Kāla & Kāḷa


  1. dark (syn. kaṇha, which cp. for meaning and applications), black, blueblack, misty, cloudy. Its proper sphere of application is the dark as opposed to light, and it is therefore characteristic of all phenomena or beings belonging to the realm of darkness, as the night, the new moon, death ghosts, etc.
    There are two etymologies suggestible both of which may have been blended since Indo-Aryan times:

    1. kāla = Sk. kāla, blue-black, kālī black cloud from *qāl (with which conn. *qel in kalanka spot, kalusa dirty, kammāsa speckled, Gr. κελαινός, Mhg. hilwe mist) = Lat. cālidus spot, Gr. κηλίς spot and κηλάς dark cloud; cp. Lat. cālīgo mist, fog, darkness-
    2. see below, under note
      ■ Hence:
  2. the morning mist, or darkness preceding light, daybreak, morning (cp. E. morning = Goth. maúrgins twilight Sk. marka eclipse, darkness; and also gloaming gleaming = twilight), then: time in general, esp. a fixed time, a point from or to which to reckon, i.e. term or terminus (a quo or ad quem)

Note. The definition of colour-expressions is extremely difficult. To a primitive colour-sense the principal difference worthy of notation is that between dark and light, or dull and bright, which in their expressions, however, are represented as complements for which the same word may be used in either sense of the complementary part (dark for light and vice versa, cp. E. gleam → gloom). All we can say is that kāla belongs to the group of expressions for dark which may be represented simultaneously by black, blue, or brown. That on the other hand, black when polished or smooth, supplies also the notion of “shining” is evidenced by kāḷa and kaṇha as well as e.g. by *skei in Sk. chāyā = Gr. σκιά shadow as against Ags. hāēven “blue” (E. heaven) and Ohg skīnan, E. to shine and sky. The psychological value of a colour depends on its light-reflecting (or light-absorbing) quality. A bright black appears lighter (reflects more light) than a dull grey, therefore a polished (añjana) black (= sukāḷa) may readily be called “brilliant.” In the same way kāla, combined with other colour-words of black connotation does not need to mean “black,” but may mean simply a kind of black i.e. brown. This depends on the semasiological contrast or equation of the passage in question. Cp. Sk śyāma (dark-grey) and śyāva (brown) under kāsāya. That the notion of the speckled or variegated colour belongs to the sphere of black, is psychologically simple (dark specks against a light ground, cp. kammāsa), and is also shown by the second etymology of kāla = Sk śāra, mottled, speckled = Lat. caerulus, black-blue and perhaps caelum “the blue” (cp. heaven) = Gr. κηρύλος the blue ice-bird. (On k → s cp. kaṇṇa → śṛṇga, kilamati → śramati, kilissati → ślis˚; etc.) The usual spelling of kāla as kāḷa indicates a connection of the ḷ with the r of śāra

■ The definition of kāḷa as jhām’ angārasadisa is conventional and is used both by Bdhgh. and Dhpāla: Dhs-a.317 and Pv-a.90–Pv-a.91

