Anguttara Nikaya


[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ). Alternatives:
[ ASCII (aiumnntdnl) | Mobile (āīūŋńñţđņļ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]

 

Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
Mahāyañña-Vagga

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens
Chapter V: The Great Sacrifice

Sutta 50

Nanda's Mother[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.

 


[35]

[1][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once the venerable Sāriputta and the venerable MahāMoggallāna
with a company of the monks of the Order
walked a walk near[2] South Hill;
and it was then that Nanda's mother,
a lay-disciple of Veḷukaṇḍa,[3] rose before dawn one night and sang the 'Way to the Beyond.'[4]

Now at that time the Royal deva, Vessavaṇa,[5]
was going [36] from the north to the southern quarter on some business or other;
and he heard Nanda's mother singing
and stopped and waited for the end.

And when she had finished, she was silent.

Then the Royal deva, Vessavaṇa,
perceiving she had finished,
rejoiced greatly, saying:

'Well done, sister, well done!'

'But who is it, O thou of august countenance?[6]

'Sister,[7] it is I, your brother,
the Royal deva, Vessavaṇa,!'

'Hail, august One!

Prithee, let this Dhamma-hymn sung by me
be thy gift[8] of greeting.'

'Well done, sister!

Yes, let this, verily, be my gift of greeting!

Tomorrow, monks of the Order with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head
will come to Veḷukaṇḍa,
not having had their morning meal;
when you have fed them,
you should declare the offering to be mine[9] -
and it shall be my gift of greeting.'

And when the night was over,
Nanda's mother had much hard and soft food prepared in her house.

And the monks of the Order,
with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head,
arrived at Veḷukaṇḍa,
having had no morning meal.

And Nanda's mother called a man and said:

'Go, my good man, to the monks' park and say:

"It is time, reverend sirs;
the meal is ready in the lady Nanda's mother's house."'

'Yes, lady,' he replied, and[10] going to the monks' park, he said:

"It is time, reverend sirs;
the meal is ready in the lady Nanda's mother's house."'

And dressing early,
taking bowl and robe,
the monks, with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head,
came to Nanda's mother's house
and sat down on the seats arranged there.

[37] And the lay-disciple, Nanda's mother,[11] served them with her own hands
with much hard and soft food
and satisfied them.

And when the venerable Sāriputta had eaten
and withdrawn his hand from the bowl,
Nanda's mother sat down at one side;
and he said to her, seated thus:

'But who told you, O mother of Nanda,
of the coming of the monks of the Order?'

'Reverend sir, I arose in the night before dawn,
I sang the "Way to the Beyond" and was silent.

Then came the Royal deva Vessavana,[12]
perceiving I had finished,
rejoiced greatly, saying:

'Well done, sister, well done!'

'But who is it, O thou of august countenance?

'Sister, it is I, your brother,
the Royal deva, Vessavaṇa,!'

'Hail, august One!

Prithee, let this Dhamma-hymn sung by me
be thy gift of greeting.'

'Well done, sister!

Yes, let this, verily, be my gift of greeting!

Tomorrow, monks of the Order with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head
will come to Veḷukaṇḍa,
not having had their morning meal;
when you have fed them,
you should declare the offering to be mine -
and it shall be my gift of greeting.'

Reverend sir, let all the merit[13] in this giving
be to the happiness of the Royal deva Vessavaṇa,!'

'It is marvellous and wonderful, O mother of Nanda,
that you should talk face to face
with a deva[14] so powerful,
so mighty!'

'Reverend sir, that is not the only marvellous thing that has happened to me,
there is indeed another!

Rajahs, for some reason,
took by force and slew my only son, Nanda,
who was dear and precious to me;
yet when the boy was seized
or being seized,
bound or being bound,[15] slain
or being slain,
I knew no disquietness[16] of heart.'

'It is marvellous and wonderful, O mother of Nanda,
that you should have so purged the surges of the heart.'

'Nor is that all, reverend sir,
that is not the only marvellous thing that has happened to me,
there is indeed another!

When my husband died,
he rose among the yakkhas;[17]
and he revealed himself to me in his old form;
but I knew no disquietness of heart on that account.'

[38] 'It is marvellous, O mother of Nanda,
that you should have so purged the surges of the heart.'

'Nor is that all, reverend sir,
that is not the only marvellous thing that has happened to me,
there is indeed another!

From the day I, a young girl,
was brought to my husband,
then but a youth,
I know of no trespass[18]
even in thought
against my husband,
how then in deed?

'It is marvellous, O mother of Nanda, that you should have so purged the surges of the heart.'

'Nor is that all, reverend sir, reverend sir,
that is not the only marvellous thing that has happened to me,
there is indeed another!

