Namipavvajjā: Contributions to the Study of a Jain Canonical Legend

Posted: 05.10.2011
Updated on: 02.07.2015

This paper was first published in the Felicitation Volume Indological Studies in Honour of W. Norman Brown (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1962, pp. 8-17) and reissued later by Albrecht Wezler in the miscellany volume Kleine Schriften (i.e. 'Minor Works' by Ludwig Alsdorf, Wiesbaden 1974, pp. 215-225). To make this online reissue citeable, the page numbers are added to the text (see squared brackets).


Namipavvajjā: Contributions to the Study of a Jain Canonical Legend

[8] In two articles dealing with two of the legendary chapters of the Uttarajjhāyā, [1] I have tried to show that the critical treatment and interpretation of these most ancient and attractive portions of the Jain canon may be carried a step beyond the achievements of Jacobi, Leumann, and Charpentier. It is hoped that the following remarks on another, the ninth, chapter of the same text will be accepted as a modest tribute by the editor of the Kālaka story and explorer of the Jain school of miniatures.

The story of King Nami's pravrajyā and the vain attempts to make him give up his resolve to renounce the world are a favorite theme with Hindus and Buddhists. [2] Utt. 9 has preserved a Jain variation of it in the form of an old dialogue between the King and Indra who, in the disguise of a brahmin puts him to the test by a series of questions and suggestions of what he ought to do instead of leaving, or at least before leaving the world. The chapter, like several others (e.g., 12, 13, 14, 21), is a good illustration of the difference in the Jain and Buddhist treatment of ballads, savādas, and other pieces of “ascetics' poetry.” The “Southern” Buddhists incorporated the old stanzas, and them alone, into their canon without alterations and additions; whatever explanations and supplements the verses needed were given in a prose commentary, and there is only one such commentary, the Jātakaṭṭhavaṇṇanā, which in the end [3] came to form with the verses a practically inseparable whole. The redactor(s) of the Uttarajjhāyā made to the ancient verses the minimum of additions that would create a self-sufficient whole, intelligible without reference to a fuller prose tale. These additions in most cases betray their later origin by their different metre; in particular where we find āryās, so characteristic of the latest layer of the Jain canon, we may almost automatically assume that they are secondary additions. Thus in our chapter the first five stanzas [4] are āryās: they supply the most indispensable data about Nami as [8|9] an introduction to the old saṃvāda composed entirely in ślokas, the first stanza of which (st. 6) speaks of the rāyarisi without mentioning his name. St. 55, another āryā, relates how Indra reassumes his divine form and introduces him as speaker of the stuti, st. 56-58; in a Pali Jātaka, this would be given in prose, just like the last two āryās, st. 59/60, relating Indra's return to heaven; they are a redactorial insertion before the genuine conclusion of the old saṃvāda.

It is clear that the minimum added by the redactor(s), even if serving its purpose of supplying indispensable information and filling gaps, was yet not sufficient to make the full prose tales superfluous. These tales, corresponding to the prose of the Jātakaṭṭhavaṇṇanā, were, as is well known, retold by every commentator in his own way and language - in Sanskrit prose, in Prakrit prose or verse, in Sanskrit ślokas - remaining much more independent of the canonical mūla than the Pali prose of the Jātakas.

St. 7 contains Indra's first question to the King: what do these terrible sounds of wailing mean which are heard in houses and palaces? The king's answer is introduced by the stanza:

eyam, aṭṭhaṃ nisāmettā heu-kāraṇa-coio

tao Namī rāyarisī dev'indaṃ iṇam abbavī,

which from now on recurs with every change of speaker, being adapted to introduce Indra's utterances by the mere exchange of nominatives and accusatives in the second line (Namiṃ … dev' indo). The second pāda is translated by Jacobi: [5] “pursuing his reasons and arguments.” The only possible translation “urged by reasons and arguments” probably seemed to him out of place as Indra has only asked a question and not yet advanced any reasons and arguments. But we have to realize that the poet uses this śloka quite mechanically for introducing the two interlocutors without any regard to the context; the pāda, heu-kāraa-coio, may well be a ready-made phrase for any kind of disputation and not coined for this particular occasion.

