Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births
Book 22 Mahānipāta
542. The Maha-Ummagga Jātaka
“King Brahmadatta of Pancala,” etc. The Teacher, while dwelling at Jetavana, told this about the perfection of knowledge. One day the Brethren sat in the Hall of Truth and described the Buddha’s perfection of knowledge: “Brethren, the omniscient Buddha whose wisdom is vast, ready, swift, sharp, crushing heretical doctrines, after having converted, by the power of his own knowledge, the Brahmins Kutadanta and the rest, the ascetics Sabhiya and the rest, the thieves Angulimala etc., the yakkhas Alavaka etc., the gods Sakka and the rest, and the Brahmins Baka etc., made them humble, and ordained a vast multitude as ascetics and established them in the fruition of the paths of sanctification.” The Teacher came up and asked what they were discoursing about, and when they told him, he replied, “Not now only is the Buddha omniscient,—in past time also, before his knowledge was fully mature, he was full of all wisdom, as he went about for the sake of wisdom and knowledge,” and then he told a story of the past.
In days gone by, a king named Vedeha ruled in Mithila, and he had four sages who instructed him in the law, named Senaka, Pukkusa, Kavinda, and Devinda. Now when the Bodhisatta was conceived in his mother’s womb the king saw at dawn the following dream: four columns of fire blazed up in the four corners of the royal court as high as the great wall, and in the midst of them rose a flame of the size of a fire-fly, and at that moment it suddenly exceeded the four columns of fire and rose up as high as the Brahma world and illumined the whole world; even a grain of mustard-seed lying on the ground is distinctly seen. The world of men with the world of gods worshipped it with garlands and incense; a vast multitude passed through this flame but not even a hair of their skin was singed. The king when he saw this vision started up in terror and sat pondering what was going to happen, and waited for the dawn. The four wise men also when they came in the morning asked him whether he had slept well. “How could I sleep well,” he replied, “when I have seen such a dream” Then Pandit Senaka replied, “Fear not, O king, it is an auspicious dream, thou wilt be prosperous,” and when he was asked to explain, he went on, “O king, a fifth sage will be born who will surpass us four; we four are like the four columns of fire, but in the midst of us there will arise as it were a fifth column of fire, one who is unparalleled and fills a post which is unequalled in the world of gods or of men.” “Where is he at this moment?” “O king, he will either assume a body or come out of his mother’s womb”; thus did he by his science what he had seen by his divine eye and the king from that time forward remembered his words. Now at the four gates of Mithila there were four market towns, called the East town, the South town, the West town, and the North town; and in the East town there dwelt a certain rich man named Sirivaddhaka, and his wife was named Sumanadevi. Now on that day when the king saw the vision, the Great Being went from the heaven of the Thirty-three and was conceived in her womb; and a thousand other sons of the gods went from that heaven and were conceived in the families of various wealthy merchants in that village, and at the end of the tenth month the lady Sumana brought forth a child of the colour of gold. Now at that moment Sakka, as he looked over the world of mankind, beheld the Great Being’s birth; and saying to himself that he ought to make known in the world of gods and men that this Buddha-shoot had sprung into being, he came up in a visible form as the child was being born and placed a piece of a medicinal herb in its hand, and then returned to his own dwelling. The Great Being seized it firmly in his closed hand; and as he came from his mother’s womb she did not feel the slightest pain, but he passed out as easily as water from a sacred water-pot. When his mother saw the piece of the medicinal herb in his hand, she said to him, “My child, what is this which you have got?” He replied, “It is a medicinal plant, mother,” and he placed it in her hand and told her to take it and give it to all who are afflicted with any sickness. Full of joy she told it to the merchant Sirivaddhaka, who had suffered for seven years from a pain in his head. Full of joy he said to himself, “This child came out of his mother’s womb holding a medicinal plant and as soon as he was born he talked with his mother; a medicine given by a being of such surpassing merit must possess great efficacy”; so he rubbed it on a grindstone and smeared a little of it on his forehead, and the pain in his head which had lasted seven years passed away at once like water from a lotus leaf. Transported with joy he exclaimed, “This is a medicine of marvellous efficacy “; the news spread on every side that the Great Being had been born with a medicine in his hand, and all who were sick crowded to the merchant’s house and begged for the medicine. They gave a little to all who came, having rubbed some of it on a grindstone and mixed it with water, and as soon as the affected body was touched with the divine medicine all diseases were cured, and the delighted patients went away proclaiming the marvellous virtues of the medicine in the house of the merchant Sirivaddhaka. On the day of naming the child the merchant thought to himself, “My child need not be called after one of his ancestors; let him bear the name of the medicine,” so he gave him the name Osadha Kumara. Then he thought again, “My son possesses great merit, he will not be born alone, many other children will be born at the same time”; so hearing from his inquiries that thousands of other boys were born with him, he sent them all nurses and gave them clothes, and resolving that they should be his son’s attendants he celebrated a festival for them with the Great Being and adorned the boys and brought them every day to wait upon him. The Great Being grew up playing with them, and when he was seven years old he was as beautiful as a golden statue. As he was playing with them in the village some elephants and other animals passed by and disturbed their games, and sometimes the children were distressed by the rain and the heat. Now one day as they played, an unseasonable rainstorm came on, and when the Great Being who was as strong as an elephant saw it, he ran into a house, and as the other children ran after him they fell over one another’s feet and bruised their knees and other limbs. Then he thought to himself, “A hall for play ought to be built here, we will not play in this way,” and he said to the boys, “Let us build a hall here where we can stand, sit, or lie in time of wind, hot sunshine, or rain,—let each one of you bring his piece of money.” The thousand boys all did so and the Great Being sent for a master-carpenter and gave him the money, telling him to build a hall in that place. He took the money, and levelled the ground and cut posts and spread out the measuring line, but he did not grasp the Great Being’s idea; so he told the carpenter how he was to stretch out his line so as to do it properly. He replied, “I have stretched it out according to my practical experience, I cannot do it in any other way.” “If you do not know even so much as this how can you take our money and build a hall? Take the line, I will measure and shew you,” so he made him take the line and himself drew out the plan, and it was done as if Vissakamma had done it. Then he said to the carpenter, “Will you be able to draw out the plan in this way?” “I shall not be able, Sir.” “Will you be able to do it by my instructions?” “I shall be able, Sir.” Then the Great Being so arranged the hall that there was in one part a place for ordinary strangers, in another a lodging for the destitute, in another a place for the lying-in of destitute women, in another a lodging for stranger Buddhist priests and Brahmins, in another a lodging for other sorts of men, in another a place where foreign merchants should stow their goods, and all these apartments had doors opening outside. There also he had a public place erected for sports, and a court of justice, and a hall for religious assemblies. When the work was completed he summoned painters, and having himself examined them set them to work at painting beautiful pictures, so that the hall became like Sakka’s heavenly palace Sudhamma. Still he thought that the palace was not yet complete, “I must have a tank constructed as well,”—so he ordered the ground to be dug for an architect and having discussed it with him and given him money he made him construct a tank with a thousand bends in the bank and a hundred bathing ghats. The water was covered with the five kinds of lotuses and was as beautiful as the lake in the heavenly garden Nandana. On its bank he planted various trees and had a park made like Nandana. And near this hall he established a public distribution of alms to holy men whether Buddhists or Brahmins, and for strangers and for people from the neighbouring villages.
These actions of his were blazed abroad everywhere and crowds gathered to the place, and the Great Being used to sit in the hall and discuss the right and the wrong of the good or evil circumstances of all the petitioners who resorted there and gave his judgment on each, and it became like the happy time when a Buddha makes his appearance in the world.
Now at that time, when seven years had expired, King Vedeha remembered how the four sages had said that a fifth sage should be born who would surpass them in wisdom, and he said to himself, “Where is he now?” and he sent out his four councillors by the four gates of the city, bidding them to find out where he was. When they went out by the other three gates they saw no sign of the Great Being, but when they went out by the eastern gate they saw the hall and its various buildings and they felt sure at once that only a wise man could have built this palace or caused it to be built, and they asked the people, “What architect built this hall?” They replied, “This palace was not built by any architect by his own power, but by the direction of Mahosadha Pandit, the son of the merchant Sirivaddha.” “How old is he?” “He has just completed his seventh year.” The councillor reckoned up all the events from the day on which the king saw the dream and he said to himself, “This being fulfils the king’s dream,” and he sent a messenger with this message to the king: “Mahosadha, the son of the merchant Sirivaddha in the East market town, who is now seven years old, has caused such a hall and tank and park to be made,—shall I bring him into thy presence or not?” When the king heard this he was highly delighted and sent for Senaka, and after relating the account he asked him whether he should send for this sage. But he, being envious of the title, replied, “O king, a man is not to be called a sage merely because he has caused halls and such things to be made; anyone can cause these things to be made, this is but a little matter.” When the king heard his words he said to himself, “There must be some secret reason for all this,” and was silent. Then he sent back the messenger with a command that the councillor should remain for a time in the place and carefully examine the sage. The councillor remained there and carefully investigated the sage’s actions, and this is the series of the tests or cases of examination :
1. “The piece of meat.” One day when the Great Being was going to the play-hall, a hawk carried off a piece of flesh from the slab of a slaughterhouse and flew up into the air; some lads, seeing it, determined to make him drop it and pursued him. The hawk flew in different directions, and they, looking up, followed behind and wearied themselves, flinging stones and other missiles and stumbling over one another. Then the sage said to them, “I will make him drop it,” and they begged him to do so. He told them to look; and then himself with looking up he ran with the swiftness of the wind and trod upon the hawk’s shadow and then clapping his hands uttered a loud shout. By his energy that shout seemed to pierce the bird’s belly through and through and in its terror he dropped the flesh; and the Great Being, knowing by watching the shadow that it was dropped, caught it in the air before it reached the ground. The people seeing the marvel, made a great noise, shouting and clapping their hands. The minister, hearing of it, sent an account to the king telling him how the sage had by this means made the bird drop the flesh. The king, when he heard of it, asked Senaka whether he should summon him to the court. Senaka reflected, “From the time of his coming I shall lose all my glory and the king will forget my existence,—I must not let him bring him here”; so in envy he said, “He is not a sage for such an action as this, this is only a small matter”; and the king being impartial, sent word that the minister should test him further where he was.
2. “The cattle.” A certain man who dwelt in the village of Yavamajjhaka bought some cattle from another village and brought them home. The next day he took them to a field of grass to graze and rode on the back of one of the cattle. Being tired he got down and sat on the ground and fell asleep, and meanwhile a thief came and carried off the cattle. When he woke he saw not his cattle, but as he gazed on every side he beheld the thief running away. Jumping up he shouted, “Where are you taking my cattle?” “They are my cattle, and I am carrying them to the place which I wish.” A great crowd collected as they heard the dispute. When the sage heard the noise as they passed by the door of the hall, he sent for them both. When he saw their behaviour he at once knew which was the thief and which the real owner. But though he felt sure, he asked them what they were quarrelling about. The owner said, “I bought these cattle from a certain person in such a village, and I brought them home and put them in a field of grass. This thief saw that I was not watching and came and carried them off. Looking in all directions I caught sight of him and pursued and caught him. The people of such a village know that I bought the cattle and took them.” The thief replied, “This man speaks falsely, they were born in my house.” The sage said, “I will decide your case fairly; will you abide by my decision?” and they promised so to abide. Then thinking to himself that he must win the hearts of the people he first asked the thief, “What have you fed these cattle with, and what have you given them to drink?” “They have drunk rice gruel and have been fed on sesame flour and kidney beans.” Then he asked the real owner, who said, “My lord, how could a poor man like me get rice gruel and the rest? I fed them on grass.” The pandit caused an assembly to be brought together and ordered panic seeds to be brought and ground in a mortar and moistened with water and given to the cattle, and they forthwith vomited only grass. He shewed this to the assembly, and then asked the thief, “Art thou the thief or not?” He confessed that he was the thief. He said to him, “Then do not commit such a sin henceforth.” But the Bodhisatta’s attendants carried the man away and cut off his hands and feet and made him helpless. Then the sage addressed him with words of good counsel, “This suffering has come upon thee only in this present life, but in the future life thou wilt suffer great torment in the different hells, therefore henceforth abandon such practices”; he taught him the five commandments. The minister sent an account of the incident to the king, who asked Senaka, but he advised him to wait, “It is only an affair about cattle and anybody could decide it.” The king, being impartial, sent the same command. (This is to be understood in all the subsequent cases,—we shall give each in order according to the list.)
3. “The necklace of thread.” A certain poor woman had tied together several threads of different colours and made them into a necklace, which she took off from her neck and placed on her clothes as she went down to bathe in a tank which the pandit had caused to be made. A young woman who saw this conceived a longing for it, took it up and said to her, “Mother, this is a very beautiful necklace, how much did it cost to make? I will make such a one for myself. May I put it on my own neck and ascertain its size?” The other gave her leave, and she put it on her neck and ran off. The elder woman seeing it came quickly out of the water, and putting on her clothes ran after her and seized hold of her dress, crying, “You are running away with a; necklace which I made.” The other replied, “I am not taking anything of yours, it is the necklace which I wear on my neck”; and a great crowd collected as they heard this. The sage, while he played with the boys, heard them quarrelling as they passed by the door of the hall and asked what the noise was about. When he heard the cause of the quarrel he sent for them both, and having known at once by her countenance which was the thief, he asked them whether they would abide by his decision. On their both agreeing to do so, he asked the thief, “What scent do you use for this necklace?” She replied, “I always use sabbasamhharaka to scent it with.” Then he asked the other, who replied, “How shall a poor woman like me get sabbasamharaka? I always scent it with perfume made of piyangu flowers.” Then the sage had a vessel of water brought and put the necklace in it. Then he sent for a perfume-seller and told him to smell the vessel and find out what it smelt of. He directly recognised the smell of the piyangu flower, and quoted the stanza which has been already given in the first book :
“No omnigatherum it is; only the kangu smells;
Yon wicked woman told a lie; the truth the gammer tells.”
The Great Being told the bystanders all the circumstances and asked each of them respectively, “Art thou the thief? Art thou not the thief?” and made the guilty one confess, and from that time his wisdom became known to the people.
4. “The cotton thread.” A certain woman who used to watch cotton fields was watching one day and she took some clean cotton and spun some fine thread and made it into a ball and placed it in her lap. As she went home she thought to herself, “I will bathe in the great sage’s tank,” so she placed the ball on her dress and went down into the tank to bathe. Another woman saw it, and conceiving a longing for it took it up, saying, “This is a beautiful ball of thread; pray did you make it yourself?” So she lightly snapped her fingers and put it in her lap as if to examine it more closely, and walked off with it. (This is to be told at full as before.) The sage asked the thief, “When you made the ball what did you put inside ?” She replied, “A cotton seed.” Then he asked the other, and she replied, “A timbaru seed.” When the crowd had heard what each said, he untwisted the ball of cotton and found a timbaru seed inside and forced the thief to confess her guilt. The great multitude were highly pleased and shouted their applause at the way in which the case had been decided.
5. “The son.” A certain woman took her son and went down to the sage’s tank to wash her face. After she had bathed her son she laid him in her dress and having washed her own face went to bathe. At that moment a female goblin saw the child and wished to eat it, so she took hold of the dress and said, “My friend, this is a fine child, is he your son?” Then she asked if she might give him suck, and on obtaining the mother’s consent, she took him and played with him for a while and then tried to run off with him. The other ran after her and seized hold of her, shouting, “Whither are you carrying my child?” The goblin replied, “Why do you touch the child? he is mine.” As they wrangled they passed by the door of the hall, and the sage, hearing the noise, sent for them and asked what was the matter. When he heard the story, although he knew at once by her red unwinking eyes that one of them was a goblin, he asked them whether they would abide by his decision. On their promising to do so, he drew a line and laid the child in the middle of the line and bade the goblin seize the child by the hands and the mother by the feet. Then he said to them, “Lay hold of it and pull; the child is hers who can pull it over.” They both pulled, and the child, being pained while it was pulled, uttered a loud cry. Then the mother, with a heart which seemed ready to burst, let the child go and stood weeping. The sage asked the multitude, “Is it the heart of the mother which is tender towards the child or the heart of her who is not the mother?” They answered, “The mother’s heart.” “Is she the mother who kept hold of the child or she who let it go?” They replied, “She who let it go.” “Do you know who she is who stole the child?” “We do not know, O sage.” “She is a goblin,—she seized it in order to eat it.” When they asked how he knew that he replied, “I knew her by her unwinking and red eyes and by her casting no shadow and by her fearlessness and want of mercy.” Then he asked her what she was, and she confessed that she was a goblin. “Why did you seize the child?” “To eat it.” “You blind fool,” he said, “you committed sin in old time and so were born as a goblin; and now you still go on committing sin, blind fool that you are.” Then he exhorted her and established her in the five precepts and sent her away; and the mother blessed him, and saying, “May’st thou live long, my lord,” took her son and went her way.
6. “The black ball.” There was a certain man who was called Golakala,—now he got the name gola “ball” from his dwarfish size, and kala from his black colour. He worked in a certain house for seven years and obtained a wife, and she was named Dighatala. One day he said to her, “Wife, cook some sweetmeats and food, we will pay a visit to your parents.” At first she opposed the plan, saying, “What have I to do with parents now?” but after the third time of asking he induced her to cook some cakes, and having taken some provisions and a present he set out on the journey with her. In the course of the journey he came to a stream which was not really deep, but they, being both afraid of water, dared not cross it and stood on the bank. Now a poor man named Dighapitthi came to that place as he walked along the bank, and when they saw him they asked him whether the river was deep or shallow. Seeing that they were afraid of the water he told them that it was very deep and full of voracious fish. “How then will you go across it?” “I have struck up a friendship with the crocodiles and monsters that live here, and therefore they do not hurt me.” “Do take us with you,” they said. When he consented they gave him some meat and drink; and when he finished his meal he asked them which he should carry over first. “Take your sister first and then take me,” said Golakala. Then the man placed her on his shoulders and took the provisions and the present and went down into the stream. When he had gone a little way, he crouched down and walked along in a bent posture. Golakala, as he stood on the bank, thought to himself, “This stream must indeed be very deep; if it is so difficult for even such a man as Dighapitthi, it must be impassable for me.” When the other had carried the woman to the middle of the stream, he said to her, “Lady, I will cherish you, and you shall live bravely arrayed with fine dresses and ornaments and men-servants and maidservants; what will this poor dwarf do for you? listen to what I tell you.” She listened to his words and ceased to love her husband, and being at once infatuated with the stranger, she consented, saying, “If you will not abandon me, I will do as you say.” So when they reached the opposite bank, they amused themselves and left Golakala, bidding him stay where he was. While he stood there looking on, they ate up the meat and drink and departed. When he saw it, he exclaimed, “They have struck up a friendship and are running away, leaving me here.” As he ran backwards and forwards he went a little way into the water and then drew back again in fear, and then in his anger at their conduct, he made a desperate leap, saying, “Let me live or die,” and when once fairly in, he discovered how shallow the water was. So he crossed it and pursued him and shouted, “You wicked thief, whither are you carrying my wife?” The other replied, “How is she your wife? she is mine”; and he seized him by the neck and whirled him round and threw him off. The other laid hold of Dighatala’s hand and shouted, “Stop, where are you going? you are my wife whom I got after working for seven years in a house”; and as he thus disputed he came near the hall. A great crowd collected. The Great Being asked what the noise was about, and having sent for them and heard what each said he asked whether they would abide by his decision. On their both agreeing to do so, he sent for Dighapitthi and asked him his name. Then he asked his wife’s name, but he, not knowing what it was, mentioned some other name. Then he asked him the names of his parents and he told them, but when he asked him the names of his wife’s parents he, not knowing, mentioned some other names. The Great Being put his story together and had him removed. Then he sent for the other and asked him the names of all in the same way. He, knowing the truth, gave them correctly. Then he had him removed and sent for Dighatala and asked her what her name was and she gave it. Then he asked her her husband’s name and she, not knowing, gave a wrong name. Then he asked her her parents’ names and she gave them correctly, but when he asked her the names of her husband’s parents’ names, she talked at random and gave wrong names. Then the sage sent for the other two and asked the multitude, “Does the woman’s story agree with Dighapitthi or Golakala.” They replied, “With Golakala.” Then he pronounced his sentence, “This man is her husband, the other is a thief”; and when he asked him he made him confess that he had acted as the thief.
7. “The chariot.” A certain man, who was sitting in a chariot, alighted from it to wash his face. At that moment Sakka was considering and as he beheld the sage he resolved that he would make known the power and wisdom of Mahosadha the embryo Buddha. So he came down in the form of a man, and followed the chariot holding on behind. The man who sat in the chariot asked, “Why have you come?” He replied, “To serve you.” The man agreed, and dismounting from the chariot went aside at a call of nature. Immediately Sakka mounted in the chariot and went off at speed. The owner of the chariot, his business done, returned; and when he saw Sakka hurrying away with the chariot, he ran quickly behind, crying, “Stop, stop, where are you taking my chariot?” Sakka replied, “Your chariot must be another, this is mine.” Thus wrangling they came to the gate of the hall. The sage asked, “What is this?” and sent for him: as he came, by his fearlessness and his eyes which winked not, the sage knew that this was Sakka and the other was the owner. Nevertheless he enquired the cause of the quarrel, and asked them, “Will you abide by my decision?” They said, “Yes.” He went on, “I will cause the chariot to be driven, and you must both hold on behind: the owner will not let go, the other will.” Then he told a man to drive the chariot, and he did so, the others holding on behind. The owner went a little way, then being unable to run further he let go, but Sakka went on running with the chariot. When he had recalled the chariot, the sage said to the people: “This man ran a little way and let go; the other ran out with the chariot and came back with it, yet there is not a drop of sweat on his body, no panting, he is fearless, his eyes wink not— this is Sakka, king of the gods.” Then he asked, “Are you king of the gods?” “Yes.” “Why did you come here?” “To spread the fame of your wisdom, O sage!” “Then,” said he, “don’t do that kind of thing again.” Now Sakka revealed his power by standing poised in the air, and praised the sage, saying, “A wise judgment this!” So he went to his own place. Then the minister unsummoned went to the king, and said, “O great king, thus was the Chariot Question resolved: and even Sakka was subdued by him; why do you not recognise superiority in men?” The king asked Senaka, “What say you, Senaka, shall we bring the sage here?” Senaka replied, “That is not all that makes a sage. Wait awhile: I will test him and find out.”
8. “The pole.” So one day, with a view of testing the sage, they fetcht an acacia pole, and cutting off about a span, they had it nicely smoothed by a turner, and sent it to the East Market-town, with this message: “The people of the Market-town have a name for wisdom. Let them find out then which end is the top and which the root of this stick. If they cannot, there is a fine of a thousand pieces.” The people gathered together but could not find it out, and they said to their foreman, “Perhaps Mahosadha the sage would know; send and ask him.” The foreman sent for the sage from his playground, and told him the matter, how they could not find it out but perhaps he could. The sage thought in himself, “The king can gain nothing from knowing which is the top and which is the root; no doubt it is sent to test me.” He said, “Bring it here, my friends, I will find out.” Holding it in his hand, he knew which was the top and which the root; yet to please the heart of the people, he sent for a pot of water, and tied a string round the middle of the stick, and holding it by the end of the string he let it down to the surface of the water. The root being heavier sank first. Then he asked the people, “Is the root of a tree heavier, or the top?” “The root, wise sir!” “See then, this part sinks first, and this is therefore the root.” By this mark he distinguished the root from the top. The people sent it back to the king, distinguishing which was the root and which was the top. The king was pleased, and asked, who had found it out? They said, “The sage Mahosadha, son of foreman Sirivaddhi.” “Senaka, shall we send for him?” he asked. “Wait, my lord,” he replied, “let us try him in another way.”
9. “The head.” One day, two heads were brought, one a woman’s and one a man’s; these were sent to be distinguished, with a fine of a thousand pieces in case of failure. The villagers could not decide and asked the Great Being. He recognised them at sight, because, they say, the sutures in a man’s head are straight, and in a woman’s head they are crooked. By this mark he told which was which; and they sent back to the king. The rest is as before.
10. “The snake.” One day a male and a female snake were brought, and sent for the villagers to decide which was which. They asked the sage, and he knew at once when he saw them; for the tail of the male snake is thick, that of the female is thin; the male snake’s head is thick, the female’s is long; the eyes of the male are big, of the female small, the head of the male is rounded, that of the female cut short. By these signs he distinguished male from female. The rest is as before.