From the day I became a confessed lay-disciple,
I know of no intentional transgression[19]
of any step of the training.'

'It is marvellous, O mother of Nanda, it is wonderful!'

'Nor is that all, reverend sir, reverend sir, reverend sir,
that is not the only marvellous thing that has happened to me,
there is indeed another!

For just as long as I wish,
being aloof from sense desires,
aloof from evil thoughts,
I enter and abide in the first musing,
where thought is speculative,[20] deliberative,
where zest and ease are born of solitude:
suppressing such thought,
I enter and abide in the second musing,
where there is an inward tranquillizing of the mind,
a one-pointedness
free from speculation,
deliberation,
where zest and ease are born of concentration:
then, free from the fervour of zest,
I enter and abide in the third musing,
I abide poised,
mindful,
self-possessed,
I experience the ease of person whereof Ariyans declare:

"The poised and mindful dwells at ease":

then by putting away ease,
by putting away ill,
by the passing away of former weal and woe of mind,
I enter and abide in the fourth musing,
a purity that is poise and mindfulness,
which is neither ill nor ease.'

'It is marvellous, O mother of Nanda, it is wonderful!'

'Reverend sir, that is not all, there is yet another marvellous thing!

Those five lower fetters,[21] declared by the Exalted One -
I perceive not one in myself unabandoned.'

'It is marvellous, wonderful, mother of Nanda!'

Then the venerable Sāriputta instructed Nanda's mother with Dhamma-talk,
incited her,
inspired her,
gladdened her;
and rising from his seat,
he departed.

 


[1] See A. i, 26 (G.S. i, 24 n.), and A.A. i, 446, where she is said to be chief of musers among women lay-disciples (see the end of our sutta); her name is given as Uttarā; see Brethr. 41; below, p. 229.

[2] South of Rājagaha, see K.S. i, 216; SnA. 136; SA. i, 242.

[3] Our text reads Veḷukaṇṭakī, and lower down, -kaɱ; see SnA. 370, where our story is referred to.

[4] Pārāyana, Sn. 976 ff.-presumably. Our Comy. observes that there were 250 gāthās; we have now only 173 .slokas.

[5] One of the Four Royal devas of the compass, see Buddh. Ind. 222; his other name is Kuvera, cf. Dial. iii, 193:

But where Kuvera dwells, their gracious king,
Visāṇā is the citadel, and hence
The name he goes by of Vessavaṇa.

According to the Ceylon tradition, the lion is used symbolically for him. See Bachhofer's Early Indian Sculpture; he was the god of wealth (G.S. i, 72).

[6] Bhadramukha, bhadra is 'auspicious'; see K.S. i, 100 n.; here Comy. laddha-. S.A. i, 139, sundara-.

[7] As a Streamwinner himself, he called her - a Non-returner - 'elder sister'; he said 'elder brother,' being nine million years old. Comy.

[8] Ātitheyya, see G.S. i, 81 n.; cf. Sk. ātitheya and ātithya. Our Comy. paṇṇākāra.

[9] Mamaɱ dakkhiṇam ādiseyyāsi; cf. Vin. i, 229 = D. ii, 88; Th. 307; see Mil. 294, trsl. S.B.E. xxxvi, 151 ff. where Nāgasena explains how good deeds (the result thereof) can be shared but not bad. Our Comy. remarks that when he had begged for the merit of the gift, he filled her stores with rice, and so long as she lived they were full. Dhammapāla in SnA. tells the same story. Cf. 1 Kings xvii, 14.

[10] The text repeats in full. [Re-inserted for this edition.]

[11] This is stock; Vin. i, 213; D. i, 109; M. ii, 50; Sn. p. 1ll, etc.

[12] The text repeats in full. [Ed. expanded here.]

[13] Puññaɱ. Comy. Puññāni pubbacetanā ca muñcanacetanā ca (see Expos. i, 211). Puññaɱ hī-ti, aparacetanā. Our text reads: puññaɱ hitaɱ, but S.e. puññaɱ hi taɱ, which the Comy. indicates and which I follow. In the comment on sukhāya hotu, however, we have hitatthāya.

[14] Devaputta.

[15] Vadhe vā vajjhamāne, S.e. with v.l., baddhe; I suggest reading: baddhe bajjhamāne. Perhaps here \/Ḥvadh means smiting, flogging.

[16] Cittassa aññathattaɱ, there is a misprint in the text.

[17] Comy. bhummadevatā-bhāvaɱ; adding: sirigabbhe sayanatale attānaɱ dasseti.

[18] The text reads: aticarittā with some v.l.; S.e. -caritā; see C.P.D.; A. ii, 61; G.S. ii, 70 n.

[19] Vītikkamitā.

[20] Savitakka, savicāra.

[21] See above, p. 8.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page