The King answers with a poetical simile (st. 9, 10):

Mihilāe ceie vacche sīya-cchāe maṇorame

patta-puppha-phalôvee bahūṇaṃ bahu-guṇe sayā;

vāeṇa hīramāṇammi ceiyammi maṇorame

duhiyā asaraṇā attā ee kandanti, bho, khagā.

Devendra's interpretation of st. 9 - repeated by later commentators - is ludicrous: he explains ceiya as udyāna and maorama as its name; he takes all the -e forms of the first line as locatives with the exception of vacche which is an [9|10] instrumental plural (!). [6] It is needless to go into all the impossibilities in which he is entangled by his complete failure to understand the grammatical construction. Jacobi, unable to accept his explanation (cf. his footnote), was still influenced by it in regarding maṇorama as a proper name (“In Mithilā is the sacred tree Manorama”), which Charpentier also does though translating a little differently (“In Mahilā in the garden Manorama … “). But it is quite obvious that the King does not speak of a particular tree in Mithilā; he speaks only figuratively of “a caitya tree” in a simile, meaning by it, of course, himself. Giving the tree a proper name means destroying the simile. The perfectly simple stanzas should be translated: “There was in Mithilā a lovely caitya tree shedding cool shadow, full of leaves, blossoms, and fruits, at all times offering many boons to many; (now) when that lovely caitya (tree) is being uprooted [7] by a storm, these birds here, Sir, unhappy, deprived of refuge, miserable, scream aloud.”

St. 12 contains the first of the “reasons and arguments” with which Indra urges the King:

esa aggī ya vāū ya, eyaṃ ḍajjhai mandiraṃ

bhayavaṃ anteuraṃ teṇa kīsa ṇaṃ nâvapekkhaha?

The first line is easy enough: “Here is fire and storm, here your palace is on fire!” The second line is translated by Jacobi: “Reverend sir, why do you not look after your seraglio?” It should be noted that in this free rendering tea and a are left untranslated. If they are to be taken into account, the only possible construction to suit Jacobi's translation would be:... tena etad dahyate, bhagavan, mandiram antapura (ca); kasmāt tan nâvekase? The position of tea, the wide separation of mandira and anteura which have to be connected by a missing ca, make this at least rather hard. That there is a real difficulty is shown by Devendra's explanation, which again is an utter impossibility: anteur'antea ti antapurâbhimukha, kīsa tti kasmāt, a vākyâlakāre.

It has so far been taken for granted by commentators and translators that bhayava is the vocative bhagavan. Now in Jaina Prakrit, and particularly in such an old verse, we decidedly expect not bhayavaṃ but bhagava; [8] yet bhayavaṃ is the established and well-attested reading. Further, it is most inappropriate that Indra, ostensibly trying to dissuade the King from becoming a monk, should give him the high spiritual title bhagavat; actually, he addresses him in the following stanzas six times as khattiyā, once each as narâhivā, mauyâhivā, and patthivā, and only in the end, when the King has stood the test and the god, having assumed his divine form, praises his pravrajyā, he [10|11] addresses him now quite appropriately - as bhante (st. 58). All difficulties vanish if we take bhayavaṃ not as bhagavan but as an adjective *bhaya-vat “fearful, frightened”: “(Look,) there your palace is on fire! Thereby your queens are frightened; why do you not care for them?” [9]

Of the next seven stanzas spoken by Indra, six (18, 24, 28, 32, 38, 46) end with the pāda, tao gacchasi khattiyā. Jacobi's translation “then you will be a katriya” is not only grammatically impossible: khattiyā can only be a vocative, and gacchasi could mean “you will be” only if we had something like "khattiyatta gacchasi" - it is also quite unsuited to the context. In all these stanzas, Indra proposes what the king ought to do before he might leave the world: fortify his town (18), erect various buildings (24), establish public safety (28), subject his neighbors (32), perform sacrifices and other pious works (38), fill his treasury (46); it is obvious that the burden of these stanzas cannot be “then you will be a kshatriya” but only “(and when you have done this,) then you might go, i.e., leave the world.” This is what Devendra's translation tato … gaccha katriya amounts to, but his explanation gacchasîti tib-vyatyayād gaccha is of course inadmissible.

