Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto IV. Psalms of Four Verses


Canto IV.
Psalms of Four Verses


Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī in a brahmin family and named Sabbaka, he heard the Exalted One teaching the Norm, and believing, entered the Order. Taking an exercise, he went to the Loṇagiri Vihāra on the banks of the river Ajakaraṇī, and there in due time won arahantship. Going thereupon to salute the Master at Sāvatthī, he stayed a little while, entertained by his kinsfolk. And having confirmed them in the Refuges and the Precepts, he was anxious to return to his dwelling. They begged him to stay and be supported by them. But he, showing them why he had come, and declaring his love of retirement by praise of his dwelling-place, said:

[307] Whene'er I see the crane, her clear bright wings
Outstretched in fear to flee the black stormcloud,
A shelter seeking, to safe shelter borne,
Then doth the river Ajakaraṇī
Give joy to me.

[187][308] Whene'er I see the crane, her plumage pale
And silver white outstretched in fear to flee
The black stormcloud, seeing no refuge nigh,
The refuge seeking of the rocky cave,
Then doth the river Ajakaraṇī Give joy to me.

[309] Who doth not love to see on either bank
Clustered rose-apple trees in fair array
Behind the great cave [of my hermitage][1]

[310] Or hear the soft croak of the frogs, well rid
Of their undying mortal foes proclaim:
'Not from the mountain-streams is't time to-day
To flit. Safe is the Ajakaraṇī.
She brings us luck. Here is it good to be.'[2]

Then the relatives suffered him to depart. And because he showed herein his delight in empty places, this became the Thera's confession of aññā.


[1] The jambū-tree ie evergreen; its boughs bent with fruit; its glossy foliage affords shade (Commentary).

[2] I do not find allusion elsewhere to this little river. It may well have been the name of a tributary of the Aciravatī flowing past Sāvatthī (see CLXXII.). In the line preceding the burden of the frogs' croak, text and both versions of the Commentary are at variance, and I do not pretend to have solved that which will be discussed more appropriately in an edition of the Commentary. The exact meaning is not vitally important to a poem in which the essentia) charm lies in its gentle paganism. That sangha can be used for a flock, say, of cranes, see Milindapañha, p. 403.


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