11. “The cock.” One day a message was sent to the people of the East Market-town to this effect: “Send us a bull white all over, with horns on his legs, and a hump on the head, which utters his voice at three times unfailingly; otherwise there is a fine of a thousand pieces.” Not knowing one, they asked the sage. He said: “The king means you to send him a cock. This creature has horns on his feet, the spurs; a hump on his head, the crest; and crowing thrice utters his voice at three times unfailingly. Then send him a cock such as he describes.” They sent one.
12. “The gem.” The gem which Sakka gave to King Kusa was octagonal. Its thread was broken, and no one could remove the old thread and put in a new. One day they sent this gem, with directions to take out the old thread and to put in a new; the villagers could do neither the one nor the other, and in their difficulty they told the sage. He bade them fear nothing, and asked for a lump of honey. With this he smeared the two holes in the gem, and twisting a thread of wool, he smeared the end of this also with honey, he pushed it a little way into the hole, and put it in a place where ants were passing. The ants smelling the honey came out of their hole, and eating away the old thread bit hold of the end of the woollen thread and pulled it out at the other end. When he saw that it had passed through, he bade them present it to the king, who was pleased when he heard how the thread had been put in.
13. “The calving.” The royal bull was fed up for some months, so that his belly swelled out, his horns were washed, he was anointed with oil, and bathed with turmeric, and then they sent him to the East Market-town, with this message: “You have a name for wisdom. Here is the king’s royal bull, in calf; deliver him and send him back with the calf, or else there is a fine of a thousand pieces.” The villagers, perplexed what to do, applied to the sage; who thought fit to meet one question with another, and asked, “Can you find a bold man able to speak to the king?” “That is no hard matter,” they replied. So they summoned him, and the Great Being said—“Go, my good man, let your hair down loose over your shoulders, and go to the palace gate weeping and lamenting sore. Answer none but the king, only lament; and if the king sends for you to ask why you lament, say, This seven days my son is in labour and cannot bring forth; O help me! tell me how I may deliver him! Then the king will say, What madness! this is impossible; men do not bear children. Then you must say, If that be true, how can the people of the East Market-town deliver your royal bull of a calf?” As he was bidden, so he did. The king asked who thought of that counter-quip; and on hearing that it was the sage Mahosadha he was pleased.
14. “The boiled rice.” Another day, to test the sage, this message was sent: “The people of the East Market-town must send us some boiled rice cooked under eight conditions, and these are— without rice, without water, without a pot, without an oven, without fire, without firewood, without being sent along a road either by woman or man. If they cannot do it, there is a fine of a thousand pieces.” The people perplext applied to the sage; who said, “Be not troubled, Take some broken rice, for that is not rice; snow, for that is not water; an earthen bowl, which is no pot; chop up some wood-blocks, which are no oven; kindle fire by rubbing, instead of a proper fire; take leaves instead of firewood; cook your sour rice, put it in a new vessel, press it well down, put it on the head of a eunuch, who is neither man nor woman, leave the main road and go along a footpath, and take it to the king.” They did so; and the king was pleased when he heard by whom the question had been solved.
15. “The sand.” Another day, to test the sage, they sent this message to the villagers: “The king wishes to amuse himself in a swing, and the old rope is broken; you are to make a rope of sand, or else pay a fine of a thousand pieces.” They knew not what to do, and appealed to the sage, who saw that this was the place for a counter-question. He reassured the people; and sending for two or three clever speakers, he bade them go tell the king: “My lord, the villagers do not know whether the sand-rope is to be thick or thin; send them a bit of the old rope, a span long or four fingers; this they will look at and twist a rope of the same size.” If the king replied, “Sand-rope there never was in my house,” they were to reply, “If your majesty cannot make a sand-rope, how can the villagers do so?” They did so; and the king was pleased on hearing that the sage had thought of this counter-quip.
16. “The tank.” Another day, the message was: “The king desires to disport him in the water; you must send me a new tank covered with water lilies of all five kinds, otherwise there is a fine of a thousand pieces.” They told the sage, who saw that a counter-quip was wanted. He sent for several men clever at speaking, and said to them: “Go and play in the water till your eyes are red, go to the palace door with wet hair and wet garments and your bodies all over mud, holding in your hands ropes, staves, and clods; send word to the king of your coming, and when you are admitted say to him, Sire, inasmuch as your majesty has ordered the people of the East Market-town to send you a tank, we brought a great tank to suit your taste; but she being used to a life in the forest, no sooner saw the town with its walls, moats, and watch-towers, than she took fright and broke the ropes and off into the forest: we pelted her with clods and beat her with sticks but could not make her come back. Give us then the old tank which your majesty is said to have brought from the forest, and we will yoke them together and bring the other back. The king will say, I never had a tank brought in from the forest, and never send a tank there to be yoked and bring in another! Then you must say, If that is so, how can the villagers send you a tank?” They did so; and the king was pleased to hear that the sage had thought of this.
17. “The park.” Again on a day the king sent a message: “I wish to disport me in the park, and my park is old. The people of the East Market-town must send me a new park, filled with trees and flowers.” The sage reassured them as before, and sent men to speak in the same manner as above.
18. Then the king was pleased, and said to Senaka: “Well, Senaka, shall we send for the sage?” But he, grudging the other’s prosperity, said, “That is not all that makes a sage; wait.” On hearing this the king thought, “The sage Mahosadha was wise even as a child, and took my fancy. In all these mysterious tests and counter-quips he has given answers like a Buddha. Yet such a wise man as this Senaka will not let me summon him to my side. What care I for Senaka? I will bring the man here.” So with a great following he set out for the village, mounted upon his royal horse. But as he went the horse put his foot into a hole and broke his leg; so the king turned back from that place to the town. Then Senaka entered the presence and said: “Sire, did you go to the East Market-town to bring the sage back?” “Yes, sir,” said the king. “Sire,” said Senaka, “you make me as one of no account. I begged you to wait awhile; but off you went in a hurry, and at the outset your royal horse broke his leg.” The king had nothing to say to this. Again on a day he asked Senaka, “Shall we send for the sage, Senaka?” “If so, your majesty, don’t go yourself but send a messenger, saying, O sage! as I was on my way to fetch you my horse broke his leg: send us a better horse and a more excellent one . If he takes the first alternative he will come himself, if the second he will send his father. Then will be a problem to test him.” The king sent a messenger with this message. The sage on hearing it recognised that the king wished to see himself and his father. So he went to his father, and said greeting him, “Father, the king wishes to see you and me. You go first with a thousand merchants in attendance; and when you go, go not empty-handed, but take a sandalwood casket filled with fresh ghee. The king will speak kindly to you, and offer you a householder’s seat; take it and sit down. When you are seated, I will come; the king will speak kindly to me and offer me such another seat. Then I will look at you; take the cue and say, rising from your seat, Son Mahosadha the wise, take this seat. Then the question will be ripe for solution.” He did so. On arriving at the palace door he caused his arrival to be made known to the king, and on the king’s invitation, he entered, and greeted the king, and stood on one side. The king spoke to him kindly, and asked where was his son the wise Mahosadha. “Coming after me, my lord.” The king was pleased to hear of his coming, and bade the father sit in a suitable place. He found a place and sat there. Meanwhile the Great Being drest himself in all his splendour, and attended by the thousand youths he came seated in a magnificent chariot. As he entered the town he beheld an ass by the side of a ditch, and he directed some stout fellows to fasten up the mouth of the ass so that it should make no noise, to put him in a bag and carry him on their shoulders. They did so; the Bodhisat entered the city with his great company. The people could not praise him enough. “This,” they cried, “is the wise Mahosadha, the merchant Sirivaddhaka’s son; this they say is he, who was born holding a herb of virtue in his hand; he it is who knew the answers to so many problems set to test him.” On arriving before the palace he sent in word of his coming. The king was pleased to hear it and said, “Let my son the wise Mahosadha make haste to come in.” So with his attendants he entered the palace and saluted the king and stood on one side. The king delighted to see him spoke to him very sweetly, and bade him find a fit seat and sit down. He looked at his father, and his father at this cue uprose from his seat and invited him to sit there, which he did. Thereupon the foolish men who were there, Senaka, Pukkusa, Kavinda, Devinda, and others, seeing him sit there, clapt their hands and laughed loudly and cried, “This is the blind fool they call wise! He has made his father rise from his seat, and sits there himself! Wise he should not be called surely.” The king also was crestfallen. Then the Great Being said, “Why, my lord! are you sad?” “Yes, wise sir, I am sad. I was glad to hear of you, but to see you I am not glad.” “Why so?” “Because you have made your father rise from his seat, and sit there yourself.” “What, my lord! do you think that in all cases the sire is better than the sons?” “Yes, sir.” “Did you not send word to me to bring you the better horse or the more excellent horse?” So saying he rose up and looking towards the young fellows, said, “Bring in the ass you have brought.” Placing this ass before the king he went on, “Sire, what is the price of this ass?” The king said, “If it be serviceable, it is worth eight rupees.” “But if he get a mule colt out of a thorobred Sindh mare, what will the price of it be?” “It will be priceless.” “Why do you say that, my lord? Have you not just said that in all cases the sire is better than the sons? By your own saying the ass is worth more than the mule colt. Now have not your wise men clapt their hands and laughed at me because they did not know that? What wisdom is this of your wise men! where did you get them?” And in contempt for all four of them he addrest the king in this stanza of the First Book :
“Thinkst thou that the sire is always better than the son, O excellent king?
Then is yon creature better than the mule; the ass is the mule’s sire.”
After this said, he went on, “My lord, if the sire is better than the son, take my sire into your service; if the son is better than the sire, take me.” The king was delighted; and all the company cried out applauding and praising a thousand times—“Well indeed has the wise man solved the question.” There was cracking of fingers and waving of a thousand scarves: the four were crestfallen.
Now no one knows better than the Bodhisat the value of parents. If one ask then, why he did so: it was not to throw contempt on his father, but when the king sent the message, “send the better horse or the more excellent horse,” he did thus in order to solve that problem, and to make his wisdom to be recognised, and to take the shine out of the four sages .
The king was pleased; and taking the golden vase filled with scented water, poured the water upon the merchant’s hand, saying, “Enjoy the East Market-town as a gift from the king.—Let the other merchants,” he went on, “be subordinate to this.” This done he sent to the mother of the Bodhisat all kinds of ornaments. Delighted as he was at the Bodhisat’s solution of the Ass Question, he wished to make the Bodhisat as his own son, and to the father said, “Good sir, give me the Great Being to be my son.” He replied, “Sire, very young is he still; even yet his mouth smells of milk: but when he is old, he shall be with you.” The king said however, “Good sir, henceforth you must give up your attachment to the boy; from this day he is my son. I can support my son, so go your ways.” Then he sent him away. He did obeisance to the king, and embraced his son, and throwing his arms about him kissed him upon the head, and gave him good counsel. The boy also bade his father farewell, and begged him not to be anxious, and sent him away.
The king then asked the sage, whether he would take his meals inside the palace or without it. He thinking that with so large a retinue it were best to have his meals outside the palace, replied to that effect. Then the king gave him a suitable house, and providing for the maintenance of the thousand youths and all, gave him all that was needful. From that time the sage attended upon the king.
19. Now the king desired to test the sage. At that time there was a precious jewel in a crow’s nest on a palm-tree which stood on the bank of a lake near the southern gate, and the image of this jewel was to be seen reflected upon the lake. They told the king that there was a jewel in the lake. He sent for Senaka, saying, “They tell me there is a jewel in the lake; how are we to get it?” Senaka said, “The best way is to drain out the water.” The king instructed him to do so; and he collected a number of men, and got out the water and mud, and dug up the soil at the bottom—but no jewel could he see. But when the lake was again full, there was the reflexion of the jewel to be seen once more. Again Senaka did the same thing, and found no jewel. Then the king sent for the sage, and said, “A jewel has been seen in the lake, and Senaka has taken out the water and mud and dug up the earth without finding it, but no sooner is the lake full than it appears again. Can you get hold of it?” He replied, “That is no hard task, sire, I will get it for you.” The king was pleased at this promise, and with a great following he went to the lake, ready to see the might of the sage’s knowledge. The Great Being stood on the bank, and looked. He perceived that the jewel was not in the lake, but must be in the tree, and he said aloud, “Sire, there is no jewel in the tank.” “What! is it not visible in the water?” So he sent for a pail of water, and said, “Now my lord, see—is not this jewel visible both in the pail and the lake?” “Then where can the jewel be?” “Sire, it is the reflexion which is visible both in the lake and in the pail, but the jewel is in a crow’s nest in this palm-tree: send up a man and have it brought down.” The king did so: the man brought down the jewel, and the sage put it into the king’s hand. All the people applauded the sage and mocked at Senaka—“Here’s a precious jewel in a crow’s nest up a tree, and Senaka makes strong men dig out the lake! Surely a wise man should be like Mahosadha.” Thus they praised the Great Being; and the king being delighted with him, gave him a necklace of pearls from his own neck, and strings of pearls to the thousand boys, and to him and his retinue he granted the right to wait upon him without ceremony .
Again, on a day the king went with the sage into the park; when a chameleon, which lived on the top of the arched gateway, saw the king approach and came down and lay flat upon the ground. The king seeing this asked, “What is he doing, wise sir?” “Paying respect to you, sire.” “If so, let not his service be without reward; give him a largess.” “Sire, a largess is of no use to him; all he wants is something to eat.” “And what does he eat?” “Meat, sire.” “How much ought he to have?” “A farthing’s worth, sire.” “A farthing’s worth is no gift from a king,” said the king, and he sent a man with orders to bring regularly and give to the chameleon a half-anna’s worth of meat. This was done thereafter. But on a fast day, when there is no killing, the man could find no meat; so he bored a hole through the half-anna piece, and strung it upon a thread, and tied it upon the chameleon’s neck. This made the creature proud. That day the king again went into the park; but the chameleon as he saw the king draw near, in pride of wealth made himself equal to the king, thinking within himself—“You may be very rich, Vedeha, but so am I.” So he did not come down, but lay still on the archway, stroking his head. The king seeing this said, “Wise sir, this creature does not come down to-day as usual; what is the reason?” and he recited the first stanza:
“Yon chameleon used not to climb upon the archway: explain, Mahosadha,
why the chameleon has become stiff-necked.”
The sage perceived that the man must have been unable to find meat on this fast day when there was no killing, and that the creature must have become proud because of the coin hung about his neck; so he recited this stanza:
“The chameleon has got what he never had before, a half-anna piece; hence
he despises Vedeha lord of Mithila.”
The king sent for the man and questioned him, and he told him all about it truly. Then he was more than ever pleased with the sage, who (it seemed) knew the idea of the chameleon, without asking any questions, with a wisdom like the supreme wisdom of a Buddha; so he gave him the revenue taken at the four gates. Being angry with the chameleon, he thought of discontinuing the gift, but the sage told him that it was unfitting and dissuaded him .
Now a lad Pinguttara living in Mithila came to Takkasila, and studied under a famous teacher, and soon completed his education; then after diligent study he proposed to take leave of his teacher and go. But in this teacher’s family there was a custom, that if there should be a daughter ripe for marriage she should be given to the eldest pupil. This teacher had a daughter beautiful as a nymph divine, so he said, “My son, I will give you my daughter and you shall take her with you.” Now this lad was unfortunate and unlucky, but the girl was very lucky. When he saw her he did not care for her; but though he said so, he agreed, not wishing to disregard his master’s words, and the brahmin married the daughter to him. Night came, when he lay upon the prepared bed; no sooner had she got into the bed than up he got groaning and lay down upon the floor. She got out and lay beside him, then he got up and went to bed again; when she came into the bed again he got out—for ill luck cannot mate with good luck. So the girl stayed in bed and he stayed on the ground. Thus they spent seven days. Then he took leave of his teacher and departed taking her with him. On the road there was not so much as an exchange of talk between them. Both unhappy they came to Mithila. Not far from the town, Pinguttara saw a fig-tree covered with fruit, and being hungry he climbed up and ate some of the figs. The girl also being hungry came to the foot of the tree and called out—“Throw down some fruit for me too.” “What!” says he, “have you no hands or feet? Climb up and get it yourself.” She climbed up also and ate. No sooner did he see that she had climbed than he came down quickly, and piled thorns around the tree, and made off saying to himself—“I have got rid of the miserable woman at last.” She could not get down, but remained sitting where she was. Now the king, who had been amusing himself in the forest, was coming back to town on his elephant in the evening time when he saw her, and fell in love; so he sent to ask had she a husband or no. She replied, “Yes, I have a husband to whom my family gave me; but he has gone away and left me here alone.” The courtier told this tale to the king, who said, “Treasure trove belongs to the Crown.” She was brought down and placed on the elephant and conveyed to the palace, where she was sprinkled with the water of consecration as his queen consort. Dear and darling she was to him; and the name Udumbara or Queen Fig was given to her because he first saw her upon a fig-tree.
One day after this, they who dwelt by the city gate had to clean the road for the king to go disporting into his park; and Pinguttara, who had to earn his living, tucked up his clothes and set to work clearing the road with a hoe. Before the road was clean the king with Queen Udumbara came along in a chariot; and the queen seeing the wretch clearing the road could not restrain her triumph, but smiled to see the wretch there. The king was angry to see her smile, and asked why she did so. “My lord,” she said, “that road-cleaner fellow is my former husband, who made me climb up the fig-tree and then piled thorns about it and left me; when I saw him I could not help feeling triumphant at my good fortune, and smiled to see the wretch there.” The king said, “You lie, you laughed at someone else, and I will kill you!” And he drew his sword. She was alarmed and said, “Sire, pray ask your wise men!” The king asked Senaka whether he believed her. “No, my lord, I do not,” said Senaka, “for who would leave such a woman if he once possest her?” When she heard this she was more frightened than ever. But the king thought, “What does Senaka know about it? I will ask the sage”; and asked him reciting this stanza :
“Should a woman be virtuous and fair, and a man not desire her—do you believe it Mahosadha?”
“O king, I do believe it: the man would be an unlucky wretch; good luck and ill luck never can mate together.”
These words allayed the king’s anger, and his heart was calmed, and much pleased he said, “O wise man! if you had not been here, I should have trusted the words of that fool Senaka and lost this precious woman: you have saved me my queen.” He recompensed the sage with a thousand pieces of money. Then the queen said to the king respectfully, “Sire, it is all through this wise man that my life has been saved; grant me the boon, that I may treat him as my youngest brother.” “Yes, my queen, I consent, the boon is granted.” “Then, my lord, from this day I will eat no dainties without my brother, from this day in season and out of season my door shall be open to send him sweet food—this boon I crave.” “You may have this boon also, my lady,” quoth the king. Here endeth the Question of Good and Bad Luck .
Another day, the king after breakfast was walking up and down in the long walk when he saw through a doorway a goat and a dog making friends. Now this goat was in the habit of eating the grass thrown to the elephants beside their stable before they touched it; the elephant-keepers beat it and drove it away; and as it ran away bleating, one man ran quickly after and struck it on the back with a stick. The goat with its back humped in pain went and lay down by the great wall of the palace, on a bench. Now there was a dog which had fed all its days upon the bones, skin, and refuse of the royal kitchen. That same day the cook had finished preparing the food, and had dished it up, and while he was wiping the sweat off his body the dog could no longer bear the smell of the meat and fish, and entered the kitchen, pushed off the cover and began eating the meat. But the cook hearing the noise of the dishes ran in and saw the dog: he clapt to the door and beat it with sticks and stones. The dog dropt the meat from his mouth and ran off yelping; and the cook seeing him run, ran after and struck him full on the back with a stick. The dog humping his back and holding up one leg came to the place where the goat was lying. Then the goat said, “Friend, why do you hump your back? Are you suffering from colic?” The dog replied, “You are humping your back too, have you an attack of colic?” He told his tale. Then the goat added, “Well, can you ever go to the kitchen again?” “No, it is as much as my life’s worth.—Can you go to the stable again?” “No more than you, ’Tis as much as my life’s worth.” Well, they began to wonder how they could live. Then the goat said, “If we could manage to live together I have an idea.” “Pray tell it.” “Well, sir, you must go to the stable; the elephant-keepers will take no notice of you, for (think they) he eats no grass; and you must bring me my grass. I will go to the kitchen, and the cook will take no notice of me, thinking that I eat no meat, so I will bring you your meat.” “That’s a good plan,” said the other, and they made a bargain of it: the dog went to the stable and brought a bundle of grass in his teeth and laid it beside the great wall; the other went to the kitchen and brought away a great lump of meat in his mouth to the sane place. The dog ate the meat and the goat ate the grass; and so by this device they lived together in harmony by the great wall. When the king saw their friendship he thought—“Never have I seen such a thing before. Here are two natural enemies living in friendship together. I will put this in the form of a question to my wise men; those who cannot understand it I will banish from the realm, and if anyone guesses it I will declare him the sage incomparable and shew him all honour. There is no time to-day; but to-morrow when they come to wait upon me I will ask them the question. So next day when the wise men had come to wait upon him, he put his question in these words:
“Two natural enemies, who never before in the world could come within seven paces of each other, have become friends and go inseparable. What is the reason?”
After this he added another stanza:
“If this day before noon you cannot solve me this question, I will banish you all. I have no need of ignorant men.”
Now Senaka was seated in the first seat, the sage in the last; and thought the sage to himself, “This king is too slow of wit to have thought out this question by himself, he must have seen something. If I can get one day’s grace I will solve the riddle. Senaka is sure to find some means to postpone it for a day.” And the other four wise men could see nothing, being like men in a dark room: Senaka looked at the Bodhisat to see what he would do, the Bodhisat looked at Senaka. By the way Mahosadha looked Senaka perceived his state of mind; he sees that even this wise man does not understand the question, he cannot answer it to-day but wants a day’s grace; he would fulfil this wish. So he laughed loudly in a reassuring manner and said, “What, sire, you will banish us all if we cannot answer your question?” “Yes, sir.” “Ah, you know that it is a knotty question, and we cannot solve it; do but wait a little. A knotty question cannot be solved in a crowd. We will think it over, and afterwards explain it to you. So let us have a chance.” So he said relying on the Great Being, and then recited these two stanzas:
“In a great crowd, where is a great din of people assembled, our minds are distracted, our thoughts cannot concentrate, and we cannot solve the question. But alone, calm in thought, apart they will go and ponder on the matter, in solitude grappling with it firmly, then they will solve it for thee, O lord of men.”
The king, exasperated though he was at his speech, said, threatening them, “Very well, think it over and tell me; if you do not, I will banish you.” The four wise men left the palace, and Senaka said to the others, “Friends, a delicate question this which the king has put; if we cannot solve it there is great fear for us. So take a good meal and reflect carefully.” After this they went each to his own house. The sage on his part rose and sought out Queen Udumbara, and to her he said, “O queen, where was the king most of to-day and yesterday?” “Walking up and down the long walk, good sir, and looking out of the window.” “Ah,” thought the Bodhisat, “he must have seen something there.” So he went to the place and looked out and saw the doings of the goat and the dog. “The king’s question is solved!” he concluded, and home he went. The three others found out nothing, and came to Senaka, who asked, “Have you found out the question?” “No, master.” “If so, the king will banish you, and what will you do?” “But you have found it out?” “Indeed no, not I.” “If you cannot find it out, how can we? We roared like lions before the king, and said, Let us think and we will solve it; and now if we cannot, he will be angry. What are we to do?” “This question is not for us to solve: no doubt the sage has solved it in a hundred ways.” “Then let us go to him.” So they came all four to the Bodhisat’s door, and sent to announce their coming, and entering spoke politely to him; then standing on one side they asked the Great Being, “Well, sir, have you thought out the question?” “If I have not, who will? Of course I have.” “Then tell us too.” He thought to himself, “If I do not tell them, the king will banish them, and will honour me with the seven precious things. But let not these fools perish—I will tell them.” So he made them sit down on low seats, and to uplift their hands in salutation, and without telling them what the king had really seen, he composed four stanzas, and taught them one each in the Pali language, to recite when the king should ask them, and sent them away. Next day they went to wait on the king, and sat where they were told to sit, and the king asked Senaka, “Have you solved the question, Senaka?” “Sire, if I do not know it who can?” “Tell me, then.” “Listen, my lord,” and he recited a stanza as he had been taught:
Although Senaka recited the stanza he did not know its meaning; but the king did because he had seen the thing. “Senaka has found it out,” he thought; and then turned to Pukkusa and asked him. “What? am not I a wise man?” asked Pukkusa, and recited his stanza as he had been taught:
“They take off a goatskin to cover the horse’s back withal, but a dogskin they do not use for covering: yet there might be friendship betwixt ram and dog.”
