Sacred Books of the East

Part 6 out of 9

believers, obey God, and obey the apostle, and those who are in
authority among you: and if ye differ in anything, refer it unto God[72]
and the apostle, if ye believe in God and the last day: this is better,
and a fairer method of determination. Hast thou not observed those who
pretend they believe in what hath been revealed unto thee, and what hath
been revealed before thee? They desire to go to judgment before Taghut,
although they have been commanded not to believe in him; and Satan
desireth to seduce them into a wide error. And when it is said unto
them, Come unto the book which God hath sent down, and to the apostle;
thou seest the ungodly turn aside from thee, with great aversion. But
how will they behave when a misfortune shall befall them, for that which
their hands have sent before them? Then will they come unto thee, and
swear by God, saying, We intended no other than to do good, and to
reconcile the parties. God knoweth what is in the hearts of these men;
therefore let them alone, and admonish them, and speak unto them a word
which may affect their souls. We have not sent any apostle, but that he
might be obeyed by the permission of God: but if they, after they have
injured their own souls, come unto thee, and ask pardon of God, and the
apostle ask pardon for them, they shall surely find God easy to be
reconciled and merciful. And by thy Lord they will not perfectly
believe, until they make thee judge of their controversies; and shall
not afterwards find in their own minds any hardship in what thou shalt
determine, but shall acquiesce therein with entire submission. And if we
had commanded them, saying, Slay yourselves, or depart from your houses,
they would not have done it, except a few of them. And if they had done
what they were admonished, it would certainly have been better for them,
and more efficacious for confirming their faith; and we should then have
surely given them in our sight an exceeding great reward, and we should
have directed them in the right way. Whoever obeyeth God and the
apostle, they shall be with those unto whom God hath been gracious, of
the prophets, and the sincere, and the martyrs, and the righteous; and
these are the most excellent company. This is bounty from God; and God
is sufficiently knowing. O true believers, take your necessary
precaution against your enemies, and either go forth to war in separate
parties, or go forth all together in a body. There is of you who
tarrieth behind; and if a misfortune befall you, he saith, Verily God
hath been gracious unto me, that I was not present with them: but if
success attend you from God, he will say (as if there was no friendship
between you and him), Would to God I had been with them, for I should
have acquired great merit. Let them therefore fight for the religion of
God, who part with the present life in exchange for that which is to
come; for whosoever fighteth for the religion of God, whether he be
slain, or be victorious, we will surely give him a great reward. And
what ails you, that ye fight not for God's true religion, and in defence
of the weak among men, women, and children, who say, O Lord, bring us
forth from this city, whose inhabitants are wicked; grant us from before
thee a protector, and grant us from thee a defender. They who believe
fight for the religion of God; but they who believe not fight for the
religion of Taghut. Fight therefore against the friends of Satan, for
the stratagem of Satan is weak. Hast thou not observed those unto whom
it was said, Withhold your hands from war, and be constant at prayers,
and pay the legal alms? But when war is commanded them, behold, a part
of them fear men as they should fear God, or with a greater fear, and
say, O Lord, wherefore hast thou commanded us to go to war, and hast not
suffered us to wait our approaching end? Say unto them, The provision of
this life is but small; but the future shall be better for him who
feareth God; and ye shall not be in the least injured at the day of
judgment. Wheresoever ye be, death will overtake you, although ye be in
lofty towers. If good befall them, they say, This is from God; but if
evil befall them, they say, This is from thee, O Mohammed: say, All is
from God; and what aileth these people, that they are so far from
understanding what is said unto them? Whatever good befalleth thee, O
man, it is from God; and whatever evil befalleth thee, it is from
thyself.[73] We have sent thee an apostle unto men, and God is a
sufficient witness thereof. Whoever obeyeth the apostle, obeyeth God;
and whoever turneth back, we have not sent thee to be a keeper over
them. They say, Obedience: yet when they go forth from thee, part of
them meditate by night a matter different from what thou speakest; but
God shall write down what they meditate by night: therefore let them
alone, and trust in God, for God is a sufficient protector. Do they not
attentively consider the Koran? If it had been from any besides God,
they would certainly have found therein many contradictions. When any
news cometh unto them, either of security or fear, they immediately
divulge it; but if they told it to the apostle and to those who are in
authority among them, such of them would understand the truth of the
matter, as inform themselves thereof from the apostle and his chiefs.
And if the favor of God and his mercy had not been upon you, ye had
followed the devil, except a few of you. Fight therefore for the
religion of God, and oblige not any to what is difficult, except
thyself; however, excite the faithful to war, perhaps God will restrain
the courage of the unbelievers; for God is stronger than they, and more
able to punish. He who intercedeth between men with a good intercession
shall have a portion thereof; and he who intercedeth with an evil
intercession shall have a portion thereof; for God overlooketh all
things. When ye are saluted with a salutation, salute the person with a
better salutation, or at least return the same; for God taketh an
account of all things. God! there is no God but he; he will surely
gather you together on the day of resurrection; there is no doubt of it:
and who is more true than God in what he saith? Why are ye divided
concerning the ungodly into two parties; since God hath overturned them
for what they have committed? Will ye direct him whom God hath led
astray; since for him whom God shall lead astray, thou shalt find no
true path? They desire that ye should become infidels, as they are
infidels, and that ye should be equally wicked with themselves.
Therefore take not friends from among them, until they fly their country
for the religion of God; and if they turn back from the faith, take
them, and kill them wherever ye find them; and take no friend from among
them, nor any helper, except those who go unto a people who are in
alliance with you, for those who come unto you, their hearts forbidding
them either to fight against you, or to fight against their own people.
And if God pleased he would have permitted them to have prevailed
against you, and they would have fought against you. But if they depart
from you, and fight not against you and offer you peace, God doth not
allow you to take or kill them. Ye shall find others who are desirous to
enter into a confidence with you, and at the same time to preserve a
confidence with their own people: so often as they return to sedition,
they shall be subverted therein; and if they depart not from you, and
offer you peace, and restrain their hands from warring against you, take
them and kill them wheresoever ye find them; over these have we granted
you a manifest power. It is not lawful for a believer to kill a
believer, unless it happen by mistake; and whoso killeth a believer by
mistake, the penalty shall be the freeing of a believer from slavery,
and a fine to be paid to the family of the deceased,[74] unless they
remit it as alms: and if the slain person be of a people at enmity with
you, and be a true believer, the penalty shall be the freeing of a
believer; but if he be of a people in confederacy with you, a fine to be
paid to his family, and the freeing of a believer. And he who findeth
not wherewith to do this, shall fast two months consecutively, as a
penance enjoined from God; and God is knowing and wise. But whoso
killeth a believer designedly, his reward shall be hell; he shall remain
therein forever; and God shall be angry with him, and shall curse him,
and shall prepare for him a great punishment. O true believers, when ye
are on a march in defence of the true religion, justly discern such as
ye shall happen to meet, and say not unto him who saluteth you, Thou art
not a true believer; seeking the accidental goods of the present life;
for with God is much spoil. Such have ye formerly been, but God hath
been gracious unto you; therefore make a just discernment, for God is
well acquainted with that which ye do. Those believers who sit still at
home, not having any hurt, and those who employ their fortunes and their
persons for the religion of God, shall not be held equal. God hath
preferred those who employ their fortunes and their persons in that
cause, to a degree of honor above those who sit at home: God hath indeed
promised everyone paradise, but God hath preferred those who fight for
the faith before those who sit still, by adding unto them a great
reward, by degrees of honor conferred on them from him, and by granting
them forgiveness and mercy; for God is indulgent and merciful. Moreover,
unto those whom the angels put to death, having injured their own
souls,[75] the angels said, Of what religion were ye? they answered, We
were weak in the earth. The angels replied, Was not God's earth wide
enough, that ye might fly therein to a place of refuge? Therefore their
habitation shall be hell; and an evil journey shall it be thither:
except the weak among men, and women, and children, who were not able to
find means, and were not directed in the way; these peradventure God
will pardon, for God is ready to forgive and gracious. Whosoever flieth
from his country for the sake of God's true religion, shall find in the
earth many forced to do the same, and plenty of provisions. And whoever
departeth from his house, and flieth unto God and his apostle, if death
overtake him in the way, God will be obliged to reward him, for God is
gracious and merciful. When ye march to war in the earth, it shall be no
crime in you if ye shorten your prayers, in case ye fear the infidels
may attack you; for the infidels are your open enemy. But when thou, O
prophet, shalt be among them, and shalt pray with them, let a party of
them arise to prayer with thee, and let them take their arms; and when
they shall have worshipped, let them stand behind you, and let another
party come that hath not prayed, and let them pray with thee, and let
them be cautious and take their arms. The unbelievers would that ye
should neglect your arms and your baggage while ye pray, that they might
turn upon you at once. It shall be no crime in you, if ye be incommoded
by rain, or be sick, that ye lay down your arms; but take your necessary
precaution. God hath prepared for the unbelievers an ignominious
punishment. And when ye shall have ended your prayer, remember God,
standing, and sitting, and lying on your sides. But when ye are secure
from danger, complete your prayers; for prayer is commanded the
faithful, and appointed to be said at the stated times. Be not negligent
in seeking out the unbelieving people, though ye suffer some
inconvenience; for they also shall suffer, as ye suffer, and ye hope for
a reward from God which they cannot hope for; and God is knowing and
wise. We have sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, that
thou mayest judge between men through that wisdom which God showeth thee
therein; and be not an advocate for the fraudulent; but ask pardon of
God for thy wrong intention, since God is indulgent and merciful.
Dispute not for those who deceive one another, for God loveth not him
who is a deceiver or unjust. Such conceal themselves from men, but they
conceal not themselves from God; for he is with them when they imagine
by night a saying which pleaseth him not, and God comprehendeth what
they do. Behold, ye are they who have disputed for them in this present
life; but who shall dispute with God for them on the day of
resurrection, or who will become their patron? yet he who doth evil, or
injureth his own soul, and afterwards asketh pardon of God, shall find
God gracious and merciful. Whoso committeth wickedness, committeth it
against his own soul: God is knowing and wise. And whoso committeth a
sin or iniquity, and afterwards layeth it on the innocent, he shall
surely bear the guilt of calumny and manifest injustice. If the
indulgence and mercy of God had not been upon thee, surely a part of
them had studied to seduce thee; but they shall seduce themselves only,
and shall not hurt thee at all. God hath sent down unto thee the book of
the Koran and wisdom, and hath taught thee that which thou knewest not;
for the favor of God hath been great towards thee. There is no good in
the multitude of their private discourses, unless in the discourse of
him who recommendeth alms, or that which is right, or agreement amongst
men; whoever doth this out of a desire to please God we will surely give
him a great reward. But whoso separateth himself from the apostle, after
true direction hath been manifested unto him, and followeth any other
way than that of the true believers, we will cause him to obtain that to
which he is inclined, and will cast him to be burned in hell; and an
unhappy journey shall it be thither. Verily God will not pardon the
giving him a companion, but he will pardon any crime besides that, unto
whom he pleaseth: and he who giveth a companion unto God, is surely led
aside into a wide mistake: the infidels invoke beside him only female
deities, and only invoke rebellious Satan. God cursed him; and he said,
Verily I will take of thy servants a part cut off from the rest, and I
will seduce them, and will insinuate vain desires into them, and I will
command them, and they shall cut off the ears of cattle; and I will
command them, and they shall change God's creature. But whoever taketh
Satan for his patron, besides God, shall surely perish with a manifest
destruction. He maketh them promises, and insinuateth into them vain
desires; yet Satan maketh them only deceitful promises. The receptacle
of these shall be hell, they shall find no refuge from it. But they who
believe, and do good works, we will surely lead them into gardens,
through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein forever,
according to the true promise of God; and who is more true than God in
what he saith? It shall not be according to your desires, nor according
to the desires of those who have received the scriptures. Whoso doeth
evil, shall be rewarded for it; and shall not find any patron or helper,
beside God; but whoso doeth good works, whether he be male or female,
and is a true believer, they shall be admitted into paradise, and shall
not in the least be unjustly dealt with. Who is better in point of
religion than he who resigneth himself unto God, and is a worker of
righteousness, and followeth the law of Abraham the orthodox? since God
took Abraham for his friend: and to God belongeth whatsoever is in
heaven and on earth; God comprehendeth all things. They will consult
thee concerning women; Answer, God instructeth you concerning them, and
that which is read unto you in the book of the Koran concerning female
orphans, to whom ye give not that which is ordained them, neither will
ye marry them, and concerning weak infants, and that ye observe justice
towards orphans: whatever good ye do, God knoweth it. If a woman fear
ill usage, or aversion, from her husband, it shall be no crime in them
if they agree the matter amicably between themselves; for a
reconciliation is better than a separation. Men's souls are naturally
inclined to covetousness: but if ye be kind towards women, and fear to
wrong them, God is well acquainted with what ye do. Ye can by no means
carry yourselves equally between women in all respects, although ye
study to do it; therefore turn not from a wife with all manner of
aversion, nor leave her like one in suspense: if ye agree, and fear to
abuse your wives, God is gracious and merciful; but if they separate,
God will satisfy them both of his abundance; for God is extensive and
wise, and unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth. We
have already commanded those unto whom the scriptures were given before
you, and we command you also, saying, Fear God; but if ye disbelieve,
unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and God is
self-sufficient, and to be praised; for unto God belongeth whatsoever is
in heaven and on earth, and God is a sufficient protector. If he
pleaseth he will take you away, O men, and will produce others in your
stead; for God is able to do this. Whoso desireth the reward of this
world, verily with God is the reward of this world, and also of that
which is to come; God both heareth and seeth. O true believers, observe
justice when ye bear witness before God, although it be against
yourselves, or your parents, or relations; whether the party be rich, or
whether he be poor; for God is more worthy than them both: therefore
follow not your own lust in bearing testimony, so that ye swerve from
justice. And whether ye wrest your evidence, or decline giving it, God
is well acquainted with that which ye do. O true believers, believe in
God and his apostle, and the book which he hath caused to descend unto
his apostle, and the book which he hath formerly sent down. And
whosoever believeth not in God, and his angels, and his scriptures, and
his apostles, and the last day, he surely erreth in a wide mistake.
Moreover, they who believed, and afterwards became infidels, and then
believed again, and after that disbelieved, and increased in infidelity,
God will by no means forgive them, nor direct them into the right way.
Declare unto the ungodly that they shall suffer a painful punishment.
They who take the unbelievers for their protectors, besides the
faithful, do they seek for power with them? since all power belongeth
unto God. And he hath already revealed unto you, in the book of the
Koran, the following passage: When ye shall hear the signs of God, they
shall not be believed, but they shall be laughed to scorn. Therefore sit
not with them who believe not, until they engage in different discourse;
for if ye do, ye will certainly become like unto them. God will surely
gather the ungodly and the unbelievers together in hell. They who wait
to observe what befalleth you, if victory be granted you from God, say,
Were we not with you? But if any advantage happen to the infidels, they
say unto them, Were we not superior to you, and have we not defended you
against the believers? God shall judge between you on the day of
resurrection; and God will not grant the unbelievers means to prevail
over the faithful. The hypocrites act deceitfully with God, but he will
deceive them; and when they stand up to pray, they stand carelessly,
affecting to be seen of men, and remember not God, unless a little,
wavering between faith and infidelity, and adhering neither unto these
nor unto those: and for him whom God shall lead astray, thou shalt find
no true path. O true believers, take not the unbelievers for your
protectors, besides the faithful. Will ye furnish God with an evident
argument of impiety against you? Moreover, the hypocrites shall be in
the lowest bottom of hell fire, and thou shalt not find any to help them
thence. But they who repent and amend, and adhere firmly unto God, and
approve the sincerity of their religion to God, they shall be numbered
with the faithful; and God will surely give the faithful a great reward.
And how should God go about to punish you, if ye be thankful and
believe? for God is grateful and wise. God loveth not the speaking ill
of anyone in public, unless he who is injured call for assistance; and
God heareth and knoweth: whether ye publish a good action, or conceal
it, or forgive evil, verily God is gracious and powerful. They who
believe not in God and his apostles, and would make a distinction
between God and his apostles, and say, We believe in some of the
prophets, and reject others of them, and seek to take a middle way in
this matter; these are really unbelievers, and we have prepared for the
unbelievers an ignominious punishment. But they who believe in God and
his apostles, and make no distinction between any of them, unto those
will we surely give their reward; and God is gracious and merciful. They
who have received the scriptures will demand of thee, that thou cause a
book to descend unto them from heaven: they formerly asked of Moses a
greater thing than this; for they said, Show us God visibly. Wherefore a
storm of fire from heaven destroyed them, because of their iniquity.
Then they took the calf for their God: after that evident proofs of the
divine unity had come unto them; but we forgave them that, and gave
Moses a manifest power to punish them. And we lifted the mountain of
Sinai over them, when we exacted from them their covenant; and said unto
them, Enter the gate of the city worshipping. We also said unto them,
Transgress not on the Sabbath day. And we received from them a firm
covenant, that they would observe these things. Therefore for that[76]
they have made void their covenant, and have not believed in the signs
of God, and have slain the prophets unjustly, and have said, Our hearts
are uncircumcised (but God hath sealed them up, because of their
unbelief; therefore they shall not believe, except a few of them): and
for that they have not believed on Jesus, and have spoken against Mary a
grievous calumny; and have said, Verily we have slain Christ Jesus the
son of Mary, the apostle of God; yet they slew him not, neither
crucified him, but he was represented by one in his likeness; and verily
they who disagreed concerning him,[77] were in a doubt as to this
matter, and had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an
uncertain opinion. They did not really kill him; but God took him up
unto himself: and God is mighty and wise. And there shall not be one of
those who have received the scriptures, who shall not believe in him,
before his death;[78] and on the day of resurrection he shall be a
witness against them. Because of the iniquity of those who Judaize, we
have forbidden them good things, which had been formerly allowed them;
and because they shut out many from the way of God, and have taken
usury, which was forbidden them by the law, and devoured men's substance
vainly: we have prepared for such of them as are unbelievers a painful
punishment. But those among them who are well grounded in knowledge, and
the faithful, who believe in that which hath been sent down unto thee,
and that which hath been sent down unto the prophets before thee, and
who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms, and believe in
God and the last day; unto these will we give a great reward. Verily we
have revealed our will unto thee, as we have revealed it unto Noah and
the prophets who succeeded him; and as we revealed it unto Abraham, and
Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and unto Jesus, and Job,
and Jonas, and Aaron, and Solomon; and we have given thee the Koran, as
we gave the Psalms unto David: some apostles have we sent, whom we have
formerly mentioned unto thee; and other apostles have we sent, whom we
have not mentioned unto thee; and God spake unto Moses, discoursing with
him; apostles declaring good tidings, and denouncing threats, lest men
should have an argument of excuse against God, after the apostles had
been sent unto them; God is mighty and wise. God is witness of that
revelation which he hath sent down unto thee; he sent it down with his
special knowledge: the angels also are witnesses thereof; but God is a
sufficient witness. They who believe not, and turn aside others from the
way of God, have erred in a wide mistake. Verily those who believe not,
and act unjustly, God will by no means forgive, neither will he direct
them into any other way than the way of hell; they shall remain therein
forever: and this is easy with God. O men, now is the apostle come unto
you, with truth from your Lord; believe therefore, it will be better for
you. But if ye disbelieve, verily unto God belongeth whatsoever is in
heaven and on earth; and God is knowing and wise. O ye who have received
the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, neither say
of God any other than the truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary is
the apostle of God, and his Word, which he conveyed into Mary, and a
spirit proceeding from him. Believe, therefore, in God, and his
apostles, and say not, There are three Gods;[79] forbear this; it will
be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that he should
have a son! unto him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and
God is a sufficient protector. Christ doth not proudly disdain to be a
servant unto God; neither the angels who approach near to his presence:
and whoso disdaineth his service, and is puffed up with pride, God will
gather them all to himself, on the last day. Unto those who believe, and
do that which is right, he shall give their rewards, and shall
superabundantly add unto them of his liberality: but those who are
disdainful and proud, he will punish with a grievous punishment; and
they shall not find any to protect or to help them, besides God. O men,
now is an evident proof come unto you from your Lord, and we have sent
down unto you manifest light. They who believe in God and firmly adhere
to him, he will lead them into mercy from him, and abundance; and he
will direct them in the right way to himself. They will consult thee for
thy decision in certain cases; say unto them, God giveth you these
determinations, concerning the more remote degrees of kindred. If a man
die without issue, and have a sister, she shall have the half of what he
shall leave:[80] and he shall be heir to her,[81] in case she have no
issue. But if there be two sisters, they shall have between them two
third-parts of what he shall leave; and if there be several, both
brothers and sisters, a male shall have as much as the portion of two
females. God declareth unto you these precepts, lest ye err: and God
knoweth all things.