In a paper entitled “Futurisches gacchati im Pali,” [10] H. Berger has shown that the forms gacchati, gacchasi, gaccha can be used in Pali as futures. He begins his article by reminding us that according to Pischel, § 523, Prakrit grammarians teach a future gaccha gacchisi gacchiti, of which, however, only the first person gaccha is found in texts. From our verse we learn that in Ardhamāgadhī the second person of that future is not gacchisi but gacchasi, exactly as in Pali (where a clear future gacchasi is found, Jāt. 546 g.19). The same second person future gacchasi occurs once more in our chapter: st. 58, Indra prophesies to the king: iha si uttamo, bhante, pacchā hohisi uttamo / log'uttam'uttama a siddhi gacchasi nīrao. Here the preceding future hohisi leaves no doubt that gacchasi also is a future, as the sense demands; as a matter of fact, Devendra offers here the perfectly correct explanation: gacchasi tti sūtratvād gamiyasi, and also Jacobi cannot help translating “you will reach Perfection.”

In st. 42, Indra advises the King:

ghorâsamaṃ caittāṇaṃ annaṃ patthesi āsamaṃ;

ihêva posaha-rao bhavāhi, maṇuyâhivā!

Devendra comments upon the first word as follows: ghora atyantaduranucara sa câsāv āśramaś ca ghorâśrama gārhasthyam. It is indeed remarkable that tradition should unanimously hand down a corruption so easily mended and that a commentator like Devendra should unhesitatingly comment on such evident nonsense. We have of course to read gharâsama, “Leaving the āśrama of householder, you wish (to enter) another āśrama; be content to observe the [11|12] Posaha (days) here (at home)!” But even Jacobi (let alone Charpentier) was misled by the commentary; he translates: “You have left the dreadful āśrama (that of the householder)” and remarks in a footnote: "Ghorâsama. A Jaina author cannot forbear to name things from his religious point of looking at them. Thus only can it be explained that here Indra is made to apply to the āśrama of the householder an attribute which not he but his opponent could have used. Our verse is, however, probably only a later addition, as it has not the burden of the verses put into the mouth of Indra.” I have quoted Jacobi's remarks because they are the best justification of the simple conjecture proposed. The suspicion he casts on the stanza in the last sentence seems to me entirely unfounded; st. 7, 10, and 51 spoken by Indra are also lacking the burden.

St. 18, Indra exhorts the King:

pāgāraṃ kāraittāṇaṃ gopur'aṭṭālagāṇi ca

ussūlaga-sayagghīo tao gacchasi, khattiyā!

ussūlaga is explained by Devendra as khātikā “most” and so translated by Jacobi. Charpentier remarks in his commentary: “As Devendra gives later on ucchūla as a Sanskrit equivalent of the word, I suppose that we have here the word uccūa, uccūla (also written ucchūa) (cf. ussiya = ucchrita, ussāsa = ucchvāsa, etc., Pischel, § 327a) 'the upper part of a banner,' and that it simply means 'banner'.” I venture to suggest that perhaps ussūlaga is *ucchūlaka “a pointed pale (śūla) turned upward (ud),” i.e., a pale with pointed upper end fixed in the water of the moat in order to impale aggressors jumping into it. This would give good sense: “Have a rampart constructed, gates and battlements, pitfalls and śataghnīs; then … “

The King answers:

saddha nagara kiccāa[11] tava-savara-m-aggala[12]

khanti-niua-pāgāra tiguttī-duppadhasaga

dhau parakkama kiccā jīva ca iriya sayā

dhii ca keyaa kiccā saccea palimanthae

tava-nārāya-juttea bhittūa kamma-kancuya

muṇī vigaya-sagāmo bhavāo parimuccae.