“Twisted horns hath a ram, the dog hath none at all; one eateth grass, one flesh: yet there might be friendship betwixt ram and dog.”
“He has found it out too,” thought the king, and passed on to Devinda; who with the others recited his stanza as he had been taught:
“Grass and leaves Both the ram eat, the dog neither grass nor leaves; the dog would take a hare or a cat: yet there might be friendship betwixt ram and dog.”
Next the king questioned the sage: “My son, do you understand this question?” “Sire, who else can understand it from Avici to Bhavagga, from lowest hell to highest heaven?” “Tell me, then.” “Listen, sire”; and he made clear his knowledge of the fact by reciting these two stanzas:
“The ram, with eight half-feet on his four feet, and eight hooves, unobserved, brings meat for the other, and he brings grass for him . The chief of Videha, the lord of men, on his terrace beheld with his own eyes the interchange of food given by each to the other, between bow-wow and full-mouth.”
“No small gain is it that I have men so wise in my house. A matter profound and subtile they have penetrated with noble speech, the clever men!”
So he said to them, “One good turn deserves another,” and made his return in the following stanza:
“To each I give a chariot and a she-mule, to each a rich village, very choice, these I give to all the wise men, delighted at their noble speech.”
But Queen Udumbara knew that the others had got their knowledge of the question through the sage; and thought she, “The king has given the same reward to all five, like a man who makes no difference between peas and beans. Surely my brother should have had a special reward.” So she went and asked the king, “Who discovered the riddle for you, sir?” “The five wise men, madam.” “But my lord, through whom did the four get their knowledge?” “I do not know, madam.” “Sire, what do those men know! It was the sage—who wished that these fools should not be ruined through him, and taught them the problem. Then you give the same reward to them all. That is not right; you should make a distinction for the sage.” The king was pleased that the sage had not revealed that they had their knowledge through him, and being desirous of giving him an exceeding great reward, he thought, “Never mind: I will ask my son another question, and when he replies, I will give him a great reward.” Thinking of this he hit on the Question of Poor and Rich.
One day, when the five wise men had come to wait upon him, and when they were comfortably seated, the king said, “Senaka, I will ask a question.” “Do, sire.” Then he recited the first stanza in the Question of Poor and Rich:
“Endowed with wisdom and bereft of wealth, or wealthy and without wisdom—I ask you this question, Senaka: Which of these two do clever men call the better?”
Now this question had been handed down from generation to generation in Senaka’s family, so he replied at once:
“Verily, O king, wise men and fools, men educated or uneducated, do service to the wealthy, although they be high-born and he be base-born. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, and the wealthy is better.”
The king listened to this answer; then without asking the other three, he said to the sage Mahosadha who sat by:
“Thee also I ask, lofty in wisdom, Mahosadha, who knowest all the Law: A fool with wealth or a wise man with small store, which of the two do clever men call the better?”
“The fool commits sinful acts, thinking “In this world I am the better”; he looks at this world and not at the next, and gets the worst of it in both. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
This said, the king looked at Senaka: “Well, you see Mahosadha says the wise man is the best.” Senaka said, “Your majesty, Mahosadha is a child; even now his mouth smells of milk. What can he know?” and he recited this stanza:
“Science does not give riches, nor does family or personal beauty. Look at that idiot Gorimanda greatly prospering, because Luck favours the wretch . Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the wealthy is better.”
Hearing this the king said, “What now, Mahosadha my son?” He answered, “My lord, what does Senaka know? He is like a crow where rice is scattered, like a dog trying to lap up milk: sees himself but sees not the stick which is ready to fall upon his head. Listen, my lord,” and he recited this stanza:
“He that is small of wit, when he gets wealth, is intoxicated: struck by misfortune he becomes stupefied: struck by ill luck or good luck as chance may come, he writhes like a fish in the hot sun. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
“Now then, master!” said the king on hearing this. Senaka said, “My lord, what does he know? Not to speak of men, it is the fine tree full of fruit which the birds go after,” and he recited this stanza:
“As in the forest, the birds gather from all quarters to the tree which has sweet fruit, so to the rich man who has treasure and wealth crowds flock together for their profit. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the wealthy is the better.”
“Well, my son, what now?” the king asked. The sage answered, “What does that pot-belly know? Listen, my lord,” and he recited this stanza:
Again the king said, “Well, Senaka?” to which Senaka replied:
“Whatsoever streams pour themselves into the Ganges, all these lose name and kind. The Ganges falling into the sea, is no longer to be distinguished. So the world is devoted to wealth. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the rich is better.”
Again the king said, “Well, sage?” and he answered, “Hear, O king!” with a couple of stanzas:
“This mighty ocean of which he spoke, whereinto always flow rivers innumerable, this sea beating incessantly on the shore can never pass over it, mighty ocean though it be. So it is with the chatterings of the fool: his prosperity cannot overpass the wise. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the prosperous fool.”
“A wealthy man in high position may lack all self-control, but if he says anything to others, his word has weight in the midst of his kinsfolk; but wisdom has not that effect for the man without wealth. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the rich is better.”
“Well, my son?” said the king again. “Listen, sire! what does that stupid Senaka know?” and he recited this stanza:
“For another’s sake or his own the fool and small of wit speaks falsely; he is put to shame in the midst of company, and hereafter he goeth to misery. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
Then Senaka recited a stanza:
“Even if one be of great wisdom, but without rice or grain, and needy, should he say anything, his word has no weight in the midst of his kinsfolk, and prosperity does not come to a man for his knowledge. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the rich is better.”
Again the king said, “What say you to that, my son?” And the sage replied, “What does Senaka know? he looks at this world, not the next,” and he recited this stanza:
“Not for his own sake nor another’s does the man of great wisdom speak a lie; he is honoured in the midst of the assembly, and hereafter he goes; r happiness. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
Then Senaka recited a stanza:
“Elephants, kine, horses, jewelled earrings, women, are found in rich families; these all are for the enjoyment of the rich man without supernatural power. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the rich is better.”
The sage said, “What does he know?” and continuing to explain the matter he recited this stanza:
“The fool, who does thoughtless acts and speaks foolish words, the unwise, is cast off by Fortune as a snake casts the old skin. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
“We are five wise men, venerable sir, all waiting upon you with gestures of respect; and you are our lord and master, like Sakka, lord of all creatures, king of the gods. Beholding this I say: The wise is mean, the rich is better.”
When the king heard this he thought, “That was neatly said of Senaka; I wonder whether my son will be able to refute it and to say something else.” So he asked him, “Well, wise sir, what now?” But this argument of Senaka’s there was none able to refute except the Bodhisat; so the Great Being refuted it by saying, “Sire, what does this fool know? He only looks at himself and knows not the excellence of wisdom. Listen, sire,” and he recited this stanza:
“The wealthy fool is but the slave of a wise man, when questions of this kind arise; when the sage solves it cleverly, then the fool falls into confusion. Beholding this I say: The wise is better than the wealthy fool.”
As if he drew forth golden sand from the foot of Sineru, as though he bought the full moon up in the sky, so did he set forth this argument, so did the Great Being shew his wisdom. Then the king said to Senaka, “Well, Senaka, cap that if you can!” But like one who had used up all the corn in his granary, he sat without answer, disturbed, grieving. If he could have produced another argument, even a thousand stanzas would not have finished this Birth. But when he remained without an answer, the Great Being went on with this stanza in praise of wisdom, as though he poured out a deep flood:
“Verily wisdom is esteemed of the good; wealth is beloved because men are devoted to enjoyment. The knowledge of the Buddhas is incomparable, and wealth never surpasses wisdom.”
Hearing this the king was so pleased with the Great Being’s solution of the question, that he rewarded him with riches in a great shower, and recited a stanza:
“Whatsoever I asked he has answered me, Mahosadha the only preacher of the Law. A thousand kine, a bull and an elephant, and ten chariots drawn by thorobreds, and sixteen excellent villages, here I give thee, pleased with thy answer to the question.”
Here endeth the Question of Rich and Poor (Book Xx).
From that day the Bodhisat’s glory was great, and Queen Udumbara managed it all. When he was sixteen she thought: “My young brother has grown up, and great is his glory; we must find a wife for him.” This she said to the king, and the king was well pleased. “Very good,” said he, “tell him.” She told him, and he agreed, and she said, “Then let us find you a bride, my son.” The Great Being thought, “I should never be satisfied if they choose me a wife; I will find one for myself.” And he said, “Madam, do not tell the king for a few days, and I will go seek a wife to suit my taste, and then I will tell you.” “Do so, my son,” she replied. He took leave of the queen, and went to his house, and informed his companions. Then he got by some means the outfit of a tailor, and alone went out by the northern gate into North Town. Now in that place was an ancient and decayed merchant-family, and in this family was a daughter, the lady Amara, a beautiful girl, wise, and with all the marks of good luck. That morning early, this girl had set out to the place where her father was plowing, to bring him rice-gruel which she had cooked, and it so happened that she went by the same road. When the Great Being saw her coming he thought, “A woman with all lucky marks! If she is unwed she must be my wife.” She also when she beheld him thought, “If I could live in the house of such a man, I might restore my family.” The Great Being thought, “Whether she be wed or not I do not know: I will ask her by hand-gesture, and if she be wise she will understand.” So standing afar off he clenched his fist. She understood that he was asking whether she had a husband, and spread out her hand. Then he went up to her, and asked her name. She said, “My name is that which neither is, nor was, nor ever shall be.” “Madam, there is nothing in the world immortal, and your name must be Amara, the Immortal.” “Even so, master.” “For whom, madam, do you carry that gruel?” “For the god of old time.” “Gods of old time are one’s parents, and no doubt you mean your father.” “So it must be, master.” “What does your father do?” “He makes two out of one.” Now the making two out of one is plowing. “He is plowing, madam.” “Even so, master.” “And where is your father plowing?” “Where those who go come not again.” “The place whence those who go come not again is the cemetery: he is plowing then near a cemetery.” “Even so, master.” “Will you come again to-day, madam?” “If a come I will not come, if a come not I will come.” “Your father, methinks, madam, is plowing by a riverside, and if the flood come you will not come, if it come not you will.” After this interchange of talk, the lady Amara offered him a drink of the gruel. The Great Being, thinking it ungracious to refuse, said he would like some. Then she put down the jar of gruel; and the Great Being thought, “If she offer it to me without first washing the pot and giving me water to wash my hands, I will leave her and go.” But she took up water in the pot and offered him water for washing, placed the pot empty upon the ground not in his hands, stirred up the gruel in the jar, filled the pot with it. But there was not much rice in it, and the Great Being said, “Why, madam, there is very little rice here!” “We got no water, master.” “You mean when your field was in growth, you got no water upon it.” “Even so, master.” So she kept some gruel for her father, and gave some to the Bodhisat. He drank, and gargled his mouth, and said, “Madam, I will go to your house; kindly shew me the way.” She did so by reciting a stanza which is given in the First Book:
“By the way of the cakes and gruel, and the double-leaf tree in flower, by the hand wherewith I eat I bid thee go, not by that wherewith I eat not: that is the way to the market-town, that secret path you must find.”
Here endeth the Question of the Secret Path.
He reached the house by the way indicated; and Amara’s mother saw him and gave him a seat. “May I offer you some gruel, master?” she asked. “Thank you, mother—sister Amara gave me a little.” She at once recognized that he must have come on her daughter’s account. The Great Being, when he saw their poverty, said, “Mother, I am a tailor: have you anything to mend?” “Yes, master, but nothing to pay.” “There is no need to pay, mother; bring the things and I will mend them.” She brought him some old clothes, and each as she brought it the Bodhisat mended. The wise man’s business always goes well, you know. He said then, “Go tell the people in the street.” She published it abroad in the village; and in one day by his tailoring the Great Being earned a thousand pieces of money. The old dame cooked him a midday meal, and in the evening asked how much she should cook. “Enough, mother, for all those who live in this house.” She cooked a quantity of rice with some curry and condiments.
Now Amara in the evening came back from the forest, bearing a faggot of wood upon her head and leaves on her hip. She threw down the wood before the front door and came in by the back door. Her father returned later. The Great Being ate of a tasteful meal; the girl served her parents before herself eating, washed their feet and the Bodhisat’s feet. For several days he lived there watching her. Then one day to test her, he said, “My dear Amara, take half a measure of rice and with it make me gruel, a cake, and boiled rice.” She agreed at once; and husked the rice; with the big grains she made gruel, the middling grains she boiled, and made a cake with the little ones, adding the suitable condiments. She gave the gruel with its condiments to the Great Being; he no sooner took a mouthful of it than he felt its choice flavour thrill through him: nevertheless to test her he said, “Madam, if you don’t know how to cook why did you spoil my rice?” and spat it out on the ground. But she was not angry; only gave him the cake, saying, “If the gruel is not good eat the cake.” He did the same with that, and again rejecting the boiled rice, said, “If you don’t know how to cook why did you waste my property?” As though angry he mixed all three together and smeared them all over her body from the head downwards, and told her to sit at the door. “Very good, master,” she said, not angry at all, and did so. Finding that there was no pride in her he said, “Come here, madam.” At the first word she came.
When the Great Being came, he had brought with him a thousand rupees and a dress in his betel-nut-bag. Now he took out this dress and placed it in her hands, saying, “Madam, bathe with your companions and put on this dress and come to me.” She did so. The sage gave her parents all the money he had brought or earned, and comforted them, and took her back to the town with him. There to test her he made her sit down in the gatekeeper’s house, and telling the gatekeeper’s wife of his plans, went to his own house. Then he sent for some of his men, and said, “I have left a woman in such and such a house; take a thousand pieces of money with you and test her.” He gave them the money and sent them away. They did as they were bid. She refused, saying, “That is not worth the dust on my master’s feet.” The men came back and told the result. He sent them again, and a third time; and the fourth time he bade them drag her away by force. They did so, and when she saw the Great Being in all his glory she did not know him, but smiled and wept at the same time as she looked at him. He asked her why she did this. She replied, “Master, I smiled when I beheld your magnificence, and thought that this magnificence was not given you without cause, but for some good deed in a former life: see the fruit of goodness! I thought, and I smiled. But I wept to think that now you would sin against the property which another watched and tended, and would go to hell: in pity for that I wept.” After this test he knew her chastity, and sent her back to the same place. Putting on his tailor’s disguise, he went back to her and there spent the night.
Next morning he repaired to the palace and told Queen Udumbara all about it; she informed the king, and adorning Amara with all kinds of ornaments, and seated her in a great chariot, and with great honour brought her to the Great Being’s house, and made a gala day. The king sent the Bodhisat a gift worth a thousand pieces of money: all the people of the town sent gifts from the doorkeepers onwards. Lady Amara divided the gifts sent by the king into halves, and sent one portion back to the king; in the same way she divided all the gifts sent to her by the citizens, and returned half, thus winning the hearts of the people. From that time the Great Being lived with her in happiness, and instructed the king in things temporal and spiritual.
One day Senaka said to the other three who had come to see him, “Friends, we are not enough for this common man’s son Mahosadha; and now he has gotten him a wife cleverer than himself. Can we find a means to make a breach between him and the king?” “What do we know, sir teacher—you must decide.” “Well, never mind, there is a way. I will steal the jewel from the royal crest; you, Pukkusa, take his golden necklace; you, Kavinda, take his woollen robe; you, Devinda, his golden slipper.” They all four found a way to do these things. Then Senaka said, “We must now get them into the fellow’s house without his knowledge.” So Senaka put the jewel in a pot of dates and sent it by a slave-girl, saying, “If anyone else wants to have this pot of dates, refuse, but give them pot and all to the people in Mahosadha’s house.” She took it and went to the sage’s house, and walked up and down crying, “D’ye lack dates?” But the lady Amara standing by the door saw this: she noticed that the girl went nowhere else, there must be something behind it; so making a sign for her servants to approach, she cried herself to the girl, “Come here, girl, I will take the dates.” When she came, the mistress called for her servants, but none answered, so she sent the girl to fetch them. While she was gone Amara put her hand into the pot and found the jewel. When the girl returned Amara asked her, “Whose servant are you, girl?” “Pandit Senaka’s maid.” Then she enquired her name and her mother’s name and said, “Well, give me some dates.” “If you want it, mother, take it pot and all—I want no payment.” “You may go, then,” said Amara, and sent her away. Then she wrote down on a leaf, “On such a day of such a month the teacher Senaka sent a jewel from the king’s crest for a present by the hand of such and such a girl.” Pukkusa sent the golden necklet hidden in a casket of jasmine flowers; Kavinda sent the robe in a basket of vegetables; Devinda sent the golden slipper in a bundle of straw. She received them all and put down names and all on a leaf, which she put away, telling the Great Being about it. Then those four men went to the palace, and said, “Why, my lord! won’t you wear your jewelled crest?” “Yes, I will—fetch it,” said the king. But they could not find the jewel or the other things. Then the four said, “My lord, your ornaments are in Mahosadha’s house, and he uses them: that common man’s son is your enemy!” So they slandered him. Then his well-wishers went and told Mahosadha; and he said, “I will go to the king and find out.” He waited upon the king, who was angry and said, “I know him not! what does he want here?” He would not grant him an audience. When the sage learnt that the king was angry he returned home. The king sent to seize him; which the sage hearing from well-wishers indicated to Amara that it was time he departed. So he escaped out of the city in disguise to South Town where he plied the trade of a potter in a potter’s house. All the city was full of the news that he had run away. Senaka and the other three hearing that he was gone, each unknown to the rest sent a letter to the lady Amara, to this effect: “Never mind: are we not wise men?” She took all four letters, and answered to each that he should come at such a time. When they came, she had them clean shaven with razors, and threw them into the jakes, and tormented them sore, and wrapping them up in rolls of matting sent word to the king. Taking them and the four precious things together she went to the king’s courtyard and there greeting him said: “My lord, the wise Mahosadha is no thief; here are the thieves. Senaka stole the jewel, Pukkusa stole the golden necklace, Devinda stole the golden slipper: on such a day of such a month by the hand of such and such a slave-girl these four were sent as presents. Look at this leaf. Take what is yours, and cast out the thieves.” And thus heaping contumely on these four persons she returned home. But the king was perplext about this, and since the Bodhisat had gone and there were no other wise men he said nothing, but told them to bathe and go home.
Now the deity that dwelt in the royal parasol no longer hearing the voice of the Bodhisat’s discourse wondered what might be the cause, and when she had found it out determined to bring the sage back. So at night she appeared through a hole in the circuit of the parasol, and asked the king four questions which are found in the Questions of the Goddess, Book Iv, the verses beginning “He strikes with hands and feet.” The king could not answer, and said so, but offered to ask his wise men, asking a day’s delay. Next day he sent a message summoning them, but they replied, “We are ashamed to shew ourselves in the street, shaven as we are.” So he sent them four skullcaps to wear on their heads. (That is the origin of these caps, so they say.) Then they came, and sat where they were invited to go, and the king said, “Senaka, last night the deity that dwells in my parasol asked me four questions, which I could not solve but said I would ask my wise men. Pray solve them for me.” And then he recited the first stanza:
“He strikes with hands and feet, and beats on the face; yet, O king, he is dear, and grows dearer than a husband.”
Senaka stammered out whatever came first, “Strikes how, strikes whom,” and could make neither head nor tail of it; the others were all dumb. The king was full of distress. When again at night the goddess asked whether he had found out the riddle, he said, “I asked my four wise men, and not even they could say.” She replied, “What do they know? Save wise Mahosadha there is none can solve it. If you do not send for him and get him to solve these questions, I will cleave your head with this fiery blade.” After thus frightening him she went on: “O king, when you want fire don’t blow a firefly, and when you want milk don’t milk a horn.” Then she repeated the Firefly Question of the Fifth Book:
“When light is extinguisht, who that goes in search of fire ever thinks a firefly to be fire, if he sees it at night? If he crumbles over it cow-dung and grass, it is a foolish idea; he cannot make it burn. So also a beast gets no benefit by wrong means, if it milks a cow by the horn where milk will not flow. By many means men obtain benefit, by punishment of enemies and kindness shown to friends. By winning over the chiefs of the army, and by the counsel of friends, the lords of the earth possess the earth and the fulness thereof.”
“They are not like you, blowing at a firefly in the belief that it is a fire: you are like one blowing at a firefly when fire is at hand, like one who throws down the balance and weighs with the hand, like one who wants milk and milks the horn, when you ask deep questions of Senaka and the like of him. What do they know? Like fireflies are they, like a great flaming fire is Mahosadha blazing with wisdom. If you do not find out this question, you are a dead man.” Having thus terrified the king, she disappeared .
Hereat the king, smitten with mortal fear, sent out the next day four of his courtiers, with orders to mount each in a chariot, and to go forth from the four gates of the city, and wheresoever they should find his son, the wise Mahosadha, to shew him all honour and speedily to bring him back. Three of these found not the sage; but the fourth who went out by south gate found the Great Being in the South Town, who, after fetching clay and turning his master’s wheel, sat all clay-besmeared on a bundle of straw eating balls of rice dipt in a little soup. Now the reason why he did so was this: he thought that the king might suspect him of desiring to grasp the sovereign power, but if he heard that he was living by the craft of a potter this suspicion would be put away. When he perceived the courtier he knew that the man had come for himself; he understood that his prosperity would be restored, and he should eat all manner of choice food prepared by the lady Amara: so he dropt the ball of rice which he held, stood up, and rinsed his mouth. At that moment up came the courtier: now this was one of Senaka’s faction, so he addrest him rudely as follows: “Wise Teacher, what Senaka said was useful information. Your prosperity gone, all your wisdom was unavailing; and now there you sit all besmeared with clay on a truss of straw, eating food like that!” and he recited this stanza from the Bhuri-panha or Question of Wisdom, Book X :
“Is it true, as they say, that you are one of profound wisdom? So great prosperity, cleverness, and intelligence does not serve you, thus brought to insignificance, while you eat a little soup like that.”
Then the Great Being said, “Blind fool! By power of my wisdom when I want to restore that prosperity I will do it “; and he recited a couple of stanzas.
“I make weal ripen by woe, I discriminate between seasonable and unseasonable times, hiding at my own will; I unlock the doors of profit; therefore I am content with boiled rice. When I perceive the time for an effort, maturing my profit by my designs, I will bear myself valiantly like a lion, and by that mighty power you shall see me again.”
Then the courtier said: “Wise sir, the deity who lives in the parasol has put a question to the king, and the king asked the four wise men,—not a wise man of them could solve it! Therefore the king has sent me for you.” “In that case,” said the Great Being, “do you not see the power of wisdom? At such a time prosperity is of no use, but only one who is wise.” Thus he praised wisdom. Then the courtier handed over to the Great Being the thousand pieces of money and the suit of clothes provided by the king, that he might bathe him and dress at once. The potter was terrified to think that Mahosadha the sage had been his workman, but the Great Being consoled him, saying, “Fear not, my master, you have been of great help to me.” Then he gave him a thousand pieces; and with the mud-stains yet upon him mounted in the chariot and went to town. The courtier told the king of his arrival. “Where did you find the sage, my son?” “My lord, he was earning his livelihood as a potter in the South Town; but as soon as he heard that you had sent for him, without bathing, the mud yet staining his body, he came.” The king thought, “If he were my enemy he would have come with pomp and retinue; he is not my enemy.” Then he gave orders to take him to his house, and bathe him, and adorn him, and to bid him come back with the pomp that should be provided. This was done. He returned, and entered, and gave the king greeting, and stood on one side. The king spoke kindly to him, then to test him said this stanza:
“Some do no sin because they are wealthy, but others do no sin for fear of the taint of blame. You are able, if your mind desired much wealth. Why do you not do me harm?”
The Bodhisat said:
“Wise men do not sinful deeds for the sake of the pleasure that wealth gives. Good men, even though struck by misfortune and brought low, neither for friendship nor for enmity will renounce the right.”
Again the king recited this stanza, the mysterious saying of a Khattiya :
“He who for any cause, small or great, should upraise himself from a low place, thereafter would walk in righteousness.”
And the Great Being recited this stanza with an illustration of a tree:
“From off a tree beneath whose shade a man should sit and rest,
’Twere treachery to lop a branch. False friends we do detest.”
