Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Conversion of Prakrati; a Chandalika

1. Once the Blessed Lord was living in Shravasti in theJetavana Arama of Anathpindika.

2. It so happened that Ananda, his disciple, had goneinto the city to beg for alms. After eating his food Anandawas going to the river for drinking water.

3. He saw a girl on the river bank filling her pot.Ananda asked her to give him some water.

4. The girl, whose name was Prakrati, refused sayingshe was a Chandalika.

5. Ananda said, "I am concerned with water. I am notconcerned with your caste." The girl then gave him somewater from her pot.

6. Thereafter Ananda left for Jetavana. The girlfollowed him and saw where he was staying and foundthat his name was Ananda and that he was a follower ofthe Buddha.

7. On returning home she told her mother Matangiwhat had happened and falling on the ground startedweeping.

8. The mother asked for the cause of her weeping. Thegirl told the whole story, and said, "if you wish to marryme I can only marry Ananda. I will not marry anybodyelse."

9. The mother started on an inquiry. On return shetold the girl that such a marriage was impossible forAnanda was under a vow of celibacy.

10. On hearing this news the girl was filled withextreme sorrow and gave up food. She was not preparedto take things as though it was a decree of fate. So shesaid: "Mother, you know the art of sorcery, don’t you?Why don’t you employ it to achieve our purpose ?" Themother said, "I will see what can be done."

11. Matangi invited Ananda to her house for a meal.The girl became very happy. Matangi then told Anandathat her daughter was very anxious to marry him.Ananda replied, "I am vowed to be celibate and thereforeI cannot marry any woman."

12. "If you do not marry my daughter, she will commitsuicide, so attached she is to you," Matangi told Ananda."But I cannot help," replied Ananda.

13. Matangi went inside and told her daughter thatAnanda refused to marry her.

14. The girl cried: "Mother, where is your sorcery?"The mother said, "My sorcery cannot win against theTathagata."

15. The girl shouted and said, "Close the door and donot allow him to go out. I shall see that he becomes myhusband this very night."

16. The mother did what the girl wanted her to do. Asnight fell the mother brought in the room a bed. The girl,dressed in her best, stepped in. But Ananda remainedunmoved.

17. The mother at last used her sorcery. As a result afire broke out in the room. The mother then held Anandaby his clothes and said, "If you will not agree to marry mydaughter, I will throw you in this fire." However, Anandadid not yield, and the mother and the daughter feelinghelpless, left him free.

18. Ananda on his return told the Blessed Lord all thathad happened.

19. On the second day the girl came to Jetavana insearch of Ananda. Ananda was going out for alms.Ananda saw her and wanted to avoid her. But the girlfollowed him wherever he went.

20. When Ananda returned to Jetavana he found thegirl waiting at the door of his Vihar.

21. Ananda told the Blessed One how the girl waspursuing him. The Blessed One sent for her.

22. When the girl appeared before him the BlessedOne asked her why she was pursuing Ananda. The girlreplied that she was intent on marrying him "1 haveheard he is unmarried and I am also unmarried."

23. The Bhagavan said, "Ananda is a Bhikku and hehas no hair on his head. If you can get yourself cleanshaven I shall see what could be done."

24. The girl replied, "I am prepared for it." TheBhagavan said, "You must get your mother’s permissionfor undergoing tonsure."

25. The girl returned to her mother and said, "Mother!I have achieved what you failed to achieve. The Bhagavanhas promised to get me married to Ananda if I undergotonsure."

26. The mother grew angry and said, "You must notdo that. You are my daughter and you must keep hair.Why are you so eager to marry a Shramana like Ananda. Ican get you married to a better man."

27. She replied, "I will either die or marry Ananda.There is no third alternative for me."

28. The Mother said, "Why are you insulting me?" Thegirl said, " If you love me you must let me do as I wish."

29. The mother withdrew her objection and the girlunderwent tonsure.

30. Then the girl presented herself before the BlessedLord saying, "I have tonsured my head as directed byyou."

31. The Blessed Lord then asked her, "What do youwant? What part of his body you cherish?" The girl said,"I am in love with his nose, I am in love with his mouth, Iam in love with his ears, I am in love with his voice, I amin love with his eyes and I am in love with his gait."

32. The Blessed Lord then said to the girl, "Do youknow that the eyes are the home of tears, the nose is thehome of dirt, the mouth is the home of spit, the ear is thehome of dirt and the body is the container of dung andurine.

33. "When men and women come together theyprocreate children. But where there is birth there is deathalso; where there is death there is sorrow also. My deargirl, what are you going to get by marrying Ananda. I donot know."

34. The girl began to cogitate and agreed that therewas no purpose in her marriage with Ananda on whichshe was so intent and she told the Blessed Lordaccordingly.

35. After saluting the Blessed Lord the girl said:"Owing to ignorance I was going in pursuit of Ananda.My mind is now enlightened. I am like a sailor whoseship after a mishap has reached the other bank. I am likean unprotected aged person who has found protection. Iam like the blind who has got new sight. The BlessedLord by his wise words of advice has awakened me frommy sleep."

36. "Blessed art thou, Prakrati, for though you are aChandalika you will be a model for noblemen andnoblewomen. You are of low caste, but Brahmins willlearn a lesson from you. Swerve not from the path ofjustice and righteousness and you will outshine the royalglory of queens on the throne."

37. The marriage having failed, the only course for herwas to join the Bhikkhuni Sangh.38. Having expressed her wish she was admitted intoit, though she belonged to the lowest class.

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