Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto IV.
Psalms of Four Verses


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

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Reborn in this Buddha-age in a brahmin family, as the son of the sister of the Thera Kassapa of Uruvela, he was named Senaka.[1] When he had learnt the brahmins' Vedic [181] culture, he dwelt with his family. And at that time the people held a festival every year in the former half of March (Phaggūna),[2] and a baptizing at the landing-stage,[3] the festival being called the Gayā-Lent.

Then the Exalted One, out of compassion for those who could be led, stayed near that riverside. And when the people assembled, Senaka came too, and hearing the Master teaching the Norm, was converted, entered the Order, and in due course won arahantship. Thereafter, reflecting on his victory, ho was filled with joy, and breathed forth this psalm:

[287] O welcome was to me that day of spring,
When at Gayā, at Gayā's river-feast,
I saw the Buddha teach the Norm supreme,

[288] Saw the great Light, Teacher of multitudes,
Him who hath won the highest, Guide of all,
The Conqueror of men and gods, unrivalled Seer.

[289] Mighty magician, hero glorious,
Far-shining splendour, pure, immune of mind,[4] The Master who hath slain all āsavas,
And hath attained that where no fear can come.[5]

[290] Long lay I bound and harassed by the ties
Of sect and dogma - ah! but now 'tis He,
The Blessed Lord hath rescued Senaka
From every bond and set at liberty.


[1] Brahmins of this name are in Jāt., iii., No. 401; vi., No. 546. For the uncle's psalm, see CCX.

[2] Phaggūna, or Phalguna, fell half in February, half in March.

[3] Titthābhiseka. What sort of 'baptizing' - lit., sprinkling - went on, whether of infants, scholars, or of religious confession, it is not easy to divine. According to Böhtlingk and Roth's Dictionary, the river (Nerañjara) itself was known as the Phalgu. Dr. Neumann says the town of Gayā is itself so called (Majjh.-Nik., translation, x. 271. Cf. the very suggestive photograph in the Sisters, p. 134, of a modern riverside gathering at Gayā.

[4] Anāsava. The Thera here repeats himself a little.

[5] A frequent epithet of Nibbāna.


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