Samyutta Nikaya Masthead

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
6. Brahmā Saɱyutta

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 3

Brahmadeva Suttaɱ





The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī,
at Jeta Grove,
in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

[177] Now on that occasion Brahmādeva,
son of a certain brahminee,
left the world,
going from home into the homeless
in the Order of the Exalted One.

And the venerable Brahmādeva,
remaining alone and separate,
earnest, ardent, and strenuous,
attained ere long to that supreme goal of the higher life,
for the sake of which the clansmen rightly go forth from home into the homeless;
yea, that supreme goal did he by himself,
even in this present life,
come to understand and realize.

He came to understand that birth was destroyed,
that the holy life was being lived,
that his task was done,
that for life as we conceive it[1] there was no hereafter.

And the venerable Brahmādeva thus became one of the Arahants.[2]




Now the venerable Brahmādeva rose early one morning,
and dressing himself,
took robe and bowl and entered Sāvatthi for alms.

And going about Sāvatthi,
house by house,
he came to his own mother's dwelling.

At that time his mother,
the brahminee,
was habitually making an oblation[3] to Brahmā.

Then it occurred to Brahmā Sahampati:

"This mother of the venerable Brahmādeva,
the brahminee,
makes her perpetual oblation to Brahmā.

What if I were now to approach and agitate her?"

So as a strong man might stretch forth his bent arm,
or bend his arm stretched forth,
Brahmā Sahampati vanished from the Brahmā world
and appeared at the dwelling of the mother of the venerable Brahmādeva.

And standing in the air he addressed her in verses: —

"Far hence, 0 brahminee, is Brahmā's world,
To whom thou servest offerings alway.
And Brahmā feedeth not on food like that.
[178] What babblest thou[4] unwitting of the way,
0 brahminee, unto the Brahmā world?[5]
Lo here! this Brahmādeva, son of thine,
A man who ne'er will see another world,[6]
A man who past the gods hath won his way;
An almsman who doth nothing call his own,
Nor other soul beside himself maintains: —
This man into thy house hath come for alms.
Worthy of offerings, versed in the Lore,[7]
With faculties developed and controlled,
Meet for oblations from both gods and men,
True brahmin — 'barring all things evil out' —[8]
By evil undefiled, grown calm and cool,
He moveth on his quest for sustenance.
There is no after, no before for him,[9]
He is at peace, no fume of vice is his;[10]
He is untroubled, rid of hankering;
All force renouncing toward both weak and strong.[11]
Let him enjoy the choice meats thou hast served.

By all the hosts of evil unassailed,[12]
His heart at utter peace, he goes about
[179] Like tamed elephant, with vices purged.
Almsman most virtuous, and with heart well freed:
Let him enjoy the choice meats thou hast served.

On him so worthy of the gift do thou,
In confidence unwavering, bestow thy gift.
Work merit and thy future happiness,
Now that thou seest here, 0 brahminee,
A sage by whom the flood is overpassed.[13]

On[14] him so worthy of the gift did she,
In confidence unwavering bestow her gift.
Merit she wrought, her future happiness,
When [at her door] the brahminee beheld
A sage by whom the flood was overpassed."


[1] Lit. 'for thusness' (itthattāya*), a word we need in serious diction.

S. vi, p. vii: The Four Formulae for defining the Arahatta: A. khīṇā jāti vusitaɱ brahmacariyaɱ kataɱ karaṇīyaɱ nāparaɱ itthattāyāti
B. ... eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto na cirass'eva yass'atthāya kulaputtā sammad-eva agārasmā anagāriyaɱ pabbajanti tad anuttaraɱ brahmacariya-pariyosānaɱ diṭṭh'eva dhamme sayaɱ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja vihāsi: khīṇā jāti ...
C. Ayaɱ vucatti bhikkhu arahaɱ khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇa-bhavasaɱyojano sammadaññā vimutto ti.
D. Ñāṇaɱ pana me dassanaɱ udapādi: Akuppā me ceto-vimutti ayaɱ antimā jāti n'atthi dāni punabbhavo ti.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[2] We find no reference elsewhere to this Arahant. Taking name and episode together, some Indologists might pronounce him to be a fiction to suit the occasion. The account of his achievement is here given in one of the canonical formulas of arahantship. See S. vi, p. vii (B.).

[3] Consisting, says B., of food. He gives a picture of how she decorated the house to set off her offering.

[4] Jappasi.

[5] Brahmā-gods are maintained by Jhāna-rapture (sappītikajjhānena), and the way to attain their world is by the Four Jhānas of merit (kusalajjhānani). Comy. Cf. above, IV, 2, § 8.

[6] A free rendering of nirupadhiko: 'without birth-substrate.'

[7] Lit. Veda-goer, borrowed from brahmin terminology. Veda means also 'feeling,' hence Comy.: 'gone to the end of sorrow by the Four Paths' — just an exegetical definition.

[8] The usual exegetical definition of brāhmāno: bāhetvā, 'having put outside.' See D. iii, 93, § 22.

[9] 'No past, no future: deprived of desire and lust for mental and bodily aggregates such as they have been and will be.' Comy. Or cf. above, I, 1, § 10.

[10] Sn. ver. 1048 (trs. 1047).

[11] 'Even if he use a staff (daṇḍa, lit. staff, is used symbolically for force; cf. III, 1, § 1, 'despot's weapons'), he has no will to injure with it.' Comy. Cf. Pss. of the Brethren, p. 323, n. 1.

[12] Sn. ver. 794 (trs. 793). Commentators of both works agree.

[13] Cf. I, 1, § l.

[14] The concluding verses are assigned by B. to the 'Council-compilers' of this Book of the Suttas.

Copyright Statement