Then he went on: “Sire, if it is treachery to lop a branch from a tree which one has used, what are we to say of one who kills a man? Your majesty has given my father great wealth, and has shewn me great favour: how could I be so treacherous as to injure you?” Thus having demonstrated altogether his loyalty he reproached the king for his fault:
“When any man has disclosed the right to any, or has cleared his doubts, the other becomes his protection and refuge; and a wise man will not destroy this friendship.”
Now admonishing the king he said these two stanzas :
“The idle sensual layman I detest,
The false ascetic is a rogue confest.
A bad king will a case unheard decide;
Wrath in the sage can ne’er be justified.
The warrior prince takes careful thought, and well-weighed verdict gives,
When kings their judgment ponder well, their fame for ever lives.”
When he had thus said, the king caused the Great Being to sit on the royal throne under the white parasol outspread, and himself sitting on a low seat he said: “Wise sir, the deity who dwells in the white parasol asked me four questions. I consulted the four wise men and they could not find them out: solve me the questions, my son!” “Sire, be it the deity of the parasol, or be they the four great kings, or be they who they may; let who will ask a question and I will answer it.” So the king put the question as the goddess had done, and said:
“He strikes with hands and feet, he beats the face; and he, O king, is dearer than a husband.”
When the Great Being had heard the question, the meaning became as clear as though the moon had risen in the sky. “Listen, O king!” he said, “When a child on the mother’s lap happy and playful beats his mother with hands and feet, pulls her hair, beats her face with his fist, she says, Little rogue, why do you beat me? And in love she presses him close to her breast unable to restrain her affection, and kisses him; and at such a time he is dearer to her than his father.” Thus did he make clear this question, as though he made the sun rise in the sky; and hearing this the goddess shewed half her body from the aperture in the royal parasol, and said in a sweet voice, “The question is well solved!” Then she presented the Great Being with a precious casket full of divine perfumes and flowers, and disappeared. The king also presented him with flowers and so forth, and asked him the second question, reciting the second stanza:
“She abuses him roundly, yet wishes him to be near: and he, O king, is dearer than a husband.”
The Great Being said, “Sire, the child of seven years, who can now do his mother’s bidding, when he is told to go to the field or to the bazaar, says, If you will give me this or that sweetmeat I will go; she says, Here my son, and gives them; then he eats them and says, Yes, you sit in the cool shade of the house and I am to go out on your business! He makes a grimace, or mocks her with gestures, and won’t go. She is angry, picks up a stick and cries—You eat what I give you and then won’t do anything for me in the field! She scares him, off he runs at full speed; she cannot follow and cries—Get out, may the thieves chop you up into little bits! So she abuses him roundly as much as she will; but what her mouth speaks she does not wish at all, and so she wishes him to be near. He plays about the livelong day, and at evening not daring to come home he goes to the house of some kinsman. The mother watches the road for his coming, and sees him not, and thinking that he durst not return has her heart full of pain; with tears streaming from her eyes she searches the houses of her kinsfolk, and when she sees her son she hugs and kisses him and squeezes him tight with both arms, and loves him more than ever, as she cries, Did you take my words in earnest? Thus, sire, a mother ever loves her son more in the hour of anger.” Thus he explained the second question: the goddess made him the same offering as before and so did the king. Then the king asked him the third question in another stanza:
“She reviles him without cause, and without reason reproaches; yet he, O king, is dearer than a husband.”
The Great Being said, “Sire, when a pair of lovers in secret enjoy their love’s delights, and one says to the other, You don’t care for me, your heart is elsewhere I know! all false and without reason, chiding and reproaching each other, then they grow dearer to each other. That is the meaning of the question.” The goddess made the same offering as before, and so did the king; who then asked him another question, reciting the fourth stanza:
“One takes food and drink, clothes and lodging,—verily the good men carry them off: yet they, O king, are dearer than a husband.”
He replied, “Sire, this question has reference to righteous mendicant brahmins. Pious families that believe in this world and the next give to them and delight in giving: when they see such brahmins receiving what is given and eating it, and think, It is to us they came to beg, our own food which they eat—they increase affection towards them. Thus verily they take the things, and wearing on the shoulder what has been given, they become dear.” When this question had been answered the goddess exprest her approval by the same offering as before, and laid before the Great Being’s feet a precious casket full of the seven precious things, praying him to accept it; the king also delighted made him Commander in Chief. Henceforward great was the glory of the Great Being. Here endeth the Question of the Goddess .
Again these four said, “This common fellow is waxen greater: what are we to do?” Senaka said to them, “All right, I know a plan. Let us go to the fellow and ask him, To whom is it right to tell a secret? If he says, To no one, we will speak against him to the king and say that he is a traitor.” So the four went to the wise man’s house, and greeted him, and said, “Wise sir, we want to ask you a question.” “Ask away,” said he. Senaka said, “Wise sir, wherein should a man be firmly established?” “In the truth.” “That done, what is the next thing to do?” “He must make wealth.” “What next after that?” “He must learn good counsel.” “After that what next?” “He must tell no man his own secret.” “Thank you, sir,” they said, and went away happy, thinking, “This day we shall see the fellow’s back!” Then they entered the king’s presence and said to him, “Sire, the fellow is a traitor to you!” The king replied, “I do not believe you, he will never be traitor to me.” “Believe it, sire, for it is true! but if you do not believe, then ask him to whom a secret ought to be told; if he is no traitor, he will say, To so and so; but if he is a traitor he will say, A secret should be told to no one; when your desire is fulfilled, then you may speak. Then believe us, and be suspicious no longer.” Accordingly one day when all were seated together he recited the first stanza of the Wise Man’s Question, Book Xx :
“The five wise men are now together, and a question occurs to me: listen. To whom should a secret be revealed, whether good or bad?”
This said, Senaka, thinking to bring the king over to their side, repeated this stanza:
“Do thou declare thy mind, O lord of the earth! thou art our supporter and bearest our burdens. The five clever men will understand thy wish and pleasure, and will then speak, O master of men!”
Then the king in his human infirmity recited this stanza:
“Now the king is on my side!” thought Senaka, and pleased he repeated a stanza, explaining his own course of conduct:
“He who protects a sick man in distress and who is his refuge and support, may reveal to his friend a secret whether good or bad.”
Then the king asked Pukkusa: “How does it seem to you, Pukkusa? to whom should a secret be told? “ and Pukkusa recited this stanza:
“Old or young or betwixt, if a brother be virtuous and trusty, to such a brother a secret may be told whether good or bad.”
Next the king asked Kavinda, and he recited this stanza:
“When a son is obedient to his father’s heart, a true son, of lofty wisdom, to that son a secret may be revealed whether good or bad.”
And then the king asked Devinda, who recited this stanza:
“O lord of men! if a mother cherishes her son with loving fondness, to his mother he may reveal a secret whether good or bad.”
“Good is the secrecy of a secret, the revealing of a secret is not to be praised. The clever man should keep it to himself whilst it is not accomplished; but after it is done he may speak when he will.”
When the sage had said this the king was displeased: then the king looked at Senaka and Senaka looked at the king. This the Bodhisat saw, and recognized the fact, that these four had once before slandered him to the king, and that this question must have been put to test him. Now whilst they were talking the sun had set, and lamps had been lit. “Hard are the ways of kings,” thought he, “what will happen no one can tell; I must depart with speed.” So he rose from his seat, and greeted the king, and went away thinking, “Of these four, one said it should be told to a friend, one to a brother, one to a son, one to a mother: they must have done or seen something; or I think, they have heard others tell what they have seen. Well, well, I shall find out to-day.” Such was his thought. Now on other days, these four on coming out of the palace used to sit on a trough at the palace door, and talk of their plans before going home: so the sage thought that if he should hide beneath that trough he might learn their secrets. Lifting the trough accordingly, he caused a rug to be spread beneath it and crept in, giving directions to his men to fetch him when the four wise men had gone away after their talk. The men promised and departed. Meanwhile Senaka was saying to the king, “Sire, you do not believe us, now what do you think?” The king accepted the word of these breedbates without investigation, and asked in terror, “What are we to do now, wise Senaka?” “Sire, without delay, without a word to anyone, he must be killed.” “O Senaka, no one cares for my interests but you. Take your friends with you and wait at the door, and in the morning when the fellow comes to wait upon me, cleave his head with a sword.” So saying he gave them his own precious sword. “Very good, my lord, fear nothing, we will kill him.” They went out saying, “We have seen the back of our enemy!” and sat down on the trough. Then Senaka said, “Friends, who shall strike the fellow?” The others said, “You, our teacher,” laying the task on him. Then Senaka said, “You said, friends, that a secret ought to be told to such and such a person: was it something you had done, or seen, or heard?” “Never mind that, teacher: when you said that a secret might be told to a friend, was that something which you had done?” “What does that matter to you?” he asked. “Pray tell us, teacher,” they repeated. He said, “If the king come to know this secret, my life would be forfeit.” “Do not fear, teacher, there’s no one here to betray your secret, tell us, teacher.” Then, tapping upon the trough, Senaka said, “What if that clodhopper is under this!” “O teacher! the fellow in all his glory would not creep into such a place as this! He must be intoxicated with his prosperity. Come, tell us.” Senaka told his secret and said, “Do you know such and such a harlot in this city?” “Yes, teacher.” “Is she now to be seen?” “No, teacher.” “In the sal-grove I lay with her, and afterwards killed her to get her ornaments, which I tied up in a bundle and took to my house and hung up on an elephant’s tusk in such a room of such a storey: but use them I cannot until it has blown over. This crime I have disclosed to a friend, and he has not told a soul; and that is why I said a secret may be told to a friend.” The sage heard this secret of Senaka’s and bore it in mind. Then Pukkusa told his secret. “On my thigh is a spot of leprosy. In the morning my young brother washes it, puts a salve on it and a bandage, and never tells a soul. When the king’s heart is soft he cries, Come here, Pukkusa, and he often lays his head on my thigh. But if he knew he would kill me. No one knows this except my young brother; and that is why I said, A secret may be told to a brother.” Kavinda told his secret. “As for me, in the dark fortnight on the fast-day a goblin named Naradeva takes possession of me, and I bark like a mad dog. I told my son of this; and he, when he sees me to be possest, fastens me up indoors, and then he leaves me shutting the door, and to hide my noises he gathers a party of people. That is why I said that a secret might be told to a son.” Then they all three asked Devinda, and he told his secret. “I am inspector of the king’s jewels; and I stole a wonderful lucky gem, the gift of Sakka to King Kusa, and gave it to my mother. When I go to Court she hands it to me, without a word to anyone; and by reason of that gem I am pervaded with the spirit of good fortune when I enter the palace. The king speaks to me first before any of you, and gives me each day to spend eight rupees, or sixteen, or thirty-two, or sixty-four. If the king knew of my having that gem concealed I’m a dead man! That is why I said that a secret might be told to a mother.”
The Great Being took careful note of all their secrets; but they, after disclosing their secrets as if they had ript up their bellies and let the entrails out, rose up from the seat and departed, saying, “Be sure to come early and we will kill the churl.”
When they were gone the sage’s men came and turned up the trough and took the Great Being home. He washed and drest and ate; and knowing that his sister Queen Udumbari would that day send him a message from the palace, he placed a trusty man on the look-out, bidding him send in at once anyone coming from the palace. Then he lay down on his bed.
At that time the king also was lying upon his bed and remembering the virtue of the sage. “The sage Mahosadha has served me since he was seven years old, and never done me wrong. When the goddess asked me her questions but for the sage I had been a dead man. To accept the words of revengeful enemies, to give them a sword and bid them slay a peerless sage, this I ought never to have done. After to-morrow I shall see him no more!” He grieved, sweat poured from his body, possest with grief his heart had no peace. Queen Udumbari, who was with him on his couch, seeing him in this frame, asked, “Have I done any offence against you? or has any other thing caused grief to my lord?” and she repeated this stanza:
“Why art thou perplext, O king? we hear not the voice of the lord of men! What dost thou ponder thus downcast? there is no offence from me, my lord.”
Then the king repeated a stanza:
“They said, “the wise Mahosadha must be slain”; and condemned by me to death is the most wise one. As I think on this I am downcast. There is no fault in thee, my queen.”
When she heard this, grief crushed her like a rock for the Great Being; and she thought, “I know a plan to console the king: when he goes to sleep I will send a message to my brother.” Then she said to him, “Sire, it is your doing that the churl’s son was raised to great power; you made him commander-in-chief. Now they say he has become your enemy. No enemy is insignificant; killed he must be, so do not grieve.” Thus she consoled the king; his grief waned and he fell asleep. Then up rose the queen and went to her chamber, and wrote a letter to this effect. “Mahosadha, the four wise men have slandered you; the king is angry, and to-morrow has commanded that you be slain in the gate. Do not come to the palace to-morrow morning; or if you do come, come with power to hold the city in your hand.” She put the letter within a sweetmeat, and tied it up with a thread, and put it in a new jar, perfumed it, sealed it up, and gave it to a handmaid, saying, “Take this sweetmeat and give it to my brother.” She did so. You must not wonder how she got out in the night; for the king had erewhiles given this boon to the queen, and therefore no one hindered her. The Bodhisat received the present and dismissed the woman, who returned and reported that she had delivered it. Then the queen went and lay down by the king. The Bodhisat opened the sweetmeat, and read the letter, and understood it, and after deliberating what should be done went to rest.
Early in the morning, the other four wise men sword in hand stood by the gate, but not seeing the sage they became downcast, and went in to the king. “Well,” said he, “is the clodhopper killed?” They replied, “We have not seen him, sire.” And the Great Being at sunrise got the whole city into his power, set guards here and there, and in a chariot with a great host of men and great magnificence came to the palace gates. The king stood looking out of an open window. Then the Great Being got down from his chariot and saluted him; and the king thought, “If he were my enemy, he would not salute me.” Then the king sent for him, and sat upon his throne. The Great Being came in and sat on one side: the four wise men also sat down there. Then the king made as if he knew nothing and said, “My son, yesterday you left us and now you come again; why do you treat me thus negligently?” and he repeated this stanza:
“At evening you went, now you come. What have you heard? what doth your mind fear? Who commanded you, O most wise? Come, we are listening for the word: tell me.”
The Great Being replied, “Sire, you listened to the four wisemen and commanded my death, that is why I did not come,” and reproaching him repeated this stanza:
“The wise Mahosadha must be slain”: if you told this last night secretly to your wife, your secret was disclosed and I heard it.”
When the king heard this he looked angrily at his wife thinking that she must have sent word of it on the instant. Observing this the Great Being said, “Why are you angry with the queen, my lord? I know all the past, present, and future. Suppose the queen did tell your secret: who told me the secrets of master Senaka, and Pukkusa, and the rest of them? But I know all their secrets “; and he told Senaka’s secret in this stanza:
Looking at Senaka, the king asked, “Is it true?” “Sire, it is true,” he replied, and the king ordered him to be cast into prison. Then the sage told Pukkusa’s secret in this stanza:
“In the man Pukkusa, O king of men, there is a disease unfit for a king’s touching: he told it in secret to his brother. That secret has been disclosed and I have heard it.”
The king looking upon him asked, “Is it true?” “Yes, my lord,” said he; and the king sent him also to prison. Then the sage told Kavinda’s secret in this stanza:
“Diseased is yon man, of evil nature, possest of Naradeva. He told it in secret to his son: this secret has been disclosed and I have heard it.”
“The noble and precious gem of eight facets, which Sakka gave to your grandfather, that is now in Devinda’s hands, and he told it to his mother in secret. That secret has been disclosed and I have heard it.”
“Is it true, Devinda?” the king asked; and he answered, “It is true.” So he sent him also to prison. Thus they who had plotted to slay the Bodhisat were all in bonds together. And the Bodhisat said, “This is why I say, a man should tell his secret to no one; those who said that a secret ought to be told, have all come to utter ruin.” And he recited these stanzas, proclaiming a higher doctrine:
“The secrecy of a secret is always good, nor is it well to divulge a secret. When a thing is not accomplished the wise man should keep it to himself: when he has accomplished his aim let him speak an he will. One should not disclose a secret thing, but should guard it like a treasure; for a secret thing is not well revealed by the prudent. Not to a woman would the wise man tell a secret, not to a foe, nor to one who can be enticed by self-interest, nor for affection’s sake. He who discloses a secret thing unknown, through fear of broken confidence must endure to be the other’s slave. As many as are those who know a man’s secret, so many are his anxieties: therefore one should not disclose a secret. Go apart to tell a secret by day; by night in a soft whisper: for listeners hear the words, therefore the words soon come out.”
When the king heard the Great Being speak he was angry, and thought he, “These men, traitors themselves to their king, make out that the wise man is traitor to me!” Then he said, “Go drive them out of the town, and impale them or cleave their heads!” So they bound their hands behind them, at every street corner gave them a hundred blows. But as they were dragged along, the sage said, “My lord, these are your ancient ministers, pardon them their fault!” The king consented, and gave them to be his slaves. He set them free at once. Then the king said, “Well, they shall not live in my dominion,” and ordered that they should be banished. But the sage begged him to pardon their blind folly, and appeased him, and persuaded him to restore their positions. The king was much pleased with the sage: if this were his tender mercy towards his foes, what must it be to others! Thenceforward the four wise men, like snakes with their teeth drawn and their poison gone, could not find a word to say, we are told.
Here endeth the Question of the Five Wise Men, and likewise the Story of Calumny .
After this time he used to instruct the king in things temporal and spiritual: and he thought, “I am indeed the king’s white parasol; it is I manage the kingdom: vigilant I must therefore be.” He caused a great rampart to be built for the city. Along the rampart were watchtowers at the gates, and between the watch-towers he dug three moats—a water-moat, a mud-moat, and a dry-moat. Within the city he caused all the old houses to be restored: large banks were dug and made reservoirs for water; all the storehouses were filled with corn. All the confidential priests had to bring down from Himavat mud and edible lily-seeds. The water conduits were cleaned out, and the old houses outside were also restored. This was done as a defence against future dangers. Merchants who came from one place or another were asked whence they came; and on their replying, they were asked what their king liked; when this was told, they were kindly treated before they went away. Then he sent for a hundred and one soldiers and said to them, “My men, take these gifts to the hundred and one royal cities, and give them to their several kings to please them: live there in their service, listen to their actions and plans, and send me word. I will care for your wives and children.” And he sent with them earrings for some, and golden slippers for others, and golden necklets for others, with letters engraved upon them, which he appointed to reveal themselves when it should suit his purpose. The men went this way and that, and gave these gifts to the kings, saying that they were come to live in their service. When asked whence they came, they told the names of other places than that from which they had really come. Their offer accepted, they remained there in attendance, and made themselves to be trusted.
Now in the kingdom of Ekabala was a king named Samkhapala, who was collecting arms and assembling an army. The man who had come to him sent a message to the sage, saying, “This is the news here, but what he intends I know not; send and find out the truth of the matter.” Then the Great Being called a parrot and said, “Friend, go and find out what King Samkhapala is doing in Ekabala, then travel over all India and bring me the news.” He fed it with honey and grain, and gave it sweet water to drink, anointed the joints of the wings with oil a hundred and a thousand times refined, stood by the eastern window, and let it go. The parrot went to the man aforesaid and found out the truth. As he passed back through India he came to Uttarapancala city in the kingdom of Kampilla. There was reigning a king named Culani-Brahmadatta, who had for spiritual and temporal adviser a brahmin Kevatta, wise and learned. The brahmin one morning awoke at dawn, and looking by the light of the lamp upon his magnificent chamber, as he regarded its splendour, thought, “To whom does this splendour belong? To no one but to Culani-Brahmadatta. A king who gives splendour like this ought to be the chief king in all India, and I will be his chaplain-in-chief.” And so early in the morning he went to the king, and when he had enquired whether he had slept well, he said, “My lord, there is something I wish to say.” “Say on, teacher.” “My lord, a secret cannot be told in the town, let us go into the park.” “Very well, teacher.” The king went to the park with him, and left the retinue without, and set a guard, and entered the park with the brahmin, and sat down upon the royal seat. The parrot, seeing this, thought that there must be something afoot; “To-day I shall hear something which must be sent to my wise master.” So he flew into the park, and perched amid the leaves of the royal sal-tree. The king said, “Speak on, teacher.” He said, “Sire, bend your ear this way; this is a plan for four ears only. If, sire, you will do what I advise, I will make you chief king in all India.” The king heard him greedily, and answered well pleased, “Tell me, my teacher, and I will do it.” “My lord, let us raise an army, and first besiege a small city. Then I will enter the city by a postern gate, and will say to the king, Sire, there is no use in your fighting: just be our man; your kingdom you may keep, but if you fight with our mighty force, you will be utterly conquered. If he does what I advise, we will receive him; if not, we will fight and kill him, and with two armies go and take another city, and then another, and in this way we shall gain dominion over all India and drink the cup of victory. Then we will bring the hundred and one kings to our city, and make a drinking booth in the park, and seat them there, and provide them with poisoned liquor, and so kill them all and cast them into the Ganges. Thus we will get the hundred and one royal capitals into our hands, and you will become chief king of all India.” “Very well, my teacher,” said he, “I will do so.” “Sire, this plan is for four ears only, no one else must know of it. Make no delay but set forth at once.” The king was pleased with this advice and resolved to do so. The parrot which had overheard all their conversation let fall on Kevatta’s head a lump of dung as though it dropt from a twig. “What’s that?” cried he, looking upwards with mouth gaping wide: whereupon the bird dropt another into his mouth and flew off crying out, “Cree cree! O Kevatta, you think your plan is for four ears only, but now it is for six; by and by it will be for eight ears and for hundreds of them!” “Catch him, catch him!” they cried; but swift as the wind he flew to Mithila and entered the wise man’s house. Now the parrot’s custom was this: If news from any place was for the sage’s ears alone, he would perch on his shoulder; if Queen Amara was also to hear it, he perched on his lap; if the company might hear it, upon the ground. This time he perched on the shoulder, and at that sign the company retired, knowing it to be secret. The sage took him up to the top storey and asked him, “Well, my dear, what have you seen, what have you heard?” He said, “My lord, in no other king of all India have I seen any danger; but only Kevatta, chaplain to Culani-Brahmadatta in the city of Uttarapancala, took his king into the park and told him a plan for their four ears: I was sitting amidst the branches and dropt a ball of dung in his mouth, and here I am!” Then he told the sage all he had seen and heard. “Did the king agree to it?” asked he. “Yes, he did,” said the parrot. So the sage tended the bird as was fitting, and put him in his golden cage strewn with soft rugs. He thought to himself, “Kevatta methinks does not know that I am the wise Mahosadha. I will not allow him to accomplish his plan.” Then he removed outside all the poor people who lived in the city, and he brought from all the kingdom, the country side, and the suburb villages, and settled within the city the rich families of the powerful, and he gathered great quantities of corn.
And Culani-Brahmadatta did as Kevatta had proposed: he went with his army and laid siege to a city. Kevatta, as he had suggested, went into the city and explained matters to the king and won him over. Then joining the two armies Culani-Brahmadatta followed Kevatta’s advice and went on to another kingdom, until he had brought all the kings of India under his power except King Vedeha. The men provided by the Bodhisat kept on sending messages to say, “Brahmadatta has taken such and such towns, be on your guard”: to which he replied, “I am on my guard here, be watchful yourselves without remissness.” In seven years and seven months and seven days Brahmadatta gained possession of all India, excepting Vedeha. Then he said to Kevatta: “Teacher, let us seize the empire of Vedeha at Mithila!” “Sire,” he said, “we shall never be able to get possession of the city where wise Mahosadha lives: he is full of this sort of skill, very clever in device.” Then he expatiated on the virtue of the Great Being, as though he drew it on the disk of the moon. Now he was himself very skilful in device, so he said, “The kingdom of Mithila is very small, and the dominion of all India is enough for us.” Thus he consoled the king; but the other princes said, “No, we will take the kingdom of Mithila and drink the cup of victory!” Kevatta would have stayed them, saying, “What good will it be to take Vedeha’s kingdom? That king is our man already. Come back.” Such was his counsel: they listened to him and turned back. The Great Being’s men sent him word that Brahmadatta with a hundred and one kings on his way to Mithila turned back and went to his own city. He sent word in answer, that they were to observe what he did.
