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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
7. Brāhmana Saɱyutta

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 13

Devahita Suttaɱ





On one occasion, at Sāvatthi, the Exalted One fell ill with intestinal wind.

And the venerable Upavāna was attending on the Exalted One.

Then the Exalted One appealed to him, saying:

"Prithee, Upavāna,[1]
dost know how I can get hot water?"

"Surely, lord," responded the venerable Upavāna,
and making ready he took bowl and robe,
and sought the dwelling of the brahmin Devahita.

When he got there he stood silently aside.

[221] Now Devahita saw him standing thus in silence,
and addressed him in the verse: —

"His Worship standing there and speaking not,
With shaven head and face, wrapped in his cloak,
What doth he wish for, what may be his quest,
What would he beg, that he is thither come?"[2]

[Upavāna: —]

"An Arahant, the Blessed of all men,
A holy sage, he suffereth sore with wind.
It there be any water heated here,
0 give it to me, brahmin, for the sage.
Revered by them to whom we reverence owe,[3]
Cherished by them who claim our pious care,
Honoured by them to whom honour is due,
For him I do beseech it may be brought."

Then Devahita the brahmin made a serving man take hot water on a carrying-pole[4]
and a jar of molasses,[5]
and offered them to the venerable Upavāna.

Then the venerable Upavana came to the Exalted One
and administered them to him,
fomenting with the hot water
and mixing the molasses with hot water.[6]

Then the illness of the Exalted One abated.

And Devahita the brahmin came to visit the Exalted One,
and exchanging with him the greetings of courtesy and amity,
took his seat at one side.

So seated, he addressed the Exalted One in the verse:

"Where should he give[7] who hath a gift to make?
Where given, will his offering bear much fruit?
[222] Yea, how to him who doth oblation bring —
How shall his tribute work effectively?"[8]

[The Exalted One:—]

"Whose[9] vision many former lives hath pierced.
Who sees the heavens above, the depths below,
Whose is't to win the doing down of birth: —
Master of supernormal lore, a seer: —
There should he give who hath a gift to make,
There given, will his offering bear much fruit,
Yea, thus to him who doth oblation bring —
Thus shall his tribute work effectively."

When he had thus spoken,
Devahita the brahmin said to the Exalted One:

"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!"


'Great Theras'; Psalms of the Brethren, pg xxxvi: "...Dhammapāla does not discuss. The only distinction he draws between the Theras is to classify them, in his concluding remarks, not into (A) the eleven or twelve leading Theras usually grouped in the Vinaya, and (B) the rest, viz.:



Cunda the Great

Moggallāna the Great


Kassapa the Great


Kaccāna the Great


Koṭṭhita the Great


Kappina the Great


and (B) the other 247; nor into the 41 Agga-sāvakā of the Anguttara,[sn1] and the rest; but into Great (mahā) and Ordinary (pakati) sāvakā, making together the company of Agga-sāvakā. Of these the former (Great) were 80 in number, and he proceeds to enumerate 64 only of the 80, made up of 48 of the poset Theras, and 16 others most of whom do not occur in the Canon. 'Why are these called Great Disciples? Because of the greatness of their Resolve (abhinihāra),' resulting in, it would seem, a more perfect evolution of knowledge in their last birth.

[sn1] Anguttara Nikāya, i. 23-5. With the exception of two, Bāhiya Dārucīriya (cf. Dhammapada Commentary, ii. 209 f.) and Sāgata, all of these distinguished followers are represented in the Theragāthā.

[1] The Comy. gives the same account of the temporary attendants before Ānanda as Dhammapāla gives. See Pss. of the Brethren, p. 350, differing only in the inclusion of one Bodhi. They were chosen out of the 80 'Great Theras' or inner entourage of the Master. Cf. op. cit. xxxvi, 350; Dialogues, ii, 151.

[2] Presumably it was not the conventional hour for the alms-call, hence the perplexity. The verses of the petition agree with 185, 186 of the Theragātha.

[3] E.g. 'the 80 Great Theras.' Comy.

[4] Kajā or pingo, the pole at right angles to the shoulders.

[5] Cf. Vin. Texts, ii, 42.

[6] 'As a sweating mixture.' Comy.

[7] Dajjā.

[8] Ijjhcti.

[9] Cf. VII, 1, § 8.

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