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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
6. Brahmā Saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
6. The Brahmā Suttas

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Public Domain




Sutta 6





The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park,
meditating during the noonday heat.

Now two[1] independent Brahmās, Subrahmā and Suddhavāsa, had come to see the Exalted One, and they waited one at each post of the door.[2]

And Subrahmā said to Suddhavāsa:

'Dear sir, not yet is it a fitting time to wait upon the Exalted One.

He is meditating during the noonday heat.

[185] There is such and such a Brahmā-world, blissful and prosperous, where dwells an infatuated Brahmā.[3] Come, dear sir, let us go to that world that we may agitate that Brahmā.

Suddhavāsa consented and, like a strong man might stretch out his bent arm
or draw in his arm stretched out,
they two vanished from before the Exalted One and appeared in that world.

Now that Brahmā saw those Brahmās coming from afar and called to them:

'How now, dear sirs! whence come ye?'

'We, dear sir, come from the near presence of that Exalted One, Arahant Buddha Supreme.

But thou, dear sir, shouldst go to wait upon that Exalted One, Arahant Buddha Supreme.'

Then the Brahmā, not brooking such words, reproduced himself a thousand times[4] and said to Subrahmā:

'Dost thou not see, dear sir, what the might of my magic power is like?'

'I see, dear sir, what thy might and thy magic power are like.'

'I then, dear sir, being so great in magic power, so great in might, to what other, recluse or brahmin, should such as I go to present myself?'

Then Subrahmā the independent Brahmā reproduced himself two thousandfold and said to the Brahmā:

'Dost thou not see, dear sir, what my magic power and majesty are like?'

'I see, dear sir, what thy magic power and majesty are like.'

'Now this Exalted One, dear sir, is greater in magic power and majesty than both thee and me.

Thou shouldst go, dear sir, to present thyself to that Exalted One, Arahant Buddha Supreme.'

Then that Brahmā addressed a verse to Subrahmā:—

[In sculptured frieze reck'ning] the tiers by hundreds
Of 'fairwing' birds[5] three, and four of flamingoes,
[186] And five of tigresses all fierily glowing,[6]
This heavenly fane shineth afar, 0 Brahmā,
Over the north firmament shedding a glory.


Albeit thy heavenly fane far shineth,
Over the North firmament shedding a glory,
He beauteous in wisdom,[7] discerning canker[8]
In visible objects material, ever
To fluctuate doomed, therein takes no pleasure.

So Subrahmā and Suddhavasa, independent Brahmās,
having agitated that Brahmā,
vanished there and then.

And that Brahmā on a later occasion came to present himself before the Exalted One, Arahant Buddha Supreme.


[1] Pacceka-brahmā. I have no traditional explanation to give of this species.

[2] Comy. 'like sentries.'

[3] Comy.: 'self-satisfied with his own power and glory.'

[4] On this form of iddhi, cf. Pss. of the Brethren, ver. 563, Jāt. i, 114 (trs. 14).

[5] Supaṇṇā, identified by Childers with the mythical Garuḷā, or Garuḍa, the mythical roc-like bird of India.

[6] The Comy. reads vyagghiniyā pañcasatāti pañca vyagghiniyāpanti satāni ... vyagghasadisā ekacce miga vyagghiniyā nama. Why not tigers? Or should we read vyagghīn'issā ('tigress-deer')? For issā cf. Jāt. v, 427. The fives refer either to the number of statues (vūpa's), or to the rows of them. And Subr.'s reply is a play on the word rūpa, which means also material, and visible things in general.

[7]Comy.: 'the Master.' Cf. above, VI, 1, Ī 1: '0 Wisdom Fair.'


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