[Footnote 63: This title was given to this chapter because it chiefly
treats of matters relating to women: as marriages, divorces, dower,
prohibited degrees.]

[Footnote 64: By legacies in this and the following passages, are
chiefly meant those bequeathed to pious uses; for the Mohammedans
approve not of a person's giving away his substance from his family and
near relations on any other account.]

[Footnote 65: Their punishment, in the beginning of Mohammedanism, was
to be immured till they died, but afterwards this cruel doom was
mitigated, and they might avoid it by undergoing the punishment ordained
in its stead by the Sonna, according to which the maidens are to be
scourged with a hundred stripes, and to be banished for a full year; and
the married women to be stoned.]

[Footnote 66: According to this passage it is not lawful to marry a free
woman that is already married, be she a Mohammedan or not, unless she be
legally parted from her husband by divorce; but it is lawful to marry
those who are slaves, or taken in war, after they shall have gone
through the proper purifications, though their husbands be living. Yet,
according to the decision of Abu Hanifah, it is not lawful to marry such
whose husbands shall be taken, or in actual slavery with them.]

[Footnote 67: The reason of this is because they are not presumed to
have had so good education. A slave, therefore, in such a case, is to
have fifty stripes, and to be banished for half a year; but she shall
not be stoned, because it is a punishment which cannot be inflicted by

[Footnote 68: These sins al Beidawi, from a tradition of Mohammed,
reckons to be seven (equalling in number the sins called deadly by
Christians), that is to say, idolatry, murder, falsely accusing modest
women of adultery, wasting the substance of orphans, taking of usury,
desertion in a religious expedition, and disobedience to parents.]

[Footnote 69: Such as honor, power, riches, and other worldly

[Footnote 70: By this passage the Mohammedans are in plain terms allowed
to beat their wives, in case of stubborn disobedience; but not in a
violent or dangerous manner.]

[Footnote 71: The Arabic is, in Tibt and Taghut. The former is supposed
to have been the proper name of some idol; but it seems rather to
signify any false deity in general. The latter we have explained

[Footnote 72: That is, to the decision of the Koran.]

[Footnote 73: These words are not to be understood as contradictory to
the preceding, "That all proceeds from God," since the evil which
befalls mankind, though ordered by God, is yet the consequence of their
own wicked actions.]

[Footnote 74: Which fine is to be distributed according to the laws of
inheritance given in the beginning of this chapter.]

[Footnote 75: These were certain inhabitants of Mecca, who held with the
hare and ran with the hounds, for though they embraced Mohammedanism,
yet they would not leave that city to join the prophet, as the rest of
the Moslems did, but on the contrary went out with the idolaters, and
were therefore slain with them at the battle of Bedr.]

[Footnote 76: There being nothing in the following words of this
sentence, to answer to the causal "for that," Jallalo'ddin supposes
something to be understood to complete the sense, as "therefore we have
cursed them," or the like.]

[Footnote 77: For some maintained that he was justly and really
crucified; some insisted that it was not Jesus who suffered, but another
who resembled him in the face, pretending the other parts of his body,
and by their unlikeness plainly discovered the imposition; some said he
was taken up into heaven; and others, that his manhood only suffered,
and that his godhead ascended into heaven.]

[Footnote 78: This passage is expounded two ways. Some, referring the
relative his to the first antecedent, take the meaning to be that no Jew
or Christian shall die before he believes in Jesus: for they say, that
when one of either of those religions is ready to breathe his last, and
sees the angel of death before him, he shall then believe in that
prophet as he ought, though his faith will not then be of any avail.
According to a tradition of Hejaj, when a Jew is expiring, the angels
will strike him on the back and face, and say to him, "O thou enemy of
God, Jesus was sent as a prophet unto thee, and thou didst not believe
on him;" to which he will answer, "I now believe him to be the servant
of God"; and to a dying Christian they will say, "Jesus was sent as a
prophet unto thee, and thou hast imagined him to be God, or the son of
God," whereupon he will believe him to be the servant of God only, and
his apostle. Others, taking the above-mentioned relative to refer to
Jesus, suppose the intent of the passage to be, that all Jews and
Christians in general shall have a right faith in that prophet before
his death, that is, when he descends from heaven and returns into the
world, where he is to kill Antichrist, and to establish the Mohammedan
religion, and a most perfect tranquillity and security on earth.]

[Footnote 79: Namely, God, Jesus, and Mary--as the eastern writers
mention a sect of Christians which held the Trinity to be composed of
those three; but it is allowed that this heresy has been long since
extinct. The passage, however, is equally levelled against the Holy
Trinity, according to the doctrine of the orthodox Christians, who, as
al Beid[=a]wi acknowledges, believe the divine nature to consist of
three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; by the Father
understanding God's essence, by the Son his knowledge, and by the Holy
Ghost his life.]

[Footnote 80: And the other half will go to the public treasury.]

[Footnote 81: That is, he shall inherit her whole substance.]