That only the first stanza is the fitting repartee to Indra's suggestion was felt by Devendra when he wrote: “ittha yad ukta 'prākārâdīn kārayitve'ti, [12|13] tat prativacanam uktam. saprati tu prākārâṭṭālakev avaśyam eva yoddhavya, tac ca satsu praharaṇâdiu sati ca vairii sabhavaty, ata āha: dhanu. … “ This attempt to establish a connection between the simile of the impregnable city and that of the aggressive archer cannot prevent us from recognizing in the latter (st. 21, 22a,b) an interpolation: the finite verb palimanthae (21d) does not fit the preceding stanza (dealing with the town) with which it has to be constructed in the present text, and in order to connect the two halves of st. 22, vigayasagāmo has to be given the highly improbable interpretation “one for whom the fight is now over” (Devendra: karma-bhede jeyasya jitatvād vigata sagrāmo yasya sa vigata-sagrāma, whence Jacobi's surprising translation: “victor in battle”). As soon as we remove these three lines, the King's answer becomes perfectly clear and an excellent retort to Indra's words: “Having made śraddhā his city, whose (gate-)bolts are tapas and savara, whose perfect rampart is kānti, which is impregnable through the three guptis, the monk, free from fight (i.e., exempt from fighting because his defences are so strong), is released from existence.”

That this answer consists of three lines will not trouble us: ślokas of six pādas are common enough, e.g., in the Dhammapada. But it did probably trouble the man who introduced the interpolated lines, thus removing the apparent irregularity.

There is another consideration which cannot be overlooked. Indra tests the King ten times, each time with a single stanza. The King answers in the traditional text four times with a single stanza, six times with two or three. It is clear that the normal and, so to say, ideal scheme of the saṃvāda is a series of testing suggestions and retorts in single stanzas separated by the stereotype eyam aṭṭha nisāmettā. … Longer answers are certainly possible as is proved by the very first answer, the simile of the caityavka occupying two stanzas. But every answer of more than one stanza is at least suspect to have been puffed up by the addition of cognate gnomic stanzas, apt quotations, etc. The answer we have just examined (st. 20-22) is a case in point. Another is Nami's reply to the suggestion that he had better first fill his treasury. Indra says (st. 46):

hiraṇṇaṃ suvaṇṇaṃ maṇi-muttaṃ kaṃsaṃ dūsaṃ ca vāhanaṃ

kosaṃ vaḍḍhāvaittāṇaṃ tao gacchasi, khattiyā!

In the first pāda, either hiraṇṇaṃ or suvaṇṇaṃ must be deleted, and after maṇi-muttaṃ a ca must be added, metri causa. But whence this corruption? hiraṇṇa and suvaṇṇa being equally common, why should the metre have been spoilt by the needless addition of one of them? The answer is given by the two stanzas of Nami's retort. That the first of them is a quotation - a very apt one, it is true - is shown by its metre: it is the only triṣṭubh of the chapter:

suvaṇṇa-ruppassa u pavvayā bhave / siyā hu Kelāsa-samā asaṃkhayā

narassa luddhassa na tehiṃ kiṃci / icchā u āgāsa-samā aṇantiyā. [13|14]

The second stanza is doubtless the original retort:

puḍhavī sālī javā ceva hiraṇṇaṃ pasubhis saha

paḍipuṇṇaṃ nâlam, egassa, ii vijjā tavaṃ care.

This original stanza takes up the word hiraṇṇa found in Indra's proposal; but the quotation now prefixed to it opens with the word suvaṇṇa, and it was evidently thought fit that this word, too, should be found in Indra's stanza. So it was squeezed into it regardless of the metre, and this interpolation may perhaps be regarded as an additional proof that st. 48 is an interpolation, too.

