Mahāpiṅgala was once king of Bārāṇasī; he was extremely wicked and quite pitiless. When he died the people were delighted, and burnt his body with one thousand cartloads of wood amidst great festivity. They then elected his son, the Bodhisatta, as king. He noticed that while all others rejoiced, the palace doorkeeper wept, and inquired the reason. The man replied that Mahāpiṅgala would strike him on the head in passing eight times a day. He was sure, he would treat Yama in like fashion, and would be banished from hell and return to his palace where he would again start to assault him. The Bodhisatta told the man it would be quite impossible for Mahāpiṅgala to rise from hell.
The story was told in reference to the great joy shown by multitudes of people at the death of Devadatta.
Devadatta is identified with Mahāpiṅgala. J.ii.239 ﬀ; DhA.i.126 f.