Now Brahmadatta deliberated with Kevatta what was next to do. Hoping to drink the cup of victory, they adorned the park, and told the servants to set out wine in thousands of jars, to prepare fish and flesh of all sorts. This news also the sage’s men sent to him. Now they did not know of the plan to poison the kings, but the Great Being knew it from what the parrot had told him; he sent a message to them accordingly, that they should inform him of the day fixt for this festival, and they did so. Then he thought, “It is not right that so many kings should be killed while a wise man like myself lives. I will help them.” He sent for ten thousand warriors, his birth-fellows, and said, “Friends, on such a day Culani-Brahmadatta, they tell me, wishes to adorn his park and to drink wine with the hundred and one kings. Go ye thither, and before anyone sits on the seats provided for the kings, take possession of the seat of honour next to Culani-Brahmadatta, saying, This is for our king. When they ask whose men you are, tell them King Vedeha’s. They will make a great outcry and say, What! for seven years and seven months and seven days we have been conquering kingdoms, and not once did we see your king Vedeha! What king is he? Go find him a seat at the end! You must then squabble and say, Except Brahmadatta, no king is above our king! If we cannot get even a seat for our king we will not let you eat or drink now! So shouting and jumping about, terrify them with the noise, break all the pots with your great clubs, scatter the food, and make it unfit to eat, rush amongst the crowd at the top of your speed, and make a din like titans invading the city of the gods, calling aloud, We are the wise Mahosadha’s men of Mithila city: catch us if you can! Thus shew them that you are there, and then return to me.” They promised to obey, and took their leave; and, armed with the five weapons, set off. They entered the decorated park like Nandana Grove, and beheld all its magnificent array, the seats placed for the hundred and one kings, the white parasols outspread, and all the rest. They did all as directed by the Great Being, and after causing confusion amongst the crowd they returned to Mithila.
The king’s men told him what had happened: Brahmadatta was angry, that such a fine plan to poison the princes had failed; whilst the princes were angry, because they had been deprived of the cup of victory; and the soldiers were angry, because they had lost the chance of free drink. So Brahmadatta said to the princes, “Come, friends, let us go to Mithila, and cut off King Vedeha’s head with the sword, and trample it underfoot, and then come back and drink the cup of victory! Go tell your armies to get them ready.” Then going apart with Kevatta, he told him about it, saying, “See, we shall capture the enemy who has threatened this fine plan. With the hundred and one princes and the eighteen complete armies we shall assail that town. Come, my teacher!” But the brahmin was wise enough to know that they could never capture the sage Mahosadha, but all they would get would be disgrace; the king must be dissuaded. So he said: “Sire! this king of Vedeha has no strength; the management is in the hands of the sage Mahosadha, and he is very powerful. Guarded by him, as a lion guards his den, Mithila can be taken by none. We shall only be disgraced: do not think of going.” But the king, mad with soldier’s pride and the intoxication of empire, cried out, “What will he do!” and departed, with the hundred and one princes and the eighteen complete armies . Kevatta, unable to persuade him to take his advice, and thinking that it was of no use to thwart him, went with him.
But those warriors came to Mithila, in one night, and told the sage all that had passed. And the men whom he had before sent into service sent him word, that Culani-Brahmadatta was on his way with the hundred and one kings to take King Vedeha; he must be vigilant. The messages came one after another: “To-day he is in such a place, to-day in such a place, to-day he will reach the city.” On hearing this the Great Being redoubled his care. And King Vedeha heard it noised about on all sides that Brahmadatta was on his way to take the city. Now Brahmadatta in the early evening surrounded the city by the light of a hundred thousand torches. He girdled it with fences of elephants and of chariots and of horses, and at regular intervals placed a mass of soldiers: there stood the men, shouting, snapping their fingers, roaring, dancing, crying aloud. With the light of the torches and the sheen of the armour the whole city of Mithila in its seven leagues was one blaze of light, the noise of elephants and horses, of chariots, and men made the very earth to crack. The four wise men, hearing the waves of sound and not knowing what it should be, went to the king and said, “Sire, there is a great din, and we know not what it is: will the king enquire?” Hereat the king thought, “No doubt Brahmadatta is come”; and he opened a window, and looked out. When he saw that he was indeed come, the king was dismayed, and said to them, “We are dead men! to-morrow he will kill us all doubtless!” So they sat talking together. But when the Great Being saw that he had come, fearless as a lion he set guards in all the city, and then went up into the palace to encourage the king. Greeting him, he stood on one side. The king was encouraged to see him, and thought, “There is no one can save me from this trouble except the wise Mahosadha!” and he addressed him as follows:
“Brahmadatta of Pancala has come with all his host; this army of Pancala is infinite, O Mahosadha! Men with burdens on their backs, foot-soldiers, men skilful in fight, men ready to destroy, a great din, the noise of drums and conchs, here is all skill in the use of steel weapons, here are banners and knights in mail, accomplished warriors and heroes! Ten sages are here, profound in wisdom, secret in stratagem, and eleventh, the mother of the king encouraging the host of Pancala. Here are a hundred and one warrior-princes in attendance, their kingdoms reft from them, terror-stricken and overcome by the men of Pancala. What they profess that they do for the king; will they nill they speak fair they must; with Pancala they go perforce, being in his power. Mithila the royal city is surrounded by this host arrayed with three intervals, digging about it on all sides. It is surrounded as it were by stars on all sides. Think, Mahosadha! How shall deliverance come?”
When the Great Being heard this, he thought, “This king is terribly in fear of his life. The sick man’s refuge is the physician, the hungry man’s is food, and drink the thirsty man’s, but I and I alone am his refuge. I will console him.” Then, like a lion roaring upon the Vermilion uplands, he cried, “Fear not, sire, but enjoy your royal power. As I would scare a crow with a clod, or a monkey with a bow, I will scatter that mighty host, and leave them not so much as a waistcloth of their own.” And he recited this stanza:
“Stretch out your feet, eat and be merry: Brahmadatta shall leave the host of Pancala and flee away.”
After encouraging the king, the wise man came out and caused the drums of festival to beat about the city, with a proclamation—“Oyez! Have no fear. Procure garlands, scents, and perfumes, food and drink, and keep seven days’ holiday. Let the people stay where they will, drink deep, sing and dance and make merry, shout and cheer and snap their fingers: all be at my cost. I am the wise Mahosadha: behold my power!” Thus he encouraged the townsfolk. They did so: and those without heard the sound of singing and musick. Men came in by the postern gate. Now it was not their way to arrest strangers at sight, except a foe; so the access was not closed. These men therefore saw the people taken up with merrymaking. And Culani-Brahmadatta heard the noise in the town, and said to his courtiers: “Look ye, we have encompassed this city with eighteen great hosts, and the people shew neither fear nor anxiety: but full of delight and happiness they snap fingers, they make merry, they leap and sing. What is the meaning of this?” Then the men sent aforetime to foreign service spoke falsely as follows: “My lord, we entered the city by the postern on some business, and seeing the people all taken up in merrymaking we asked, Why are you so careless when all the kings of India are here besieging your city? And they replied, When our king was a boy he had a wish to hold festival when all the kings of India should have besieged the city; and now that wish is fulfilled: therefore he sent round a proclamation, and himself keeps festival in the palace.” This made the king angry; and he sent out a division of his army with these orders: “Disperse all about the city, fill up the trenches, break down the walls, raze the gate-towers, enter the city, use the people’s heads like pumpkins cast on a cart, and bring me here the head of King Vedeha.” Then the mighty warriors, armed with all manner of weapons, marched up to the gate, assisted by the sage’s men with red-hot missiles, showers of mud, and stones thrown upon them. When they were in the ditch attempting to destroy the wall, the men in the gate-towers dealt havock with arrows, javelins, and spears. The sage’s men mocked and jeered at the men of Brahmadatta, with gestures and signs of the hands, and crying, “If you can’t take us, have a bite or a sup, do!” and holding out bowls of toddy and skewers with meat or fish, which they ate and drank themselves, and promenaded the walls. The others quite unsuccessful returned to Culani-Brahmadatta, and said, “My lord, no one but a magician could get in.” The king waited four or five days, not seeing how to take what he wanted to take. Then he asked Kevatta: “Teacher, take the city we cannot, not a man can get near it! What’s to be done?” “Never mind, your majesty. The city gets water from outside, we will cut off the water and so take it. They will be worn out for want of water, and will open the gates.” “That is the plan,” said the king. After that, they hindered the people from getting near the water. The wise man’s spies wrote on a leaf, and fastened it on an arrow, and so sent word to him. Now he had already given orders, that whosoever sees a leaf fastened upon an arrow was to bring it to him. A man saw this, and took it to the sage, who read the message. “He knows not that I am the sage Mahosadha,” he thought. Procuring bamboo poles sixty cubits long, he had them split in two, the knots removed, and then joined again, covered over with leather, and smeared with mud. He then sent for the soil and lily-seed brought from Himavat by the hermits, he planted the seed in the mud by the edge of the tank, and placed the bamboo over it, and filled it with water. In one night it grew up and flowered, rising a fathom above the top of the bamboo. Then he pulled it up and gave it to his men with orders to take it to Brahmadatta. They rolled up the stalk, and threw it over the wall, crying out, “Ho servants of Brahmadatta! don’t starve for want of food. Here you are, wear the flower and fill your bellies with the stalk!” One of the wise man’s spies picked it up, and brought it to the king, and said, “See, your majesty, the stalk of this lily: never was so long a stalk seen before!” “Measure it,” said the king. They measured it and made it out to be eighty fathoms instead of sixty. The king asked, “Where did that grow?” One replied with a made-up tale: “One day, my lord, being thirsty for a little toddy, I went into the city by the postern, and I saw the great tanks made for the people to play in. There was a number of people in a boat plucking flowers. That was where this grew by the edge of the tank; but those which grew in the deep water would be a hundred cubits high.” Hearing this the king said to Kevatta, “Teacher, we cannot take them by cutting off the water; make an end of that attempt.” “Well,” said he, “then we will take them by cutting off their food; the city gets its food from outside.” “Very good, teacher.” The sage learnt this as before, and thought, “He does not know that I am the sage Mahosadha!” Along the rampart he laid mud and there planted rice. Now the wishes of the Bodhisats always do succeed: in one night the rice sprang up and shewed over the top of the rampart. This Brahmadatta saw, and asked, “Friend, what is that which shews green above the rampart?” A scout of the sage’s replied, as though catching the words from the king’s lips, “My lord, Mahosadha the farmer’s son, foreseeing danger to come, collected from all the realm grain with which he filled his granaries, throwing out the residue upon the ramparts. No doubt this rice, warmed with the heat and soaked in the rain, grew up there into plants. I myself one day went in by the postern on some business, and picked up a handful of this rice from a heap on the rampart, and dropt it in the street; whereupon the people laughed at me, and cried, “You’re hungry, it seems! tie up some of it in the corner of your robe, take it home, and cook it and eat it.” Hearing this, the king said to Kevatta, “Teacher, by cutting off the grain we shall not take this place; that is not the way.” “Then, my lord, we will take it by cutting off the supply of wood, which the city gets from without.” “So be it, teacher.” The Bodhisat as before got to know of it; and he built a heap of firewood which shewed beyond the rice. The people laughed at the Brahmadatta’s men, and said, “If you are hungry, here is something to cook your food with,” throwing down great logs of wood as they said it. The king asked, “What is this firewood shewing above the rampart?” The scouts said, “The farmer’s son, foreseeing danger to come, collected firewood, and stored it in the sheds behind the houses; what was over he stacked by the rampart side.” Then the king said to Kevatta, “Teacher, we cannot take the place by cutting off the wood; enough of that plan.” “Never mind, sire, I have another plan.” “What is that plan, teacher? I see no end to your plans. Videha we cannot take; let us go back to our city.”My lord, if it is said that Culani-Brahmadatta with a hundred and one princes could not take Videha, we shall be disgraced. Mahosadha is not the only wise man, for I am another: I will use a stratagem.” “What stratagem, teacher?” “We will have a Battle of the Law.” “What do you mean by that?” “Sire, no army shall fight. The two sages of the two kings shall appear in one place, and of these whichever shall salute the other shall be conquered. Mahosadha does not know this idea. I am older and he is younger, and when he sees me he will salute me. Thus we shall conquer Vedeha, and this done we will return home. So we shall not be disgraced. That is what is meant by a Battle of the Law.” But the Bodhisat learnt this secret as before. “If I let Kevatta conquer me thus,” he thought, “I am no sage.” Brahmadatta said, “A capital plan”: and he wrote a letter and sent it to Vedeha by the postern, to this effect: “To-morrow there shall be a Battle of the Law between the two sages; and he who shall refuse to fight shall be accounted vanquished.” On receipt of this Vedeha sent for the sage and told him. He answered, “Good, my lord: send word to prepare a place for the Battle of the Law by the western gate, and there to assemble. So he gave a letter to the messenger, and next day they prepared the place for the Battle of the Law to see the defeat of Kevatta. But the hundred and one princes, not knowing what might befall, surrounded Kevatta to protect him. These princes went to the place prepared, and stood looking towards the east, and there also was the sage Kevatta. But early in the morning, the Bodhisat bathed in sweet-scented water, and clothed himself in a Kasi robe worth a hundred thousand pieces, and adorned himself fully, and after a dainty breakfast went with a great following to the palace-gate. Bidden to enter, he did so, and greeted the king, and sat down on one side. “Well, sage Mahosadha?” said the king. “I am going to the place of the Battle.” “And what am I to do?” “My lord, I wish to conquer Kevatta with a gem; I must have the eight-sided gem.” “Take it, my son.” He took it, and took his leave, and surrounded by the thousand warriors, his birthmates, he entered the noble chariot drawn by a team of white thorobreds, worth ninety thousand pieces of money, and at the time of the mid-day meal he came to the gate.
Kevatta stood watching for his arrival, and saying, “Now he comes, now he comes,” craning his neck till it seemed to be lengthened, and sweating in the heat of the sun. The Great Being, with his retinue, like an inundating sea, like a roused lion, fearless and unruffled, caused the gate to be opened and came forth from the city; descending from his chariot like a lion aroused, he went forward. The hundred and one princes beholding his majesty, acclaimed him with thousands of cries, “Here is the sage Mahosadha, son of Sirivaddha, who hath no peer for wisdom in all India!” And he like Sakka surrounded with his troop of gods, in glory and grandeur unparalleled, holding in his hand the precious gem, stood before Kevatta. And Kevatta at first sight of him had not force to stand still, but advanced to meet him, and said, “Sage Mahosadha, we are sages both, and although I have been dwelling near you all this time, you have never yet sent me so much as a gift. Why is this?” The Great Being said, “Wise sir, I was looking for a gift which should be not unworthy of you, and to-day I have found this gem. Pray take it; there is not its like in the world.” The other seeing the gem ablaze in his hand, thought that he must be desiring to offer it, and said, “Give it me then,” holding out his hand. “Take it,” said the Great Being, and dropt it upon the tips of the fingers of his outstretched hand. But the brahmin could not support the weight of the gem in his fingers, and it slipt down and rolled to the Bodhisat’s feet; the brahmin in his greed to get it, stooped down to the other’s feet. Then the Great Being would not let him rise, but with one hand held his shoulderblades and with the other his loins, as he cried, “Rise teacher, rise, I am younger than you, young enough to be your grandson; do no obeisance to me.” As he said this again and again, he rubbed his face and forehead against the ground, till it was all bloody, then with the words “Blind fool, did you think to have an obeisance from me?” he caught him by the throat and threw him away from himself. He fell twenty fathoms away; then got up and ran off. Then the Great Being’s men picked up the gem, but the echo of the Bodhisat’s words, “Rise up, rise, do no obeisance to me!” rose above the din of the crowd. All the people shouted aloud with one voice, “Brahmin Kevatta did obeisance to the sage’s feet!” And the kings, Brahmadatta and all, saw Kevatta bowed before the feet of the Great Being. “Our sage,” they thought, “has done obeisance to the Great Being; now we are conquered! he will make an end of us all”; and each mounting his horse they began to flee away to Uttarapancala. The Bodhisat’s men seeing them flee, again made a clamour, crying, “Culani-Brahmadatta is in flight with his hundred and one princes!” Hearing this, the princes terrified more and more, ran on and scattered the great host; while the Bodhisat’s men, shouting and yelling, made a yet louder din. The Great Being with his retinue returned to the city; while Brahmadatta’s army ran in rout for three leagues. Kevatta mounted upon a horse came up with the army wiping off the blood from his forehead, and cried, “Ho there, do not run! I did not bow to the churl! Stop, stop!” But the army would not stop, and made mock of Kevatta, reviling him, “Man of sin! villain brahmin! You would make a Battle of the Law, and then bow before a stripling young enough to be your grandson! Is not this a thing most unmeet for you!” They would not listen to him, but went on. He dashed on into the army, and cried, “Ho you, you must believe me, I did not bow to him, he tricked me with a gem!” So by one means or another, he convinced the princes and made them believe him, and rallied the broken army.
Now so great was this host, that if each man of them had taken a clod or a handful of earth and thrown it into the moat, they could have filled the moat and made a heap as high as the rampart. But we know that the intentions of the Bodhisats are fulfilled; and there was not one who threw a clod or a handful of earth towards the city. They all returned back to their position. Then the king asked Kevatta, “What are we to do, teacher?” “My lord, let no one come out from the postern, and cut off all access. The people unable to come out will be discouraged and will open the gate. Thus we shall capture our enemies.” The sage was informed as before of the matter, and thought: “If they stay here long we shall have no peace; a way must be found to get rid of them. I will devise a stratagem to make them go.” So he searched for a man clever in such things, and found one named Anukevatta. To him he said, “Teacher, I have a thing which I want you to carry out.” “What am I to do, wise sir? Tell me.” “Stand on the rampart, and when you see our men incautious, immediately let down cakes, fish, meat, and other food to Brahmadatta’s men, and say, Here, eat this and this, don’t be downhearted; try to stay here a few days longer; before long the people will be like hens in a coop and will open the gate of themselves, and then you will be able to capture Vedeha and that villain of a farmer’s son. Our men when they hear this, with harsh upbraiding, will bind you hand and foot in the sight of Brahmadatta’s army, and will pretend to beat you with bamboos, and pull you down, and tying your hair in five knots will daub you with brickdust, put a garland of kanavera upon you, belabour you soundly until weals rise on your back, take you up on the rampart, tie you up, and let you down by a rope to Brahmadatta’s men, crying out, Go, traitor! Then you will be taken before Brahmadatta, and he will ask your offence; you must say to him, Great king, once I was held in great honour, but the farmer’s son denounced me to my king for a traitor and robbed me of all. I wished to make the man shorter by a head who had ruined me, and in pity for the despondency of your men I gave them food and drink. For that, with the old grudge in his heart, he brought this destruction upon me. Your own men, O king, know all about it. Thus by one means or another you must win the king’s confidence, and then say to him: Sire, now you have me, trouble no more. Now Vedeha and the farmer’s son are dead men! I know the strong places and the weak places of the ramparts in this city. I know where crocodiles are in the moat and where they are not; before long I will bring the city into your hands. The king will believe you and do you honour, and will place the army in your charge. Then you must bring down the army into the places infested by snakes and crocodiles; the army in fear of the crocodiles will refuse to go down. You must then say to the king, Your army, my lord, has been corrupted by the farmer’s son; there is not a man of them, not even teacher Kevatta and the princes, who has not been bribed. They just walk about guarding you, they are all the creatures of the farmer’s son, and I alone am your man. If you do not believe me, order the kings to come before you in full dress; then examine their dresses, their ornaments, their swords, all given them by the farmer’s son and inscribed with his name, and assure yourself. He will do so, and make sure, and in fear will dismiss the princes. Then he will ask you what is to be done? and you must reply, My lord, the farmer’s son is full of resource, and if you stay here a few days he will gain over all the army and capture yourself. Make no delay, but this very night in the middle watch let us take horse and depart, that we die not in the enemy’s hands. He will follow your advice; and while he flees away you must return and tell my people.” Thereupon Anukevatta replied, “Good, wise sir, I will do your bidding.” “Well then, you must put up with a few blows.” “Wise sir, do what you will with my body, only spare my life and my limbs.”
Then after shewing all respect to Anukevatta’s family, he caused him to be roughly handled in this manner and handed him over to Brahmadatta’s men. The king tested him, and trusted him, honoured him and gave him charge of the army; he brought the army down to the places which were infested by snakes and crocodiles; and the men terrified by the crocodiles, and wounded by arrows, spears, and lances cast by soldiers who stood upon the battlements, thus perished, after which none were so brave as to approach. Then Anukevatta approached the king, and said to him, “O great king, there is not a man to fight for you: all have been bribed. If you do not believe me, send for the princes, and see the inscriptions upon their garments and accoutrements.” This the king did; and seeing inscriptions upon all their garments and accoutrements, he felt sure that indeed these had taken bribes. “Teacher,” he said, “what’s to be done now?” “My lord, there’s nothing to be done; if you delay, the farmer’s son will capture you. Sire, if the teacher Kevatta does walk about with a sore on his forehead, yet he also has taken his bribe; he accepted that precious gem, and made you run in rout for three leagues, and then won your confidence again and made you return. He is a traitor! I would not obey him a single night; this very night in the middle watch you should escape. You have not a friend but me.” “Then, teacher, get my horse and chariot ready yourself.” Finding that the king was assuredly bent on escape, he encouraged him and bade him fear nothing; then he went out and told the scouts that the king was to escape that night, let them not think of sleep. He next prepared the king’s horse, arranging the reins so that the more he pulled the faster the horse would go; and at midnight he said, “My lord, your horse is ready; see, it is time.” The king mounted the horse and fled. Anukevatta also got on horseback, as though to go with him, but after going a little way he turned back; and the king’s horse, by the arrangement of its reins, pull as the king would, went on. Then Anukevatta came amongst the army, and shouted with a loud voice, “Culani-Brahmadatta has fled!” The scouts and their attendants cried out too. The other princes, hearing the noise, thought in their terror, “Sage Mahosadha must have opened the gate and come out; we shall all be dead men!” Giving but a look at all the materials of their use and enjoyment, away they ran. The men shouted the louder, “The princes are in rout!” Hearing the noise, all the others who stood at the gate and on the towers shouted and clapt their hands. Then the whole city within and without was one great roar, as though the earth cleft asunder, or the great deep were broken up, whilst the innumerable myriads of that mighty host in mortal terror, without refuge or defence, cried aloud, “Brahmadatta is taken by Mahosadha with the hundred and one kings!” Away they ran in rout, throwing down even their waistclothes. The camp was empty. Culani-Brahmadatta entered his own city with the hundred and one chiefs.
Next morning, the soldiers opened the city gates and went forth, and seeing the great booty, reported it to the Great Being, asking what they were to do. He said, “The goods which they have left are ours. Give to our king that which belonged to the princes, and bring to me that which belonged to Kevatta and the other private persons; all the rest let the citizens take.” It took half a month to remove the jewels of price and valuable goods, four months for the rest. The Great Being gave great honour to Anukevatta. From that day the citizens of Mithila had plenty of gold.
Now Brahmadatta and those kings had been a year in the city of Uttarapancala; when one day, Kevatta, looking upon his face in a mirror, saw the scar on his forehead and thought, “That is the doing of the farmer’s son: he made me a laughingstock before all those kings!” Anger arose in him. “How can I manage to see his back?” he thought. “Ah, here is a plan. Our king’s daughter, Pancalacandi is peerless in beauty, like a divine nymph; I will shew her to King Vedeha. He will be caught by desire like a fish that has swallowed the hook: I will land him and Mahosadha with him, and kill them both, and drink the cup of victory!” With this resolve, he approached the king. “My lord,” said he, “I have an idea.” “Yes, teacher, your idea left me once without a rag to cover me. What will you do now? Hold your peace.” “Sire, there never was a plan equal to this.” “Speak on, then.” “Sire, we two must be alone.” “So be it.” The brahmin took him into an upper storey, and said, “Great king! I will attract King Vedeha by desire, to bring him here, and kill him.” “A good plan, teacher, but how are we to arouse his desire?” “Sire, your daughter Pancalacandi is peerless in beauty; we will have her charms and accomplishments celebrated in verse by poets, and have those poems sung in Mithila. When we find that he is saying to himself, If the mighty monarch Vedeha cannot get this pearl of maidens, what is his kingdom to him? and that he is caught in the attraction of the idea, I will go and fix a day; on the day fixt by me he will come, like a fish that has swallowed the hook, and the farmer’s son with him; then we will kill them.” This pleased the king, and he agreed: “A fine plan that, my teacher! so we will do.”
But a maynah bird, that watched the king’s bed, took note of it.
