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— UNABBREVIATED

Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
7. Brāhmana Saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
7. The Brāhmana Suttas

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

 


II: The Lay Adherents


 

Sutta 14

The Millionaire[1]

 


 

[14.1][than] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

On one occasion, at Sāvatthi, a certain brahmin millionaire, looking worn and in a coarse cloak, came to visit the Exalted One and, exchanging with him the greetings and compliments of courtesy, took his seat at one side.

To him so seated the Exalted One said:

'Wherefore, brahmin, art thou looking worn[2] and art clad in a coarse cloak?

'Four sons have I, Master Gotama, in this place and they, in concert with their wives,[3] have shown me the door.'

'Therefore, brahmin, thou shouldst learn these verses and, when the folk are assembled in the Chapter Hall,[4] and thy sons seated there also, recite them: —|| ||

They at whose birth my heart was glad,
For whose becoming much I longed,
They now in concert with their wives
Are as a dog that drives off swine.
Impious and shameless sooth are these
Who call me 'dear one,' call me 'dad'[5]
Demons are they in guise of sons.
Him that is come to years they leave
Forsaken, as a worn-out horse
Unfed is led away from crib.
The sire, the senior of these boys
Doth beg his bread at others' doors.

Better in sooth 'the stick'[6] for me
Than having disobedient sons.
It serves to keep off savage ox,
It serves to keep off savage hound —
Whereas I wandered in the dark
I find a footing in the deep,[7]||
And by the stick's effective power
I, though I stumbled, stand once more.

Then that brahmin, when he had learned the verses taught him by the Exalted One, recited them to all the folk assembled in the Chapter Hall, his sons being seated there also.

They at whose birth my heart was glad,
For whose becoming much I longed,
They now in concert with their wives
Are as a dog that drives off swine.
Impious and shameless sooth are these
Who call me 'dear one,' call me 'dad'
Demons are they in guise of sons.
Him that is come to years they leave
Forsaken, as a worn-out horse
Unfed is led away from crib.
The sire, the senior of these boys
Doth beg his bread at others' doors.

Better in sooth 'the stick' for me
Than having disobedient sons.
It serves to keep off savage ox,
It serves to keep off savage hound —
Whereas I wandered in the dark
I find a footing in the deep,||
And by the stick's effective power
I, though I stumbled, stand once more.

There - after his sons led that brahmin to his house, and when they had bathed him, they each clothed him with a suit of raiment.

Then that brahmin, taking one of the suits, went to visit the Exalted One and, exchanging with him the greetings and compliments of courtesy, took his seat at one side, and so seated, said:

'We brahmins, Master Gotama, select a teacher's fee for our teacher.

May Master Gotama be pleased to accept my fee.'

The Exalted One. moved by compassion, accepted.

Then that brahmin said:

'Most excellent, Master Gotama, most excellent!

As if one raised up that which had been overthrown,
or revealed that which had been hidden,
or declared the way to one who was bewildered,
or carried an oil-lamp into the dark,
so that they that had eyes could see,
even so is the Norm in many ways made manifest by Master Gotama.

Lo! I go for refuge to Gotama the Exalted One,
to the Norm,
and to the Order.

May Master Gotama suffer me as a lay-adherent,
who from this day forth
as long as life endures
has taken in him refuge!'

 


[1] A mahdsāla is a magnate either brahmin or noble, but emphatically a wealthy person. This man's fortune amounted to 800,000 (? coins) stored in his house. The legend told is that he presented each son on his marriage with an eighth. They fearing lest he, being a widower, would remarry, petted and coddled him, but told him that to carry this on, they would need each the remaining four-eights. He gave all, retaining only his clothing, and lived with his eldest son. Soon the daughter-in-law had him barred out; the others followed suit. He entered the brahmin order of Pandarangas and suffered great privations, till he throws himself on the reputed kindness and graciousness of the Samana Gotama.

[2] Lūkha.

[3] Sampuccha.

[4] The meeting of the brahmin synod, parallel to the santhāgāra or Khattiya (nobles') mote hall. Cf. Dialogues, i, 113, n. 2. B. amplifies the meagre account. Neglect of parents was punishable by death.

The sons fall at the father's feet, who withdraws his charge and bids them support him.

[5] Tāta, tāta: the generai familiar masculine appellative. We have nothing quite similar.

[6] Daṇḍa is here, I think, used in its double sense of recluse's staff, and legal punishment. The fact that he had arraigned his sons before the citizens in the hope of gaining redress gives point, lacking otherwise to these lines. 'He goes on to show his bettered condition,' is B.'s meagre comment.

[7] The metaphors are so elliptically expressed that they seem mixed.

I was in the dark; the daṇḍa guides me; I was in deep water; it steadies me, etc.'


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