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The Jātaka:
Stories of the Buddha's Former Births
Volume III

Book 4: Catukanipāta

No. 327


Translated from the Pāli by
H.T. Francis, M.A., Sometime Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and
R.A. Neil, M.A., Fellow of Pembroke College
Under the Editorship of Professor E. B. Cowell
Published 1969 For the Pāli Text Society.
First Published by The Cambridge University Press in 1895

This work is in the Public Domain. The Pali Text Society owns the copyright."



"Fragrant odours," etc. — This story was told by the Master while residing at Jetavana, of a certain Brother who regretted having taken orders. On this occasion the Master asked the Brother if it were true that he was discontented, and on his answering, "Yes, Holy Sir," he asked him the reason. The Brother replied, "By reason of sinful passion." The Master said, "Woman cannot be guarded. There is no keeping her safe. Sages of old placed a woman in mid ocean in a palace by the Simbalī lake,[2] but failed to preserve her honour." Then he told a story of the olden time.



Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as the son of the king by his queen-consort. And when he was grown up, at his father's death he bare rule. Kākāti was his chief queen and as lovely as an Apsara. [91] The old form of the legend will be found set forth in full in the Kunā'a Birth.[3] Here follows a brief summary of it.

Now at this time a certain Garuḍa king came disguised as a man, and played at dice with the king of Benares. Falling in love with the chief queen Kākāti, he carried her off with him to the dwelling place of the Garuḍas and lived happily with her. The king missing her told his musician named Naṭakuvera to go in quest of her. He found the Garuḍa king lying on a bed of eraka grass in a certain lake, and just as the Garuḍa was on the point of leaving that spot, he seated himself in the midst of the royal bird's plumage,[4] and was in this way conveyed to the dwelling place of the Garuḍas. There he enjoyed the lady's favours, and again seating himself on the bird's wing returned home. And when the time came for the Garuḍa to play at dice with the king, the minstrel took his lute and going up to the gaming board he stood before the king, and in the form of a song gave utterance to the first stanza: —

Fragrant odours round me playing
Breath of fair Kākāti's love,
From her distant home conveying
Thoughts my inmost soul to move.

On hearing this the Garuḍa responded in a second stanza: —

Sea and Kebuk stream defying
Didst thou reach my island home?
Over seven oceans flying
To the Simbal grove didst come?

[92] Naṭakuvera, on hearing this, uttered the third stanza: —

'Twas through thee all space defying
I was borne to Simbal grove,
And o'er seas and rivers flying
'Twas through thee I found my love.

Then the Garuḍa king replied in the fourth stanza: —

Out upon the foolish blunder,
What a booby I have been!
Lovers best were kept asunder,
Lo! I've served as go-between.

So the Garuḍa brought the queen and gave her back to the king of Benares, and came not there any more.



The Master, his lesson ended, revealed the Truths and identified the Birth: — At the conclusion of the Truths the discontented Brother attained the fruition of the First Path: — "At that time the discontented Brother was Naṭakuvera, and I myself was the king."


[1] Compare No. 360 infra.

[2] On Mount Meru: the Garuḍas live round it.

[3] No. 536.

[4] Compare Tibetan Tales, XII. p. 231, Suśroṇi.


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