There remain three more answers of more than one stanza, viz., 14-16, 34-36, and 53f. St. 14 is the famous stanza found in the Mahābhārata and Jātakas (cf. Charpentier's commentary): “Should Mithilā be burnt, nothing burns that belongs to me.” Considering the old fame of this stanza, we shall hardly be wrong in assuming that in this case it is not the answer that fits Indra's words but that these words are composed so as to fit the famous stanza in order to include it into the saṃvāda. The two following stanzas (15, 16) are no specific replies to Indra's words but general expatiations on the subject of aparigraha: apt quotations, [13] but in all likelihood not made by the author of the old saṃvāda.

The case of st. 34-36 is similar but much more intricate. The text is as follows:

jo sahassaṃ sahassāṇaṃ saṃgāme dujjae jiṇe,

ega, jiejja appāam, esa se paramo jao. [34]

appāam eva jujjhāhi, ki te jujjhea bajjhao?

appaā-m-eva-m-appāa jaittā suham, ehae. [35]

panc'indiyāṇi kohaṃ māṇaṃ māyaṃ tahêva lohaṃ ca

dujjayaṃ ceva appāṇaṃ savvaṃ appe jie jiya. [36]

On st. 36, Jacobi remarks: “The first line of this verse is in Aryā-metre, the second in Anuṣṭubh; the whole will not construe, but the meaning is clear. There are numerous instances in which the metre changes in the same stanza from Āryā to Anuṣṭubh, and vice versa, so frequent they are that we are forced to admit the fact that the authors of these metrical texts did not shrink from taking such liberties.”

This is certainly wrong. The āryā metre alone would suffice to prove that the line in question is an interpolation; but its contents, too, make this quite certain: the King's answer is solely concerned with the fight against the ātman; krodha māna māyā lobha are totally out of place here. The clumsy interpolation might alone account for the impossibility to construct the stanza, of which Charpentier also complains; but there is probably more behind it.

Let us assume for a moment, by way of experiment, that we are at liberty to change the present order of pādas of the three genuine lines of 35/36 with [14|15] a view to obtaining a satisfactory context; we shall then almost inevitably hit upon the following combination:

appāṇaṃ eva jujjhāhi! savvaṃ appe jie jiyaṃ.

dujjayaṃ ceva appāṇaṃ jaittā suham ehae.

If a scribe had this text before him, began copying it, and after appāa eva inadvertently got into the next line, the result would be:

appāṇaṃ eva appāṇaṃ jaittā suham ehae,

This, of course, makes no sense, noticing which the next copyist would ingeniously correct it to

appaṇā-m-eva-m- appāṇaṃ jaittā suham ehae,

i.e., our text of 35c,d; though constructive and intelligible, it is hardly genuine: why should it be stressed (eva!) that the monk must fight his ātman with his ātman? What, after all, does this really mean?

It seems to me fairly probable that the line 35c,d originated in the manner just conjectured. It is more difficult to account for the other two lines. Suppose there was a copyist who had before him a manuscript, with the contaminated text appāa evam appāa jaittā suham, ehae and compared it with a correct manuscript. Further, he remembered a verse found in the Ayāranga (Schubring's edition, p. 23, 9): imea cêva jujjhāhi ki te jujjhea bajjhao. He contaminated this with appāa eva jujjhāhi savva appe jie jiya to: appāa eva jujjhāhi, ki te jujjhea bajjhao, i.e., our present 35a,b. This left him with the two pādas, savva appe jie jiya and dujjaya ceva appāa, of the correct manuscript, which he, fairly stupidly, combined into an inconstructible line and placed at the end. The result was three lines, and to make up for the apparent deficiency of a fourth, a none too intelligent reader hit upon the insertion of the āryā line.

I do not maintain that things happened exactly like this; I freely confess my inability to account for every detail, but I am fairly convinced that the present text of st. 35 and 36 is developed out of one stanza:

appāṇam eva jujjhahi! savvaṃ appe jie jiyaṃ.

dujjayaṃ ceva appāṇaṃ jaittā suham ehae,

“Fight but yourself! When the self is conquered, everything is conquered. He who has conquered his self which is (so) difficult to conquer will obtain happiness.”

