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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords
J.497 Maata"nga Jaataka The bodhisatva was once born in an untouchable (candala) village outside Benares and was named Matanga. One day, when Matanga was on his way to the city, a rich woman called Ditthamangalika and her friends on their way to the park noticed him and turned back, washing their eyes to save themself from inauspiciousness. Their followers, disappointed at being deprived of their fun, beat the bodhisatva and left him senseless. On recovering consciousness, Matanga was determined to obtain Ditthamangalika as his wife and lay down in front of her father’s house refusing to move. For seven days he lay there until the relations, fearing the ignominy of having an untouchable die on their doorstep, gave Ditthamangalika to him as wife. Knowing that her pride had been curbed by this act, Matanga decided to bring his wife great honour. He therefore retired to the forest and in seven days through meditation, attained supernatural powers. On his return he told her to proclaim publically that her husband was no untouchable, but ‘Mahabrahma’ and that seven days later, on the night of the full moon, he would come to her breaking through the moon’s disk. She did as he said and he did as predicted. The people therefore honoured the woman as a goddess and the water in which she washed her feet was fit for the coronation of a king. In one single day she received 18 crores from those who were allowed the privilege of saluting her. Matanga touched her navel with his thumb, and knowing that she had conceived a son, admonished her to be vigilant and returned to the moon. The son was born in a pavillion which the people had constructed for the use of Ditthamangalika and was therefore called Mandavya. At the age of sixteen he knew all the Vedas and fed 16,000 brahmins daily. On a feast day Matanga came to him thinking to turn him from his false doctrines, but Mandavya failed to recognize him and had him cast out by his servants. The gods of the city thereupon grew angry and twisted the necks of Mandavya and all the brahmins so that their eyes looked over their shoulders. When Ditthamangalika heard of this, she sought Matanga who had left his footsteps so that she might know where he was. He asked her to sprinkle water containing the remnants of his food on the brahmins. Mandavya himself was given some of the food. On recovering and seeing the plight of the brahmins, he realized his error. The brahmins recovered, but were shunned by their colleagues -- and therefore left the country and went to live in the kingdom of Mejjha. On the bank of the river Vettavati lived a brahmin called Jatimanta who was very proud of his birth. Matanga went to humble his pride and lived on the same bank further upstream. One day he nibbled a tooth-stick and threw it in the river, where lower down, it stuck in Jatimanta’s hair. He was so annoyed that he went to Matanga and told him that if he stayed any longer than seven days his head would split into seven pieces. On the seventh day, Matanga stopped the sun from rising. On discovering the cause, the people dragged Jatimanta to Matanga to ask forgiveness. Matanga then went to the kingdom of Mejjha where the exiled brahmins reported to the king that he was a juggler and a mountebank. The king’s messenger surprised Matanga as he was eating his food beside a well and cut off his head. He was born in the Brahma world. The gods were angry and wiped out the whole kingdom of Mejjha by covering it in torrents of hot ashes. The Jataka was told in reference to the attempt of King Udena to torture Pindolabharadvaja. Udena is identified with Mandavya. 61/001 Jaataka Khuddhaka J.iv.375ff. arrogance

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Last modified on: Sunday, 2 January 2000.