In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was a potter of Vehaliṅga, looking after his blind parents. He was a very pious and devoted follower of the Buddha, ministering to him better than anyone else, and the Buddha accepted his invitation in preference to that of the king of Benares. It is said that when the Buddha was in need of anything he would go to Ghaṭīkāra’s house and take it, whether he were at home or not, so great was his confidence in Ghaṭīkāra’s piety. Once, when Ghaṭīkāra was absent, the people, at the Buddha’s suggestion, took away the thatch from his house to roof the hut of Tathāgata. For three months Ghaṭīkāra’s house remained open to the sky, but no rain fell on it, so great was his faith.
The Bodhisatta, who at the time of Ghaṭīkāra was a young brahmin named Jotipāla, was the friend of Ghaṭīkāra but had no faith in the Buddha, and Ghaṭīkāra, having failed to persuade him to visit the Buddha, in the end took him by force. Jotipāla was converted and joined the Order, but Ghaṭīkāra, as the only support of his parents, could not renounce the world. Kikī, king of Benares, having heard of his virtues from Kassapa Buddha, sent him five hundred cartloads of the choicest rice, etc., but Ghaṭīkāra returned the gifts, saying that he had plenty for himself. MN.ii.46ff. SN.i.35f.
According to the Saṃyutta Nikāya, SN.i.35f. Ghaṭīkāra visited the Buddha some time after the Enlightenment and the Buddha reminded him of their former friendship. Ghaṭīkāra, on that occasion, speaks of several others who had been his friends in Vehaliṅga—Upaka, Phalaganda, Pukkusāti, Bhaddiya, Khaṇḍadeva, Bāhuraggi and Piṅgiya. They had listened to the Buddha’s teaching and, after death, were born in the Avihā-world, where he himself was. In this context the Buddha addresses him as Bhaggava.