Entitled, the Table[82]--Revealed at Medina

_In the Name of the Most Merciful God._

O True believers, perform your contracts. Ye are allowed to eat the
brute cattle,[83] other than what ye are commanded to abstain from;
except the game which ye are allowed at other times, but not while ye
are on pilgrimage to Mecca; God ordaineth that which he pleaseth. O true
believers, violate not the holy rites of God, nor the sacred month,[84]
nor the offering, nor the ornaments hung thereon, nor those who are
travelling to the holy house, seeking favor from their Lord, and to
please him. But when ye shall have finished your pilgrimage, then hunt.
And let not the malice of some, in that they hindered you from entering
the sacred temple, provoke you to transgress, by taking revenge on them
in the sacred months. Assist one another according to justice and piety,
but assist not one another in injustice and malice: therefore fear God;
for God is severe in punishing. Ye are forbidden to eat that which dieth
of itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and that on which the name of
any besides God hath been invocated, and that which hath been strangled,
or killed by a blow, or by a fall, or by the horns of another beast, and
that which hath been eaten by a wild beast, except what ye shall kill
yourselves; and that which hath been sacrificed unto idols. It is
likewise unlawful for you to make division by casting lots with
arrows.[85] This is an impiety. On this day, woe be unto those who have
apostatized from their religion; therefore fear not them, but fear me.
This day have I perfected your religion for you, and have completed my
mercy upon you; and I have chosen for you Islam, to be your religion.
But whosoever shall be driven by necessity through hunger to eat of what
we have forbidden, not designing to sin, surely God will be indulgent
and merciful unto him. They will ask thee what is allowed them as lawful
to eat? Answer, Such things as are good are allowed you; and what ye
shall teach animals of prey to catch, training them up for hunting after
the manner of dogs, and teaching them according to the skill which God
hath taught you. Eat therefore of that which they shall catch for you;
and commemorate the name of God thereon; and fear God, for God is swift
in taking an account. This day are ye allowed to eat such things as are
good, and the food of those to whom the scriptures were given is also
allowed as lawful unto you; and your food is allowed as lawful unto
them. And ye are also allowed to marry free women that are believers,
and also free women of those who have received the scriptures before
you, when ye shall have assigned them their dower; living chastely with
them, neither committing fornication, nor taking them for concubines.
Whoever shall renounce the faith, his work shall be vain, and in the
next life he shall be of those who perish. O true believers, when ye
prepare yourselves to pray, wash your faces, and your hands unto the
elbows; and rub your heads, and your feet unto the ankles; and if ye be
polluted and ye find no water, take fine clean sand, and rub your faces
and your hands therewith; God will not put a difficulty upon you; but he
desireth to purify you, and to complete his favor upon you, that ye may
give thanks. Remember the favor of God towards you, and his covenant
which he hath made with you, when ye said, We have heard, and will obey.
Therefore fear God, for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts
of men, O true believers, observe justice when ye appear as witnesses
before God, and let not hatred towards any induce you to do wrong: but
act justly; this will approach nearer unto piety; and fear God, for God
is fully acquainted with what ye do. God hath promised unto those who
believe, and do that which is right, that they shall receive pardon and
a great reward. But they who believe not, and accuse our signs of
falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell. O true believers,
remember God's favor towards you, when certain men designed to stretch
forth their hands against you, but he restrained their hands from
hurting you; therefore fear God, and in God let the faithful trust. God
formerly accepted the covenant of the children of Israel, and we
appointed out of them twelve leaders: and God said, Verily, I am with
you: if ye observe prayer, and give alms, and believe in my apostles,
and assist them, and lend unto God on good usury, I will surely expiate
your evil deeds from you, and I will lead you into gardens, wherein
rivers flow: but he among you who disbelieveth after this, erreth from
the straight path. Wherefore because they have broken their covenant, we
have cursed them, and hardened their hearts; they dislocate the words of
the Pentateuch from their places, and have forgotten part of what they
were admonished; and thou wilt not cease to discover deceitful practices
among them, except a few of them. But forgive them and pardon them, for
God loveth the beneficent. And from those who say, We are Christians, we
have received their covenant; but they have forgotten part of what they
were admonished; wherefore we have raised up enmity and hatred among
them, till the day of resurrection; and God will then surely declare
unto them what they have been doing. O ye who have received the
scriptures, now is our apostle come unto you, to make manifest unto you
many things which ye concealed in the scriptures; and to pass over many
things. Now is light and a perspicuous book of revelations come unto you
from God. Thereby will God direct him who shall follow his good
pleasure, into the paths of peace; and shall lead them out of darkness
into light, by his will, and shall direct them in the right way. They
are infidels, who say, Verily God is Christ the son of Mary. Say unto
them, And who could obtain anything from God to the contrary, if he
pleased to destroy Christ the son of Mary, and his mother, and all those
who are on the earth? For unto God belongeth the kingdom of heaven and
earth, and whatsoever is contained between them; he createth what he
pleaseth, and God is almighty. The Jews and the Christians say, We are
the children of God, and his beloved. Answer, Why therefore doth he
punish you for your sins? Nay, but ye are men, of those whom he hath
created. He forgiveth whom he pleaseth, and punisheth whom he pleaseth;
and unto God belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth, and of what is
contained between them both; and unto him shall all things return. O ye
who have received the scriptures, now is our apostle come unto you,
declaring unto you the true religion, during the cessation of
apostles[86], lest ye should say, There came unto us no bearer of good
tidings, nor any warner: but now is a bearer of good tidings and a
warner come unto you; and God is almighty. Call to mind when Moses said
unto his people, O my people, remember the favor of God towards you,
since he hath appointed prophets among you, and constituted you kings,
and bestowed on you what he hath given to no other nation in the world.
O my people, enter the holy land, which God hath decreed you, and turn
not your backs, lest ye be subverted and perish. They answered, O Moses,
verily there are a gigantic people in the land; and we will by no means
enter it, until they depart thence; but if they depart thence, then will
we enter therein. And two men of those who feared God, unto whom God had
been gracious, said, Enter ye upon them suddenly by the gate of the
city; and when ye shall have entered the same, ye shall surely be
victorious: therefore trust in God, if ye are true believers. They
replied, O Moses, we will never enter the land, while they remain
therein: go therefore thou, and thy Lord, and fight; for we will sit
here. Moses said, O Lord, surely I am not master of any except myself,
and my brother; therefore make a distinction between us and the ungodly
people. God answered, Verily the land shall be forbidden them forty
years; during which time they shall wander like men astonished in the
earth; therefore be not thou solicitous for the ungodly people. Relate
also unto them the history of the two sons of Adam, with truth. When
they offered their offering, and it was accepted from one of them, and
was not accepted from the other, Cain said to his brother, I will
certainly kill thee. Abel answered, God only accepteth the offering of
the pious; if thou stretchest forth thy hand against me, to slay me, I
will not stretch forth my hand against thee, to slay thee; for I fear
God the Lord of all creatures. I choose that thou shouldst bear my
iniquity and thine own iniquity; and that thou become a companion of
hell fire; for that is the reward of the unjust. But his soul suffered
him to slay his brother, and he slew him; wherefore he became of the
number of those who perish. And God sent a raven, which scratched the
earth, to show him how he should hide the shame of his brother, and he
said, Woe is me! am I unable to be like this raven, that I may hide my
brother's shame? and he became one of those who repent. Wherefore we
commanded the children of Israel, that he who slayeth a soul, without
having slain a body, or committed wickedness in the earth, shall be as
if he had slain all mankind: but he who saveth a soul alive, shall be as
if he had saved the lives of all mankind. Our apostles formerly came
unto them, with evident miracles; then were many of them, after this,
transgressors on the earth. But the recompense of those who fight
against God and his apostles, and study to act corruptly in the earth,
shall be, that they shall be slain, or crucified, or have their hands
and their feet cut off on the opposite sides, or be banished the land.
This shall be their disgrace in this world, and in the next world they
shall suffer a grievous punishment; except those who shall repent,
before ye prevail against them; for know that God is inclined to
forgive, and be merciful. O true believers, fear God, and earnestly
desire a near conjunction with him, and fight for his religion, that ye
may be happy. Moreover, they who believe not, although they had whatever
is in the earth, and as much more withal, that they might therewith
redeem themselves from punishment on the day of resurrection: it shall
not be accepted from them, but they shall suffer a painful punishment.
They shall desire to go forth from the fire, but they shall not go forth
from it, and their punishment shall be permanent. If a man or a woman
steal, cut off their hands,[87] in retribution for that which they have
committed; this is an exemplary punishment appointed by God; and God is
mighty and wise. But whoever shall repent after his iniquity, and amend,
verily God will be turned unto him, for God is inclined to forgive and
be merciful. Dost thou not know that the kingdom of heaven and earth is
God's? He punisheth whom he pleaseth, and he pardoneth whom he pleaseth;
for God is almighty. O apostle, let them not grieve thee, who hasten to
infidelity, either of those who say, We believe, with their mouths, but
whose hearts believe not; or of the Jews, who hearken to a lie, and
hearken to other people; who come not unto thee: they pervert the words
of the law from their true places, and say, If this be brought unto you,
receive it; but if it be not brought unto you, beware of receiving aught
else; and in behalf of him whom God shall resolve to reduce, thou shalt
not prevail with God at all. They whose hearts God shall not please to
cleanse, shall suffer shame in this world, and a grievous punishment in
the next: who hearken to a lie, and eat that which is forbidden. But if
they come unto thee for judgment, either judge between them, or leave
them; and if thou leave them, they shall not hurt thee at all. But if
thou undertake to judge, judge between them with equity; for God loveth
those who observe justice. And how will they submit to thy decision,
since they have the law, containing the judgment of God? Then will they
turn their backs, after this; but those are not true believers. We have
surely sent down the law, containing direction, and light: thereby did
the prophets, who professed the true religion, judge those who Judaized;
and the doctors and priests also judged by the book of God, which had
been committed to their custody; and they were witnesses thereof.
Therefore fear not men, but fear me; neither sell my signs for a small
price. And whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they
are infidels. We have therein commanded them, that they should give life
for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth
for tooth; and that wounds should also be punished by retaliation: but
whoever should remit it as alms, it should be accepted as an atonement
for him. And whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they
are unjust. We also caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow the
footsteps of the prophets, confirming the law which was sent down before
him; and we gave him the gospel, containing direction and light;
confirming also the law which was given before it, and a direction and
admonition unto those who fear God: that they who have received the
gospel might judge according to what God hath revealed therein: and
whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they are
transgressors. We have also sent down unto thee the book of the Koran
with truth, confirming that scripture which was revealed before it; and
preserving the same safe from corruption. Judge, therefore, between them
according to that which God hath revealed; and follow not their desires,
by swerving from the truth which hath come unto thee. Unto every one of
you have we given a law, and an open path; and if God had pleased, he
had surely made you one people; but he hath thought fit to give you
different laws, that he might try you in that which he hath given you
respectively. Therefore strive to excel each other in good works: unto
God shall ye all return, and then will he declare unto you that
concerning which ye have disagreed. Wherefore do thou, O prophet, judge
between them according to that which God hath revealed, and follow not
their desires; but beware of them, lest they cause thee to err from part
of those precepts which God hath sent down unto thee; and if they turn
back, know that God is pleased to punish them for some of their crimes;
for a great number of men are transgressors. Do they therefore desire
the judgment of the time of ignorance? but who is better than God, to
judge between people who reason aright? O true believers, take not the
Jews or Christians for your friends; they are friends the one to the
other; but whoso among you taketh them for his friends, he is surely one
of them: verily God directeth not unjust people. Thou shalt see those in
whose hearts there is an infirmity, to hasten unto them, saying, We fear
lest some adversity befall us; but it is easy for God to give victory,
or a command from him, that they may repent of that which they concealed
in their minds. And they who believe will say, Are these the men who
have sworn by God, with a most firm oath, that they surely held with
you? their works are become vain, and they are of those who perish. O
true believers, whoever of you apostatizeth from his religion, God will
certainly bring other people to supply his place, whom he will love, and
who will love him; who shall be humble towards the believers, but severe
to the unbelievers; they shall fight for the religion of God, and shall
not fear the obloquy of the detractor. This is the bounty of God, he
bestoweth it on whom he pleaseth: God is extensive and wise. Verily your
protector is God, and his apostle, and those who believe, who observe
the stated times of prayer, and give alms, and who bow down to worship.
And whoso taketh God, and his apostle, and the believers for his
friends, they are the party of God, and they shall be victorious. O true
believers, take not such of those to whom the scriptures were delivered
before you, or of the infidels, for your friends, who make a
laughing-stock and a jest of your religion; but fear God, if ye be true
believers; nor those who, when ye call to prayer, make a laughing-stock
and a jest of it; this they do because they are people who do not
understand. Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, do ye reject us
for any other reason than because we believe in God, and that revelation
which hath been sent down unto us, and that which was formerly sent
down, and for that the greater part of you are transgressors? Say, Shall
I denounce unto you a worse thing than this, as to the reward which ye
are to expect with God? He whom God hath cursed, and with whom he hath
been angry, having changed some of them into apes and swine, and who
worship Taghut, they are in the worse condition, and err more widely
from the straightness of the path. When they came unto you, they said,
We believe: yet they entered into your company with infidelity, and went
forth from you with the same; but God well knew what they concealed.
Thou shalt see many of them hastening unto iniquity and malice, and to
eat things forbidden; and woe unto them for what they have done. Unless
their doctors and priests forbid them uttering wickedness, and eating
things forbidden; woe unto them for what they shall have committed. The
Jews say, the hand of God is tied up. Their hands shall be tied up, and
they shall be cursed for that which they have said. Nay, his hands are
both stretched forth; he bestoweth as he pleaseth: that which had been
sent down unto thee from thy Lord, shall increase the transgression and
infidelity of many of them; and we have put enmity and hatred between
them, until the day of resurrection. So often as they shall kindle a
fire for war, God shall extinguish it; and they shall set their minds to
act corruptly in the earth, but God loveth not the corrupt doers.
Moreover, if they who have received the scriptures believe, and fear
God, we will surely expiate their sins from them, and we will lead them
into gardens of pleasure; and if they observe the law, and the gospel,
and the other scriptures which have been sent down unto them from their
Lord, they shall surely eat of good things both from above them and from
under their feet. Among them there are people who act uprightly; but how
evil is that which many of them do work! O apostle, publish the whole of
that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord: for if thou do
not, thou dost not in effect publish any part thereof; and God will
defend thee against wicked men; for God directeth not the unbelieving
people. Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, ye are not grounded
on anything, until ye observe the law and the gospel, and that which
hath been sent down unto you from your Lord. That which hath been sent
down unto thee from thy Lord shall surely increase the transgression and
infidelity of many of them: but be not thou solicitous for the
unbelieving people. Verily they who believe, and those who Judaize,--and
the Sabeans, and the Christians, whoever of them believeth in God and
the last day, and doth that which is right, there shall come no fear on
them, neither shall they be grieved. We formerly accepted the covenant
of the children of Israel, and sent apostles unto them. So often as an
apostle came unto them with that which their souls desired not, they
accused some of them of imposture, and some of them they killed: and
they imagined that there should be no punishment for those crimes, and
they became blind and deaf. Then was God turned unto them; afterwards
many of them again became blind and deaf; but God saw what they did.
They are surely infidels, who say, Verily God is Christ the son of Mary;
since Christ said, O children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your
Lord; whoever shall give a companion unto God, God shall exclude him
from paradise, and his habitation shall be hell fire; and the ungodly
shall have none to help them. They are certainly infidels, who say, God
is the third of three: for there is no God besides one God; and if they
refrain not from what they say, a painful torment shall surely be
inflicted on such of them as are unbelievers. Will they not therefore be
turned unto God, and ask pardon of him? since God is gracious and
merciful. Christ, the son of Mary, is no more than an apostle; other
apostles have preceded him; and his mother was a woman of veracity: they
both ate food. Behold, how we declare unto them the signs of God's
unity; and then behold, how they turn aside from the truth. Say unto
them, Will ye worship, besides God, that which can cause you neither
harm nor profit? God is he who heareth and seeth. Say, O ye who have
received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, by
speaking beside the truth; neither follow the desires of people who have
heretofore erred, and who have seduced many, and have gone astray from
the straight path. Those among the children of Israel who believed not,
were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus the son of Mary. This
befell them because they were rebellious and transgressed: they forbade
not one another the wickedness which they committed; and woe unto them
for what they committed. Thou shalt see many of them take for their
friends those who believe not. Woe unto them for what their souls have
sent before them, for that God is incensed against them, and they shall
remain in torment forever. But, if they had believed in God, and the
prophet, and that which hath been revealed unto him, they had not taken
them for their friends; but many of them are evil-doers. Thou shalt
surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the true
believers, to be the Jews and the idolaters: and thou shalt surely find
those among them to be the most inclinable to entertain friendship for
the true believers, who say, We are Christians. This cometh to pass,
because there are priests and monks among them; and because they are not
elated with pride. And when they hear that which hath been sent down to
the apostle read unto them, thou shalt see their eyes overflow with
tears, because of the truth which they perceive therein, saying, O Lord,
we believe; write us down, therefore, with those who bear witness to the
truth: and what should hinder us from believing in God, and the truth
which hath come unto us, and from earnestly desiring that our Lord would
introduce us into paradise with the righteous people. Therefore hath God
rewarded them, for what they have said, with gardens through which
rivers flow; they shall continue therein forever; and this is the reward
of the righteous. But they who believe not, and accuse our signs of
falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell. O true believers,
forbid not the good things which God hath allowed you; but transgress
not, for God loveth not the transgressors. And eat of what God hath
given you for food that which is lawful and good: and fear God, in whom
ye believe. God will not punish you for an inconsiderate word in your
oaths; but he will punish you for what ye solemnly swear with
deliberation. And the expiation of such an oath shall be the feeding of
ten poor men with such moderate food as ye feed your own families
withal; or to clothe them; or to free the neck of a true believer from
captivity: but he who shall not find wherewith to perform one of these
three things, shall fast three days. This is the expiation of your
oaths, when ye swear inadvertently. Therefore keep your oaths. Thus God
declareth unto you his signs, that ye may give thanks. O true believers,
surely wine, and lots, and images, and divining arrows, are an
abomination of the work of Satan; therefore avoid them, that ye may
prosper. Satan seeketh to sow dissension and hatred among you, by means
of wine and lots, and to divert you from remembering God, and from
prayer; will ye not therefore abstain from them? Obey God, and obey the
apostle, and take heed to yourselves: but if ye turn back, know that the
duty of our apostle is only to preach publicly. In those who believe and
do good works, it is no sin that they have tasted wine or gaming before
they were forbidden; if they fear God, and believe, and do good works,
and shall for the future fear God, and believe, and shall persevere to
fear him, and to do good; for God loveth those who do good. O true
believers, God will surely prove you in offering you plenty of game,
which ye may take with your hands or your lances, that God may know who
feareth him in secret; but whoever transgresseth after this, shall
suffer a grievous punishment. O true believers, kill no game while ye
are on pilgrimages; whosoever among you shall kill any designedly, shall
restore the like of what ye shall have killed, in domestic animals,
according to the determination of two just persons among you, to be
brought as an offering to the Caabah; or in atonement thereof shall feed
the poor; or instead thereof shall fast, that he may taste the
heinousness of his deed. God hath forgiven what is past, but whoever
returneth to transgress, God will take vengeance on him; for God is
mighty and able to avenge. It is lawful for you to fish in the sea,[88]
and to eat what ye shall catch, as a provision for you and for those who
travel; but it is unlawful for you to hunt by land, while ye are
performing the rites of pilgrimage; therefore fear God, before whom ye
shall be assembled at the last day. God hath appointed the Caabah, the
holy house, an establishment for mankind; and hath ordained the sacred
month, and the offering, and the ornaments hung thereon. This hath he
done that ye might know that God knoweth whatsoever is in heaven and on
earth, and that God is omniscient. Know that God is severe in punishing,
and that God is ready to forgive and be merciful. The duty of our
apostle is to preach only; and God knoweth that which ye discover, and
that which ye conceal. Say, Evil and Good shall not be equally esteemed
of, though the abundance of evil pleaseth thee; therefore fear God, O ye
of understanding, that ye may be happy. O true believers, inquire not
concerning things which, if they be declared unto you, may give you
pain; but if ye ask concerning them when the Koran is sent down, they
will be declared unto you: God pardoneth you as to these matters; for
God is ready to forgive and gracious. People who have been before you
formerly inquired concerning them; and afterwards disbelieved therein.
God hath not ordained anything concerning Bahira, nor Saiba, nor Wasila,
nor Hami;[89] but the unbelievers have invented a lie against God: and
the greater part of them do not understand. And when it was said unto
them, Come unto that which God hath revealed, and to the apostles; they
answered, That religion which we found our fathers to follow is
sufficient for us. What though their fathers knew nothing, and were not
rightly directed? O true believers, take care of your souls. He who
erreth shall not hurt you, while ye are rightly directed: unto God shall
ye all return, and he will tell you that which ye have done. O true
believers, let witnesses be taken between you, when death approaches any
of you, at the time of making the testament; let there be two witnesses,
just men, from among you; or two others of a different tribe or faith
from yourselves, if ye be journeying in the earth, and the accident of
death befall you. Ye shall shut them both up, after the afternoon
prayer, and they shall swear by God, if ye doubt them, and they shall
say, We will not sell our evidence for a bribe, although the person
concerned be one who is related to us, neither will we conceal the
testimony of God, for then should we certainly be of the number of the
wicked. But if it appear that both have been guilty of iniquity, two
others shall stand up in their place, of those who have convicted them
of falsehood, the two nearest in blood, and they shall swear by God,
saying, Verily our testimony is more true than the testimony of these
two, neither have we prevaricated; for then should we become of the
number of the unjust. This will be easier, that men may give testimony
according to the plain intention thereof, or fear lest a different oath
be given, after their oath. Therefore fear God, and hearken; for God
directeth not the unjust people. On a certain day shall God assemble the
apostles, and shall say unto them, What answer was returned you, when ye
preached unto the people to whom ye were sent? They shall answer, We
have no knowledge but thou art the knower of secrets. When God shall
say, O Jesus, son of Mary, remember my favor towards thee, and towards
thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou
shouldst speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and
when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law and the
gospel; and when thou didst create of clay as it were the figure of a
bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird
by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth and the
leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead from
their graves, by my permission; and when I withheld the children of
Israel from killing thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident
miracles, and such of them as believed not, said, This is nothing but
manifest sorcery. And when I commanded the apostles of Jesus, saying,
Believe in me and in my messenger; they answered, We do believe; and do
thou bear witness that we are resigned unto thee. Remember when the
apostles said, O Jesus, son of Mary, is thy Lord able to cause a table
to descend unto us from heaven?[90] He answered, hear God, if ye be true
believers. They said, We desire to eat thereof, and that our hearts may
rest at ease, and that we may know that thou hast told us the truth, and
that we may be witnesses thereof. Jesus, the son of Mary, said, O God
our Lord, cause a table to descend unto us from heaven, that the day of
its descent may become a festival day unto us, unto the first of us, and
unto the last of us, and a sign from thee; and do thou provide food for
us, for thou art the best provider. God said, Verily I will cause it to
descend unto you; but whoever among you shall disbelieve hereafter, I
will surely punish him with a punishment wherewith I will not punish any
other creature. And when God shall say unto Jesus, at the last day, O
Jesus, son of Mary, hast thou said unto men, Take me and my mother for
two gods, beside God? He shall answer, Praise be unto thee! it is not
for me to say that which I ought not; if I had said so, thou wouldst
surely have known it: thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is
in thee; for thou art the knower of secrets. I have not spoken to them
any other than what thou didst command me; namely, Worship God, my Lord
and your Lord: and I was a witness of their actions while I stayed among
them; but since thou hast taken me to thyself, thou hast been the
watcher over them; for thou art witness of all things. If thou punish
them, they are surely thy servants; and if thou forgive them, thou art
mighty and wise. God will say, This day shall their veracity be of
advantage unto those who speak truth; they shall have gardens wherein
rivers flow, they shall remain therein forever: God hath been well
pleased in them, and they have been well pleased in him. This shall be
great felicity. Unto God belongeth the kingdom of heaven and of earth,
and of whatever therein is; and he is almighty.