And so the king sent for clever poets, and paid them richly, and shewed them his daughter, bidding them make a poem on her beauty; and they made songs of exceeding great sweetness, and recited them to the king. He rewarded them richly. Musicians learnt these songs from the poets, and sang them in public, and thus they were spread abroad. When they had been spread abroad, the king sent for the singers, and said, “My children, climb into the trees by night with some birds, sit there and sing, and, in the morning, tie bells about their necks, let them fly, and come down.” This he did that the world might say, the very gods sing the beauty of the King of Pancala’s daughter. Again the king sent for these poets, and said to them, “My children, make poems to this effect, that such a princess is not for any king in all India save Vedeha King of Mithila, praising the king’s majesty and the girl’s beauty.” They did so, and reported it; the king paid them well, and told them to go to Mithila and sing in the same way. They went to Mithila, singing these songs on the way, and there sang them in public. Crowds of people heard the songs, and amidst loud applause paid them well. At night they would climb into the trees and sing, and, in the morning, tied bells about the birds’ necks before they came down. People heard the sound of the bells in the air, and all the city rang with the news, that the very gods were singing the beauty of the king’s daughter. The king hearing of it sent for the poets, and made an audience in his palace. He was to think that they wanted to give him the peerless daughter of King Culani. So he paid them well, and they came back and told Brahmadatta. Then Kevatta said to him, “Now, sire, ’Tis time for me to go and settle the day.” “Very good, teacher, what must you take with you?” “A little present.” He gave it. The other went with it, accompanied by a large following, to Vedeha’s kingdom. On his arrival being made known, all the city was in an uproar: “King Mani and Vedeha, they say, will strike a friendship; Culani will give his daughter to our king, and Kevatta, they say, is coming to fix a day.” King Vedeha also heard this; and the Great Being heard it, and thought, “I like not his coming; I must find out about it exactly.” So he sent word to spies that lived with Culani. They replied, “We do not quite understand this business. The king and Kevatta were sitting and talking in the royal bedchamber; but the maynah which watches the bedchamber will know about it.” On hearing this, the Great Being thought: “That our enemies may not have an advantage, I will parcel out the whole city and decorate it, and not allow Kevatta to see it.” So from the city gate to the palace, and from the palace to his own house, on both sides of the road he erected lattice-work, and covered all over with mats, covered all with pictures, scattered flowers upon the ground, set jars full of water in place, hung flags and banners. Kevatta as he entered the city could not see its arrangements; he thought the king had decorated it for his sake, and did not understand that it had been done that he might not see. When he came before the king, he offered his gift, and with a courteous greeting sat down on one side. Then after an honourable reception, he recited two stanzas, to announce the reason of his arrival:
“A king who wishes for thy friendship sends thee these precious things: now let worthy sweet-spoken ambassadors come from that place; let them utter gentle words which shall give pleasure, and let the people of Pancala and Videha be one.”
“Sire,” he went on, “he would have sent another in place of me, but me he sent, feeling sure that no other could tell the tale so pleasantly as I should do. Go, teacher, quoth he, win over the king to look favourably upon it, and bring him back with you. Now, sire, go, and you shall receive an excellent and beautiful princess, and there shall be friendship established between our king and you.” The king was pleased at this proposal; he was attracted by the idea that he should receive a princess of peerless beauty, and replied, “Teacher, there was a quarrel between you and the wise Mahosadha at the Battle of the Law. Now go and see my son; you two wise men must make up your differences; and after a talk together, come back.” Kevatta promised to go and see the sage, and he went.
Now the Great Being that day, determined to avoid talking with this man of sin, in the morning drank a little ghee; they smeared the floor with wet cow-dung, and smeared the pillars with oil; all chairs and seats they removed except one narrow couch on which he lay. To his servants he gave orders as follows: “When the brahmin begins to talk, say, Brahmin, do not talk with the sage; he has taken a dose of ghee to-day. And when I make as though to talk with him, stop me, saying, My lord, you have taken a dose of ghee—do not talk.” After these instructions the Great Being covered himself with a red robe, and lay down on his couch, after posting men at the seven gate-towers . Kevatta, reaching the first gate, asked where the wise man was? Then the servants answered, “Brahmin, do not make much noise; if you wish to go in, go silently. To-day the sage has taken ghee, and he cannot stand a noise.” At the other gates they told him the same thing. When he came to the seventh gate, he entered the presence of the sage, and the sage made as though to speak: but they said, “My lord, do not talk; you have taken a strong dose of ghee—why should you talk with this wretched brahmin?” So they stayed him. The other came in, but could not find where to sit, nor a place to stand by the bed. He passed over the wet cow-dung and stood. Then one looked at him and rubbed his eyes, one lifted his eyebrow, one scratched his elbow. When he saw this, he was annoyed, and said, “Wise sir, I am going.” Another said, “Ha, wretched brahmin, don’t make a noise! If you do, I’ll break your bones for you!” Terrified he looked back, when another struck him on the back with a bamboo stick, another caught him by the throat and pushed him, another slapt him on the back, until he departed in fear, like a fawn from the panther’s mouth, and returned to the palace.
Now the king thought: “To-day my son will be pleased to hear the news. What a talking there will be between the two wise men about the Law! To-day they will be reconciled together, and I shall be the gainer.” So when he saw Kevatta, he recited a stanza, asking about their conversation together:
“How did your meeting with Mahosadha come off, Kevatta? Pray tell me that. Was Mahosadha reconciled, was he pleased?”
To this Kevatta replied, “Sire, you think that is a wise man, but there is not another man less good,” and he recited a stanza:
“He is a man ignoble of nature, lord of men! disagreeable, obstinate, wicked in disposition, like one dumb or deaf: he said not a word.”
This displeased the king, but he found no fault. He provided Kevatta and his attendants with all that they needed and a house to live in, and bade him go and rest. After he had sent him away the king thought to himself, “My son is wise, and knows well how to be courteous; yet he would not speak courteously to this man and did not want to see him. Surely he must have seen cause for some apprehension in the future!” and he composed a stanza of his own:
“Verily this resolution is very hard to understand; a clear issue has been foreseen by this strong man. Therefore my body is shaken: who shall lose his own and fall into the hands of his foe?”
“No doubt my son saw some mischief in the brahmin’s visit. He will have come here for no friendly purpose. He must have wished to attract me by desire, and make me go to his city, and there capture me. The sage must have foreseen some danger to come.” As he was turning over these thoughts in his mind, with alarm, the four wise men came in. The king said to Senaka, “Well, Senaka, do you think I ought to go to the city of Uttarapancala and marry King Culani’s daughter?” He replied, “O sire, what is this you say! When luck comes your way, who would drive it off with blows? If you go there and marry her, you will have no equal save Culani-Brahmadatta in all India, because you will have married the daughter of the chief king. The king knows that the other princes are his men, and Vedeha alone is his peer, and so desires to give you his peerless daughter. Do as he says and we also shall receive dresses and ornaments.” When the king asked the others, they all said the same. And as they were thus conversing, Brahmin Kevatta came from his lodging to take his leave of the king, and go; and he said, “Sire, I cannot linger here, I would go, prince of men!” The king shewed him respect, and let him go.
When the Great Being heard of his departure, he bathed and dressed and went to wait on the king, and saluting him sat on one side. Thought the king: “Wise Mahosadha my son is great and full of resource, he knows past, present and future; he will know whether I ought to go or not”; yet befooled by passion he did not keep to his first resolve, but asked his question in a stanza:
“All six have one opinion, and they are sages supreme in wisdom. To go or not to go, to abide here—Mahosadha, tell me your opinion also.”
At this the sage thought, “This king is exceedingly greedy in desire: blind and foolish he listens to the words of these four. I will tell him the mischief of going and dissuade him.” So he repeated four stanzas:
“Do you know, great king: mighty and strong is King Culani-Brahmadatta, and he wants you to kill, as a hunter catches the deer by decoy. As a fish greedy for food does not recognize the hook hidden in the bait, or a mortal his death, so you O king, greedy in desire, do not recognize Culani’s daughter, you, mortal, your own death. Go to Pancala, and in a little time you will destroy yourself, as a deer caught on the road comes into great danger.”
At this heavy rebuke, the king was angry. “The man thinks I am his slave,” he thought, “he forgets I am a king. He knows that the chief king has sent to offer me his daughter, and says not a word of good wishes, but foretells that I shall be caught and killed like a silly deer or a fish that swallows the hook or a deer caught on the road!” and immediately he recited a stanza:
“I was foolish, I was deaf and dumb, to consult you on high matters. How can you understand things like other men, when you grew up hanging on to the plow-tail?”
With these opprobrious wordy, he said, “This clodhopper is hindering my good luck! away with him!” and to get rid of him he uttered this stanza:
“Take this fellow by the neck and rid my kingdom of him, who speaks to hinder my getting a jewel.”
But he, seeing the king’s anger, thought, “If any one at the bidding of this king seize me by hand or by neck, or touch me, I shall be disgraced to my dying day; therefore I will go of myself.” So he saluted the king and went to his house. Now the king had merely spoken in anger: but out of respect for the Bodhisat he did not command any one to carry out his words. Then the Great Being thought, “This king is a fool, he knows not his own profit or unprofit. He is in love; and determined to get that princess, he does not perceive the danger to come; he will go to his ruin. I ought not to let his words lie in my mind. He is my great benefactor, and has done me much honour. I must have confidence in him. But first I will send the parrot and find out the facts, then I will go myself.” So he sent the parrot.
To explain this the Master said:
“Then he went out of Vedeha’s presence, and spake to his messenger, Mathara [sic] the clever parrot: “Come, my green parrot, do a service for me. The king of Pancala has a maynah that watches his bed: ask him in full, for he knows all, knows all the secret of the king and Kosiya.” Mathara (sic) the clever parrot listened, and went—the green parrot—to the maynah bird. Then this clever parrot Mathara spake to the sweet-voiced maynah in her fine cage: “Is all well with you in your fine cage? is all happy, O Vessa ? Do they give you parched honey-corn in your fine cage?” “All is well with me, sir, indeed, all is happy, they do give me parched honey-corn, O clever parrot. Why have you come, sir, and why were you sent? I never saw you or heard of you before.”
On hearing this, he thought: “If I say, I am come from Mithila, for her life she will never trust me. On my way I noticed the town Aritthapura in this kingdom of Sivi; so I will make up a false tale, how the king of Sivi has sent me hither,” and he said—
Then the maynah gave him the honey-corn and honey-water which stood ready for her in a golden dish, and said, “Sir, you have come a long way: what has brought you?” He made up a tale, desirous to learn the secret, and said,
“I once had to wife a sweet-voiced maynah, and a hawk killed her before my eyes.”
Then she asked, “But how did the hawk kill your wife?” He told her this story. “Listen, madam. One day our king invited me to join him at a water-party. My wife and I went with him, and amused ourselves. In the evening we returned with him to the palace. To dry our feathers, my wife and I flew out of a window and sat on the top of a pinnacle. At that moment a hawk swooped down to catch us as we were leaving the pinnacle. In fear of my life I flew swiftly off; but she was heavy then, and could not fly fast; hence before my eyes he killed her and carried her off. The king saw me weeping for her loss, and asked me the reason. On hearing what had occurred, he said, “Enough, friend, do not weep, but look for another wife.” I replied, “What need I, my lord, to wed another, wicked and vicious? Better to live alone.” He said, “Friend, I know a bird virtuous like your wife; King Culani’s chamberlain is a maynah like her. Go and ask her will, and let her reply, and if she likes you come and tell me; then I or my queen will go with great pomp and bring her back.” With these words he sent me, and that is why I am come.” And he said:
“Full of love for her I am come to you: if you give me leave we might dwell together.”
“Parrot should love parrot, and maynah maynah: how can there be union between parrot and maynah?”
The other hearing this thought, “She does not reject me; she is only making much of herself. Indeed she loves me doubtless. I will find some parables to make her trust me.” So he said—
“Whomsoever the lover loves, be it a low Candali, all are alike: in love there is no unlikeness.”
This said, he went on, to shew the measure of the differences in the birth of men,
“The mother of the king of Sivi is named Jambavati, and she was the beloved queen consort of Vasudeva the Kanha.”
Now the king of Sivi’s mother, Jambavati, was of the Candala caste, and she was the beloved queen consort of Vasudeva, one of the Kanhagana clan, the eldest of ten brothers. The story goes, that he one day went out from Dvaravati into the park; and on his way he espied a very beautiful girl, standing by the way, as she journeyed on some business from her Candala village to town. He fell in love, and asked her birth; and on hearing that she was a Candali, he was distressed. Finding that she was unmarried, he turned back at once, and took her home, surrounded her with precious things, and made her his chief queen. She brought forth a son Sivi, who ruled in Dvaravati at his father’s death.
After giving this example, he went on: “Thus even a prince such as he mated with a Candala woman; and what of us, who are but of the animal kingdom? If we like to mate together, there is no more to be said.” And he gave another example as follows:
“Rathavati, a fairy, also loved Vaccha, and the man loved the animal. In love there is no unlikeness.
“Vaccha was a hermit of that name, and the way she loved him was this. In times gone by, a brahmin, who had seen the evil of the passions, left great wealth to follow the ascetic life, and lived in Himavat in a hut of leaves which he made him. Not far from this hut in a cave lived a number of fairies, and in the same place lived a spider. This spider used to spin his web, and crack the heads of these creatures, and drink their blood. Now the fairies were weak and timid, the spider was mighty and very poisonous: they could do nothing against him, so they came to the hermit, and saluted him, and told him how a spider was destroying them and they could see no help; wherefore they begged him to kill the spider and save them. But the ascetic drove them away, crying, “Men like me take no life!” A female of these creatures, named Rahavati, was unmarried; and they brought her all finely arrayed to the hermit, and said, “Let her be your handmaiden, and do you slay our enemy.” When the hermit saw her he fell in love, and kept her with him, and lay in wait for the spider at the cave’s mouth, and as he came out for food killed him with a club. So he lived with the fairy and begat sons and daughters on her, and then died. Thus she loved him.”
The parrot, having described this example, said, “Vaccha the hermit, although a man, lived with a fairy, who belonged to the animal world; why should not we do the same, who both are birds?”
When she heard him she said, “My lord, the heart is not always the same: I fear separation from my beloved.” But he, being wise and versed in the wiles of women, further tested her with this stanza:
“Verily I shall go away, O sweet-voiced maynah. This is a refusal; no doubt you despise me.”
So when evening came they took their pleasure together; and they lived in friendship and pleasure and delight. Then the parrot thought, “Now she will not hide the secret from me; now I must ask it of her and go.—Maynah,” quoth he. “What is it, my lord?” “I want to ask you something; shall I say it?” “Say on, my lord.” “Never mind, to-day is a festival; another day I will see about it.” “If it be suitable to a festival, say it, if not, my lord, say nothing.” “Indeed, this is a thing fit for a festival day.” “Then speak.” “If you will listen, I will speak.” Then he asked the secret in a stanza and a half:
“This sound so loud heard over the countryside—the daughter of the king of Pancala, bright as a star—he will give her to the Videhas, and this will be their wedding!”
When she heard this she said, “My lord! on a day of festival you have said a thing most unlucky!” “I say it is lucky, you say it is unlucky: what can this mean?” “I cannot tell you, my lord.” “Madam, from the time when you refuse to tell me a secret which you know, our happy union ends.” Importuned by him she replied, “Then, my lord, listen—
“Let not even your enemies have such a wedding, Mathara, as there shall be betwixt the kings of Pancala and Videha.”
Then he asked, “Why do you ask such a thing, madam?” She replied, “Listen now, and I will tell you the mischief of it,” and she repeated another stanza:
“The mighty king of Pancala will attract Videha, and then he will kill him; his friend she will not be.”
So she told the whole secret to the wise parrot; and the wise parrot, hearing it, extolled Kevatta: “This teacher is fertile in resource; ’Tis a wonderful plan to kill the king. But what is so unlucky a thing to us? silence is best.” Thus he attained the fruit of his journey. And after passing the night with her, he said, “Lady, I would go to the Sivi country, and tell the king how I have got a loving wife”; and he took leave in the following words:
The maynah hereat, although unwilling to part with him, yet unable to refuse, recited the next stanza:
The other said: “Lady, what is this you say! if I see you not after seven days, how can I live?” So he spake with his lips, but thought in his heart, “Live or die, what care I for you?” He rose up, and after flying for a short distance towards the Sivi country, he turned off and went to Mithila. Then descending upon the wise man’s shoulder, when the Great Being had taken him to the upper storey, and asked his news, he told him all. The other did him all honour as before.
This the Master explained as follows:
“And then Mathara, the wise parrot, said to Mahosadha: “This is the story of the maynah.”
On hearing it the Great Being thought: “The king will go, will I nill I, and if he go, he will be utterly destroyed. And if by bearing a grudge against such a king who gave me such wealth, I refrain from doing well to him, I shall be disgraced. When there is found one so wise as I, why should he perish? I will set out before the king, and see Culani; and I will arrange all well, and I will build a city for King Vedeha to dwell in, and a smaller passage a mile long, and a great tunnel of half a league; and I will consecrate King Culani’s daughter and make her our king’s handmaiden; and even when our city is surrounded by the hundred and one kings with their army of eighteen myriads, I will save our king, as the moon is saved from the jaws of Rahu, and bring him home. His return is in my hands.” As he thought thus, joy pervaded his body, and by force of this joy he uttered this aspiration:
“A man should always work for his interest in whose house he is fed.”
Thus bathed and anointed he went in great pomp to the palace, and saluting the king, stood on one side. “My lord,” he asked, “are you going to the city of Uttarapancala?” “Yes, my son; if I cannot gain Pancalacandi, what is my kingdom to me? Leave me not, but come with me. By going thither, two benefits will be mine: I shall gain the most precious of women, and make friendship with the king.” Then the wise man said, “Well, my lord, I will go on ahead, and build dwellings for you; do you come when I send word.” Saying this, he repeated two stanzas:
“Truly I will go first, lord of men, to the lovely city of Pancala’s king, to build dwellings for the glorious Vedeha. When I have built dwellings for the glorious Vedeha, come, mighty warrior, when I send word.”
The king on hearing this was pleased that he should not desert him, and said, “My son, if you go on ahead, what do you want?” “An army, sire.” “Take as many as you wish, my son.” The other went on, “My lord, have the four prisons opened, and break the chains that bind the robbers therein, and send these also with me.” “Do as you will, my son,” he replied. The Great Being caused the prisons to be opened, and brought forth mighty heroes who were able to do their duty wherever they should be sent, and bade them serve him; he shewed great favour to these, and took with him eighteen companies of men, masons, blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, men skilled in all arts and crafts, with their razor-adzes, spades, hoes, and many other tools. So with a great company he went out of the city.
The Master explained it by this stanza:
“The Mahosadha went on ahead, to the goodly town of the king of Pancala, to build dwellings for Vedeha the glorious.”
On his way, the Great Being built a village at every league’s end, and left a courtier in charge of each village, with these directions: “Against the king’s return with Pancala-candi you are to prepare elephants, horses, and chariots, to keep off his enemies, and to convey him speedily to Mithila.” Arrived at the Ganges’ bank, he called Anandakumara, and said to him, “Ananda, take three hundred wrights, go to Upper Ganges, procure choice timber, build three hundred ships, make them cut stores of wood for the town, fill the ships with light wood, and come back soon.” Himself in a ship he crossed over the Ganges, and from his landing-place he paced out the distances, thinking—“This is half a league, here shall be the great tunnel: in this place shall be the town for our king to dwell in; from this place to the palace, a mile long, shall be the small passage.” So he marked out the place; and then entered the city.
When King Culani heard of the Bodhisat’s coming, he was exceedingly well pleased; for thought he, “Now the desire of my heart shall be fulfilled; now that he is come, Vedeha will not be long in coming: then will I kill them both and make one kingdom in all India.” All the city was in a ferment: “This, they say, is the wise Mahosadha, who put to flight the hundred and one kings as a crow is scared by a clod!” The Great Being proceeded to the palace gates whilst the citizens gazed at his beauty; then dismounting from the car, he sent word to the king. “Let him come,” the king said; and he entered, and greeted the king, and sat down on one side. Then the king spoke politely to him, and asked, “My son, when will the king come?” “When I send for him, my lord.” “But why are you come, then?” “To build for our king a place to dwell in, my lord.” “Good, my son.” He gave an allowance for the escort, and shewed great honour to the Great Being, and allotted him a house, and said: “My son, until your king shall come, live here, and do not be idle, but do what should be done.” But as he entered the palace, he stood at the foot of the stairs, thinking, “Here must be the door of the little tunnel”; and again this came into his mind, “The king told me to do for him anything that had to be done; I must take care that this stairway does not fall in while we are digging the tunnel.” So he said to the king, “My lord, as I entered, standing by the stair-foot, and looking at the new work, I saw a fault in the great staircase. If it please you, give me word and I will make it all right.” “Good, my son, do so.” He examined the place carefully, and determined where the exit of the tunnel should be; then he removed the stair, and to keep the earth from falling into this place, he arranged a platform of wood, and thus fixed the stair firmly so that it should not collapse. The king all unwitting thought this to be done from goodwill to himself. The other spent that day in superintending the repairs, and on the next day he said to the king, “My lord, if I could know where our king is to dwell, I could make it all right and take care of it.” “Very good, wise sir: choose a place for his dwelling where you will in the city, except my palace.” “Sire, we are strangers, you have many favourites: if we take their houses, your soldiers will quarrel with us. What are we to do?” “Wise sir, do not listen to them, but choose the place which may please you.” “My lord, they will come to you over and over again with complaints, and that will not be pleasant for you; but if you will, let our men be on guard until we take possession of the houses, and they will not be able to get past the door, but will go away. Thus both you and we shall be content.” The king agreed. The Great Being placed his own guards at the foot and head of the stairway, at the great gate, everywhere, giving orders that no one was to pass by. Then he ordered his men to go to the queen-mother’s house, and to make as though they would pull it down. When they began to pull down bricks and mud from the gates and walls, the queen-mother heard the news and asked, “You fellows, why do you break down my house?” “Mahosadha the sage wishes to pull it down and to build a palace for his king.” “If that be so, you may live in this place.” “Our king’s retinue is very large; this place will not do, and we will make a large house for him.” “You do not know me: I am the queen-mother, and now I will go to my son and see about it.” “We are acting by the king’s orders; stop us if you can! “ She grew angry, and said, “Now I will see what is to be done with you,” and proceeded to the palace gate; but they would not let her go in. “Fellows, I am the king’s mother!” “Oh, we know you; but the king has ordered us to let no one come in. Go away!” She was unable to get into the palace, and stood looking at her house. Then one of the men said, “What are you doing here? Away with you!” He seized her by the throat and threw her upon the ground. She thought, “Verily it must be the king’s command, otherwise they would not be able to do this: I will visit the sage.” She asked him, “Son Mahosadha, why do you pull down my house?” but he would not speak to her. But a bystander said, “What did you say, madam?” “My son, why does the sage pull down my house?” “To build a dwelling for King Vedeha.” “Why, my son! in all this great city can he find no other place to live in? take this bribe, a hundred thousand pieces of money, and let him build elsewhere.” “Very good, madam, we will leave your house alone; but do not tell any one that you have given this bribe, that no others may wish to bribe us to spare their houses.” “My son! if it were said that the queen-mother had need to bribe, the shame would be mine! I shall tell no one.” The man consented, and took the hundred thousand pieces, and left that house. Then he went to Kevatta’s house; who went to the palace gate, and had the skin of his back torn by bamboo sticks, but being unable to get an entrance, he also gave a hundred thousand pieces. In this way, by seizing houses in all parts of the city, and procuring bribes, they got nine crores of gold pieces.
After this the Great Being traversed the whole city, and returned to the palace. The king asked him whether he had found a place. “Sire,” he said, “they are all willing to give; but as soon as we take possession they are stricken with grief. We do not wish to be the cause of unpleasantness. Outside the city, about a mile hence, between the city and the Ganges, there is a place where we could build a palace for our king.” When the king heard this, he was pleased; for, thought he, “to fight with men inside the city is dangerous, it is impossible to distinguish friend from foe; but without the city it is easy to fight, therefore without the city I will smite them and kill them.” Then he said, “Good, my son, build in the place that you have seen.” “We will, sire. But your people must not come to the place where we build, in search of firewood or herbs or such like things; if they do, there is sure to be a quarrel, and this will be pleasant for neither of us.” “Very good, my son, forbid all access on that side.” “My lord, our elephants like to disport them in the water; if the water becomes muddy, and the people complain that since Mahosadha came we have had no clean water to drink, you must put up with it.” The king replied, “Let your elephants play.” Then he proclaimed by beat of drum: “Whosoever shall go hence to the place where the sage Mahosadha is building, he shall be fined a thousand pieces.”
