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To whom Deva replied-"Virtuous sir, indeed I have no such things at hand to offer; but if Bôdhisatwa will follow my advice, it will be easy to procure them."
"And what is your advice ?" he said. "To come to the house of the Brahman Senayana, and receive them there ?" On this Bodhisatwa consented.
Accordingly Deva, returning to Senayana, said-"Oh! great sir, not far from this place is an illustrious Shaman, who is about to break through his long and rigorous fast, and to come to your house to beg for some wheat, oil, and honey, and water, wherewithal to refresh his body. Can you, oh, virtuous sir! provide these things?
Now Senayana had two daughters, one called Nanda, the other Bala, both of them very beautiful, and in the prime of their youthful days. These girls had long ago heard about the Sâkyas who lived at Kapilavastu, beneath the northern mountains, and of Suddhôdana, and Mâya, and their graceful son; and having heard all this, they had besought their father to try to get for them the graceful youth, the child of Suddhôdana, as a husband.
Then Senayana, having heard from the Brahman Deva that Bodhisatwa was coming to his house to beg for food, ordered his two daughters to prepare at once provision of wheat and oil, and milk and honey, and take it, said he, "to the place where the great Shaman is, and carry him warm water for his body, for thus perhaps you may obtain the desire of your hearts, and become the wives of that beautiful Sâkya Prince." The girls having received this intimation, forthwith proceeded to prepare the necessary food, and afterwards they carried it to the place where Bodhisatwa was undergoing his penance. Arrived there, they bowed down their heads at his feet, and offering their food to him, spake thus-" Illustrious and honourable sir! deign to receive this offering of food at our hands." Then Bôdhisatwa, having received the gift at the hands of the two maidens, ate according to his desire. Then, taking the butter and the oil, he rubbed it into his body, and afterwards using the tepid water, he washed himself as he purposed. Then his body, absorbing the oil, like the thirsty ground drinks up the rain, from that moment he began to revive, and his frame resumed its youthful appearance.
And now Bodhisatwa, having eaten and drunk, addressed the
two maidens thus-" My sisters! you have wrought a meritorious deed by thus ministering to my wants; tell me, then, have you any wish you would have fulfilled?" On which they replied"Of old time we have heard of a certain beautiful Sâkya Prince, whose equal it would be hard to find; we would wish to become the wives of that prince." Then Bôdhisatwa answered-"My sisters, I am that Sâkya Prince! but I have vowed never again to participate in the five pleasures of sense-for my object is to obtain supreme enlightenment, and to preach the insurpassable Law." To which the maidens replied "If this be indeed the case, beyond all doubt you will obtain your end; when this is so, come, we pray you, to our house, that we may become followers of yours." On which Bodhisatwa said, "My sisters, it is well-it is well; your wish shall be accomplished."
From that day forth these two maidens continued to bring food and water to Bôdhisatwa, until his body had once more resumed its wonted beauty.
After this Bodhisatwa desired them no longer to bring him food. Now at this time a certain shepherd boy, having observed the invincible purpose of Bôdhisatwa in practising his penance, approached him, being filled with reverence and joy, and bowed before him and said, "Oh! virtuous and honourable sir! may I be permitted to make you some offerings of food." On obtaining the desired permission, he took of his goat's milk and offered it to Bôdhisatwa, and anointed his body therewith; whilst, cutting down some branches of the Nyagrodha tree, he wove a covering over the head of Bodhisatwa, as a shelter from the wind and the rain. Meantime, in virtue of the spiritual power of Bodhisatwa, these branches took root, and bore flowers and leaves as they sheltered him.
Now it came to pass that the five men, seeing Bôdhisatwa's altered mode of life, and his appearance of revived grace and health, thought with themselves that he had lost his power of Dhyâna, and also his purpose of attaining supreme wisdom; they were therefore incensed against him, and left him with many reproaches. After a time they came to Benares, and entering the deer-garden, they gave themselves up to severe contemplation. And so the Gâtha says
"Those five Rishis practising severe penance,
Seeing Bôdhisatwa partake of various kinds of food,
Spake thus among themselves, 'This is no contemplative disci
He has given up the quest, and now nourishes his earthly body (5-element-body)"."
Now from the day when the daughter of the village lord had first given Bôdhisatwa the food in charity, which we have described, through the whole of the six years that he had practised his severe penance, she had ever ministered her substance in bestowing charity on all the Brahman and Shaman mendicants who came to her door; and in each case she uttered this vow'May the merit of this charitable act accrue to the benefit of that Sâkya mendicant who is now undergoing such severe penance, and may he in the end attain his earnest desire."
Now the six years being over, on the 16th day of the second month of spring-time, Bôdhisatwa began to reflect thus, "It is not right that I should continue thus eating, and not aiming to attain the end of all, the perfection of complete wisdom; where, then, shall I obtain fitting food for the purpose, which may nourish me, and at the same time not unfit me for that great end of all?”