[Footnote 82: This title is taken from the Table, which, towards the end
of the chapter, is fabled to have been let down from heaven to Jesus. It
is sometimes also called the chapter of Contracts, which word occurs in
the first verse.]

[Footnote 83: As camels, oxen, and sheep; and also wild cows, antelopes,
but not swine, nor what is taken in hunting during the pilgrimage.]

[Footnote 84: The sacred months in the Mohammedan calendar were the
first, the seventh, the eleventh, and the twelfth.]

[Footnote 85: A game similar to raffling, arrowheads being used as

[Footnote 86: The Arabic word _al Fatra_ signifies the intermediate
space of time between two prophets, during which no new revelation or
dispensation was given; as the interval between Moses and Jesus, and
between Jesus and Mohammed, at the expiration of which last, Mohammed
pretended to be sent.]

[Footnote 87: But this punishment, according to the Sonna, is not to be
inflicted, unless the value of the thing stolen amount to four dinars,
or about $10. For the first offence, the criminal is to lose his right
hand, which is to be cut off at the wrist; the second offence, his left
foot, at the ankle; for the third, his left hand; for the fourth, his
right foot; and if he continue to offend, he shall be scourged at the
discretion of the judge.]

[Footnote 88: This is to be understood of fish that live altogether in
the sea, and not of those that live in the sea and on land both, as
crabs. The Turks, who are Hanifites, never eat this sort of fish; but
the sect of Malec Ebn Ans, and perhaps some others, make no scruple of

[Footnote 89: These were the names given by the pagan Arabs to certain
camels or sheep which were turned loose to feed, and exempted from
common services, in some particular cases; having their ears slit, or
some other mark, that they might be known; and this they did in honor of
their gods. Which superstitions are here declared to be no ordinances of
God, but the inventions of foolish men.]

[Footnote 90: This miracle is thus related by the commentators: Jesus
having, at the request of his followers, asked it of God, a red table
immediately descended, in their sight, between two clouds, and was set
before them; whereupon he rose up, and having made the ablution, prayed,
and then took off the cloth which covered the table, saying, "In the
name of God, the best provider of food."]



