Dame of the brahmins, thou too in the past—
Thou knowest—’twas thy little babes Death robbed
And preyed upon; and thou all night, all day
Madest thy bitter wail. Vāsiṭṭhī, say!
How comes it that to-day thou, who hast lost
So many—was it seven?—all thy sons,
No more dost mourn and weep so bitterly?
Nay, brahmin, many hundreds of our babes,
And of our kinsfolk many hundred more,
Have we in all the ages past and gone
Seen preyed upon by Death, both you and I.
But I have learnt how from both Birth and Death
A way there is t’ escape. Wherefore no more
I mourn, nor weep, nor make my bitter wail.
Wondrous in sooth, Vāsiṭṭhī, are the words
Thou speakest! Whose the doctrine thou hast learnt?
Whence thine authority for speech like this?
’Tis He, the Very Wake, the Buddha, He
Who late, hard by the town of Mithilā,
Did teach the Norm, brahmin, whereby
All that hath life may put off every ill.
When I, O brahmin, when I heard the Arahant
Reveal the Doctrine of the Non-Substrate,
Forthwith the Gospel sank into my heart,
And all my mother-grief fell off from me.
Then I too straight will go to Mithilā,
If haply the Exalted Buddha may
Me, even me, release from every ill.
The brahmin went; he saw the Awaken’d One,
Th’ Emancipated, Him in whom
No base is found for rebirth, and from Him,
The Seer, Him who hath passed beyond all ill,
He heard the Norm: the Truth of Ill, and how
Ill comes, and how Ill may be overpassed,
E’en by the Ariyan, the Eightfold Path,
That leadeth to the abating of all Ill.
Forthwith the Gospel sank into his heart.
He left the world, he chose the homeless life.
On the third night of contemplation rapt,
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore.
‘Come, charioteer, now drive this chariot home!
Wish thy good mistress health, the brahminee,
And say: “The brahmin hath renounced the world.
On the third night of contemplation rapt
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore.”’
And so the driver took the car and purse
Of money home, and wished his mistress health,
And said: ‘The brahmin hath renounced the world.
On the third night of contemplation rapt
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore.’
For this that thou hast heard, O Charioteer,
And tellest: that the brahmin hath attained
The Threefold Lore, no half-gift give I thee.
Take thou the chariot, take the horses both,
And take a thousand pieces for thy pains.
‘Let them remain thine own, O brahminee,
Horses and chariot and the thousand coins,
For I, too, have a mind to leave the world,
Near him of chiefest wisdom to abide.’
‘But thou, my Sundarī, now that thy father hath gone forth,
Leaving his home, renouncing all his great estate—
Cattle and horses, elephants, jewels and rings—
Dost thou at least come to thine own! Thou art the heir
Of this thy family. Do thou enjoy thy wealth.’
‘Cattle and horses, elephants, jewels and rings—
Ay, all that goes to make this fair and broad estate
Hath he put far from him, my father dear,
And left the world, afflicted for his son.
I, too, afflicted at my brother’s death,
I have a mind like him to leave the world.’
‘May this, then, thine intention, Sundarī,
Thy heart’s desire, be crownèd with success!
The food from hand to mouth, glean’d here and there,
The patchwork robe—these things accomplishèd
Will purify in other after-world
Whate’er has poisoned life for thee in this.’
I’ve trained me, Lady, in the threefold course.
Clear shines for me the Eye Celestial.
I know the how and when I came to be
Down the long past, and where it was I lived.
To thee I owe it, O thou noble friend,
Thou loveliest of the Therī Sisterhood,
That I the Threefold Lore have gotten now,
And that the Buddha’s will hath been obeyed.
Give to me, Lady, thy consent, for I
Would go to Sāvatthī, so that I may
Utter my ‘lion’s roar,’—my ‘Hail, all hail!’—
In presence of the Buddha, Lord and Chief.
See, Sundarī, the Master fair in hue,
His countenance as fine gold, clear and bright,
Him who is All-enlightened, Buddha, Best,
Tamer of untamed, never tasting fear.
And see, O Master, Sundarī, who comes
To tell thee of Emancipation won,
And of the right no more to he reborn.
Who hath herself from passion freed
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world.
Accomplished now is her appointed work,
And all that drugged her heart is purged away.
Lo! from Benares I am come to thee—
I, Sundarī, thy pupil, at thy feet,
O mighty Hero, see me worship here.
Thou art Buddha! thou art Master! and thine,
Thy daughter am I, issue of thy mouth,
Thou Very Brahmin! even of thy word.
Accomplished now is my appointed task,
And all that drugged my heart is purged away.
‘Welcome to thee, thou gracious maiden! thence
For thee ’twas but a little way to come.
For so they come who, victors over self,
Are fain to worship at the Master’s feet,
Who also have themselves from passion freed,
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world,
Who have accomplished their appointed task,
And all that drugged their hearts have purged away.’”