  1. Kāḷa, dark, black, etc., in enumn of colours Vv.22#1 (see Vv-a.111). na kāḷo samaṇo Gotamo, na pi sāmo: mangura-cchavi samano G. “The ascetic Gotamo is neither black nor brown: he is of a golden skin” MN.i.246; similarly as kāḷī vā sāmā vā manguracchavī vā of a kalyāṇī, a beautiful woman at DN I.193 MN.ii.40; kāḷa-sāma at Vin.iv.120 is to be taken as dark-grey
    ■ Of the dark half of the month: see ˚*pakkha*, or as the new moon: āgame kāḷe “on the next new moon day” Vin.i.176
    ■ of Petas: Pv.ii.4#1 (kāḷī f.); Pv-a.56#2 (˚rūpa); of the dog of Yama (˚sunakha Pv-a.151
    ■ In other connn: kāḷavaṇṇa-bhūmi dark-brown (i.e. fertile) soil Vin.i.48 = Vin.ii.209.
    -añjana black collyrium Vin.i.203; -ānusārī black (polished?) Anusāri (“a kind of dark, fragrant sandal wood” Vin. Texts ii.51) Vin.i.203; SN.iii.156 = SN.v.44; AN.v.22; -ayasa black (dark) iron (to distinguish it from bronze, Rh. D., Mil trsl. ii.364; cp. blacksmith → silversmith) Mil.414, Mil.415; -kañjaka a kind of Asuras Titans DN.iii.7; Ja.v.187; Pv-a.272; -kaṇṇī “black-eared”, as an unlucky quality. Cp.iii.6#11; Ja.i.239; Ja.iv.189 Ja.v.134, Ja.v.211; Ja.vi.347; Dhp-a.i.307; Dhp-a.ii.26; the vision of the “black-eared” is a bad omen, which spoils the luck of a hunter, e.g. at Dhp-a.iii.31 (referring here to the sight of a bhikkhu); as “witch” Pv-a.272; Dhp-a.iii.38, Dhp-a.iii.181 as k-k. sakuṇa, a bird of ill omen Ja.ii.153; -kaṇṇika prec.; -kabara spotted, freckled Ja.vi.540; -kesa (adj. with glossy or shiny hair, by itself (kāḷa-kesa) rare e.g. at Ja.vi.578; usually in cpd. susukāḷa-kesa “having an over-abundance of brilliant hair” said of Gotama. This was afterwards applied figuratively in the description of his parting from home, rising to a new life, as it were, possessed of the full strength and vigour of his manhood (as the rising Sun). Cp. the Shamash-Saga which attributes to the Sun a wealth of shiny, glossy (= polished, dark) hair (= rays), and kāḷa in this connection is to be interpreted just as kaṇha (q.v.) in similar combinations (e.g. as Kṛṣṇa Hṛṣīkesa or Kesavā) On this feature of the Sun-god and various expressions of it see ample material in Palmer, The Samson Saga pp. 33–⁠46
    ■ The double application of su˚ does not offer any difficulty, sukāḷa is felt as a simplex in the same way as εὐπλοκαμός or duh˚ in combinations like sudubbala Pv-a.149, sudullabha Vv-a.20. Bdhgh. already interprets the cpd. in this way (DN-a.i.284 = suṭṭhu-k˚ añjana-vaṇṇa k˚ va hutvā; cp. kaṇh-añjana Ja.v.155) Cp. also siniddha-nīla-mudu-kuñcita-keso Ja.i.89, and sukaṇhakaṇha Ja.v.202
    ■ susukāḷakesa of others than the Buddha: MN.ii.66. Modern editors and lexicographers see in susu˚ the Sk. śiśu young of an animal, cub, overlooking the semantical difficulty involved by taking it as a separate word. This mistake has been applied to the compound at all the passages where it is found, and so we find the reading susu kāḷakeso at MN.i.82 = AN.ii.22 = Ja.ii.57; MN.i.163 = AN.i.68 = SN.i.9, SN.i.117; also in Childers’ (relying on Burnouf), or even susū k˚ at SN.iv.111; the only passages showing the right reading susu-k˚ are DN.i.115, MN.i.463. Konow under susu J.P.T.S. 1909 212 has both. -kokila the black (brown) cuckoo Vv-a.57; -jallika (kāḷi˚ for kāḷa˚) having black drops or specks (of dirt) AN.i.253; -daṇḍa a black staff, Sdhp.287 (attr. to the messengers of Yama, cp. Yama as having a black stick at Śat. Br. xi. 6, 1, 7 and 13); -pakkha the dark side, i.e. moonless fortnight of the month AN.ii.18-˚ cātuddasī the 14th day of the dark fortnight Pv-a.55-˚ ratti a moonless night Vv-a.167; (opp. dosina r. -meyya a sort of bird Ja.vi.539; -loṇa black (dark) salt Vin.i.202 (Bdhgh. pakati-loṇa, natural salt); -loha “black metal,” iron ore Mil.267; -valli a kind of creeper Vism.36, Vism.183. -sīha a special kind of lion Ja.iv.208. -sutta a black thread or wire, a carpenter’s measuring line Ja.ii.405; Mil.413; also Name of a Purgatory (niraya) Ja.v.266. See Morris J.P.T.S. 1884, 76–78 -hatthin “black elephant,” an instrument of torture in Avīci Sdhp.195.
  2. Kāla time, etc.
    1. Morning: kāle early Pv.ii.9#41 (= pāto Pv-a.128), kālassa in the morning (gen. of time), early Vv-a.256. Cp. paccūsa-kāle at dawn Dhp-a.iii.242. Opposed to evening or night in kāḷena in the morning Pv.i.6#3 (opp. sāyaṃ). Kāle juṇhe by day and by night Cnd.631