Translated from Sanscrit into Chinese by Dharmaraksha,
A.D. 420; from Chinese into English by Samuel Beal


Buddha is undoubtedly the most potent name as a religious teacher, in
the whole of Asia. The propaganda of the Buddhistic faith passed from
the valley of the Indus to the valley of the Ganges, and from Ceylon to
the Himalayas; thence it traversed China, and its conquests seem to have
been permanent. The religion of Buddha is so far different from that of
Confucius, and so far resembles Christianity, that it combines mysticism
with asceticism--a practical rule of personal conduct with a consistent
transcendentalism. It has, moreover, the great advantage of possessing a
highly fascinating and romantic gospel, or biography, of its founder.
Gautama, as the hero of Arnold's "Light of Asia," is very well known to
English readers, and, although Sir Edwin Arnold is not by any means a
poet of the first order, he has done a great deal to familiarize the
Anglo-Saxon mind with Oriental life and thought. A far more faithful
life of Buddha is that written some time in the first century of our era
by the twelfth Buddhist patriarch Asvaghosha. This learned ecclesiastic
appears to have travelled about through different districts of India,
patiently collecting the stories and traditions which related to the
life of his master. These he wove into a Sanscrit poem, which three
hundred years later was translated into Chinese, from which version our
present translation is made. There can be no doubt that the author of
the Sanscrit poem was a famous preacher and musician. Originally living
in central India, he seems to have wandered far and wide exercising his
office, and reciting or singing his poem--a sacred epic, more thrilling
to the ears of India than the wrath of Achilles, or the voyages of
Ulysses. We are told that Asvaghosha took a choir of musicians with him,
and many were converted to Buddhism through the combined persuasiveness
of poetry and preaching. The present life of Buddha, although it labors
under the disadvantage of transfusion from Sanscrit into Chinese, and
from Chinese into English, is by no means destitute of poetic color and
aroma. When, for instance, we read of the grief-stricken Yasodhara that
"her breath failed her, and sinking thus she fell upon the dusty
ground," we come upon a stately pathos, worthy of Homer or Lucretius.
And what can be more beautiful than the account of Buddha's conversion
and sudden conviction, that all earthly things were vanity. The verses
once heard linger in the memory so as almost to ring in the ears: "Thus
did he complete the end of self, as fire goes out for want of grass.
Thus he had done what he would have men do: he first had found the way
of perfect knowledge. He finished thus the first great lesson; entering
the great Rishi's house, the darkness disappeared, light burst upon him;
perfectly silent and at rest, he reached the last exhaustless source of
truth; lustrous with all wisdom the great Rishi sat, perfect in gifts,
whilst one convulsive throe shook the wide earth."




The Birth

There was a descendant of the Ikshvaku family, an invincible Sakya
monarch, pure in mind and of unspotted virtue, called therefore
Pure-rice, or Suddhodana. Joyously reverenced by all men, as the new
moon is welcomed by the world, the king indeed was like the heaven-ruler
Sakra, his queen like the divine Saki. Strong and calm of purpose as the
earth, pure in mind as the water-lily, her name, figuratively assumed,
Maya, she was in truth incapable of class-comparison. On her in likeness
as the heavenly queen descended the spirit and entered her womb. A
mother, but free from grief or pain, she was without any false or
illusory mind. Disliking the clamorous ways of the world, she remembered
the excellent garden of Lumbini, a pleasant spot, a quiet forest
retreat, with its trickling fountains, and blooming flowers and fruits.
Quiet and peaceful, delighting in meditation, respectfully she asked the
king for liberty to roam therein; the king, understanding her earnest
desire, was seized with a seldom-felt anxiety to grant her request. He
commanded his kinsfolk, within and without the palace, to repair with
her to that garden shade; and now the queen Maya knew that her time for
child-bearing was come. She rested calmly on a beautiful couch,
surrounded by a hundred thousand female attendants; it was the eighth
day of the fourth moon, a season of serene and agreeable character.

Whilst she thus religiously observed the rules of a pure discipline,
Bodhisattva was born from her right side, come to deliver the world,
constrained by great pity, without causing his mother pain or anguish.
As king Yu-liu was born from the thigh, as King Pi-t'au was born from
the hand, as King Man-to was born from the top of the head, as King
Kia-k'ha was born from the arm-pit, so also was Bodhisattva on the day
of his birth produced from the right side; gradually emerging from the
womb, he shed in every direction the rays of his glory. As one born from
recumbent space, and not through the gates of life, through countless
kalpas, practising virtue, self-conscious he came forth to life, without
confusion. Calm and collected, not falling headlong was he born,
gloriously manifested, perfectly adorned, sparkling with light he came
from the womb, as when the sun first rises from the East.

Men indeed regarded his exceeding great glory, yet their sight remained
uninjured: he allowed them to gaze, the brightness of his person
concealed for the time, as when we look upon the moon in the heavens.
His body, nevertheless, was effulgent with light, and like the sun which
eclipses the shining of the lamp, so the true gold-like beauty of
Bodhisattva shone forth, and was diffused everywhere. Upright and firm
and unconfused in mind, he deliberately took seven steps, the soles of
his feet resting evenly upon the ground as he went, his footmarks
remained bright as seven stars.

Moving like the lion, king of beasts, and looking earnestly towards the
four quarters, penetrating to the centre the principles of truth, he
spake thus with the fullest assurance: This birth is in the condition of
a Buddha; after this I have done with renewed birth; now only am I born
this once, for the purpose of saving all the world.

And now from the midst of heaven there descended two streams of pure
water, one warm, the other cold, and baptized his head, causing
refreshment to his body. And now he is placed in the precious palace
hall, a jewelled couch for him to sleep upon, and the heavenly kings
with their golden flowery hands hold fast the four feet of the bed.
Meanwhile the Devas in space, seizing their jewelled canopies,
attending, raise in responsive harmony their heavenly songs, to
encourage him to accomplish his perfect purpose.

Then the Naga-ragas filled with joy, earnestly desiring to show their
reverence for the most excellent law, as they had paid honor to the
former Buddhas, now went to meet Bodhisattva; they scattered before him
Mandara flowers, rejoicing with heartfelt joy to pay such religious
homage; and so, again, Tathagata having appeared in the world, the
Suddha angels rejoiced with gladness; with no selfish or partial joy,
but for the sake of religion they rejoiced, because creation, engulfed
in the ocean of pain, was now to obtain perfect release.

Then the precious Mountain-raga, Sumeru, firmly holding this great earth
when Bodhisattva appeared in the world, was swayed by the wind of his
perfected merit. On every hand the world was greatly shaken, as the wind
drives the tossing boat; so also the minutest atoms of sandal perfume,
and the hidden sweetness of precious lilies floated on the air, and rose
through space, and then commingling, came back to earth; so again the
garments of Devas descending from heaven touching the body, caused
delightful thrills of joy; the sun and moon with constant course
redoubled the brilliancy of their light, whilst in the world the fire's
gleam of itself prevailed without the use of fuel. Pure water, cool and
refreshing from the springs, flowed here and there, self-caused; in the
palace all the waiting women were filled with joy at such an
unprecedented event. Proceeding all in company, they drink and bathe
themselves; in all arose calm and delightful thoughts; countless
inferior Devas, delighting in religion, like clouds assembled.

In the garden of Lumbini, filling the spaces between the trees, rare and
special flowers, in great abundance, bloomed out of season. All cruel
and malevolent kinds of beings, together conceived a loving heart; all
diseases and afflictions among men without a cure applied, of themselves
were healed. The various cries and confused sounds of beasts were hushed
and silence reigned; the stagnant water of the river-courses flowed
apace, whilst the polluted streams became clear and pure. No clouds
gathered throughout the heavens, whilst angelic music, self caused, was
heard around; the whole world of sentient creatures enjoyed peace and
universal tranquillity.

Just as when a country visited by desolation, suddenly obtains an
enlightened ruler, so when Bodhisattva was born, he came to remove the
sorrows of all living things.

Mara,[91] the heavenly monarch, alone was grieved and rejoiced not. The
Royal Father (Suddhodana), beholding his son, strange and miraculous, as
to his birth, though self-possessed and assured in his soul, was yet
moved with astonishment and his countenance changed, whilst he
alternately weighed with himself the meaning of such an event, now
rejoiced and now distressed.

The queen-mother beholding her child, born thus contrary to laws of
nature, her timorous woman's heart was doubtful; her mind, through fear,
swayed between extremes: Not distinguishing the happy from the sad
portents, again and again she gave way to grief; and now the aged women
of the world, in a confused way supplicating heavenly guidance, implored
the gods to whom their rites were paid, to bless the child; to cause
peace to rest upon the royal child. Now there was at this time in the
grove, a certain soothsayer, a Brahman, of dignified mien and
wide-spread renown, famed for his skill and scholarship: beholding the
signs, his heart rejoiced, and he exulted at the miraculous event.
Knowing the king's mind to be somewhat perplexed, he addressed him with
truth and earnestness: "Men born in the world, chiefly desire to have a
son the most renowned; but now the king, like the moon when full, should
feel in himself a perfect joy, having begotten an unequalled son, (for
by this the king) will become illustrious among his race; let then his
heart be joyful and glad, banish all anxiety and doubt, the spiritual
omens that are everywhere manifested indicate for your house and
dominion a course of continued prosperity. The most excellently endowed
child now born will bring deliverance to the entire world: none but a
heavenly teacher has a body such as this, golden-colored, gloriously
resplendent. One endowed with such transcendent marks must reach the
state of Samyak-Sambodhi, or, if he be induced to engage in worldly
delights, then he must become a universal monarch; everywhere recognized
as the ruler of the great earth, mighty in his righteous government, as
a monarch ruling the four empires, uniting under his sway all other
rulers; as among all lesser lights, the sun's brightness is by far the
most excellent. But if he seek a dwelling among the mountain forests,
with single heart searching for deliverance, having arrived at the
perfection of true wisdom, he will become illustrious throughout the
world; for as Mount Sumeru is monarch among all mountains, or, as gold
is chief among all precious things; or, as the ocean is supreme among
all streams; or, as the moon is first among the stars; or, as the sun is
brightest of all luminaries, so Tathagata, born in the world, is the
most eminent of men; his eyes clear and expanding, the lashes both above
and below moving with the lid, the iris of the eye of a clear blue
color, in shape like the moon when half full, such characteristics as
these, without contradiction, foreshadow the most excellent condition of
perfect wisdom."

At this time the king addressed the twice-born,[92] "If it be as you
say, with respect to these miraculous signs, that they indicate such
consequences, then no such case has happened with former kings, nor down
to our time has such a thing occurred." The Brahman addressed the king
thus, "Say not so; for it is not right; for with regard to renown and
wisdom, personal celebrity, and worldly substance, these four things
indeed are not to be considered according to precedent or subsequence;
but whatever is produced according to nature, such things are liable to
the law of cause and effect: but now whilst I recount some parallels let
the king attentively listen:--Bhrigu, Angira, these two of Rishi family,
having passed many years apart from men, each begat an excellently
endowed son; Brihaspati with Sukra, skilful in making royal treatises,
not derived from former families (or tribes); Sarasvata, the Rishi,
whose works have long disappeared, begat a son, Po-lo-sa, who compiled
illustrious Sutras and Shastras; that which now we know and see, is not
therefore dependent on previous connection; Vyasa, the Rishi, the author
of numerous treatises, after his death had among his descendants Poh-mi
(Valmiki), who extensively collected Gatha sections; Atri, the Rishi,
not understanding the sectional treatise on medicine, afterwards begat
Atreya, who was able to control diseases; the twice-born Rishi Kusi
(Kusika), not occupied with heretical treatises, afterwards begat
Kia-ti-na-raga, who thoroughly understood heretical systems; the
sugar-cane monarch, who began his line, could not restrain the tide of
the sea, but Sagara-raga, his descendant, who begat a thousand royal
sons, he could control the tide of the great sea so that it should come
no further. Ganaka, the Rishi, without a teacher acquired power of
abstraction. All these, who obtained such renown, acquired powers of
themselves; those distinguished before, were afterwards forgotten; those
before forgotten, became afterwards distinguished; kings like these and
god-like Rishis have no need of family inheritance, and therefore the
world need not regard those going before or following. So, mighty king!
is it with you: you should experience true joy of heart, and because of
this joy should banish forever doubt or anxiety." The king, hearing the
words of the seer, was glad, and offered him increased gifts.

"Now have I begotten a valiant son," he said, "who will establish a
wheel authority, whilst I, when old and gray-headed, will go forth to
lead a hermit's life, so that my holy, king-like son may not give up the
world and wander through mountain forests."

And now near the spot within the garden, there was a Rishi, leading the
life of an ascetic; his name was Asita, wonderfully skilful in the
interpretation of signs; he approached the gate of the palace; the king
beholding him exclaimed, "This is none other but Brahmadeva, himself
enduring penance from love of true religion, these two characteristics
so plainly visible as marks of his austerities." Then the king was much
rejoiced; and forthwith he invited him within the palace, and with
reverence set before him entertainment, whilst he, entering the inner
palace, rejoiced only in prospect of seeing the royal child.

