II, 4, 6. THE DADHIVÁHANA-BIRTH trans. by V. Fausböll
"Endowed with color, smell and flavor". This the Master related while living at Veḷuvana, concerning a traitor. The matter is like that told above. The Master furthermore (said): "O bhikkhus! association with the wicked is certainly bad and pernicious; but what avails is it to speak about the perniciousness to human beings of reprobate association? formerly, even the sweet-flavored senseless amba-tree, whose flavor is equal to the divine flavor, having come p. 21 into contact with the disagreeable, sour nimba-tree, became sour and bitter; having said so, he related a tale:
In (times) past, while Brahmadatta reigned in Báráṇasí, four bráhmaṇa-brothers in the kingdom of Kásí, having devoted themselves to the life of isis and having built huts at regular distances in the region of Himavanta, took up their dwelling there.
Their eldest brother having died obtained Sakkaship. When he knew this event then in succession after the lapse of seven or eight days going to assist them, one day having saluted the eldest ascetic and sat down apart, he asked: "Lord, what art thou in need of?"
The ascetic said: "who shall take this and bring me fuel?" Then Sakka thus said to him: "whenever, Lord, thou art in need of fuel, then striking this hatchet with (thy) hand, thou shalt say: bring me fuel and make a fire, (and) it will bring fuel and make a fire for thee".
Having given him the hatchet, he went to the second (ascetic) and asked: "Lord, what art thou in need of"?--Near his hut there is an elephant-path. He being molested by the elephants said: "on account of the elephants annoyance arises to me, drive them away!" Sakka, having handed him a drum, (said): "Lord, when this end is beaten your enemies will flee away, (and) when that (end) is beaten they will be friendly-minded (to you) and surround (you) with a four-fold army;" (and) so having said and having given (him) the drum,--
He went to the presence of the youngest and asked: "Lord, what art thou in need of"? He was also afflicted with the jaundice, therefore he said: "I am in need of milk". Sakka, having given him a milk-bowl, (said): "if you, wishing (for anything), overthrow this (bowl), then having become a great river and pouring out a torrent, it will be able to take a kingdom and give it to you"; so having said he went away.
At this time a boar straying in a place where once a town had stood, saw a set of jewels endowed with supernatural power. He seized those jewels in (his) mouth and by virtue of them having risen into the air, went to an islet in the middle of the sea, and thinking: here it is expedient for me now to live, descended and took up (his) abode in a convenient spot under an udumbara-tree. One day having placed the jewels before (him), he fell asleep at the foot of the tree.
Meanwhile an inhabitant of the Kási-kingdom, expelled from home by his parents, who said: "this (fellow) is of no service to us", went to a seaport and embarked in a ship as p. 25 a servant to the sailors; when the ship was wrecked, and he had reached that island (by) lying on a plank, then, while seeking for different fruits, he observed the boar asleep, went softly up and took the jewels, and having by virtue of them risen into the air and sat down on the udumbara-tree he thought: this boar being an air-walker by virtue of the jewels lives here, I think it is expedient for me first to kill him and eat (his) flesh and then to go away. Having broken off a small stick (of the tree), he let it fall down on his head. The boar when aroused, not seeing the jewels, runs about hither and thither. The man seated on the tree laughed. The boar having observed him when looking round, striking (his) head against the tree, there met with (his) death.
The man having descended, made a fire, cooked his flesh and ate it, (afterwards) having ascended in the air, going along the summit of Himavanta he observed a collection of hermitages, and having descended into the hermitage of the eldest ascetic, living (there) two or three days he p. 26 waited on him and (so) saw the power of the hatchet. Thinking, I must get possession of this, he showed the ascetic the power of the jewels and said: Lord, take these (jewels) of mine and give (me) the hatchet (for them)." The ascetic, desirous of walking in the air, took them and gave the hatchet. When he got it, after going a little (distance), he striking the hatchet said: "hatchet, strike off the head of the ascetic and bring me the jewels". The hatchet having gone and struck off the head of the ascetic, brought (back) the jewels.