Then the Great Being took leave of the king, and with his attendants went out of the city, and began to build a city on the spot that had been set apart. On the other side of the Ganges he built a village called Gaggali: there he stationed his elephants, horses and chariots, his kine and oxen. He busied himself with the making of the city, and assigned to each their task. Having distributed all the work, he set about making the great tunnel; the mouth of which was upon the Ganges’ bank. Sixty thousand warriors were digging the great tunnel: the earth they removed in leather sacks and dropt in the river, and whenever the earth was dropt in the elephants trampled it underfoot, and the Ganges ran muddy. The citizens complained that, since Mahosadha had come, they could get no clean water to drink; the river ran muddy, and what was to be done? Then the wise man’s spies told them that Mahosadha’s elephants were playing about in the water, and stirring up the mud, and that was why it ran muddy. Now the intentions of the Bodhisats are always fulfilled; therefore in the tunnel all roots and stones sank into the earth. The entrance to the lesser tunnel was in that city; seven hundred men were digging at the lesser tunnel; the earth they brought out in leather sacks and dropt in the city, and as they dropt each load, they mixt it with water, and built a wall, and used it for other works. The entrance into the greater tunnel was in the city: it was provided with a door, eighteen hands high, fitted with machinery, so that one peg being pressed all were closed up . On either side, the tunnel was built up with bricks and worked with stucco; it was roofed over with planks and smeared with cement, and whitened. In all there were eighty great doors and sixty-four small doors, which all by the pressure of one peg closed, and by the pressure of one peg opened. On either side there were some hundreds of lamp-cells, also fitted with machinery, so that when one was opened all opened, and when one was shut all were shut. On either side were a hundred and one chambers for a hundred and one warriors: in each one was laid a bed of various colours, in each was a great couch shaded by a white sunshade, each had a throne near the great couch, each had a statue of a woman, very beautiful—without touching them no one could tell they were not human. Moreover, in the tunnel on either side, clever painters made all manner of paintings: the splendour of Sakka, the zones of Mount Sineru, the sea and the ocean, the four continents, Himavat, Lake Anotatta, the Vermilion Mountain, Sun and Moon, the heaven of the four great kings with the six heavens of sense and their divisions—all were to be seen in the tunnel. The floor was strewn with sand white as a silver plate, and on the roof full-blown lotus flowers. On both sides were booths of all sorts; here and there hung festoons of flowers and scented blooms. Thus they adorned the tunnel until it was like the divine hall of Sudhamma.
Now those three hundred wrights, having built three hundred ships, freighted them with loads of articles all ready prepared, and brought them down, and told the sage. He used them in the city, and made them put up the ships in a secret place to bring them out when he should give the word. In the city, the water-moat, the wall, gate and tower, dwellings for prince and people, elephant-stables, tanks, all were finished. So great tunnel and little tunnel, and all the city, were finished in four months. And at the end of the four months, the Great Being sent a messenger to the king, to bid him come.
When the king heard this message, he was pleased, and set out with a large company.
The Master said:
“Then the king set out with an army in four divisions, to visit the prosperous city of Kampilliya, with its innumerable chariots.”
In due time he arrived at the Ganges. Then the Great Being went out to meet him, and conducted him to the city which he had built. The king entered the palace, and ate a rich meal, and after resting a little, in the evening sent a messenger to King Culani to say that he had come.
Explaining this, the Master said:
“Then he on arriving sent word to Brahmadatta: “Mighty king, I am come to salute thy feet. Now give me to wife that woman most beauteous, full of grace, attended by her handmaidens.”
Culani was very glad at the message, and thought, “Where will my enemy go now? I shall cleave both their heads, and drink the cup of victory!” But he shewed only joy to the messenger, and did him respect, and recited the following stanza:
“Welcome art thou, Vedeha, a good coming is thine! Enquire now for a lucky hour, and I will give thee my daughter, full of grace, attended by her handmaidens.”
The messenger now went back to Vedeha, and said, “My lord, the king says: “Enquire for an hour suited to this auspicious event, and I will give you my daughter.” He sent the man back, saying, “This very day is a lucky hour!”
The Master explained it thus:
“Then King Vedeha enquired for a lucky hour; which done, he sent word to Brahmadatta: “Give me now to wife that woman most beauteous, full of grace, attended by her handmaidens.” And King Culani said: “I give thee now to wife that woman most beauteous, full of grace, attended by her handmaidens.”
But in saying “I will send her now, even now,” he lied: and he gave the word to the hundred and one kings: “Make ready for battle with your eighteen mighty hosts, and come forth: we will cleave the heads of our two enemies, and drink the cup of victory!” And he placed in the palace his mother Queen Talata, and his consort Queen Nanda, and his son Pancalacanda, and his daughter Pancalacandi, with the women, and came forth himself.
The Bodhisat treated very hospitably the great army which came with King Vedeha: some were drinking spirits, some eating fish and flesh, some lay wearied with their long march; but King Vedeha, with Senaka and the other wise men, sat on a goodly dais amidst his courtiers. But King Culani surrounded the city in four lines with three intervals, and kindled several hundreds of thousands of torches, and there they stood, ready to take it when the sun should rise. On learning this, the Great Being gave commission to three hundred of his own warriors: “Go by the little tunnel, and bring in by that tunnel the king’s mother and consort, his son and daughter; take them through the great tunnel, but do not let them out by the door of the great tunnel; keep them safe in the tunnel until we come, but when we come, bring then out of the tunnel, and place them in the Great Court.” When they had received these commands, they went along the lesser tunnel, and pushed up the platform beneath the staircase; they seized the guards at the top and bottom of the staircase and on the terrace, the humpbacks, and all the others that were there, bound them hand and foot, gagged them, and hid them away here and there; ate some of the food prepared for the king, destroyed the rest, and went up to the terrace. Now Queen Talata on that day, uncertain what might befall, had made Queen Nanda and the son and daughter lie with her in one bed. These warriors, standing at the door of the chamber, called to them. She came out and said, “What is it, my children?” They said, “Madam, our king has killed Vedeha and Mahosadha, and has made one kingdom in all India, and surrounded by the hundred and one princes in great glory he is drinking deep: he has sent us to bring you four to him also.” They came down to the foot of the staircase. When the men took them into the tunnel, they said: “All this time we have lived here, and never have entered this street before!” The men replied, “Men do not go into this street every day; this is a street of rejoicing, and because this is a day of rejoicing, the king told us to fetch you by this way.” And they believed it. Then some of the men conducted the four, others returned to the palace, broke open the treasury, and carried off all the precious things they wanted. The four went on by the greater tunnel, and seeing it to be like the glorious hall of the gods, thought that it had been made for the king. Then they were brought to a place not far from the river, and placed in a fine chamber within the tunnel: some kept watch over them, others went and told the Bodhisat of their arrival.
“Now,” thought the Bodhisat, “my heart’s desire shall he fulfilled.” Highly pleased, he went into the king’s presence and stood on one side. The king, uneasy with desire, was thinking, “Now he will send his daughter, now, now”: and getting up he looked out of the window. There was the city all one blaze of light with those thousands of torches, and surrounded by a great host! In fear and suspicion he cried, “What is this?” and recited a stanza to his wise men:
“Elephants, horses, chariots, footmen, a host in armour stands there, torches blaze with light; what do they mean, wise sirs?”
To this Senaka replied: “Do not trouble, sire: large numbers of torches are blazing; I suppose the king is bringing his daughter to you.” And Pukkusa said, “No doubt he wishes to shew honour at your visit, and therefore has come with a guard.” They told him whatever they liked. But the king heard the words of command—“Put a detachment here, set a guard there, be vigilant!” and he saw the soldiers under arms; so that he was frightened to death, and longing to hear some word from the Great Being, he recited another stanza:
“Elephants, horses, chariots, footmen, a host in armour stands there, torches ablaze with light: what will they do, wise sir?”
“Sire, the mighty Culaniya is watching you, Brahmadatta is a traitor: in the morning he will slay you.”
On hearing this all were frightened to death: the king’s throat was parched, the spittle ceased, his body burnt; frightened to death and whimpering he recited two stanzas:
“My heart throbs, my mouth is parched, I cannot rest, I am like one burnt in the fire and then put in the sun. As the smith’s fire burns inwardly and is not seen outside, so my heart burns within me and is not seen outside.”
When the Great Being heard this lament, he thought, “This blind fool would not do my bidding at other times; I will punish him still more,” and he said:
“Warrior, you are careless, neglectful of advice, unwise: now let your clever advisers save you. A king who will not do the bidding of a wise and faithful counsellor, being bent on his own pleasure, is like a deer caught in a trap. As a fish, greedy for the bait, does not notice the hook hidden in the meat which is wrapped round it, does not recognise its own death: so you, O king, greedy with lust, like the fish, do not recognise Culaneyya’s daughter as your own death. If you go to Pancala, (I said,) you will speedily lose your happiness, as a deer caught on the highway will fall into great danger. A bad man, my lord, would bite like a snake in your lap; no wise man should make friends with him; unhappy must be the association with an evil man. Whatsoever man, my lord; one should recognise for virtuous and instructed, he is the man for the wise to make his friend: happy would be the association with a good man.”
Then to drive home the reproach, that a man should not be so treated, he recalled the words which the king had once said before, and went on—
“Foolish thou art, O king, deaf and dumb, that didst upbraid the best advice in me, asking how I could know what was good like another, when I had grown up at the plow-tail? Take yon fellow by the neck, you said, and cast him out of my kingdom, who tries by his talk to keep me from getting a precious thing !”
Having recited these two stanzas, he said, “Sire, how could I, a clodhopper, know what is good as Senaka does and the other wise men? That is not my calling. I know only the clodhopper’s trade, but this matter is known to Senaka and his like; they are wise gentlemen, and now to-day let them deliver you from the eighteen mighty hosts that compass you round about; and bid them take me by the throat and cast me forth. Why do you ask me now?” Thus he rebuked him mercilessly. When the king heard it, he thought, “The sage is reciting the wrongs that I have done. Long ago he knew the danger to come, that is why he so bitterly reproaches me. But he cannot have spent all this time idly; surely he must have arranged for my safety.” So to reproach the other, he recited two stanzas:
“Mahosadha, the wise do not throw up the past in one’s teeth; why do you goad me like a horse tied fast? If you see deliverance or safety, comfort me: why throw up the past against me?”
Then the Great Being thought, “This king is very blind and foolish, and knows not the differences amongst men: a while I will torment him, then I will save him”; and he said—
“’Tis too late for men to act, too hard and difficult: I cannot deliver you, and you must decide for yourself. There are elephants which can fly through the air, magical, glorious: they that possess such as these can go away with them. Horses there are which can fly through the air, magical, glorious: they that possess such as these can go away with them. Birds also there are, and goblins, which do the like. But it is too late for men to act, too hard and difficult: I cannot save you, and you must decide for yourself.”
The king, hearing this, sat still without a word; but Senaka thought, “There is no help but the sage for the king or for us; but the king is too much afraid to be able to answer him. Then I will ask him.” And he asked him in two stanzas:
“A man who cannot see the shore in the mighty ocean, when he finds a footing is full of joy. So to us and the king thou, Mahosadha, art firm ground to stand on; thou art our best of counsellors; deliver us from woe.”
The Great Being reproached him in this stanza:
“’Tis too late for men to act, too hard and difficult: I cannot deliver you, and you must decide for yourself, Senaka.”
The king, unable to find an opening, and terrified out of his life, could not say a word to the Great Being; but thinking that perhaps Senaka might have a plan, he asked him in this stanza:
“Hear this word of mine: you see this great danger, and now Senaka, I ask you—what do you think ought to be done here?”
The king fell in a passion to hear this; “That will do for your funeral pyre and your children’s,” he thought; and he then asked Pukkusa and the rest, who also spoke foolishly each after his own kind; here is the tradition:
“Hear this word: you see this great danger. Now I ask Pukkusa—what do you think ought to be done here?” “Let us take poison and die, and we shall soon cease to live: let not Brahmadatta kill us by a lingering death.”; “Now I ask Kavinda.” “Let us fasten a noose and die, let us cast ourselves from a height, let not Brahmadatta kill us by a lingering death.” “Now I ask Devinda.” “Let us set fire to the door, let us take a sword, let us wound one another, and soon we shall cease to live: I cannot save us, but Mahosadha can do so easily.”
Devinda thought, “What is the king doing? Here is fire, and he blows at a firefly! Except Mahosadha, there is none other can save us: yet he leaves him and asks us! What do we know about it?” Thus thinking, and seeing no other plan, he repeated the plan proposed by Senaka, and praised the Great Being in two stanzas:
“This is my meaning, sire: Let us all ask the wise man; and if for all our asking Mahosadha cannot easily save us, then let us follow Senaka’s advice.”
On hearing this, the king remembered his ill-treatment of the Bodhisat, and being unable to speak to him, he lamented in his hearing thus:
“As one that searches for sap in the plantain tree or the silk-cotton tree, finds none; so we searching for an answer to this problem have found none. Our dwelling is in a bad place, like elephants in a place where no water is, with worthless men and fools that know nothing. My heart throbs, my mouth is parched, I cannot rest, I am like one burnt in the fire and then put in the sun. As the smith’s fire burns inwardly and is not seen outside, so my heart burns within and is not seen outside.”
Then the sage thought, “The king is exceedingly troubled: If I do not console him, he will break his heart and die.” So he consoled him.
“Then this wise sage Mahosadha, discerning of the good, when he beheld Vedeha sorrowful thus spake to him. “Fear not, O king, fear not, lord of chariots; I will set thee free, like the moon when it is caught by Rahu, like the sun when it is caught by Rahu, like an elephant sunk in the mud, like a snake shut up in a basket, like fish in the net; I will set thee free with thy chariots and thy army; I will scare away Pancala, as a crow is scared by a clod. Of what use indeed is the wisdom or the counsellor of such a kind as cannot set thee free from trouble when thou art in difficulties?”
When he heard this, he was comforted: “Now my life is safe!” he thought: all were delighted when the Bodhisat spoke out like a lion. Then Senaka asked, “Wise sir, how will you get away with us all?” “By a decorated tunnel,” he said, “make ready.” So saying, he gave the word to his men to open the tunnel:
Up rose they and opened the door of the tunnel, and all the tunnel shone in a blaze of light like the decorated hall of the gods. The Master explained it by saying:
“Hearing the wise man’s voice, his followers opened the tunnel door and the mechanical bolts.”
The door opened, they told the Great Being, and he gave the word to the king: “Time, my lord! come down from the terrace.” The king came down, Senaka took off his headdress, unloosed his gown. The Great Being asked him what he did; he replied, “Wise sir, when a man goes through a tunnel, he must take off his turban and wrap his clothes tight around him.” The other replied, “Senaka, do not suppose that you must crawl through the tunnel upon your knees. If you wish to go on an elephant, mount your elephant: lofty is our tunnel, eighteen hands high, with a wide door; dress yourself as fine as you will, and go in front of the king.” Then the Bodhisat made Senaka go first, and went himself last, with the king in the middle, and this was the reason: in the tunnel was a world of eatables and drinkables, and the men ate and drank as they gazed at the tunnel, saying, “Do not go quickly, but gaze at the decorated tunnel”; but the Great Being went behind urging the king to go on, while the king went on gazing at the tunnel adorned like the hall of the gods.
“In front went Senaka, behind went Mahosadha, and in the midst King Vedeha with the men of his court.”
Now when the king’s coming was known, the men brought out of the tunnel the other king’s mother and wife, son and daughter, and set them in the great courtyard; the king also with the Bodhisat came out of the tunnel. When these four saw the king and the sage, they were frightened to death, and shrieked in their fear—“Without doubt we are in the hands of our enemies! it must have been the wise man’s soldiers who came for us! “ And King Culani, in fear lest Vedeha should escape—now he was about a mile from the Ganges—hearing their outcry in the quiet night, wished to say, “It is like the voice of Queen Nanda!” but he feared that he might be laughed at for thinking such a thing, and said nothing. At that moment, the Great Being placed Princess Pancalacandi upon a heap of treasure, and administered the ceremonial sprinkling, as he said, “Sire, here is she for whose sake you came; let her be your queen!” They brought out the three hundred ships; the king came from the wide courtyard and boarded a ship richly decorated, and these four went on board with him. The Master thus explained it:
“Vedeha coming forth from the tunnel went aboard ship, and when he was aboard, Mahosadha thus encouraged him: “This is now your father-in-law, my lord, this is your mother-in-law, O master of men: as you would treat your mother, so treat your mother-in-law. As a brother by the same father and mother, so protect Pancalacanda, O lord of chariots. Pancalacandi is a royal princess, much wooed; love her, she is your wife, O lord of chariots.”
The king consented. But why did the Great Being say nothing about the queen-mother? Because she was an old woman. Now all this the Bodhisat said as he stood upon the bank. Then the king, delivered from great trouble, wishing to proceed in the ship, said, “My son, you speak standing upon the shore”: and recited a stanza—
“Come aboard with speed: why do you stand on the bank? From danger and trouble we have been delivered; now, Mahosadha, let us go.”
The Great Being replied, “My lord, it is not meet that I go with you,” and he said,
“This is not right, sire, that I, the leader of an army, should desert my army and come myself. All this army, left behind in the town, I will bring away with the consent of Brahmadatta.
“Amongst these men, some are sleeping for weariness after their long journey, some eating and drinking, and know not of our departure, some are sick, after having worked with me four months, and there are many assistants of mine. I cannot go if I leave one man behind me; no, I will return, and all that army I will bring off with Brahmadatta’s consent, without a blow. You, sire, should go with all speed, not tarrying anywhere; I have stationed relays of elephants and conveyances on the road, so that you may leave behind those that are weary, and with others ever fresh may quickly return to Mithila.” Then the king recited a stanza:
“A small army against a great, how will you prevail? The weak will be destroyed by the strong, wise sir!”
“A small army with counsel conquers a large army that has none, one king conquers many, the rising sun conquers the darkness.”
With these words, the Great Being saluted the king, and sent him away. The king remembering how he had been delivered from the hands of enemies, and by winning the princess had attained his heart’s desire, reflecting on the Bodhisat’s virtues, in joy and delight described to Senaka the wise man’s virtues in this stanza:
“Happiness truly comes, O Senaka, by living with the wise. As birds from a closed cage, as fish from a net, so Mahosadha set us free when we were in the hands of my enemies.”
To this Senaka replied with another, praising the sage:
Then Vedeha crossed over the river, and at a league’s distance he found the village which the Bodhisat had prepared; there the men posted by the Bodhisat supplied elephants and other transport and gave them food and drink. He sent back elephants or horses and transport when they were exhausted, and took others, and proceeded to the next village; and in this way he traversed the journey of a hundred leagues, and next morning he was in Mithila.
But the Bodhisat went to the gate of the tunnel; and drawing his sword, which was slung over his shoulder, he buried it in the sand, at the gate of the tunnel; then he entered the tunnel, and went into the town, and bathed him in scented water, and ate a choice meal, and retired to his goodly couch, glad to think that the desire of his heart had been fulfilled. When the night was ended, King Culani gave his orders to the army, and came up to the city. The Master thus explained it:
“The mighty Culaniya watched all night, and at sunrise approached Upakari. Mounting his noble elephant, strong, sixty years old, Culaniya, mighty king of Pancala, addressed his army; fully armed with jewelled harness, an arrow in his hand, he addressed his men collected in great numbers.”
Then to describe them in kind—
“Men mounted on elephants, lifeguardsmen, charioteers, footmen, men skilful in archery, bowmen, all gathered together.”
Now the king commanded them to take Vedeha alive:
“Send the tusked elephants, mighty, sixty years old, let them trample down the city which Vedeha has nobly built. Let the arrows fly this way and that way, sped by the bow, arrows like the teeth of calves, sharp-pointed, piercing the very bones. Let heroes come forth in armour clad, with weapons finely decorated, bold and heroic, ready to face an elephant. Spears bathed in oil, their points glittering like fire, stand gleaming like the constellation of a hundred stars. At the onset of such heroes, with mighty weapons, clad in mail and armour, who never run away, how shall Vedeha escape, even if he fly like a bird? My thirty and nine thousand warriors, all picked men, whose like I never saw, all my mighty host.
“See the mighty tusked elephants, caparisoned, of sixty years, on whose backs are the brilliant and goodly princes; brilliant are they on their backs, as the gods in Nandana, with glorious ornaments, glorious dress and robes: swords of the colour of the sheat-fish, well oiled, glittering, held fast by mighty men, well-finished, very sharp, shining, spotless, made of tempered steel, strong, held by mighty men who strike and strike again. In golden trappings and bloodred girths they gleam as they turn like lightning in a thick cloud. Mailed heroes with banners waving, skilled in the use of sword and shield, grasping the hilt, accomplished soldiers, mighty fighters on elephant-hack,—encompassed by such as these thou hast no escape; I see no power by which thou canst come to Mithila.”
Then the Great Being’s spies thought, “Who knows what will happen?” and with their attendants surrounded him. Just then the Bodhisat rose from his bed, and attended to his bodily needs, and after breakfast adorned and dressed himself, putting on his kasi robe worth a hundred thousand pieces of money, and with his red robe over one shoulder, and holding his presentation staff inlaid with the seven precious jewels, golden sandals upon his feet, and being fanned with a yakstail fan like some divine nymph richly arrayed, came up on the terrace, and opening a window showed himself to King Culani, as he walked to and fro with the grace of the king of the gods. And King Culani, seeing his beauty, could not find peace of mind, but quickly drove up his elephant, thinking that he should take him now. The sage thought, “He has hastened hither expecting that Vedeha is caught; he knows not that his own children are taken, and that our king is gone. I will show my face like a golden mirror, and speak to him.” So standing at the window, he uttered these words in a voice sweet as honey:
“Why have you driven up your elephant thus in haste? You come with a glad look; you think that you have got what you want. Throw down that bow, put away that arrow, put off that shining armour set with jewels and coral.”
When he heard the man’s voice, he thought, “The clodhopper is making fun of me; to-day I will see what is to be done with him “; then threatened him, saying,
“Your countenance looks pleased, you speak with a smile. It is in the hour of death that such beauty is seen.”
As they thus talked together, the soldiers noticed the Great Being’s beauty; “our king,” they said, “is talking with wise Mahosadha; what can it be about? Let us listen to their talk.” So they drew near the king. But the sage, when the king had finished speaking, replied, “You do not know that I am the wise Mahosadha. I will not suffer you to kill me. Your plan is thwarted; what was thought in the heart of you and Kevatta has not come to pass, but that has come to pass which you said with your lips.” And he explained this by saying,
“Your thunders are in vain, O king! your plan is thwarted, man of war!. The king is as hard for you to catch as a thorobred for a hack. Our king crossed the Ganges yesterday, with his courtiers and attendants. You will be like a crow trying to chase the royal goose.”
Again, like a maned lion without fear, he gave an illustration in these words:
“Jackals, in the night time, seeing the Judas tree in flower, think the flowers to be lumps of meat, and gather in troops, these vilest of beasts. When the watches of the night are past, and the sun has risen, they see the Judas tree in flower, and lose their wish, those vilest of beasts. Even so you, O king, for all that you have surrounded Vedeha, shall lose your wish and go, as the jackals went from the Judas tree.”
When the king heard his fearless words, he thought, “The clodhopper is bold enough in his speech: no doubt Vedeha must have escaped.” He was very angry. “Long ago,” he thought, “through this clodhopper I had not so much as a rag to cover me; now by his doing my enemy who was in my hands has escaped. In truth he has done me much evil, and I will be revenged on him for both.” Then he gave orders as follows:
“Cut off his hands and feet, ears and nose, for he delivered Vedeha my enemy from my hands; cut off his flesh and cook it on skewers, for he delivered Vedeha my enemy out of my hands. As a bull’s hide is spread out on the ground, or a lion’s or tiger’s fastened flat with pegs, so I will peg him out and pierce him with spikes, for he delivered Vedeha my enemy out of my hand.”