Although surrounded by the crowd of court ladies, yet still he was as if
in desert solitude; and now they place a preaching throne and pay him
increased honor and religious reverence, as Antideva raga reverenced the
priest Vasishtha. Then the king, addressing the Rishi, said: "Most
fortunate am I, great Rishi! that you have condescended to come here to
receive from me becoming gifts and reverence; I pray you therefore enter
on your exhortation."

Thus requested and invited, the Rishi felt unutterable joy, and said,
"All hail, ever victorious monarch! possessed of all noble, virtuous
qualities, loving to meet the desires of those who seek, nobly generous
in honoring the true law, conspicuous as a race for wisdom and humanity,
with humble mind you pay me homage, as you are bound. Because of your
righteous deeds in former lives, now are manifested these excellent
fruits; listen to me, then, whilst I declare the reason of the present
meeting. As I was coming on the sun's way, I heard the Devas in space
declare that the king had born to him a royal son, who would arrive at
perfect intelligence; moreover I beheld such other portents, as have
constrained me now to seek your presence; desiring to see the Sakya
monarch who will erect the standard of the true law."

The king, hearing the Rishi's words, was fully assured; escaping from
the net of doubt, he ordered an attendant to bring the prince, to
exhibit him to the Rishi. The Rishi, beholding the prince, the
thousand-rayed wheel on the soles of his feet, the web-like filament
between his fingers, between his eyebrows the white wool-like
prominence, his complexion bright and lustrous; seeing these wonderful
birth-portents, the seer wept and sighed deeply.

The king beholding the tears of the Rishi, thinking of his son, his soul
was overcome, and his breath fast held his swelling heart. Thus alarmed
and ill at ease, unconsciously he arose from his seat, and bowing his
head at the Rishi's feet, he addressed him in these words: "This son of
mine, born thus wonderfully, beautiful in face, and surpassingly
graceful, little different from the gods in form, giving promise of
superiority in the world, ah! why has he caused thee grief and pain?
Forbid it, that my son should die! or should be short-lived!--the
thought creates in me grief and anxiety; that one athirst, within reach
of the eternal draught,[93] should after all reject and lose it! sad
indeed! Forbid it, he should lose his wealth and treasure! dead to his
house! lost to his country! for he who has a prosperous son in life,
gives pledge that his country's weal is well secured; and then, coming
to die, my heart will rest content, rejoicing in the thought of
offspring surviving me; even as a man possessed of two eyes, one of
which keeps watch, while the other sleeps; not like the frost-flower of
autumn, which, though it seems to bloom, is not a reality. A man who,
midst his tribe and kindred, deeply loves a spotless son, at every
proper time in recollection of it has joy; O! that you would cause me to

The Rishi, knowing the king-sire to be thus greatly afflicted at heart,
immediately addressed the Maharaga: "Let not the king be for a moment
anxious! the words I have spoken to the king, let him ponder these, and
not permit himself to doubt; the portents now are as they were before,
cherish then no other thoughts! But recollecting I myself am old, on
that account I could not hold my tears; for now my end is coming on. But
this son of thine will rule the world, born for the sake of all that
lives! this is indeed one difficult to meet with; he shall give up his
royal estate, escape from the domain of the five desires, with
resolution and with diligence practise austerities, and then awakening,
grasp the truth. Then constantly, for the world's sake (all living
things), destroying the impediments of ignorance and darkness, he shall
give to all enduring light, the brightness of the sun of perfect wisdom.
All flesh submerged in the sea of sorrow; all diseases collected as the
bubbling froth; decay and age like the wild billows; death like the
engulfing ocean; embarking lightly in the boat of wisdom he will save
the world from all these perils, by wisdom stemming back the flood. His
pure teaching like to the neighboring shore, the power of meditation,
like a cool lake, will be enough for all the unexpected birds; thus deep
and full and wide is the great river of the true law; all creatures
parched by the drought of lust may freely drink thereof, without stint;
those enchained in the domain of the five desires, those driven along by
many sorrows, and deceived amid the wilderness of birth and death, in
ignorance of the way of escape, for these Bodhisattva has been born in
the world, to open out a way of salvation. The fire of lust and
covetousness, burning with the fuel of the objects of sense, he has
caused the cloud of his mercy to rise, so that the rain of the law may
extinguish them. The heavy gates of gloomy unbelief, fast kept by
covetousness and lust, within which are confined all living things, he
opens and gives free deliverance. With the tweezers of his diamond
wisdom he plucks out the opposing principles of lustful desire. In the
self-twined meshes of folly and ignorance all flesh poor and in misery,
helplessly lying, the king of the law has come forth, to rescue these
from bondage. Let not the king in respect of this his son encourage in
himself one thought of doubt or pain; but rather let him grieve on
account of the world, led captive by desire, opposed to truth; but I,
indeed, amid the ruins of old age and death, am far removed from the
meritorious condition of the holy one, possessed indeed of powers of
abstraction, yet not within reach of the gain he will give, to be
derived from his teaching as the Bodhisattva; not permitted to hear his
righteous law, my body worn out, after death, alas! destined to be born
as a Deva[94] still liable to the three calamities, old age, decay, and
death, therefore I weep."

The king and all his household attendants, hearing the words of the
Rishi, knowing the cause of his regretful sorrow, banished from their
minds all further anxiety: "And now," the king said, "to have begotten
this excellent son, gives me rest at heart; but that he should leave his
kingdom and home, and practise the life of an ascetic, not anxious to
ensure the stability of the kingdom, the thought of this still brings
with it pain."

At this time the Rishi, turning to the king with true words, said, "It
must be even as the king anticipates, he will surely arrive at perfect
enlightenment." Thus having appeased every anxious heart among the
king's household, the Rishi by his own inherent spiritual power ascended
into space and disappeared.

At this time Suddhodana raga, seeing the excellent marks (predictive
signs) of his son, and, moreover, hearing the words of Asita, certifying
that which would surely happen, was greatly affected with reverence to
the child: he redoubled measures for its protection, and was filled with
constant thought; moreover, he issued decrees through the empire, to
liberate all captives in prison, according to the custom when a royal
son was born, giving the usual largess, in agreement with the directions
of the Sacred Books, and extending his gifts to all; or, all these
things he did completely. When the child was ten days old, his father's
mind being now quite tranquil, he announced a sacrifice to all the gods,
and prepared to give liberal offerings to all the religious bodies;
Sramanas and Brahmanas invoked by their prayers a blessing from the
gods, whilst he bestowed gifts on the royal kinspeople and the ministers
and the poor within the country; the women who dwelt in the city or the
villages, all those who needed cattle or horses or elephants or money,
each, according to his necessities, was liberally supplied. Then,
selecting by divination a lucky time, they took the child back to his
own palace, with a double-feeding white-pure-tooth, carried in a
richly-adorned chariot (cradle), with ornaments of every kind and color
round his neck; shining with beauty, exceedingly resplendent with
unguents. The queen embracing him in her arms, going around, worshipped
the heavenly spirits. Afterwards she remounted her precious chariot,
surrounded by her waiting women; the king, with his ministers and
people, and all the crowd of attendants, leading the way and following,
even as the ruler of heaven, Sakra, is surrounded by crowds of Devas; as
Mahesvara, when suddenly his six-faced child was born; arranging every
kind of present, gave gifts, and asked for blessings; so now the king,
when his royal son was born, made all his arrangements in like manner.
So Vaisravana, the heavenly king, when Nalakuvara was born, surrounded
by a concourse of Devas, was filled with joy and much gladness; so the
king, now the royal prince was born, in the kingdom of Kapila, his
people and all his subjects were likewise filled with joy.

* * * * *

Living in the Palace

And now in the household of Suddhodana raga, because of the birth of the
royal prince, his clansmen and younger brethren, with his ministers,
were all generously disposed, whilst elephants, horses and chariots, and
the wealth of the country, and precious vessels, daily increased and
abounded, being produced wherever requisite; so, too, countless hidden
treasures came of themselves from the earth. From the midst of the pure
snowy mountains, a wild herd of white elephants, without noise, of
themselves, came; not curbed by any, self-subdued, every kind of colored
horse, in shape and quality surpassingly excellent, with sparkling
jewelled manes and flowing tails, came prancing round, as if with wings;
these too, born in the desert, came at the right time, of themselves. A
herd of pure-colored, well-proportioned cows, fat and fleshy, and
remarkable for beauty, giving fragrant and pure milk with equal flow,
came together in great number at this propitious time. Enmity and envy
gave way to peace; content and rest prevailed on every side; whilst
there was closer union amongst the true of heart, discord and variance
were entirely appeased; the gentle air distilled a seasonable rain, no
crash of storm or tempest was heard, the springing seeds, not waiting
for their time, grew up apace and yielded abundant increase; the five
cereals grew ripe with scented grain, soft and glutinous, easy of
digestion; all creatures big with young, possessed their bodies in ease
and their frames well gathered. All men, even those who had not received
the seeds of instruction derived from the four holy ones;[95] all these,
throughout the world, born under the control of selfish appetite,
without any thought for others' goods, had no proud, envious longings;
no angry, hateful thoughts. All the temples of the gods and sacred
shrines, the gardens, wells, and fountains, all these like things in
heaven, produced of themselves, at the proper time, their several
adornments. There was no famishing hunger, the soldiers' weapons were at
rest, all diseases disappeared; throughout the kingdom all the people
were bound close in family love and friendship; piously affectioned they
indulged in mutual pleasures, there were no impure or polluting desires;
they sought their daily gain righteously, no covetous money-loving
spirit prevailed, but with religious purpose they gave liberally; there
was no thought of any reward or return, but all practised the four rules
of purity; and every hateful thought was suppressed and destroyed. Even
as in days gone by, Manu raga begat a child called "Brilliancy of the
Sun," on which there prevailed through the country great prosperity, and
all wickedness came to an end; so now the king having begotten a royal
prince, these marks of prosperity were seen; and because of such a
concourse of propitious signs, the child was named Siddhartha.[96] And
now his royal mother, the queen Maya, beholding her son born under such
circumstances, beautiful as a child of heaven, adorned with every
excellent distinction, from excessive joy which could not be controlled
died, and was born in heaven. Then Praga-pati Gautami, beholding the
prince, like an angel, with beauty seldom seen on earth, seeing him thus
born and now his mother dead, loved and nourished him as her own child;
and the child regarded her as his mother.

So as the light of the sun or the moon, little by little increases, the
royal child also increased each day in every mental excellency and
beauty of person; his body exhaled the perfume of priceless sandal-wood,
decorated with the famed Gambunada gold gems; divine medicines there
were to preserve him in health, glittering necklaces upon his person;
the members of tributary states, hearing that the king had an heir born
to him, sent their presents and gifts of various kinds: oxen, sheep,
deer, horses, and chariots, precious vessels and elegant ornaments, fit
to delight the heart of the prince; but though presented with such
pleasing trifles, the necklaces and other pretty ornaments, the mind of
the prince was unmoved, his bodily frame small indeed, but his heart
established; his mind at rest within its own high purposes, was not to
be disturbed by glittering baubles.

And now he was brought to learn the useful arts, when lo! once
instructed he surpassed his teachers. His father, the king, seeing his
exceeding talent, and his deep purpose to have done with the world and
its allurements, began to inquire as to the names of those in his tribe
who were renowned for elegance and refinement. Elegant and graceful, and
a lovely maiden, was she whom they called Yasodhara; in every way
fitting to become a consort for the prince, and to allure by pleasant
wiles his heart. The prince with a mind so far removed from the world,
with qualities so distinguished, and with so charming an appearance,
like the elder son of Brahmadeva, Sanatkumara (She-na Kiu-ma-lo); the
virtuous damsel, lovely and refined, gentle and subdued in manner;
majestic like the queen of heaven, constant ever, cheerful night and
day, establishing the palace in purity and quiet, full of dignity and
exceeding grace, like a lofty hill rising up in space; or as a white
autumn cloud; warm or cool according to the season; choosing a proper
dwelling according to the year, surrounded by a return of singing women,
who join their voices in harmonious heavenly concord, without any
jarring or unpleasant sound, exciting in the hearers forgetfulness of
worldly cares. As the heavenly Gandharvas of themselves, in their
beauteous palaces, cause the singing women to raise heavenly strains,
the sounds of which and their beauty ravish both eyes and heart--so
Bodhisattva dwelt in his lofty palace, with music such as this. The
king, his father, for the prince's sake, dwelt purely in his palace,
practising every virtue; delighting in the teaching of the true law, he
put away from him every evil companion, that his heart might not be
polluted by lust; regarding inordinate desire as poison, keeping his
passion and his body in due control, destroying and repressing all
trivial thoughts; desiring to enjoy virtuous conversation, loving
instruction fit to subdue the hearts of men, aiming to accomplish the
conversion of unbelievers; removing all schemes of opposition from
whatever source they came by the enlightening power of his doctrine,
aiming to save the entire world; thus he desired that the body of people
should obtain rest; even as we desire to give peace to our children, so
did he long to give rest to the world. He also attended to his religious
duties, sacrificing by fire to all the spirits, with clasped hands
adoring the moon, bathing his body in the waters of the Ganges;
cleansing his heart in the waters of religion, performing his duties
with no private aim, but regarding his child and the people at large;
loving righteous conversation, righteous words with loving aim; loving
words with no mixture of falsehood, true words imbued by love, and yet
withal so modest and self-distrustful, unable on that account to speak
as confident of truth; loving to all, and yet not loving the world; with
no thought of selfishness or covetous desire: aiming to restrain the
tongue and in quietness to find rest from wordy contentions, not seeking
in the multitude of religious duties to condone for a worldly principle
in action, but aiming to benefit the world by a liberal and
unostentatious charity; the heart without any contentious thought, but
resolved by goodness to subdue the contentious; desiring to mortify the
passions, and to destroy every enemy of virtue; not multiplying coarse
or unseemly words, but exhorting to virtue in the use of courteous
language; full of sympathy and ready charity, pointing out and
practising the way of mutual dependence; receiving and understanding the
wisdom of spirits and Rishis; crushing and destroying every cruel and
hateful thought. Thus his fame and virtue were widely renowned, and yet
himself finally (or, forever) separate from the ties of the world,
showing the ability of a master builder, laying a good foundation of
virtue, an example for all the earth; so a man's heart composed and at
rest, his limbs and all his members will also be at ease. And now the
son of Suddhodana, and his virtuous wife Yasodhara, as time went on,
growing to full estate, their child Rahula was born; and then Suddhodana
raga considered thus: "My son, the prince, having a son born to him, the
affairs of the empire will be handed down in succession, and there will
be no end to its righteous government; the prince having begotten a son,
will love his son as I love him, and no longer think about leaving his
home as an ascetic, but devote himself to the practice of virtue; I now
have found complete rest of heart, like one just born to heavenly joys."

