Uttaradhyayana Sutra ► Ninth Lecture: The Pravrajyā of King Nami 

Posted: 12.09.2015

Ninth Lecture: The Pravrajyā of King Nami [1]

After (Nami) had descended from the world of the gods, and had been born as a man, he put an end to the influence of delusion, and remembered his former birth. (1)

Remembering his former birth, king Nami became a Svayaṃsaṃbuddha in the true Law, and placing his son on the throne he retired from the world. (2)

After having enjoyed, in the company of the beautiful ladies of his seraglio, excellent pleasures which match those of the heavens, king Nami became enlightened and gave up his pleasures. (3)

Having given up the town and country of Mithilā, his army, seraglio, and all his retinue, the venerable man retired from the world and resorted to a lonely place. (4)

When the royal Seer Nami retired from the world, at the occasion of his Pravrajyā there was an uproar in Mithilā. (5)

To the royal Seer who had reached the excellent stage of Pravrajyā, Śakra in the guise of a Brāhmaṇa addressed the following words: (6)

“Why is now Mithilā[2] full of uproar? Dreadful noises are heard from palaces and houses.” (7)

On hearing this, the royal Seer Nami, pursuing his reasons and arguments, answered the king of the gods thus: (8)

“In Mithilā is the sacred[3] tree Manōrama, full of leaves, flowers, and fruits, which sheds a cool shadow; this tree is always a favourite resort of many (birds). (9)

“Now, as this sacred tree Manōrama is shaken by the storm, the birds, suffering, destitute of refuge, and miserable, scream aloud.” (10)

On hearing this, the king of gods, pursuing his reasons and arguments, answered the royal Seer Nami thus: (11)

“This is fire and storm, your palace is on fire! Reverend sir, why do you not look after your seraglio?” (12)

Nami answered (see verse 8): (13)

“Happy are we, happy live we who call nothing our own; when Mithilā is on fire, nothing is burned that belongs to me. (14)

To a monk who has left his sons and wives, and who has ceased to act, nothing pleasant can occur, nor anything unpleasant. (15)

“There is much happiness for the sage, for the houseless monk, who is free from all ties, and knows himself to be single and unconnected (with the rest of the world).” (16)

Indra answered (see verse 11): (17)

“Erect a wall, gates, and battlements; dig a moat; construct śataghnīs:[4] then you will be[5] a Kṣatriya.” (18)

Nami answered (see verse 8): (19)

“Making Faith his fortress, Penance and Self-control the bolt (of its gate), Patience its strong wall, so that guarded in three ways[6] it is impregnable; making Zeal his bow, its string Carefulness in walking (iriyā), and its top (where the string is fastened) Content, he should bend (this bow) with Truth, piercing with the arrow, Penance, (the foe’s) mail, Karman - (in this way) a sage will be the victor in battle and get rid of the Saṃsāra.” (20-22)

Indra answered (see verse 11): (23)

“Build palaces, excellent houses,[7] and turrets; thus you will be a Kṣatriya.” (24)

Nami answered (see verse 8): (25)

“He who builds his house on the road, will certainly get into trouble; wherever he wants to go, there he may take up his lodgings.” (26)

Indra answered (see verse 11): (27)

“Punishing thieves and robbers, cut-purses and burglars, you should establish public safety; thus you will be a Kṣatriya.” (28)

Nami answered (see verse 8): (29)

“Men frequently apply punishment wrongly: the innocent are put in prison, and the perpetrator of the crime is set at liberty.” (30)

Indra answered (see verse 11): (31)

“O king, bring into subjection all princes who do not acknowledge you; thus you will be a true Kṣatriya.” (32)

Nami answered (see verse 8): (33)

“Though a man should conquer thousands and thousands of valiant (foes), greater will be his victory if he conquers nobody but himself. (34)

“Fight with your Self; why fight with external foes? He who conquers himself through himself, will obtain happiness. (35)

“The five senses, anger, pride, delusion, and greed - difficult to conquer is one’s self; but when that is conquered, everything is conquered.”[8] (36)

Indra answered (see verse 11): (37)

“Offer great sacrifices, feed Śramaṇas and Brāhmaṇas, give alms, enjoy yourself, and offer sacrifices: thus you will be a true Kṣatriya.” (38)

Nami answered: (39)

“Though a man should give, every month, thousands and thousands of cows, better will be he who controls himself, though he give no alms.” (40)

Indra answered: (41)

“You have left the dreadful āśrama (that of the householder)[9] and are wanting to enter another; (remain what you were), O king, and be content with observing the Pōsaha-days.” (42)

Nami answered: (43)

“If an ignorant man should eat but a blade of Kuśa-grass every month, (the merit of his penance) will not equal the sixteenth part of his who possesses the Law as it has been taught.” (44)

Indra answered: (45)

“Multiply your gold and silver, your jewels and pearls, your copper, fine robes, and carriages, and your treasury; then you will be a true Kṣatriya.” (46)

Nami answered: (47)

“If there were numberless mountains of gold and silver, as big as Kailāsa, they would not satisfy a greedy man; for his avidity is boundless like space. (48)

“Knowing that the earth with its crops of rice and barley, with its gold and cattle, that all this put together will not satisfy one single man, one should practise austerities.” (49)

Indra answered: (50)

“A miracle! O king, you give up those wonderful pleasures, in search of imaginary objects; your very hope will cause your ruin.” (51)

Nami answered: (52)

“Pleasures are the thorn that rankles, pleasures are poison, pleasures are like a venomous snake; he who is desirous of pleasures will not get them, and will come to a bad end at last. (53)

“He will sink through anger; he will go down through pride; delusion will block up his path; through greed he will incur dangers in both worlds.” (54)

Throwing off the guise of a Brāhmaṇa, and making visible his true form, Śakra saluted him respectfully and praised him with these sweet words: (55)

“Bravo! you have conquered anger; bravo! you have vanquished pride; bravo! you have banished delusion; bravo! you have subdued greed. (56)

“Bravo for your simplicity, O saint! bravo for your humility, O saint! bravo for your perfect patience! bravo for your perfect liberation! (57)

“Here (on earth) you are the highest man, Reverend sir, and hereafter you will be the highest; exempt from all blemishes you will reach Perfection, a higher state than which there is none in this world.” (58)

Thus praising the royal Seer, Śakra in perfect faith kept his right side towards him and paid reverence to him, again and again. (59)

After having adored the best sage’s feet marked by the Chakra and the Aṅkuśa,[10] he flew up through the air, with his crown and his earrings prettily trembling. (60)

Nami humbled himself; enjoined by Śakra in person, the king of Vidēha left the house, and took upon him Śramaṇahood. (61)

Thus act the enlightened, the wise, the clever ones; they turn away from pleasures, as did Nami, the royal Seer. (62)

Thus I say.

Footnotes:
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Title: Uttarādhyayana Sūtra
Translated: Hermann Jacobi (1895) from Prakrit

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