(Afterwards) having put the hatchet in a secret place, he went to the middle ascetic's presence, and after living (there) a short time and seeing the power of the drum, giving the jewels he got possession of the drum, and having (afterwards), in the same way as before, caused also his head to be cut off,--
(Now) taking the Jewels, the Hatchet, the Drum and the Milk-bowl he ascended into the air, and staying not far from Báráṇasí he sent by the hand of a man a letter to the king of Báráṇasí to this effect: either do me battle or give up the kingdom. The king having heard (his) bidding, p. 27 went out saying: "we will seize the robber". He beat the one end of the drum (and immediately) a four-fold army surrounded (him). Having discovered that the king had unfolded (his troops) he poured out (his) milk-bowl. There arose a great river. The multitude sinking down in the milk could not escape. Striking the hatchet he said: bring (me) the king's head, (and) the hatchet went, brought the (king's) head and threw (it) down at (his) feet. (So quickly was it done that) not a single one was able to wield (his) weapon. Having entered the city surrounded by a great force, he caused himself to be crowned, and reigned (afterwards) with justice as the king called Dadhiváhana.
One day white casting nets and weels in the river for sport, a celestial amba-fruit coming from the Kaṇṇamuṇḍa-lake, stuck in the net. Those who cast the net, when they saw it, gave (it) to the king. It was a large golden ball, of the size of a bowl. The king asked the foresters: of what (tree) is this the fruit? Having learned that it was an amba-fruit, he enjoyed (it), planted (its) stone in his garden and caused it to be watered with milk-water. The tree having sprung up bore fruit in the third year. Great honor p. 28 was paid to the amba-tree. They sprinkle (it) with milk-water, they give (it) five fingers full of perfume, they surround (it) with garlands, they light a lamp with perfumed oil. Its covering, furthermore, was of silk and coarse cloth. (Its) fruits were sweet (and) golden.
King Dadhiváhana, sending the amba-fruit to other kings, from fear that a tree might grow up from the stone, sent (them) after having (first) pierced with a maṇḍu-thorn the place where the sprout should spring forth. (And therefore) when, after eating the amba, they planted the stone, it would not thrive. They asking: what is the reason of it, learned the cause. Then one of the kings called (his) gardener and asked (him): "wilt thou he able to destroy the sweetness of (king) Dadhiváhana's amba-fruits and make them bitter, and when he answered: yes Sire! he sent him away, after giving (him) a thousand (pieces of silver), saying: go then. He went to Báráṇasí and caused it to be reported to the king: "a gardener has come", and being summoned by him and having entered and saluted the king, he was asked: art thou a gardener, and having said: yes Sire! p. 29 he enlarged upon his ability. The king said: go and stay with our gardener. These two persons henceforth tend the garden. The newly arrived gardener, causing flowers to bloom, and fruits to be gathered, out of season, made the garden charming. The king being pleased with him, having discharged the old gardener, gave him (the charge of) the garden.
He finding the garden in his hands, sowed nimbas and paggavavallis round the amba-tree. Gradually the nimbas grew up. Their roots and branches were united and variously connected together. By this union with what was disagreeable and sour the sweet-fruited amba at last became bitter, with a taste like (that of) the nimba-leaf. Having discovered that the amba-fruits had become bitter the gardener ran away. Dadhiváhana having gone into the garden, (on) eating an amba-fruit but not being able to get p. 30 down the juice of the amba, which had entered (his) mouth, (because it was) like that of the dibgusting nimba, hawked and spit.
At that time Bodhisatta was his admonitor. The king having invited Bodhisatta, (on) asking him: "O learned (man)! of the usual care bestowed upon this tree nothing has been omitted; still its fruit has become bitter, what is the cause (of this)?" he recited the first stanza:
- 1. "This amba-tree was formerly
- endowed with color, smell and flavor,
- obtaining such a culture
- why has this amba bitter fruit?"
- 2. "Thy amba, O Dadhiváhana,
- is surrounded by nimbas,
- the root (of the one) is united with the root (of the other),
- the branches (of the one) embrace the branches (of the other):
- by reason of (its) connection with the bad (nimbas),
- therefore the amba has bitter fruit".
The king having heard his words, caused all the nimbas and paggavavallis to be cut off and (their) roots to be eradicated, p. 31 the sour earth entirely to be carried away and sweet earth to be brought to (it), and the amba to be tended with milk-water, sugar-water and fragrant water. By the union with sweet juices it again became sweet.