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Equally poised between preference and dislike; Able to save and deliver the world and men From the deep sea of misery and grief.'" Then the Brahmans addressed Suddhodana, and said, "Maharaja! the dream of the queen is a very propitious one. Your Majesty ought now to have a very special regard for the queen; for the child born of her will certainly be a holy child, and in after time arrive at perfect wisdom; his name spread far and wide." At this time, Suddhodana Raja, having heard the words of the Brahmans, the interpreters of dreams, his heart was filled with exultation and joy not to be surpassed. He placed before them meats and drinks of the most exquisite character; delicacies and fruits of the choicest flavour; and conferred every kind of present: bidding them enjoy themselves as they list! moreover, he added gifts of money and precious stones, and after the propitious interpretation, he distributed food, drink, clothing, flowers, unguents, cattle, horses, chariots, and every kind of gift, among the people of Kapilavastu, beyond the four gates, and also in the streets, passages and lanes of the city; giving to each just what was most requisite or most desired; and all with a view to conduce to the prosperity of B6dhisatwa.
Now, at this time, there was a certain Rishi called Asita, thoroughly grounded in all the wisdom of the various heretical sects, and who, by putting away the love of pleasure (by self-denial, discarding the five desires), had arrived at great spiritual power; possessed of the five miraculous qualities (irdhipada), he was able, at will, to go to the thirty-three heavens, and enter at his pleasure the assemblies of the Devas. This Rishi dwelt very much at a place in South India, called " Tchapati," in a village called " Gan. ganadi"; not far from there, was a shady thicket called "increasinglength" (dirghavardana?). Now, at this time, it happened that the Rishi was living in this grove, practising himself in acquiring the supernatural wisdom of the Genii; whilst all the people of Mag adha said of him that he was Ab Rahat, and greatly reverenced him. Then, having acquired the knowledge he sought, this Rishi was imparting the secret to others, when a certain youth of the village afore-named, called " Narada,"1 of tender age, being scarcely eight
1 Naradatta, vide "Lalit. Vist." 103.
years old, was brought by his mother to Asita, with the request that he would adopt him as one of his disciples; on which the youth made every sort of religious offering to the Rishi; and after Asita had accepted and used them, he paid him ceaseless worship. Now, it so happened, that Asita was, on one occasion, sitting in the Tsang-chang grove, practising the severest austerities, and day and night controlling his mind to fixed contemplation, and the boy, Narada, was sitting on one side by himself, behind his master, employed in brushing away, and removing, all noxious creatures from coming near the Rishi. This was just at the time when Bodhisatwa descended from Tusita and entered into the right side of his mother; on which occasion, there was a supernatural light spread every-where, and the earth quaked again. Asita perceiving these miraculous events (adbhuta dharma), was greatly awestricken, and the very hairs on his person stood erect; and he thought with himself, "what mean these miraculous portents?" Thinking thus for a little time in silence, his thoughts perfectly fixed in firm composure, then suddenly his mind conceived unutterable joy, and he cried out and said, "A great saint, inconceivably holy, is to be born in the world; now Mahapudgala Bodhisatwa is descending from Tusita, and about to enter the right side of his mother, and receive birth (incarnation)." Having said this, he ceased.
Then again there was a certain Deva called " Fleet-goer," who, with rapid flight, went down to all the hells, and cried out with a loud voice, "All ye wretched ones! understand now that Bodhisatwa is incarnated; quickly, then, pray ye and vow with all your might, that ye may be born on earth." Then the wretched inmates, having heard this cry, as many of them as in ages gone by had acquired any merit, but for some consequent act of sin had been born in hell,—these, I say, regarding one another, saw plainly their appearance changing, and their bodies becoming bright and beautiful; and so their minds received great joy; and when they heard the voices of Fleet-goer and all the angels singing on earth, they were delivered from hell; and such as had acquired previous merit were born on earth, in the immediate neighbourhood of Kapilavastu.
Again, at the time of Buddha's conception, Sakra Deva, and the four Maharajas, to wit, Dhritarashtra Raja, Virudhaka Raja,
Virupaksha, and Vaisravana Raja, addressing one another, said, "Sirs! Surely, now that Bodhisatwa has gone down to earth to be born, we ought to keep guard and watch lest any of those noxious beings called 'Kinnaras' should molest or hurt him, or depute others to do so. For it is right that we Devas should guard the illustrious person of Bodhisatwa, and not leave the task to men." [There are four chief occasions on which this special protection is required,—at the conception, the time of gestation, the birth, and the arrival at supreme wisdom. There are also several special circumstances that distinguish the conception, gestation, and birth of Bddhisatwa. He always remains on the right side of his mother, without movement; such movement, from right to left, giving constant pain and anxiety to the mother. But Bodhisatwa remains ever at rest, whether the mother rise, or sit, or sleep; this is one peculiarity (ardbhuta dharma). So also nothing impure takes place, either during the gestation, or at the birth, of a BdJhisatwa; this is another peculiarity. So also the mother of a Bddhisatwa suffers no pain, but rather is sensible of great delight during the period and at the birth. She consents to no nuptial intercourse. She practises all the laws of purity. She suffers no extremes of heat or cold. He is formed perfectly when he enters the womb; there is no change from embryo to Arbuda (from stage to stage of development). All demons who torment either man or woman, flee from the face of the mother of a Bddhisatwa. All diseased persons are cured by the touch of the right hand of the queen Maya, or, if they cannot secure an opportunity of being touched, then a shrub, or a leaf, or a blade of grass which Maya has held in her right hand, given or sent to the sick person, will infallibly heal the disease. Such are the wonderful circumstances- connected with the gestation and birth of Bddhisatwa.]