Like as in the first days of the kalpa, Rishi-kings by the way in which
they walked, practising pure and spotless deeds, offered up religious
offerings, without harm to living thing, and illustriously prepared an
excellent karma, so the king excelling in the excellence of purity in
family and excellence of wealth, excelling in strength and every
exhibition of prowess, reflected the glory of his name through the
world, as the sun sheds abroad his thousand rays. But now, being the
king of men, or a king among men, he deemed it right to exhibit his
son's prowess, for the sake of his family and kin, to exhibit him; to
increase his family's renown, his glory spread so high as even to obtain
the name of "God begotten;" and having partaken of these heavenly joys,
enjoying the happiness of increased wisdom; understanding the truth by
his own righteousness, derived from previous hearing of the truth. Would
that this might lead my son, he prayed, to love his child and not
forsake his home; the kings of all countries, whose sons have not yet
grown up, have prevented them exercising authority in the empire, in
order to give their minds relaxation, and for this purpose have provided
them with worldly indulgences, so that they may perpetuate the royal
seed; so now the king, having begotten a royal son, indulged him in
every sort of pleasure; desiring that he might enjoy these worldly
delights, and not wish to wander from his home in search of wisdom. In
former times the Bodhisattva kings, although their way (life) has been
restrained, have yet enjoyed the pleasures of the world, and when they
have begotten a son, then separating themselves from family ties, have
afterwards entered the solitude of the mountains, to prepare themselves
in the way of a silent recluse.

* * * * *

Disgust at Sorrow

Without are pleasant garden glades, flowing fountains, pure refreshing
lakes, with every kind of flower, and trees with fruit, arranged in
rows, deep shade beneath. There, too, are various kinds of wondrous
birds, flying and sporting in the midst, and on the surface of the water
the four kinds of flowers, bright colored, giving out their floating
scent; minstrel maidens cause their songs and chorded music, to invite
the prince. He, hearing the sounds of singing, sighs for the pleasures
of the garden shades, and cherishing within these happy thoughts, he
dwelt upon the joys of an outside excursion; even as the chained
elephant ever longs for the free desert wilds.

The royal father, hearing that the prince would enjoy to wander through
the gardens, first ordered all his attendant officers to adorn and
arrange them, after their several offices:--To make level and smooth the
king's highway, to remove from the path all offensive matter, all old
persons, diseased or deformed, all those suffering through poverty or
great grief, so that his son in his present humor might see nothing
likely to afflict his heart. The adornments being duly made, the prince
was invited to an audience; the king seeing his son approach, patted his
head, and looking at the color of his face, feelings of sorrow and joy
intermingled, bound him. His mouth willing to speak, his heart

Now see the jewel-fronted gaudy chariot; the four equally pacing,
stately horses; good-tempered and well trained; young and of graceful
appearance; perfectly pure and white, and draped with flowery coverings.
In the same chariot stands the stately driver; the streets were
scattered over with flowers; precious drapery fixed on either side of
the way, with dwarfed trees lining the road, costly vessels employed for
decoration, hanging canopies and variegated banners, silken curtains,
moved by the rustling breeze; spectators arranged on either side of the
path. With bodies bent and glistening eyes, eagerly gazing, but not
rudely staring, as the blue lotus flower they bent drooping in the air,
ministers and attendants flocking round him, as stars following the
chief of the constellation; all uttering the same suppressed whisper of
admiration, at a sight so seldom seen in the world; rich and poor,
humble and exalted, old and young and middle-aged, all paid the greatest
respect, and invoked blessings on the occasion.

So the country-folk and the town-folk, hearing that the prince was
coming forth, the well-to-do not waiting for their servants, those
asleep and awake not mutually calling to one another, the six kinds of
creatures not gathered together and penned, the money not collected and
locked up, the doors and gates not fastened, all went pouring along the
way on foot; the towers were filled, the mounds by the trees, the
windows and the terraces along the streets; with bent body fearing to
lift their eyes, carefully seeing that there was nothing about them to
offend, those seated on high addressing those seated on the ground,
those going on the road addressing those passing on high, the mind
intent on one object alone; so that if a heavenly form had flown past,
or a form entitled to highest respect, there would have been no
distraction visible, so intent was the body and so immovable the limbs.
And now beautiful as the opening lily, he advances towards the garden
glades, wishing to accomplish the words of the holy prophet (Rishi). The
prince, seeing the ways prepared and watered and the joyous holiday
appearance of the people; seeing too the drapery and chariot, pure,
bright, shining, his heart exulted greatly and rejoiced. The people (on
their part) gazed at the prince, so beautifully adorned, with all his
retinue, like an assembled company of kings gathered to see a
heaven-born prince. And now a Deva-raga of the Pure abode, suddenly
appears by the side of the road; his form changed into that of an old
man, struggling for life, his heart weak and oppressed. The prince
seeing the old man, filled with apprehension, asked his charioteer,
"What kind of man is this? his head white and his shoulders bent, his
eyes bleared and his body withered, holding a stick to support him along
the way. Is his body suddenly dried up by the heat, or has he been born
in this way?" The charioteer, his heart much embarrassed, scarcely dared
to answer truly, till the pure-born (Deva) added his spiritual power,
and caused him to frame a reply in true words: "His appearance changed,
his vital powers decayed, filled with sorrow, with little pleasure, his
spirits gone, his members nerveless, these are the indications of what
is called 'old age.' This man was once a sucking child, brought up and
nourished at his mother's breast, and as a youth full of sportive life,
handsome, and in enjoyment of the five pleasures; as years passed on,
his frame decaying, he is brought now to the waste of age."

The prince, greatly agitated and moved, asked his charioteer another
question and said, "Is yonder man the only one afflicted with age, or
shall I, and others also, be such as he?" The charioteer again replied
and said, "Your highness also inherits this lot: as time goes on, the
form itself is changed, and this must doubtless come, beyond all
hindrance. The youthful form must wear the garb of age, throughout the
world, this is the common lot."

Bodhisattva, who had long prepared the foundation of pure and spotless
wisdom, broadly setting the root of every high quality, with a view to
gather large fruit in his present life, hearing these words respecting
the sorrow of age, was afflicted in mind, and his hair stood upright.
Just as the roll of the thunder and the storm alarm and put to flight
the cattle, so was Bodhisattva affected by the words; shaking with
apprehension, he deeply sighed; constrained at heart because of the pain
of age; with shaking head and constant gaze, he thought upon this misery
of decay; what joy or pleasure can men take, he thought, in that which
soon must wither, stricken by the marks of age; affecting all without
exception; though gifted now with youth and strength, yet not one but
soon must change and pine away. The eye beholding such signs as these
before it, how can it not be oppressed by a desire to escape?
Bodhisattva then addressed his charioteer: "Quickly turn your chariot
and go back. Ever thinking on this subject of old age approaching, what
pleasures now can these gardens afford, the years of my life like the
fast-flying wind; turn your chariot, and with speedy wheels take me to
my palace." And so his heart keeping in the same sad tone, he was as one
who returns to a place of entombment; unaffected by any engagement or
employment, so he found no rest in anything within his home.

The king hearing of his son's sadness urged his companions to induce him
again to go abroad, and forthwith incited his ministers and attendants
to decorate the gardens even more than before. The Deva then caused
himself to appear as a sick man; struggling for life, he stood by the
wayside, his body swollen and disfigured, sighing with deep-drawn
groans; his hands and knees contracted and sore with disease, his tears
flowing as he piteously muttered his petition. The prince asked his
charioteer, "What sort of man, again, is this?"

Replying, he said, "This is a sick man. The four elements all confused
and disordered, worn and feeble, with no remaining strength, bent down
with weakness, looking to his fellow-men for help." The prince hearing
the words thus spoken, immediately became sad and depressed in heart,
and asked, "Is this the only man afflicted thus, or are others liable to
the same calamity?" In reply he said, "Through all the world, men are
subject to the same condition; those who have bodies must endure
affliction, the poor and ignorant, as well as the rich and great." The
prince, when these words met his ears, was oppressed with anxious
thought and grief; his body and his mind were moved throughout, just as
the moon upon the ruffled tide. "Placed thus in the great furnace of
affliction, say! what rest or quiet can there be! Alas! that worldly
men, blinded by ignorance and oppressed with dark delusion, though the
robber sickness may appear at any time, yet live with blithe and joyous
hearts!" On this, turning his chariot back again, he grieved to think
upon the pain of sickness. As a man beaten and wounded sore, with body
weakened, leans upon his staff, so dwelt he in the seclusion of his
palace, lone-seeking, hating worldly pleasures.

The king, hearing once more of his son's return, asked anxiously the
reason why, and in reply was told--"he saw the pain of sickness." The
king, in fear, like one beside himself, roundly blamed the keepers of
the way; his heart constrained, his lips spoke not; again he increased
the crowd of music-women, the sounds of merriment twice louder than
aforetime, if by these sounds and sights the prince might be gratified;
and indulging worldly feelings, might not hate his home. Night and day
the charm of melody increased, but his heart was still unmoved by it.
The king himself then went forth to observe everything successively, and
to make the gardens even yet more attractive, selecting with care the
attendant women, that they might excel in every point of personal
beauty; quick in wit and able to arrange matters well, fit to ensnare
men by their winning looks; he placed additional keepers along the
king's way, he strictly ordered every offensive sight to be removed, and
earnestly exhorted the illustrious coachman, to look well and pick out
the road as he went. And now that Deva of the Pure abode, again caused
the appearance of a dead man; four persons carrying the corpse lifted it
on high, and appeared (to be going on) in front of Bodhisattva; the
surrounding people saw it not, but only Bodhisattva and the charioteer.
Once more he asked, "What is this they carry? with streamers and flowers
of every choice description, whilst the followers are overwhelmed with
grief, tearing their hair and wailing piteously." And now the gods
instructing the coachman, he replied and said, "This is a dead man: all
his powers of body destroyed, life departed; his heart without thought,
his intellect dispersed; his spirit gone, his form withered and decayed;
stretched out as a dead log; family ties broken--all his friends who
once loved him, clad in white cerements, now no longer delighting to
behold him, remove him to lie in some hollow ditch tomb." The prince
hearing the name of Death, his heart constrained by painful thoughts, he
asked, "Is this the only dead man, or does the world contain like
instances?" Replying thus he said, "All, everywhere, the same; he who
begins his life must end it likewise; the strong and lusty and the
middle-aged, having a body, cannot but decay and die." The prince was
now harassed and perplexed in mind; his body bent upon the chariot
leaning-board, with bated breath and struggling accents, stammered thus,
"Oh worldly men! how fatally deluded! beholding everywhere the body
brought to dust, yet everywhere the more carelessly living; the heart is
neither lifeless wood nor stone, and yet it thinks not 'all is
vanishing!'" Then turning, he directed his chariot to go back, and no
longer waste his time in wandering. How could he, whilst in fear of
instant death, go wandering here and there with lightened heart! The
charioteer remembering the king's exhortation feared much nor dared go
back; straightforward then he pressed his panting steeds, passed onward
to the gardens, came to the groves and babbling streams of crystal
water, the pleasant trees, spread out with gaudy verdure, the noble
living things and varied beasts so wonderful, the flying creatures and
their notes melodious; all charming and delightful to the eye and ear,
even as the heavenly Nandavana.

