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

Book 6: Chanipāta

No. 381


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."



[255] "Your ways, my son," etc. — The Master told this tale in Jetavana, of an unruly Brother. The Master asked the Brother, "Are you really unruly?" He said, "Yes, lord": and the Master saying, "You are not unruly for the first time; formerly too through unruliness you did not the bidding of the wise and met your death by the Verambha[2] winds," told an old-world tale.



Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born as a vulture by name Aparaṇṇagijjha, and dwelt among a retinue of vultures in Gijjhapabbata (Vulture Mountain). His son, Migālopa by name, was exceedingly strong and mighty; he flew high above the reach of the other vultures. They told their king that his son flew very far. He called Migālopa, and saying, "Son, they say you fly too high: if you do, you will bring death on yourself," spoke three stanzas:

Your ways, my son, to me unsafe appear,
You soar too high, above our proper sphere.

When earth is but a square[ed1] field to your sight,
Turn back, my son, and dare no higher flight.

Other birds on soaring pinions lofty flight e'er now have tried,
Struck by furious wind and tempest they have perished in their pride.

[256] Migālopa through disobedience did not do his father's bidding, but rising and rising he passed the limit his father told him, clove even the Black Winds when he met them, and flew upwards till he met the Verambha winds in the face. They struck him, and at their mere stroke he fell into pieces and disappeared in the air.

His aged father's wise commands disdained,
Beyond the Black, Verambha Winds he gained.

His wife, his children, all his household herd,
All came to ruin through that froward bird.

So they who heed not what their elders say,
Like this proud vulture beyond bounds astray,
Meet ruin, when right rules they disobey.



After the lesson the Master identified the Birth: "At that time Migālopa was the unruly Brother, Aparaṇṇa was myself."


[1] Cf. no. 427 infra.

[2] A wind so called from a sea of the same name, see Divyāvadāna, p. 105.


[ed1] Catukkaṇṇa. Four-eared. Ear is understood here to be 'projection'. Four-cournered as in a piece of cloth. So was the world considered flat at this time? "There are winds in the upper atmosphere, beggars, that can tear a small bird that wanders there limb from limb like a hurrican can." SN 2.17.9


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