means by which ecstasy may be induced, and that very day they attained to Arhatship. There was a mighty gathering of angelic beings, so the Blessed One declared to them the Mahasamayasutta (the discourse preached to a great company).