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Bāvarī

A brahmin ascetic who went from Sāvatthi to Dakkhiṇāpatha and lived on the banks of the Godhāvarī in a hermitage which lay half in the territory of Assaka and half in that of Aḷaka. He received the revenue of a village nearby and held a great sacrifice, spending all he possessed. Then to him came a brahmin of terrible mien, demanding five hundred piecesWhen Bāvari told him of his poverty, the brahmin cursed him saying that his head would split in seven pieces. Bāvarī was greatly distressed, but a devatā,² seeing his trouble, reassured him by saying that the brahmin knew neither the meaning of “head” nor of “the splitting of it.” “Who then knows it?” asked Bāvarī, and the devatā told him of the appearance in the world of the Buddha. Forthwith he sent his sixteen pupils — Ajita, Tissametteyya, Puṇṇaka, Mettagū, Dhotaka, Upasīva, Nanda, Hemaka, Todeyya, Kappa, Jatukaṇṇī, Bhadrāvudha, Udaya, Posāla, Mogharāja and Piṅgiya to Sāvatthi to see the Buddha and to find out if his claims to Buddhahood were justified. The pupils went northward, through Aḷaka, Patiṭṭhāna, Māhissati, Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisā, Vanasavhya (or Tumbava, v.l. Vanasāvatthi), Kosambī, Sāketa, and Sāvatthi; then, finding that the Buddha had gone to Rājagaha, they followed him there to the Pāsāṇaka-cetiya, passing through Setavyā, Kapilavatthu, Kusinārā, Pāvā, Bhoganagara and Vesāli. When they arrived before the Buddha, they greeted him in the name of Bāvarī, and being satisfied that he bore the characteristic signs of a Great Being, Ajita asked Bāvarī’s question of the Buddha, and when that had been answered, each of the pupils asked him a question in turn, to which the Buddha replied

According to the Commentary,⁴ all Bāvarī’s disciples and their sixteen thousand followers whom they had gathered on their way, became Arahants at the conclusion of the Buddha’s discourse, save only Piṅgiya, Bāvarī’s nephew, who became a Non-returner, because he had been thinking of Bāvarī when the Buddha taught. Piṅgiya took leave of the Buddha and returned to Bāvarī, to whom he recounted all these events. At the end of his recital, the Buddha appeared before them in a ray of glory and taught them. Piṅgiya thereupon became an Arahant and Bāvarī a Non-returner.

In the time of Kassapa Buddha, Bāvarī was King Kaṭṭhavāhana (q.v.) Hearing of the Buddha from his friend, the king of Bārāṇasī, he sent messengers, including his nephew, to find out about the Buddha and to report to him. However, the nephew returned with the news of the Buddha’s death, which had taken place before their arrival at Bārāṇasī. Thereupon, Kaṭṭhavāhana, having accepted the Buddha’s teaching, engaged in various good deeds and was reborn after death in the Kāmāvacara deva-world. From there he was born in the family of Pasenadi’s chaplain and was the teacher of Pasenadi’s boyhood. Unwilling to remain longer in the court, he took leave of the king and lived in the royal park as an ascetic. Then, wishing for greater peace, he retired to an island (antaradīpa) in the Godhāvarī where the two kings Assaka and Aḷaka gave him a tract of land, five leagues in extent, the residence of the sages of old. It was from there that he sent his disciples to the Buddha.⁵ At that time he was one hundred and twenty years old. Bāvarī was the name of his clan (gotta). He bore on his body three of the marks of a Great Being.⁶

¹ He was a brahmin of Dunniviṭṭha. His wife was a descendant of the family of Jūjaka and was constantly nagging at him. It was she who sent him to Bāvarī, AA.i.183.

² His mother in a previous birth, AA.i.183.

³ For a problem arising out of the manner in which some of the marks were seen, see Mil.168 f; DA.i.275 f. This account is given in SN.vs.976‑1148.

SNA.603 f. SNA.575 ff; AA.i.182 ff. SN.vs.1019.

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