The Great Being smiled when he heard this, and thought, “This king does not know that his queen and family have been conveyed by me to Mithila, and so he is giving all these orders about me. But in his anger he might transfix me with an arrow, or do something else that might please him; I will therefore overwhelm him with pain and sorrow, and will make him faint on his elephant’s back, while I tell him about it.” So he said:
“If you cut off my hands and feet, my ears and nose, so will Vedeha deal with Pancalacanda, so with Pancalacandi, so with Queen Nanda, your wife and children. If you cut off my flesh and cook it on skewers, so will Vedeha cook that of Pancalacanda, of Pancalacandi, of Queen Nanda, your wife and children. If you peg me out and pierce me with spikes, so will Vedeha deal with Pancalacanda, with Pancalacandi, with Queen Nanda, your wife and children. So it has been secretly arranged between Vedeha and me. Like as a leather shield of a hundred layers, carefully wrought by the leather-workers, is a defence to keep off arrows; so I bring happiness and avert trouble from glorious Vedeha, and I keep off your devices as a shield keeps off an arrow.”
Hearing this, the king thought, “What is this clodhopper talking of? As I do to him, quotha, so King Vedeha will do to my family? He does not know that I have set a careful guard over my family, but he is only threatening me in fear of instant death. I don’t believe what he says.”
The Great Being divined that he thought him to be speaking in fear, and resolved to explain. So he said
“Come, sire, see your inner apartments are empty: wife, children, mother, O warrior, were carried through a tunnel and put in charge of Vedeha.”
Then the king thought, “The sage speaks with much assurance. I did hear in the night beside the Ganges the voice of Queen Nanda; very wise is the sage, perhaps he speaks the truth!” Great grief came upon him, but he gathered all his courage, and dissembling his grief, sent a courtier to enquire, and recited this stanza:
“Come, enter my inner apartments and enquire whether the man’s words be truth or lies.”
The messenger with his attendants went, and opened the door, and entered; there with hands and feet bound, and gags in their mouths, hanging to pegs, he discovered the sentries of the inner apartments, the dwarfs and hunchbacks, and so forth: broken vessels were scattered about, with food and drink, the doors of the treasury were broken open, and the treasure plundered, the bedroom with open doors, and a tribe of crows which had come in by the open windows; it was like a deserted village, or a place of corpses. In this inglorious state he beheld the palace; and he told the news to the king, saying,
“Even so, sire, as Mahosadha said: empty is your inner palace, like a waterside village inhabited by crows.”
The king trembling with grief at the loss of his four dear ones, said, “This sorrow has come on me through the clodhopper!” and like a snake struck with a stick, he was exceedingly wroth with the Bodhisat. When the Great Being saw his appearance, he thought, “This king has great glory; if he should ever in anger say, “What do I want with so and so?” in a warrior’s pride he might hurt me. Suppose I should describe the beauty of Queen Nanda to him, making as if he had never seen her; he would then remember her, and would understand that he would never recover this precious woman if he killed me. Then out of love to his spouse, he would do me no harm.” So standing for safety in the upper storey, he removed his golden-coloured hand from beneath his red robe, and pointing the way by which she went, he described her beauties thus:
“This way, sire, went the woman beauteous in every limb, her lips like plates of gold, her voice like the music of the wild goose. This way was she taken, sire, the woman beauteous in every limb, clad in silken raiment, dark, with fair girdle of gold. Her feet reddened, fair to see, with girdles of gold and jewels, with eyes like a pigeon, slender, with lips like bimba fruit, and slender waist, well-born, slender-waisted like a creeper or a place of sacrifice, her hair long, black, and a little curled at the end, well-born, like a fawn, like a flame of fire in winter time. Like a river hidden in the clefts of a mountain under the low reeds, beauteous in nose or thigh, peerless, with breasts like the tindook fruit,—not too long, not too short, not hairless and not too hairy.”
As the Great Being thus praised her grace, it seemed to the king as if he had never seen her before: great longing arose in him, and the Great Being who perceived this recited a stanza:
“And so you are pleased at Nanda’s death, glorious king: now Nanda and I will go before Yama.”
In all this the Great Being praised Nanda and no one else, and this was his reason: people never love others as they do a beloved wife; and he praised her only, because he thought that if the king remembered her he would remember his children also. When the wise Great Being praised her in this voice of honey, Queen Nanda seemed to stand in person before the king. Then the king thought: “No other save Mahosadha can bring back my wife and give her to me”: as he remembered, sorrow came over him. Thereupon the Great Being said, “Be not troubled, sire: queen and son and mother shall all come back; my return is the only condition. Be comforted, majesty!” So he comforted the king; and the king said, “I watched and guarded my own city so carefully, I have surrounded this city of Upakari with so great a host, yet this wise man has taken out of my guarded city queen and son and mother, and has handed them over to Vedeha! whilst we were besieging the city, without a single one’s knowing, he sent Vedeha away with his army and transport! Can it be that he knows magic, or how to delude the eyes?” And he questioned him thus:
“Do you study magical art, or have you bewitched my eyes, that you have delivered Vedeha my enemy out of my hand?”
On hearing this, the Great Being said: “Sire, I do know magic, for wise men who have learnt magic, when danger comes, deliver both themselves and others:
“Wise men, sire, learn magic in this world; they deliver themselves, wise men, full of counsel. I have young men who are clever at breaking barriers; by the way which they made me Vedeha has gone to Mithila.”
This suggested that he had gone by the decorated tunnel; so the king said, “What is this underground way?” and wished to see it. The Great Being understood from his look that this was what he wanted, and offered to shew it to him:
Then he went on, “Sire, behold the tunnel which was made by my knowledge: bright as though sun and moon rose within it, decorated, with eighty great doors and sixty-four small doors, with a hundred and one bedchambers, and many hundreds of lamp-niches; come with me in joy and delight, and with your guard enter the city of Upakari.” With these words he caused the city gate to be thrown open; and the king with the hundred and one princes came in. The Great Being descended from the upper storey, and saluted the king, and led him with his retinue into the tunnel. When the king saw this tunnel like a decorated city of the gods, he spoke the praise of the Bodhisat:
“No small gain is it to that Vedeha, who has in his house or kingdom men so wise as you are, Mahosadha !”
Then the Great Being shewed him the hundred and one bedchambers: the door of one being opened, all opened, and one shut, all shut. The king went first, gazing at the tunnel, and the wise man went after; all the soldiers also entered the tunnel. But when the sage knew that the king had emerged from the tunnel, he kept the rest from coming out by going up to a handle and shutting the tunnel door: then the eighty great doors and the sixty-four small doors, and the doors of the hundred and one bedchambers, and the doors of the hundreds of lamp-niches all shut together; and the whole tunnel became dark as hell. All the great company were terrified.
Now the Great Being took the sword, which he had hidden yesterday as he entered the tunnel: eighteen cubits from the ground he leapt into the air, descended, and catching the king’s arm, brandished the sword, and frightened him, crying—“Sire, whose are all the kingdoms of India?” “Yours, wise sir! spare me!” He replied, “Fear not, sire. I did not take up my sword from any wish to kill you, but in order to shew my wisdom.” Then he handed his sword to the king, and when he had taken it, the other said, “If you wish to kill me, sire, kill me now with that sword; if you wish to spare me, spare me.” “Wise sir,” he replied, “I promise you safety, fear not.” So as he held the sword, they both struck up a friendship in all sincerity. Then the king said to the Bodhisat, “Wise sir, with such wisdom as yours, why not seize the kingdom?” “Sire, if I wished it, this day I could take all the kingdoms of India and slay all the kings; but it is not the wise man’s part to gain glory by slaying others.” “Wise sir, a great multitude is in distress, being unable to get out; open the tunnel door and spare their lives:” He opened the door: all the tunnel became a blaze of light, the people were comforted, all the kings with their retinue came out and approached the sage, who stood in the wide courtyard with the king. Then those kings said: “Wise sir, you have given us our lives; if the door had remained shut for a little while longer, all would have died there.” “My lords, this is not the first time your lives have been saved by me.” “When, wise sir?” “Do you remember when all the kingdoms of India had been conquered except our city, and when you went to the park of Uttarapancala ready to drink the cup of victory?” “Yes, wise sir.” “Then this king, with Kevatta, by evil device had poisoned the drink and food, and intended to murder you; but I did not wish you to die a foul death before me; so I sent in my men, and broke all the vessels, and thwarted their plan, and gave you your lives.” They all in fear asked Culani, “Is this true, sire?” “Indeed what I did was by Kevatta’s advice; the sage speaks truth.” Then they all embraced the Great Being, and said, “Wise sir, you have been the salvation of us all, you have saved our lives.” They all bestowed ornaments upon him in respect. The sage said to the king, “Fear not, sire; the fault lay in association with a wicked friend. Ask pardon of the kings.” The king said, “I did the thing because of a bad man: it was my fault; pardon me, never will I do such a thing again.” He received their pardon; they confessed their faults to each other, and became friends. Then the king sent for plenty of all sorts of food, perfumes and garlands, and for seven days they all took their pleasure in the tunnel, and entered the city, and did great honour to the Great Being; and the king surrounded by the hundred and one princes sat on a great throne, and desiring to keep the sage in his court, he said,
“Support, and honour, double allowance of food and wages, and other great boons I give; eat and enjoy at will: but do not return to Vedeha; what can he do for you?”
“When one deserts a patron, sire, for the sake of gain, it is a disgrace to both oneself and the other. While Vedeha lives I could not be another’s man; while Vedeha remains, I could not live in another’s kingdom.”
Then the king said to him, “Well, sir, when your king attains to godhead, promise me to come hither.” “If I live, I will come, sire.” So the king did him great honour for seven days, and after that as he took his leave, he recited a stanza, promising to give him this and that:
“I give you a thousand nikkhas of gold, eighty villages in Kasi, four hundred female slaves, and a hundred wives. Take all your army, and go in peace, Mahosadha.”
And he replied: “Sire, do not trouble about your family. When my king went back to his country, I told him to treat Queen Nanda as his own mother, and Pancalacanda as his younger brother, and I married your daughter to him with the ceremonial sprinkling. I will soon send back your mother, wife, and son.” “Good!” said the king, and gave him a dowry for his daughter, men slaves and women slaves, dress and ornaments, gold and precious metal, decorated elephants and horses and chariots. He then gave orders for the army to execute:
“Let them give even double quantity to the elephants and horses, let them content charioteers and footmen with food and drink.”
This said, he dismissed the sage with these words:
“Go; wise sir, taking elephants, horses, chariots, and footmen; let King Vedeha see you back in Mithila.”
Thus he dismissed the sage with great honour. And the hundred and one kings did honour to the Great Being, and gave him rich gifts. And the spies who had been on service with them surrounded the sage. With a great company he set out; and on the way, he sent men to receive the revenues of those villages which King Culani had given him. Then he arrived at the kingdom of Vedeha.
Now Senaka had placed a man in the way, to watch and see whether King Culani came or not, and to tell him of the coming of anyone. He saw the Great Being at three leagues off, and returning told how the sage was returning with a great company. With this news he went to the palace. The king also looking out by a window in the upper storey saw the great host, and was frightened. “The Great Being’s company is small, this is very large: can it be Culani come himself?” He put this question as follows:
“Elephants, horses, chariots, footmen, a great army is visible, with four divisions, terrible in aspect; what does it mean, wise sirs?”
“The greatest joy is what you see, sire: Mahosadha is safe, with all his host.”
The king said to this, “Senaka, the wise man’s army is small, this is very great.” “Sire, King Culani must have been pleased with him, and therefore must have given this host to him.” The king proclaimed through the city by beat of drum:
“Let the city be decorated to welcome the return of the wise man.”
The townspeople obeyed. The wise man entered the city and came to the king’s palace; then the king rose, and embraced him, and returning to his throne spoke pleasantly to him:
“As four men leave a corpse in the cemetery, so we left you in the kingdom of Kampilliya and returned. But you—by what colour, or what means, or what device did you save yourself?”
The Great Being replied:
This pleased the king. Then the other told him of the gift which King Culani had made:
“A thousand nikkhas of gold were given to me, and eighty villages in Kasi, four hundred slave women, and a hundred wives, and with all the army I have returned safe home.”
Then the king, exceedingly pleased and overjoyed, uttered this pious hymn in praise of the Great Being’s merit:
Senaka answered him thus:
“Even so, sire, there is happiness with a wise man. As birds from a closed cage, as fish from the net, so Mahosadha set us free when we were in the hands of our enemies.”
Then the king set the drum of festival beating around the city: “Let there be a festival for seven days, and let all who have goodwill to me do honour and service to the wise man.” The Master thus explained it:
“Let them sound all manner of lutes, drums and tabors, let conchs of Magadha boom, merrily roll the kettledrums.”
Townsfolk and countryfolk in general, eager to do honour to the sage, on hearing the proclamation made merry with a will. The Master explained it thus:
“Women and maids, vesiya and brahmin wives, brought plenty of food and drink to the sage. Elephant drivers, lifeguardsmen, charioteers, footmen, all did the like; and so did all the people from country and villages assembled. The multitude were glad to see the sage returned, and at his reception shawls were waved in the air.”
At the end of the festival, the Great Being went to the palace and said, “Sire, King Culani’s mother and wife and son should be sent back at once.” “Very good, my son, send them back.” So he shewed all respect to those three, and entertained also the host that had come with him; thus he sent the three back well attended, with his own men, and the hundred wives and the four hundred slave women whom the king had given him, he sent with Queen Nanda, and the company that came with him he also sent. When this great company reached the city of Uttarapancala, the king asked his mother, “Did King Vedeha treat you well, my mother?” “My son, what are you saying? he treated me with the same honour as if I had been a goddess.” Then she told how Queen Nanda had been treated as a mother, and Pancalacanda as a younger brother. This pleased the king very much, and he sent a rich gift; and from that time forward both lived in friendship and amity .
Now Pancalacandi was very dear and precious to the king; and in the second year she bore him a son. In his tenth year, King Vedeha died. The Bodhisat raised the royal parasol for him, and asked leave to go to his grandfather, King Culani. The boy said, “Wise sir, do not leave me in my childhood; I will honour you as a father.” And Pancalacandi said, “Wise sir, there is none to protect us if you go; do not go.” But he replied, “My promise has been given; I cannot but go.” So amidst the lamentations of the multitude, he departed with his servants, and came to Uttarapancala city. The king hearing of his arrival came to meet him, and led him into the city with great pomp, and gave him a great house, and besides the eighty villages given at first, gave him another present; and he served that king. At that time a religious woman, named Bheri, used to take her meals constantly in the palace; she was wise and learned, and she had never seen the Great Being before; she heard the report that the wise Mahosadha was serving the king. He also had never seen her before, but he heard that a religious woman named Bheri had her meals in the palace. Now Queen Nanda was ill pleased with the Bodhisat, because he had separated her from her husband’s love, and caused her annoyance; so she sent for five women whom she trusted, and said, “Watch for a fault in the wise man, and let us try to make him fall out with the king.” So they went about looking for an occasion against him. And one day it so happened that this religious woman after her meal was going forth, and caught sight of the Bodhisat in the courtyard on his way to wait on the king. He saluted her, and stood still. She thought, “This they say is a wise man: I will see whether he be wise or no.” So she asked him a question by a gesture of the hand: looking towards the Bodhisat, she opened her hand. Her idea was to enquire whether the king took good care or not of this wise man whom he had brought from another country. When the Bodhisat saw that she was asking him a question by gesture, he answered it by clenching his fist: what he meant was, “Your reverence, the king brought me here in fulfilment of a promise, and now he keeps his fist tight closed and gives me nothing.” She understood; and stretching out her hand she rubbed her head, as much as to say, “Wise sir, if you are displeased, why do you not become an ascetic like me?” At this the Great Being stroked his stomach, as who should say, “Your reverence, there are many that I have to support, and that is why I do not become an ascetic.” After this dumb questioning she returned to her dwelling, and the Great Being saluted her and went in to the king. Now the queen’s confidantes saw all this from a window; and coming before the king, they said, “My lord, Mahosadha has made a plot with Bheri the ascetic to seize your kingdom, and he is your enemy.” So they slandered him. “What have you heard or seen?” the king asked. They said, “Sire, as the ascetic was going out after her meal, seeing the Great Being, she opened her hand; as who should say, “Cannot you crush the king flat like the palm of the hand or a threshing-floor, and seize the kingdom for yourself? And Mahosadha clenched his fist, making as though he held a sword, as who should say, “In a few days I will cut off his head and get him into my power.” She signalled, “Cut off his head,” by rubbing her own head with her hand; the Great Being signalled, “I will cut him in half,” by rubbing his belly. Be vigilant, sire! Mahosadha ought to be put to death.” The king, hearing this, thought, “I cannot hurt this wise man; I will question the ascetic.” Next day accordingly, at the time of her meal, he came up and asked, “Madam, have you seen wise Mahosadha?” “Yes, sire, yesterday, as I was going out after my meal.” “Did you have any conversation together?” “Conversation? no; but I had heard of his wisdom, and in order to try it I asked him, by dumb signs, shutting my hand, whether the king was openhanded to him or closefisted, did he treat him with kindness or not. He closed his fist, implying that his master had made him come hither in fulfilment of a promise, and now gave him nothing. Then I rubbed my head, to enquire why he did not become an ascetic if he were not satisfied; he stroked his belly, meaning that there were many for him to feed, many bellies to fill, and therefore he did not become an ascetic.” “And is Mahosadha a wise man?” “Yes, indeed, sire: in all the earth there is not his like for wisdom.” After hearing her account, the king dismissed her. After she had gone, the sage came to wait upon the king; and the king asked him, “Have you seen, sir, the ascetic Bheri?” “Yes, sire, I saw her yesterday on her way out, and she asked me a question by dumb signs, and I answered her at once.” And he told the story as she had done. The king in his pleasure that day gave him the post of commander-in-chief, and put him in sole charge. Great was his glory, second only to the king’s. He thought: “The king all at once has given me exceeding great renown; this is what kings do even when they wish to slay. Suppose I try the king to see whether he has goodwill towards me or not. No one else will be able to find this out; but the ascetic Bheri is full of wisdom, and she will find a way.” So taking a quantity of flowers and scents, he went to the ascetic and, after saluting her, said, “Madam, since you told the king of my merits, the king has overwhelmed me with splendid gifts; but whether he does it in sincerity or not I do not know. It would be well if you could find out for me the king’s mind.” She promised to do so; and next day, as she was going to the palace, the Question of Dakarakkhasa the Water-Demon came into her mind. Then this occurred to her: “I must not be like a spy, but I must find an opportunity to ask the question, and discover whether the king has goodwill to the wise man.” So she went. And after her meal, she sat still, and the king saluting her sat down on one side. Then she thought, “If the king bears illwill to the sage, and when he is asked the question if he declares his illwill in the presence of a number of people, that will not do; I will ask him apart.” She said, “Sire, I wish to speak to you in private.” The king sent his attendants away. She said, “I want to ask your majesty a question.” “Ask, madam, and if I know it I will reply.” Then she recited the first stanza in the Question of Dakarakkhasa :
“If there were seven of you voyaging on the ocean, and a demon seeking for a human sacrifice should seize the ship, in what order would you give them up and save yourself from the water-demon?”
“First I would give my mother, next my wife, next my brother, fourth my friend, fifth my brahmin, sixth myself, but I would not give up Mahosadha.”
Thus the ascetic discovered the goodwill of the king towards the Great Being; but his merit was not published thereby, so she thought of something else: “In a large company I will praise the merits of these others, and the king will praise the wise man’s merit instead; thus the wise man’s merit will be made as clear as the moon shining in the sky.” So she collected all the denizens of the inner palace, and in their presence asked the same question and received the same answer; then she said, “Sire, you say that you would give first your mother: but a mother is of great merit, and your mother is not as other mothers, she is very useful.” And she recited her merits in a couple of stanzas:
“She reared you and she brought you forth, and for a long time was kind to you, when Chambhi offended against you she was wise and saw what was for your good, and by putting a counterfeit in your place she saved you from harm. Such a mother, who gave you life, your own mother who bore you in her womb, for what fault could you give her to the water-demon ?”
“Like a young girl she wears ornaments which she ought not to use, she mocks unseasonably at doorkeepers and guards, unbidden she sends messages to rival kings; and for these faults I would give her to the water-demon.”
“She is chief amongst womankind, she is exceeding gracious of speech, devoted, virtuous, who cleaves to you like your shadow, not given to anger, prudent, wise, who sees your good: for what fault would you give your wife to the water-demon?”
He described her faults:
“By her sensual attractions she has made me subject to evil influence, and asks what she should not for her sons. In my passion I give her many and many a gift; I relinquish what is very hard to give, and afterwards I bitterly repent: for that fault I would give my wife to the water-demon.”
The ascetic said, “Be it so: but your younger brother Prince Tikhinamanti is useful to you; for what fault would you give him?
“He who gave prosperity to the people, and when you were living in foreign parts brought you back home, he whom great wealth could not influence, peerless bowman and hero, Tikhinamanti: for what fault would you give your brother to the water-demon ?”
The king described his fault:
“He thinks, “I gave prosperity to the people, I brought him back home when he was living in foreign parts, great wealth could not influence me, I am a peerless bowman and hero, and sharp in counsel, by me he was made king.” He does not come to wait on me, madam, as he used to do; that is the fault for which I would give my brother to the water-demon.”
“In one night both you and Dhanusekhava were born here, both called Pancala, friends and companions: through all your life he has followed you, your joy and pain were his, zealous and careful by night and day in all service: for what fault would you give your friend to the water-demon?”
Then the king described his fault:
“Madam, through all my life he used to make merry with me, and to-day also he makes free excessively for the same reason. If I talk in secret with my wife, in he comes unbidden and unannounced. Give him a chance and an opening, he acts shamelessly and disrespectfully. That is the fault for which I would give my friend to the water-demon.”
The ascetic said, “So much for his fault; but the chaplain is very useful to you,” and she described his merit:
“He is clever, knows all omens and sounds, skilled in signs and dreams, goings out and comings in, understands all the tokens in earth and air and stars: for what fault would you give the brahmin to the water-demon?”
The king explained his fault:
“Even in company he stares at me with open eyes; therefore I would give this rascal with his puckered brows to the water-demon.”
Then the ascetic said: “Sire, you say you would give to the water-demon all these five, beginning with your mother, and that you would give your own life for the wise Mahosadha, not taking into account your great glory: what merit do you see in him?” and she recited these stanzas:
“Sire, you dwell amidst your courtiers in a great continent surrounded by the sea, with the ocean in place of an encircling wall: lord of the earth, with a mighty empire, victorious, sole emperor, your glory has become great. You have sixteen thousand women drest in jewels and ornaments, women of all nations, resplendent like maidens divine. Thus provided for every need, every desire fulfilled, you have lived long in happiness and bliss. Then by what reason or what cause do you sacrifice your precious life to protect the sage?”
“Since Mahosadha, madam, came to me, I have not seen the stedfast man do the most trifling wrong. If I should die before him at any time, he would bring happiness to my sons and grandsons. He knows all things, past or future. This man without sin I would not give to the water-demon.”
Thus this Birth came to its appropriate end. Then the ascetic thought: “This is not enough to shew forth the wise man’s merits; I will make them known to all people in the city, like one that spreads scented oil over the surface of the sea.” So taking the king with her, she came down from the palace, and prepared a seat in the palace courtyard, and made him sit there; then gathering the people together, she asked the king that Question of the Water-Demon over again from the beginning; and when he had answered it as described above, she addressed the people thus:
“Hear this, men of Pancala, which Culani has said. To protect the wise man he sacrifices his own precious life. His mother’s life, his wife’s and his brother’s, his friend’s life and his own, Pancala is ready to sacrifice. So marvellous is the power of wisdom, so clever and so intelligent, for good in this world and for happiness in the next.”
So like one that places the topmost pinnacle upon a heap of treasure, she put the pinnacle on her demonstration of the Great Being’s merit.
Here endeth the Question of the Water-Demon, and here endeth also the whole tale of the Great Tunnel.
This is the identification of the Birth:
“Uppalavanni was Bheri, Suddhodana was the wise man’s father, Mahamaya his mother, the beautiful Bimba was Amara, Ananda was the parrot, Sariputta was Culani, Mahosadha was the lord of the world: thus understand the Birth. Devadutta was Kevatta, Cullanandika was Talata, Sundari was Pancalacandi, Yasassika was the queen, Ambattha was Kavinda, Potthapada was Pukkusa, Pilotika was Devinda, Saccaka was Senaka, Ditthamangalika was Queen Udumbara, Kundali was the maynah bird, and Laludayi was Vedeha.”