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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Jataka >>Canda-Kinnara-Jātaka

Source: Adapted from Archaic Translation by W.H.D. RouseEdit

JATAKA No. 485


"It is passing away," etc. This is a story which the Master told, while living in the banyan grove hard by Kapilapura (Kapilavastu,Kingdom of Buddha's father Shuddhodana) about Rahul's mother (wife of Buddha) when she was in the palace.

This Birth must be told beginning from the Distant Epoch of the Buddha's existence (*1). But the story of the Epochs, as far as the lion's roar of Kashyapa (*2) of Uruvela, in monastery of Latthivana (*3), the Bamboo Forest, has been told before in the Apannaka Birth (*4). Beginning from that point you will read in the Vessantara Birth (*5) the continuation of it as far as to the coming to Kapilavastu(kingdom of Buddha's father Shuddhodana) . The Master, seated in his father's house, during the meal, told the Mahadhammapala Birth (*6); and after the meal was done he said, "I will praise the noble qualities of Rahul's mother (wife of Buddha) in her own house, by telling the Chanda-Kinnara Birth." Then handing his bowl to the king, with the two Chief Disciples he passed over to the house of Rahul's mother (wife of Buddha). At that time there were forty thousand servant girls who lived in her presence, and of them a thousand and ninety were girls of the warrior caste. When the lady heard of the Tathagata's (Buddha's) coming she asked all these to be put on yellow robes, and they did so. The Master came and took his seat in a place which was assigned him. Then all the women cried out with one voice, and there was a great sound of crying. Rahul's mother (wife of Buddha)having wept and so put away her grief, welcomed the Master, and sat down, with the deep reverence due to a king. Then the king(Buddha's father) began the tale of her goodness: "Listen to me, Sir; she heard that you wore yellow robes, and so she robed her in yellow; that garlands and such things are to be given up, and lo she has given up garlands and sits upon the ground. When you entered upon the religious(hermit) life she became a widow; and refused the gifts that other kings sent her. So faithful is her heart to you." Thus he told of her goodness in many different ways. The Master said, "It is no marvel, great king! that now in my last existence the lady should love me, and should be of faithful heart and led by me alone. So also, even when born as an animal, she was faithful and mine alone." Then at the king's request he told a story of the past.

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was king in Benares the Great Being was born in the region of the Himalaya as a fairy (*7). His wife was named Chanda (*8). These two lived together on a silver mountain named Chanda-pabbata, or the Mountain of the Moon. At that time the king of Benares had committed his government to his ministers, and all alone dressed in two yellow robes, and armed with the five weapons (*9), he proceeded to the Himalayas.

While eating his venison he remembered where was a little stream, and began to climb the hill. Now the fairies that live on the Mountain of the Moon in the rainy season remain on the mountain, and come down only in the hot weather. At that time this fairy Chanda, with his mate, came down and wandered about, anointing himself with perfumes, eating the pollen of flowers, clothing himself in flower-gauze for inner and outer garments, swinging in the creepers to amuse himself, singing songs in a honey-voice. He too came to this stream; and at one halting-place he went down into it with his wife, scattering flowers about and playing in the water. Then they put on again their garments of flowers, and on a sandy spot white as a silver plate they spread a couch of flowers, and lay there. Picking up a piece of bamboo, the male fairy began to play upon it, and sang with a honey-voice; while his mate waving her soft hands danced hard by and sang in addition. The king caught the sound, and treading softly that his footsteps might not be heard, he approached, and stood watching the fairies in a secret place. He immediately fell in love with the female fairy. "I will shoot the husband," thought he, "and kill him, and I will live here with the wife." Then he shot the fairy Chanda, who mourning in his pain uttered four stanzas:

"It is passing away, I think, and my blood is flowing, flowing,
I am losing my hold on life, O Chanda! my breath is going!
"It is sinking, I am in pain, my heart is burning, burning:
But it is foryour sorrow, Chanda, the heart within me is yearning.
"As grass, as a tree I perish, as a waterless river I dry:
But it is foryour sorrow, Chanda, my heart within me is yearning.
"As rain on a lake at the mountain foot are the tears that fall from my eye:
But it is foryour sorrow, Chanda, my heart within me is yearning."

Thus did the Great Being mourn in four stanzas; and lying upon his couch of flowers, he lost consciousness, and turned away. The king stood where he was. But the other fairy did not know that the Great Being was wounded, not even when he uttered his mourn, being intoxicated with her own delight. Seeing him lie there turned away and lifeless, she began to wonder what could be the matter with her lord. As she examined him she saw the blood oozing from the mouth of the wound, and being unable to bear the great pain of sorrow for her beloved husband, she cried out with a loud voice. "The fairy must be dead," thought the king, and he came out and showed himself. When Chanda saw him she thought, "This must be the brigand who has killed my dear husband!" and trembling she took to flight. Standing upon the hill-top she denounced the king in five stanzas:

"The evil prince--ah, I am suffering!--my husband dear did wound,
Who there beneath a woodland tree now lies upon the ground.
"O prince! the suffering that wrings my heart mayyour own mother pay,
The suffering that wrings my heart to see my fairy dead this day!
"Yes, prince! the suffering that wrings my heart mayyour own wife repay,
The suffering that wrings my heart to see my fairy dead this day!
"And mayyour mother mourn her lord, and may she mourn her son,
Who on my lord most innocent for lust this deed have done.
"And mayyour wife look on and see the loss of lord and son,
For you upon my harmless lord for lust this deed have done."