Putting Away Desire

On the prince entering the garden the women came around to pay him
court; and to arouse in him thoughts frivolous; with ogling ways and
deep design, each one setting herself off to best advantage; or joining
together in harmonious concert, clapping their hands, or moving their
feet in unison, or joining close, body to body, limb to limb; or
indulging in smart repartees, and mutual smiles; or assuming a
thoughtful saddened countenance, and so by sympathy to please the
prince, and provoke in him a heart affected by love. But all the women
beheld the prince, clouded in brow, and his god-like body not exhibiting
its wonted signs of beauty; fair in bodily appearance, surpassingly
lovely, all looked upwards as they gazed, as when we call upon the moon
Deva to come; but all their subtle devices were ineffectual to move
Bodhisattva's heart.

At last commingling together they join and look astonished and in fear,
silent without a word. Then there was a Brahmaputra, whose name was
called Udayi (Yau-to-i). He, addressing the women, said, "Now all of
you, so graceful and fair, see if you cannot by your combined power hit
on some device; for beauty's power is not forever. Still it holds the
world in bondage, by secret ways and lustful arts; but no such
loveliness in all the world as yours, equal to that of heavenly nymphs;
the gods beholding it would leave their queens, spirits and Rishis would
be misled by it; why not then the prince, the son of an earthly king?
why should not his feelings be aroused? This prince indeed, though he
restrains his heart and holds it fixed, pure-minded, with virtue
uncontaminated, not to be overcome by power of women; yet of old there
was Sundari (Su-to-li) able to destroy the great Rishi, and to lead him
to indulge in love, and so degrade his boasted eminence; undergoing long
penance, Gautama fell likewise by the arts of a heavenly queen;
Shing-kue, a Rishi putra, practising lustful indulgences according to
fancy, was lost. The Brahman Rishi Visvamitra (Pi-she-po), living
religiously for ten thousand years, deeply ensnared by a heavenly queen,
in one day was completely shipwrecked in faith; thus those enticing
women, by their power, overcame the Brahman ascetics; how much more may
ye, by your arts, overpower the resolves of the king's son; strive
therefore after new devices, let not the king fail in a successor to the
throne; women, though naturally weak, are high and potent in the way of
ruling men. What may not their arts accomplish in promoting in men a
lustful desire?" At this time all the attendant women, hearing
throughout the words of Udayi, increasing their powers of pleasing, as
the quiet horse when touched by the whip, went into the presence of the
royal prince, and each one strove in the practice of every kind of art.
They joined in music and in smiling conversation, raising their
eyebrows, showing their white teeth, with ogling looks, glancing one at
the other, their light drapery exhibiting their white bodies, daintily
moving with mincing gait, acting the part of a bride as if coming
gradually nearer, desiring to promote in him a feeling of love,
remembering the words of the great king, "With dissolute form and
slightly clad, forgetful of modesty and womanly reserve." The prince
with resolute heart was silent and still, with unmoved face he sat; even
as the great elephant-dragon, whilst the entire herd moves round him; so
nothing could disturb or move his heart, dwelling in their midst as in a
confined room. Like the divine Sakra, around whom all the Devis
assemble, so was the prince as he dwelt in the gardens; the maidens
encircling him thus; some arranging their dress, others washing their
hands or feet, others perfuming their bodies with scent, others twining
flowers for decoration, others making strings for jewelled necklets,
others rubbing or striking their bodies, others resting, or lying, one
beside the other; others, with head inclined, whispering secret words,
others engaged in common sports, others talking of amorous things,
others assuming lustful attitudes, striving thus to move his heart. But
Bodhisattva, peaceful and collected, firm as a rock, difficult to move,
hearing all these women's talk, unaffected either to joy or sorrow, was
driven still more to serious thought, sighing to witness such strange
conduct, and beginning to understand the women's design, by these means
to disconcert his mind, not knowing that youthful beauty soon falls,
destroyed by old age and death, fading and perishing! This is the great
distress! What ignorance and delusion (he reflected) overshadow their
minds: "Surely they ought to consider old age, disease, and death, and
day and night stir themselves up to exertion, whilst this sharp
double-edged sword hangs over the neck. What room for sport or laughter,
beholding those monsters, old age, disease, and death? A man who is
unable to resort to this inward knowledge, what is he but a wooden or a
plaster man, what heart-consideration in such a case! Like the double
tree that appears in the desert, with leaves and fruit all perfect and
ripe, the first cut down and destroyed, the other unmoved by
apprehension, so it is in the case of the mass of men: they have no
understanding either!"

At this time Udayi came to the place where the prince was, and observing
his silent and thoughtful mien, unmoved by any desire for indulgence, he
forthwith addressed the prince, and said, "The Maharaga, by his former
appointment, has selected me to act as friend to his son; may I
therefore speak some friendly words? an enlightened friendship is of
three sorts: that which removes things unprofitable, promotes that which
is real gain, and stands by a friend in adversity. I claim the name of
'enlightened friend,' and would renounce all that is magisterial, but
yet not speak lightly or with indifference. What then are the three
sources of advantage? listen, and I will now utter true words, and prove
myself a true and sincere adviser. When the years are fresh and
ripening, beauty and pleasing qualities in bloom, not to give proper
weight to woman's influence, this is a weak man's policy. It is right
sometimes to be of a crafty mind, submitting to those little subterfuges
which find a place in the heart's undercurrents, and obeying what those
thoughts suggest in way of pleasures to be got from dalliance: this is
no wrong in woman's eye! even if now the heart has no desire, yet it is
fair to follow such devices; agreement is the joy of woman's heart,
acquiescence is the substance (the full) of true adornment; but if a man
reject these overtures, he's like a tree deprived of leaves and fruits;
why then ought you to yield and acquiesce? that you may share in all
these things. Because in taking, there's an end of trouble--no light and
changeful thoughts then worry us--for pleasure is the first and foremost
thought of all, the gods themselves cannot dispense with it. Lord Sakra
was drawn by it to love the wife of Gautama the Rishi; so likewise the
Rishi Agastya, through a long period of discipline, practising
austerities, from hankering after a heavenly queen (Devi), lost all
reward of his religious endeavors, the Rishi Brihaspati, and Kandradeva
putra; the Rishi Parasara, and Kavangara (Kia-pin-ke-lo). All these, out
of many others, were overcome by woman's love. How much more then, in
your case, should you partake in such pleasant joys; nor refuse, with
wilful heart, to participate in the worldly delights, which your present
station, possessed of such advantages, offers you, in the presence of
these attendants."

At this time the royal prince, hearing the words of his friend Udayi, so
skilfully put, with such fine distinction, cleverly citing worldly
instances, answered thus to Udayi: "Thank you for having spoken
sincerely to me; let me likewise answer you in the same way, and let
your heart suspend its judgment whilst you listen:--It is not that I am
careless about beauty, or am ignorant of the power of human joys, but
only that I see on all the impress of change; therefore my heart is sad
and heavy; if these things were sure of lasting, without the ills of
age, disease, and death, then would I too take my fill of love; and to
the end find no disgust or sadness. If you will undertake to cause these
women's beauty not to change or wither in the future, then, though the
joy of love may have its evil, still it might hold the mind in thraldom.
To know that other men grow old, sicken, and die, would be enough to rob
such joys of satisfaction; yet how much more in their own case (knowing
this) would discontentment fill the mind; to know such pleasures hasten
to decay, and their bodies likewise; if, notwithstanding this, men yield
to the power of love, their case indeed is like the very beasts. And now
you cite the names of many Rishis, who practised lustful ways in life;
their cases likewise cause me sorrow, for in that they did these things,
they perished. Again, you cite the name of that illustrious king, who
freely gratified his passions, but he, in like way, perished in the act;
know, then, that he was not a conqueror; with smooth words to conceal an
intrigue, and to persuade one's neighbor to consent, and by consenting
to defile his mind; how can this be called a just device? It is but to
seduce one with a hollow lie--such ways are not for me to practise; or,
for those who love the truth and honesty; for they are, forsooth,
unrighteous ways, and such a disposition is hard to reverence; shaping
one's conduct after one's likings, liking this or that, and seeing no
harm in it, what method of experience is this! A hollow compliance, and
a protesting heart, such method is not for me to follow; but this I
know, old age, disease, and death, these are the great afflictions which
accumulate, and overwhelm me with their presence; on these I find no
friend to speak, alas! alas! Udayi! these, after all, are the great
concerns; the pain of birth, old age, disease, and death; this grief is
that we have to fear; the eyes see all things falling to decay, and yet
the heart finds joy in following them; but I have little strength of
purpose, or command; this heart of mine is feeble and distraught,
reflecting thus on age, disease, and death. Distracted, as I never was
before; sleepless by night and day, how can I then indulge in pleasure?
Old age, disease, and death consuming me, their certainty beyond a
doubt, and still to have no heavy thoughts, in truth my heart would be a
log or stone." Thus the prince, for Uda's sake, used every kind of
skilful argument, describing all the pains of pleasure; and not
perceiving that the day declined. And now the waiting women all, with
music and their various attractions, seeing that all were useless for
the end, with shame began to flock back to the city; the prince
beholding all the gardens, bereft of their gaudy ornaments, the women
all returning home, the place becoming silent and deserted, felt with
twofold strength the thought of impermanence. With saddened mien going
back, he entered his palace.

The king, his father, hearing of the prince, his heart estranged from
thoughts of pleasure, was greatly overcome with sorrow, and like a sword
it pierced his heart. Forthwith assembling all his council, he sought of
them some means to gain his end; they all replied, "These sources of
desire are not enough to hold and captivate his heart."

Leaving the City

And so the king increased the means for gratifying the appetite for
pleasure; both night and day the joys of music wore out the prince,
opposed to pleasure; disgusted with them, he desired their absence, his
mind was weaned from all such thoughts, he only thought of age, disease,
and death; as the lion wounded by an arrow.

The king then sent his chief ministers, and the most distinguished of
his family, young in years and eminent for beauty, as well as for wisdom
and dignity of manners, to accompany and rest with him, both night and
day, in order to influence the prince's mind. And now within a little
interval, the prince again requested the king that he might go abroad.

Once more the chariot and the well-paced horses were prepared, adorned
with precious substances and every gem; and then with all the nobles,
his associates, surrounding him, he left the city gates. Just as the
four kinds of flower, when the sun shines, open out their leaves, so was
the prince in all his spiritual splendor; effulgent in the beauty of his
youth-time. As he proceeded to the gardens from the city, the road was
well prepared, smooth, and wide, the trees were bright with flowers and
fruit, his heart was joyous, and forgetful of its care.

Now by the roadside, as he beheld the ploughmen, plodding along the
furrows, and the writhing worms, his heart again was moved with piteous
feeling, and anguish pierced his soul afresh; to see those laborers at
their toil, struggling with painful work, their bodies bent, their hair
dishevelled, the dripping sweat upon their faces, their persons fouled
with mud and dust; the ploughing oxen, too, bent by the yokes, their
lolling tongues and gaping mouths. The nature of the prince, loving,
compassionate, his mind conceived most poignant sorrow, and nobly moved
to sympathy, he groaned with pain; then stooping down he sat upon the
ground, and watched this painful scene of suffering; reflecting on the
ways of birth and death! "Alas! he cried, for all the world! how dark
and ignorant, void of understanding!" And then to give his followers
chance of rest, he bade them each repose where'er they list, whilst he
beneath the shadow of a Gambu tree, gracefully seated, gave himself to
thought. He pondered on the fact of life and death, inconstancy, and
endless progress to decay. His heart thus fixed without confusion, the
five senses covered and clouded over, lost in possession of
enlightenment and insight, he entered on the first pure state of
ecstasy. All low desire removed, most perfect peace ensued; and fully
now in Samadhi he saw the misery and utter sorrow of the world; the ruin
wrought by age, disease, and death; the great misery following on the
body's death; and yet men not awakened to the truth! oppressed with
others' suffering (age, disease, and death), this load of sorrow weighed
his mind. "I now will seek," he said, "a noble law, unlike the worldly
methods known to men. I will oppose disease and age and death, and
strive against the mischief wrought by these on men."

Thus lost in tranquil contemplation, he considered that youth, vigor,
and strength of life, constantly renewing themselves, without long stay,
in the end fulfil the rule of ultimate destruction. Thus he pondered,
without excessive joy or grief, without hesitation or confusion of
thought, without dreaminess or extreme longing, without aversion or
discontent, but perfectly at peace, with no hindrance, radiant with the
beams of increased illumination. At this time a Deva of the Pure abode,
transforming himself into the shape of a Bhikshu, came to the place
where the prince was seated; the prince with due consideration rose to
meet him, and asked him who he was. In reply he said, "I am a Shaman,
depressed and sad at thought of age, disease, and death; I have left my
home to seek some way of rescue, but everywhere I find old age, disease,
and death; all things hasten to decay and there is no permanency.
Therefore I search for the happiness of something that decays not, that
never perishes, that never knows beginning, that looks with equal mind
on enemy and friend, that heeds not wealth nor beauty; the happiness of
one who finds repose alone in solitude, in some unfrequented dell, free
from molestation, all thoughts about the world destroyed; dwelling in
some lonely hermitage, untouched by any worldly source of pollution,
begging for food sufficient for the body." And forthwith as he stood
before the prince, gradually rising up he disappeared in space.

The prince, with joyful mind, considering, recollected former Buddhas,


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