Thus reflecting, a certain Devaputra, knowing the thoughts of Bôdhisatwa, went straight to the house of the village Lord, Sujata, and his two daughters, and spake thus-" Sujata, now is your opportunity! Bôdhisatwa desires some choice food, after partaking of which he desires to devote himself to the attainment of supreme wisdom. 2 Ye, then, should now prepare some exquisite cream for the purpose of ministering to his wants."
Then the two daughters of Sujata, the village lord, having heard the Devaputra's words, quickly assembled a thousand milch kine, and with their milk fed five hundred others, and with their milk fed two hundred and fifty others, and so on down to fifteen cows; taking the milk of these cows and mixing it in a dish with some of the purest rice, these two maidens proceeded to prepare a lordly dish for Bôdhisatwa. Then appeared all kinds of wonderful portents; every kind of appearance presented itself on the surface
1 But Sujata was given before as the name of one daughter, and the village lord was called Nandika.
2 Here again the expression denotes two, "ni-tang."
of the mixture, whilst Brahma, Sâkra, and the other Devas appeared in attendance.1
At length, on the 23rd day of the second month, Bôdhisatwa, having arranged his garments very early in the morning, proceeded towards the village of Uravilva, to beg his food. Arrived there, he at last came to the house of Nandika, the village lord, and there stood silently before the principal door of the dwelling, awaiting charity.
Then Sujata, the daughter of the village lord, seeing Bôdhisatwa standing thus silently before the gate, immediately sent for a golden dish, and filling it up to the brim with the delicious food, with her own hands came and presented it to Bôdhisatwa. Having taken her place before him, she spake thus, "Would that my lord would accept from me this dish full of deliciously prepared rice milk." Then Bôdhisatwa, seeing the character of the food, thought thus with himself, "This is a token that I should henceforth strive after the true nectar (sweet dew) of the right law. I vow from this moment to deliver the world from the thraldom of death, and of the Wicked one. I will procure salvation for all men, and conduct them to the other shore." Then, having accepted the gift of Sujata, she likewise urged him to keep the golden dish. Thus Bôdhisatwa departed from Uravilva, having received the charity of Sujata, and step by step advanced towards the Nairañjana river, where he partook of the food, after which he entered the river and bathed, whilst all the Devas showered down upon him every kind of flower and perfume. Afterwards, Bôdhisatwa, taking his Kashya garment, washed it in the stream, and attempted then to proceed to the other shore of the river; but his strength had been so reduced by the penance which for six years he had endured, that he was unable to reach the opposite bank. Then the Deva of a certain great tree which was called Pinjuna,2 the Deva's name being Akuba, stretched forth his jewelled arm to assist Bodhisatwa.3 Then Bodhisatwa, having taken the outstretched hand, reached
1 These portents I omit, vide M. B., 167-8.
2 Observe that Foucaux gives the name of the tree Kakoubha (Lal. Vist., 257). Compare also Pancu (kulasiva)na with Pinjuna (in the Text).
3 It seems plain that this incident is the subject of the sculpture on the right hand pillar of Plate lviii, Tree and Serpent Worship.
the shore in safety. Meanwhile, all the Devas, taking portions of the water of the river in which Bôdhisatwa had bathed, returned therewith to their several palaces.
Now the lord of that Nairañjana river had a certain Nâga daughter of the same name as the river, who, with her hand advanced from a spring that bubbled up from the earth, presented to Bôdhisatwa a seat,' on which, taking his place, he finished the delicate food of Sujata, the village lord's daughter. Having concluded his meal, he forthwith cast the golden dish on the river stream, which the Nâga, who was lord of the river, at once seized and conveyed to his palace; but King Sâkra, observing this, assumed the form of a Garuda, and forthwith snatched it from the hands of the Nâga, and transported it to the Trâyastriñshas heaven, where it is still an object of worship.
Then Bodhisatwa arose, and, step by step, advanced towards the Bodhi tree; whilst the Nâga Râja's daughter, taking the seat she had provided for Bôdhisatwa, carried it to her own palace, as an object for future worship. And so the Gâtha says—
“Bôdhisatwa, having partaken of the choice food, as the laws of religion direct,
The food which Sujata had piously prepared,
Filled with joy, proceeded onward to the Bôdhi tree,
[Kiouen XXV has 6,480 words, and cost 3.24 taels.]
The advance to the Bôdhi Tree.
§ 1. THUS refreshed with the food he had taken, and the water of Nairañjana river, Bôdhisatwa set his face toward the Bôdhi tree, and proceeded onward-slowly and with dignity, like all the former Bodhisatwas had done. (Here follows a long description of the method of walking adopted by the Bôdhisatwas.) And as he
1 A sort of basket-seat, confer, Tree and Serpent Worship, Pl. xxiv, Fig. 2.