When she had thus made her moan in these five stanzas, standing upon the mountain top the king comforted her by another stanza:

"Weep not nor grieve: the woodland dark has blinded you, I think:
A royal house shall honour you, and you shall be my queen."

"What is this word you have said?" cried Chanda, when she heard it; and loud as a lion's roar she declaimed the next stanza:

"No! I will surely kill myself! yours I will never be,
Who killed my husband innocent and all for lust for me."

When he heard this his passion left him, and he recited another stanza:

"Live if you will, O timid one! to Himalaya go:
Creatures that feed on shrub and tree (*10) the woodland love, I know."

With these words he departed indifferent. Chanda so soon as she knew him gone came up and, embracing the Great Being took him up to the hill-top, and laid him on the flat land there: placing his head on her lap, she made her moan in twelve stanzas:

"Here in the hills and mountain caves, in many a glen and grot,
What shall I do, O fairy mine! now that I see you not?
"The wild beasts move, the leaves are spread on many a lovely spot:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now that I see you not?
"The wild beasts move, sweet flowers are spread on many a lovely spot:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now that I see you not?
"Clear run the rivers down the hills, with flowers all overgrown:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now you have left me lone?
"Blue are the Himalaya hills, most fair they are to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?
"Gold tips the Himalaya hills, most fair they are to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?"
The Himalaya hills glow red, most fair they are to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?
"Sharp are the Himalaya peaks, they are most fair to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?
"White shine the Himalaya peaks, they are most fair to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?
"The Himalaya rainbow-colord, most fair it is to see:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now I see not you?
"Hill Fragrant (*11) is to goblins dear; plants cover every spot
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now that I see you not?
"The fairies love the Fragrant Hill, plants cover every spot:
What shall I do, O fairy mine, now that I see you not?"

So did she make her moan; and putting the hand of the Great Being on her breast she felt that it still was warm. "Chanda lives yet!" she thought: "I will taunt the gods(angels) (*12) until I bring him to life again!" Then she cried aloud, taunting them, "Are there none who govern the world? are they on a journey? or perhaps they are dead, and therefore save not my dear husband!" By the power of her pain Sakka(Indra)'s throne became hot. Thinking he perceived the cause; in the form of a brahmin he approached, and from a water-pot took water and sprinkled the Great Being with it. On the instant the poison ceased to act, his colour returned, he knew not so much as the place where the wound had been: the Great Being stood up quite well. Chanda seeing her well-beloved husband to be whole, in joy fell at the feet of Sakka(Indra),, and sang his praise in the following stanza:

"Praise, holy brahmin! who did give unto a hapless wife
Her well-loved husband, sprinkling him with the elixir of life!"

Sakka(Indra) then gave this advice: "From this time on go not down from the Mountain of the Moon among the paths of men, but abide here." Twice he repeated this, and then returned to his own place. And Chanda said to her husband, "Why stay here in danger, my lord? come, let us go to the Mountain of the Moon," reciting the last stanza:

"To the mountain let us go,
Where the lovely rivers flow,
    Rivers all overgrown with flowers:
There for ever, while the breeze
Whispers in a thousand trees,
    Charm with talk the happy hours."

When the Master had ended this discourse, he said: "Not now only, but long ago as now, she was devoted and faithful of heart to me." Then he identified the Birth: "At that time Anuruddha was the king, Rahul's mother (wife of Buddha) was Chanda, and I myself was the fairy."


(1)The existence of the Buddha is divided into three periods: the Distant Epoch (durenidanam), the Middle (avidure degrees) and the Near (santike degrees). The Distant Epoch extends "from the time when he fell at the feet of Dipankara to his birth in the city of the Tusita gods(angels)" (Jat. i. p. 47, Pali text): the Middle Epoch from that time until he obtained Buddhahood (Jat. i. 76); the Near Epoch, until his death.--See Rhys David's Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 2, 58; Warren, Buddhism in Translations, pp. 38, 82.

(2)One of three brahmin brothers living at Uruvela, converted by the Buddha.

(3)Near Rajgraha city: Jat. 84

(4)The Nidana-Katha

(5)No. 547

(6)No. 447


(8)Chando m. means the Moon. The tale seems to contain a nature myth.

(9)Sword, spear, bow, battle-axe, shield.

(10)Two are named, Corypha Taliera and Tabernaemontana Coronaria.


(12)Ujjhanakammam katva, i.e. by "provoking" Sakka(Indra) to help.

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