Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

placed one eight krôsas off. Then Siddartha placed a target, hard as diamond, ten krôsas off. Forthwith Ananda began, and hit his target in the midst, but could not go beyond, and so with Devadatta and the others. Then Siddartha, the prince, having taken his stand, and received the bow handed to him, desired first of all to try its strength, and so bent with his hand till it broke. “Is there no one,” he then said, “ in the city, who has a bow fit for me to use?” Then Suddhôdana Râja was greatly rejoiced, and replied, “ There is ;" whereupon the prince inquired, “Mâbarâja, tell me, where ?" To whom the Râja answered, “ Your grandfather, called Sinhahanu, had a bow which now is kept in a temple of the Devas, and is ever honoured by offerings of incense and flowers; but all the Sâkyas in the city cannot string that bow, much less draw it when strung.” Then the prince desired his father to send for the bow at once, and bring it to him. Then when it was brought each of the Sâkya princes attempted to string it, but in vain, not even Mahânama with all his strength.

Then it was handed to the Royal Prince, who without even rising from his seat, and with no show of great exertion, having taken the bow in his left hand, took the string in his right and with his finger in a moment he strung it and thrummed the string, the sound of which filled the city of Kapilavastu, and filled the hearts of the people with fear as they inquired, “What sound is that ?”

Then certain persons told them, “ It is Siddartha, the princ who has just strung the bow of his grandfather Sinhahanu, on which account his father has bestowed upon him every sort of gift."

Then the prince, taking the arrow in his right hand and fixing it, drew back the string of the bow home to his breast, shot his arrow beyond each of the targets till it came to the one ten krosas distance, which it penetrated through, and then disappeared in the far distance.

Then the assembled Devas sang in space-
« Thus the most victorious and virtuous on earth,

(Hereafter) seated on the throne of the Buddhas of old,
He whom all the people and families of Magadha
Now behold the conqueror with the arrow and bow;
Having perfected the six Paramitas by the force of his wisdom,
Shall overcome all his opponents and his enemies,
Mara, Sorrow and Death, etc. etc.

The Devas, having uttered these stanzas, showered down on the prince every kind of beautiful flower, and so disappeared. Meanwhile, the Lord of Heaven, Sâkra, seizing the arrow, which the prince had shot as it passed through space, took it to the thirty-three heavens, wherefore in that heaven this day was constituted a fortunate one, and all the Devas, assembled in mass, paid reverence to it by scattering flowers and incense; and even to this time the day of the Arrow Festival is observed amongst them.

Then the Sâkya youths exclaimed, “The Prince Siddârtha has conquered all comers in this matter of distance. Now let us compete in shooting for the purpose of penetration.”1 Now not far off, there was a succession of seven Talas trees close together; through these trees they were accustomed to shoot, some of their arrows going through one or two or three of the trees. The prince taking an arrow, sent it entirely through the whole of the seven, and the arrow entered the earth at some distance beyond, and broke into a hundred bits. Then they placed the figure of an iron boar between the trees, and the prince shot his arrow right through the seven, and where his arrow entered the ground beyond the seventh, it penetrated down to the very bottom of the earth (yellow fountain), and there sprung up through the hole it made a spring of water, which is called to this day the.“ Arrow Well.”

Then they placed seven iron jars of water at equal distances, and fastened lighted tow on the top of their arrow ; they shot some through one and some through two, without extinguishing the flame; but the prince shot through the seven, and his arrow then set on fire a grove of Sala trees beyond the seventh. Then the Sâkya youths allowed themselves conquered also in this exercise.

• They then agreed to compete with the sword, as to who could strike the heaviest blow. Then one of them cut through one Talas tree, another through two, but the prince cut through seven, and so clean was his cut that the trees fell not until the Devas raised a fierce wind, which caused the trees to fall to the ground. Then the Sâkyas, who thought that the prince had not even cut through one tree, were convinced of his prowess and skill. (And so the contest continues, in riding, wrestling, and boxing.)

1 These various feats of skill and strength are to be found among the sculptures of Boro Buddor, copies of which have been recently published by the Dutch Government.

At length Siddartha, the prince, having achieved the victory in every contest greatly rejoiced the heart of his father Suddhôdana, he exulted with delight which he could no longer repress. He therefore ordered his own white elephant to be harnessed with every sort of costly housing, and to be brought to the place of tournament for the prince to return to Kapilavastu.

The elephant, accordingly, was being brought forth from the city, when it so happened that Devadatta was just entering the gate (through which it was proceeding). Seeing it, he asked somebody, “ Where is this elephant going ?” Whose reply was this“ The elephant is going to fetch Siddartha, who is about to return to the city on its back.”

Then Devadatta, filled with envy on account of the prince's victories in all the martial exercises, stepped in front of the elephant, and, seizing his trunk with his left hand, with his right hand struck him one blow on the head and felled him to the ground, and then hurling him round three times, he deprived him of life.