We are thus left with two stanzas as the King's answer. If we compare them, we can hardly doubt that 34 - a stanza with an exact parallel in the Dhammapada (103) - is the original answer taken by the poet from the great stock of contemporary gnomic poetry, while the second stanza is an amplifying apt quotation, possibly also going back to the original author of the saṃvāda but more likely a redactorial or even later addition. [15|16]

There is finally the King's last answer. Indra has taunted him (st. 51):

accherayaṃ! abbhudae bhoe cayasi, patthivā,

asante kāme patthesi, saṃkappeṇa vihammasi,

“How strange! Wonderful enjoyments you are giving up, O king, unreal pleasures you seek - you are foiled by imagination!”

Nami answers (st. 53, 54):

salla kāmā, visa kāmā, kāmā āsīvisôpamā,

kāme patthemāṇā [14] akāmā janti duggai.

ahe vayai kohea, māea ahamā gaī,

māyā gaī-paigghāo, lobhāo duhao bhaya,

“A thorn are pleasures, poison are pleasures, pleasures are like a venomous snake; those who seek pleasures go to hell unpleasantly. [15] Down (to hell) one goes through anger, deep down one goes through pride, delusion is an obstruction to (decent) rebirth, from greed there is danger in both worlds.”

Once more, the first stanza is the King's true and original retort, taking up Indra's catchword kāme. The second stanza has no connection with Indra's words; it would be quite unintelligible why the King should suddenly broach the subject of the four passions were it not for the conclusion of the first stanza: janti duggai; it is obvious that these words alone have, as it were, attracted the following stanza - a quotation betraying its character as a gnomic stanza unconnected with the saṃvāda by the use of the singular vayai, which Charpentier unwisely has changed against the manuscript to vayanti in order to adapt it to the preceding janti.

If, however, we regard st. 54 as a secondary addition made probably by the redactor(s) of our chapter, we must pass the same judgment on Indra's stotra, st. 56-58, of which the first stanza praises the victory over the four passions and cannot, therefore, be separated from the rest of it. Not only is the stotra introduced and followed by connecting āryās in which we have recognized redactorial additions; it is the praise of a monk in very general terms with nothing specific to connect it with Nami and the preceding saṃvāda. We shall hardly be wrong in attributing the whole passage from 54 to 60, inclusive, to the redactor; it is only the last but one stanza of the chapter (61) that forms the true conclusion of the old poem. [16]

The last stanza:

evaṃ karenti saṃbuddhā paṇḍiyā paviyakkhaṇā,

viṇiyaṭṭanti bhogesu jahā se Namī rāyarisī

recurs as the last stanza of Utt. 22, where, however, the last pāda appears [16|17] as jahā so puris'uttamo. It is obvious that this metrically correct form is the original one. In our chapter puris'uttamo has been mechanically replaced by the formula Namī rāyarisī, repeated nineteen times before in the stanza eyam aṭṭha nisāmettā … , regardless of the resulting gross metrical irregularity. It seems improbable that the author of the saṃvāda himself should be guilty of this; it is more likely that the stanza was subsequently borrowed from Utt. 22 and very clumsily adapted to its new setting in order to make it appear as a genuine part of the Nami story.

There emerges, as a result of our critical examination of the present text of Utt. 9, as the kernel of the chapter an old saṃvāda composed on very regular lines and according to a well-thought-out plan: one introductory stanza (6); ten single stanzas spoken by Indra (7, 12, 18, 24, 28, 32, 38, 42, 46, 51) to which the King replies in single stanzas with the only exception of the first answer comprising two stanzas; every change of interlocutor is marked by the same formal stanza repeated nineteen times; and, corresponding to the introductory stanza, one narrative stanza (61) concludes the whole. As is only to be expected, the poet has freely used the stock of legendary and gnomic poetry of his time. His product, a typical piece of ākhyāna poetry, would no doubt be recited with a prose introduction and prose explanations not written down. When later on it was received into the Uttarajjhāyā, this prose was replaced by fixed metrical additions, and a number of further additions, mostly "apt" quotations, were made either by the original redactor(s) of the Uttarajjhāyā or even later, a process which it is still possible to follow in considerable detail.

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