    2. time in general: gacchante gacchante kāle in course of time Dhp-a.i.319 evaṃ gacchante kāle as time went on Pv-a.54, Pv-a.75, Pv-a.127 etc
      ■ kālaṃ for a time Vin.i.176 (spelt kāḷaṃ); kañci kālaṃ some time yet Vv-a.288; ettakaṃ kālaṃ for a long time Pv-a.102
      ■ kālena kālaṃ 1 from time to time Pv-a.151; Vv-a.255, Vv-a.276 2 continuously constantly AN.iv.45; Pp.11 (+ samayena samayaṃ) DN.i.74 (but explained at DN-a.i.218 by kāle kāle in the sense of “every fortnight or every ten days”). kāle in (all) time, always (cp. αἰεί) Snp.73 (expl. in Nd ii.by niccakāle under sadā; but at Snp-a.128 by phāsu-kālena “in good time”); -kāle kāle from time to time, or repeatedly Vv-a.352. See also cira˚, sabba˚
    3. Time in special, either 1 appointed time, date, fixed time or 2 suitable time, proper time, good time, opportunity Cp. Gr. καιρίς and ὡρα; or 3 time of death, death.
      1 Mealtime: Pv-a.25; Vv-a.6; esp. in phrase kālo bho Gotamo, niṭṭhitaṃ bhattaṃ “it is time, Gotama, the meal is ready” DN.i.119 = DN.i.226; Snp.p.111; and in kālaṃ āroceti or ārocāpeti he announces the time (for dinner DN.i.109, DN.i.226; Snp.p.111; Pv-a.22, Pv-a.141; Vv-a.173. -date: kālato from the date or day of…, e.g. diṭṭha˚ paṭṭhāya “from the day that she first saw her” Vv-a.206 gihī˚ paṭṭhāya “from the day of being a layman Pv-a.13.
      2 proper time, right time: also season, as in utu˚; favourable time (of the year) Vin.i.299; Vin.ii.173 kālaṃ jānāti “he knows the proper time” AN.iv.114; as cattāro kālā, four opportunities AN.ii.140; yassa kālaṃ maññasi for what you think it is time (to go), i.e. goodbye DN.i.106, DN.i.189, etc. The three times of the cycle of existence are given at Vism.578 as past, present, and future
      kāla˚; (adj.) in (due) time, timely Vism.229 (˚maraṇa timely death)
      ■ Opp. akāla (it is the) wrong time or inopportune DN.i.205; akāla-cārin going (begging at the improper time Snp.386. akālamegha a cloud arising unexpectedly (at the wrong time) Mil.144 -kāle at the proper time, with vikāle (opp.) Vin.i.199 Vin.i.200; Ja.ii.133; Snp.386. akāle in the wrong season Vv-a.288. kālena in proper time, at the right moment AN.ii.140; Snp.326, Snp.387 (= yutta kālena Snp-a.374) Pv.i.5#3 (= ṭhitakālena Pv-a.26); Pp.50; Iti.42; Kp-a.144 (= khaṇena samayena). Cp. vikāla. (3) The day as appointed by fate or kamma, point of time (for death, cp. Vism.236), the “last hour,” cp. ἠμαρ, illa dies. So in the meaning of death applied not only to this earthly existence, but to all others (peta˚, deva˚, etc.) as well, in phrase [kālaṃ karoti](/define/kālaṃ karoti) “he does his time = he has fulfilled his time” Vin.iii.80; Snp.343, Dhp-a.i.70 and frequently elsewhere; cp. -kata, -kiriyā
      ■ As death in kālaṃ kankhati to await the appointed time SN.i.187; Snp.516 (cp. kankhati) and in dern kālika
      ■ Other examples for this use of kāla see under *bhatta*˚, yañña˚ vappa˚.
  • -antara interval, period: kālantarena in a little while Pv-a.13; na kālantare at once Pv-a.19;
  • -kata (adj.) dead Snp.586, Snp.590; in combination petā kālakatā “the Petas who have fulfilled their (earthly) time Snp.807; Pv.i.5#7 Pv.i.12#1. Also as kālaṅkata Pv.ii.7#9; Vv.80#9; Vism.296
  • -kiriyā death (often combined with maraṇa) MN.ii.108; AN.i.22, AN.i.77, AN.i.261 (as bhaddikā, cp. AN.iii.293); AN.iv.320; Snp.694; Pv.i.10#12 (of a Petī who has come to the end of her existence); Dhp-a.ii.36; Dhp-a.iv.77.
  • -gata = ˚kata Pv-a.29, Pv-a.40.
  • -ññū knowing the proper time for… (c dat. or loc.) Snp.325; described at AN.iv.113 sq.; as one of the five qualities of a rājā cakkavattī (viz. atthaññū dhamma˚, matta˚, k˚, parisa˚) AN.iii.148; one of the seven qual. of a sappurisa, a good man (= prec. + atta˚ puggala˚) DN.iii.252, DN.iii.283; as quality of the Tathāgata DN.iii.134 = Cnd.276; Pp.50.
  • -ññutā n. abstr. to prec AN.ii.101;
  • -(p)pavedana announcement of death (-time) Thag.563 = Ja.i.118 = Vism.389 = Dhp-a.i.248.
  • -bhojana in a˚ eating at the improper time SN.v.470;
  • -vādin speaking at the proper time, in formula kāla˚ bhūta˚ attha dhamma˚ vinaya˚ under sīla No. 7: DN.i.4; DN.iii.175; DN-a.i.76; AN.ii.22, AN.ii.209; Pp.58;
  • -antara interval, period: kālantarena in a little while Pv-a.13; na kālantare at once Pv-a.19;
  • -sataṃ (˚sahassaṃ, etc.) a hundred (thousand, etc.) times Vism.243.