Thus the elephant lay in front of the gate, so that the inhabitants of the city could not enter or depart from it.

Devadatta hadscarcely departed when another Såkya youth, called Nanda, approached, who, wishing to enter the city gate, was unable to do so on account of the carcase of the elephant lying in the way. So he inquired of the people, “ Who did such a deed as this?” They replied, “ None other than Devadatta, who, taking the elephant's trunk in his left hand, felled him to the ground with one blow of his right.”

Then Nanda, considering the great strength of Devadatta, was astonished, yet, thought he, the carcase of the creature is in the way of the people who want to leave or enter the city, so he seized the elephant's tail with his right hand, and dragged him some seven paces behind the gateway.

A little while after the Prince Royal himself approached, about to enter the same gate of the city, and observing the elephant lying as it was left by Nanda, he inquired of the passers by, “Who killed this elephant ?” to which they replied, “Devadatta, with one blow, killed him.” Then the prince said, “ It was an unseemly thing to do.” Then again he inquired, “And wbo dragged him away from the gate?” The crowd replied, “ It was Nanda,

[ocr errors]

the youth, who seized his tail with his right hand, and dragged him to the spot where he is.” The prince on this said, "It was a right thing, and a seemly thing to do.”

And then the prince considered with himself, “Notwithstanding this exhibition of strength on the part of these two Sâkya youths; yet the carcase of the elephant may cause a nuisance, lying here so close to the city.” Thus thinking, he took the elephant with his left hand, and raising it with his right hand, he hurled it through the air beyond the seven gates and the seven ditches of the city, more than a krôsa’s distance. Then the elephant, falling on the ground, caused a deep indent, which up to the present time is called the Elephant-ditch.

Then the assembled multitude exclaimed, “Wonderful ! won. derful ! what a strange and surpassing miracle is this;" and then they added the following stanzas :

“ Devadatta indeed killed the elephant,
And Nanda dragged it seven paces from the gate,
The prince with his hand hurled it thro' the air,

And thus formed the deep ditch without the city.” At this time the great minister Mahânama, seeing the prowess and skill of the prince, repenting him of his former rash words, exclaimed, “ (I said), · The prince is unskilful in martial exercises, and brought up softly within the palace, how then can I betroth to him my daughter ?' But now I have witnessed his skill, and I pray him to accept my child in wedlock.

At this time the prince, selecting a fortunate day, sent every kind of present of jewels and costly ornament to Yasôdharâ, whilst she, attended by five hundred dancing women, came to the Palace of the prince, entering which they retired to the inner apartments, and there indulged themselves in every species of nuptial delight, as the Gâtha says,

Yasôdharâ, the daughter of the great Minister,
Whose fame was known in every land,
Selecting a fortunate day for her marriage,
Approached and entered within the royal precincts,
And afforded the Prince every sort of pleasure.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

The Story of the Nobleman who became a Needle


$ 2. At this time the world-honoured one, having arrived at complete enlightenment, was addressed by Udayi as follows :-“Worldhonoured ! Tatbâgata! how was it in days gone by when you first gained the company of Yasôdharâ, not induced by her high extraction or family renown-or riches, or even by her beauty—but by superiority in competition with your rivals ?” To which Bud. dha replied, “Listen! Udâyi! and I will tell you-weigh well my words! It was not only on this occasion that I thus gained pos, session of Yasôdharâ in marriage; but it was so from very remote time. I remeniber, for instance, in ages gone by, beyond compu. tation, that there was a certain cunning workman in metals, living in Benares, who had a daughter very beautiful to look at, and her body perfectly formed, her eyes large and even, so that there were few in the world equal to her! She was loved by many! It so happened that at this time there was a nobleman of Benares who had a son, who also was extremely personable and attractive. And on a certain occasion this youth caught sight of the girl, before named, as she was looking out of a window in the tower of the dwelling wbere lived her father. No sooner had he seen her than there was produced in his breast an ardent love. Thinking of nothing but his love, he returned homewards to his parents' abode, and there addressing his father and his mother he said,

“In the house of So-and-So, a worker in metal, I have seen a girl, the daughter of the artizan, whom I love with all my heart, and desire to possess as my wife.' Then his parents replied to him thus : 'You must not, by any means, take this girl, the child of a mechanic, or defile the threshold of our door with her presence; if you want a wife, choose one from the family of a minister of state, or of a nobleman, or at least of a respectable householder.' Then the youth replied, “It is no use my looking elsewhere for a wife, I desire none other but this child of the worker in metals ; if I do not possess her I will put an end to my life, for it benefits me not to live without her.' On this the parents of the youth, fearing he would put an end to himself, went forthwith to the house of the

« ПредишнаНапред »