The Birth beneath the Tree.
At this time, the holy mother Maya, having just completed ten months since her conception of B6dhisatwa, felt the time of birth approaching. Then the father of the queen Maya, Supra Buddha, Grihapati (change) by name, sent certain messengers to the king Suddhodana, at Kapilavastu, [the Mahdsanghikas say his name is Supra Bddha], who presented to the Maharaja this request from the queen's father, "As I am informed my daughter, Maya, the queen of your majesty, is now with child, and already far advanced in pregnancy, and, as I fear that when the child is born, my daughter will be short lived, I have thought it right to ask you to permit my daughter Maya to come back to me and rest in my house; and I have prepared for her reception the Lumbini garden, and every proper amusement, Let not the king be displeased at this request, for immediately the confinement is over, I will send my daughter back to her home with you."
Then Suddhodana Raja, having heard the words of the messengers of Supra Buddha, immediately issued orders to have all the road between Kapilavastu and Dewadaho [vide " Lalit. Vist.," p. 413, M.B., 136] made level, and freed from all weeds, pebbles, filth, and obstacles of all kinds; and to have the ground swept and sprinkled with scented water, and all kinds of flowers to be scattered along it; and he ordered, moreover, the Queen Maya, to be ornamented with every kind of precious stone, and her person decorated with the choicest flowers and unguents; and thus accompanied by music, dancing women and guards, and with special attendants going before to announce her approach, she set forth on her journey. So it was the queen Maya, mounted on a white elephant, pursued her way, the Devas having caused a perfectly beautiful gem-adorned covering to appear on the elephant's back for her to sit upon. And so, thus seated, she arrived at last at her father's house in the city of Devadaho; and as she approached, surrounded by the vast retinue of warriors, elephants, horses, and chariots provided by Suddh6dana Raja, then forth from Devadaho came Supra Buddha and all his ministers and nobles to meet and welcome her approach.1 At length, in the second month of spring, on the eighth day, the constellation Kwei being now in conjunction, the king, accompanied by his daughter Maya, went forth towards the garden Lumbini, anxious to see the beauties of the
1 The text here proceeds to explain that the Lumbini garden was so called after the name of the wife of the chief minister of Supra Buddha.
earth. Having arrived at the garden, the queen Maya stepped down from her chariot, adorned as we have before described, surrounded by dancing women, etc.; and so passed from spot to spot, and from tree to tree in the garden, admiring and looking at all! Now, in the garden, there was one particular tree called a Palasa, perfectly strait from top to bottom, and its branches spread out in perfect regularity, its leaves variegated as the plumage of a peacock's head, soft as Kalinda cloth, the scent of its flowers of most exquisite odour. Delighted at the sight, Maya rested awhile to admire it, and gradually approached under the shade of the tree; then that tree, by the mysterious power of B6dhisatwa, bent down its branches, and, forthwith, the queen with her right hand took hold of one; just as in the air, there appears a beautifully tinted rainbow stretching athwart heaven; so did she take hold of that curving branch of the Palasa tree and look up into heaven's expanse. Thus, standing on the ground, and holding the branch as we have described, with clasped hands and bended knee, the heavenly women who surrounded the queen, addressed her thus:—
"The queen now brings forth the child,
Able to divide the wheel of life and death
In heaven and earth, no teacher
can equal him;
Able to deliver both Devas
And men from every kind of sorrow.
Let not the queen be distressed,
We are here to support her!"
At this time, Bodhisatwa perceiving his mother, Maya, standing thus with the branch in her hand, then with conscious mind arose from his seat and was born.
Bodhisatwa being thus delivered from the right side of his mother, a marvellous light spread around, and forthwith all the Devas and men, Mara, Brahma, Shamans, and Brahmans, perceiving this miraculous light said amongst themselves:—"What means this wonderful portent." [Now this miraculous light is one of the signs of Buddha's future conquest over the powers of darkness and sin. ] Thus was Bodhisatwa born.
Now at the time of Bodhisatwa's birth, Sakra, with a beautifully