The Bodhisatta born as a brahmin of Vehaliṅga in the time of Kassapa Buddha. Ghaṭīkāra was his friend and invited Jotipāla to accompany him to the Buddha, but Jotipāla refused to go, saying that a “shaveling recluse” could be of no use to him. But Ghaṭīkāra was very insistent, and one day, after they had bathed together in the river, seized Jotipāla by the hair and made a final appeal. This boldness on the part of an inferior caused Jotipāla to realise his extreme earnestness and he agreed to go. After hearing the Buddha preach, Jotipāla became a monk. MN.ii.46ff.;S.i.34f.
A brahmin, son of Govinda, chaplain of Disampati. Jotipāla was a friend of Disampati’s son, Reṇu, who had six other nobles as companions. On the death of Govinda, Jotipāla became chaplain to Disampati. He inspired Reṇu’s six companions to wait on Reṇu and make him promise to share the kingdom with them when he should come to the throne. This promise Reṇu kept when he succeeded his father and appointed Jotipāla to carry out the division of the kingdom, which the latter duly did. All the kings wished Jotipāla to be their chaplain, and he instructed them in the art of government, teaching the mantras also to seven eminent brahmins and to seven hundred young graduates. Jotipāla himself came to be known as Mahā Govinda.
After some time, Jotipāla took leave of the seven kings, his disciples and his wives, and spent the four months of the rainy season in a retired spot outside the city, developing jhāna in order to see Brahmā face to face. At the end of the four months, Brahmā Sanaṅkumāra appeared before him and gave him a boon. Jotipāla asked to be taught the way to reach the Brahma-world, and, having listened to Sanaṅkumāra’s exposition, decided to leave the world. The kings and all the others did their best to make him desist from this course, but finding their efforts of no avail they went with him into the homeless life, where all of them profited thereby.
Jotipāla was the Buddha in a previous life. DN.ii.232–251 He is twice mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya AN.iii.372 AN.iv.135 in a list of ancient teachers with very large followings.