Cross-cousin Relation Between Buddha and Devadatta.
CROSS-COUSIN RELATION BETWEEN BUDDHA AND DEVADATTA.
BY KALIPADA MITRA.
THE attribution of rivalry between Buddha and
Devadatta to the cross-cousin system shown in an
article entitled 'Buddha and Devadatta' (ante., vol.
LII, p. 267), written by Mr. A. M. Hocart is indeed
very attractive. I do not feel competent at the
moment to say anything for or against the theory, but
desire to offer a few observations in regard to the
Mr. Hocart writes (ante., vol. LII, App. A, p.
271): " I should like to draw the reader's attention
to Vinaya, vol. II, p. 188, where Devadatta
approaches Buddha most respectfully and offers to
relieve his age of the burden of administering the
Order. The Buddha replies with abuse, calling him
'corpse, lick-spittle ' (Chavassa, Khelakapassa).(1)
This seems scarcely in keeping with the character of
the Buddha, but it is with that of a cross-cousin.(2)
But in Cullavagga (V. 8.2), we read that when the
Buddha heard that Pindola Bhara dvaja had shown his
magic power by flying through the air thrice round
Rajagaha with the sandal-bowl, which was set high on
a pole by a Rajagaha setthi (atha kho ayasma
Pindolabhara dvajo vehasam abbhuggantva tam pattam
gahetva tikkhattum Rajagaham anupariyasi) , he
reprimanded the thera for having displayed his iddhi
(magic power) for so trifling an object as a sandal
bowl. There he uses the word chavassa, and a simile
not at all dignified and becoming (Katham hi nama
tvam Bharadvaja chavassa darupattassa karana gihi nam
uttarimanussadhammam iddhipatihariyam dassessasi,
seyyathapi Bharadvaja matugamo 11 But cf. Grant Duff,
Hisxory of the Mahrattas (ed. 1921), I,pp. 11n, 21n.
1 The actual words used in the Cullavagga, however,
are chavassa khelapakassa.
2 Italics mine.
chavassa masakarupassa karana kopinam dasseti
evam eva kho taya Bharadvaja chavassa darupattassa
karana gihinam uttarimanussa dhammam iddhipatihariyam
dassitam). The explanation, therefore, that Buddha's
use of unbecoming language towards Devadatta was
scarcely in keeping with his character, but with that
of a cross-cousin, becomes, to my mind, considerably
weakened, for that was not the only occasion on
which he used language unworthy of his character. In
fact the word chava seems to have been used
frequently, e.g., in Majjhima Nikaya (Upalisattam,
M.N.,I, 371 ff.): chavo manadando....kimhi soshati
eko-ciavo purhso, eka chava Nalanda.
Then again we get a passage, " Devadatts is hurt
and one day when Buddha is walking up and down on
Grdhrakuta, hill throws a stone at him (op. cit., p.
Mr. Hocart says that "it is remarkable that in
Fiji this kind of legend is often told to account for
the cross-cousinship;" and he tells a legend of the
island of Nayan and of Vanuavatu bearing likeness to
the Grdhrakuta legend. In South Africa the uterine
nephew for stealing the offering " gets pelted by the
others " (ante, vol. LII, p. 268), and " the pelting
of the uterine nephew is part of a religious
ceremonial " (ante, vol. LII, p. 271). It appears
that all this was "a playful antagonism "(ante, vol.
LII, p. 269), and not intended to bring about death.
Devadatta however hurled down a rock, intending to
kill the Buddha (atha kho Devadatto Gijjhakutam
pabbatam abhiruhitva mahantam silam pavijjhi imaya
samanam Gotamam jivita voropessamiti)(3). He is said to
have hurled the immense stone " by the help of a
machine."(4) "Hiuen Tsang saw the stone which was
fourteen or fifteen feet high."(5) Of course it may
be that " the playful antagonism " (such as is
preserved in pelting as " a religious ceremonial "),
expressive of the liberty of the cross-cousin system,
originally existed, but was subsequently
mis-represented as a deadly feud, when the memory of
the custom was lost, the idea of fighting having been
somehow or other regarded as essential, as Mr. Hocart
I shall notice only another passage in the
article: " If the hostility of Devadatta is merely
the record of ordinary hatred, it is difficult to
understand why Devadatta possesses the power of
flying through the air and of performing miracles
(ante, vol. LII, p. 269)."(6)
Whatever power Devadatta possessed of " flying
through the air and performing miracles" he seems to
have lost it, and that for ever, after his miraculous
appearance before Ajasat; for we learn that Devadstta
" at this time lost the power of dhyana."(7) I do not
find anywhere in the subsequent part of the Manual
that Devadatta ever recovered his magic power.
The possession of the power of flying through the
air by Devadatta does not present any difficulty to
me. This power was entirely due to the Buddha, and
vanished from him even at the very thought of revolt
against the Great Teacher. Let me pursue this view a
little further. It is related in Cullavagga (VII.
1.4) that when he was ordained by the Buddha
(pabbajja) along with Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Bhagu and
Kimbila--the Sakyas, Devadatta attained only
pothujjanikam iddhim (the lower grade of Magic
Power). He exhibited his power by assuming the form
of a child (or a. Brahmin?), wearing a girdle of
snakes and suddenly appear ing in Ajatasattu's lap
(atha kho Devadalto sakavannam patisamharitva
kumarakavannam abhinimminitva ahimekhalikaya
Ajatasattussa Kumarassa ucchange paturahosi). But as
soon as the evil thought of administering the Order
possessed him, his Magic Power diminished
3 C.V., VII. 3.9. 4 (Spence Hardy, Manual of
Buddhism (1860), p. 320.
5 Quoted from the article, p. 271.
6 Mr. Hocart refers to Hardy's Manual of Buddhism,
p,. 326. This page corresponds to p. 315, of the
edition (1860) I am consulting. Apparently he
refers to the passage: " By the power of dhyana he
became a rishi, so that he could pass through the
air and assume any form." All my referances are to
be found in the edition of the Manual published in
7 Hardy's Manual, p. 316.
(saha cittuppada 'va Devadatto tassa iddhiya
parihayi). His magic power, small as it was, became
smaller. Even before this event he does not seem to
be much in request; and feels the anguish of it.
"When the Teacher and the monks went into residence
at Kosambi, great numbers of people flocked thither
and said, " Where is the Teacher? Where is
Sariputta? Moggallana,? Kassapa? Bhaddiya? Anuruddha?
Ananda? Bhagu? Kimbila?" But nobody said, " where is
Devadatta? " Thereupon Devadatta said to himself, "
Iretired from the world with these monks; I, like
them, belong to the warrior caste; but unlike them I
am the object of nobody's solicitude."(8) And then with
the help of Ajatasattu he tried to kill Buddha. When
all his attempts failed, he went to the Buddha, and
with a view to cause a schism in the Order
(Samghabhedam) made (C. V., VII, 3. 14) a request of
five things, which the Buddha flatly refused. He
persuaded 500 monks to follow him to Gayasisa. Then "
Sariputta and Moggallana, convinced them of the error
of their ways by preaching and performing miracles
before them, and returned with them through the
air."(9) The Magic Power, therefore, of Devadatta was
very meagre by comparison with that of Sariputta and
Moggallana. It has already been related that this he
attained after his ordination by the Buddha, and was
there fore in a way owing to him, and even that was
only pothujjanika. Other disciples of the Buddha such
as Ayasma Sagata (M.V., V, 1. 5-8) and Ayasma
Pilindavaccha (M.V., V1, 15. 8-9) showed
Uttarimanussadhammam iddhipatihariyam. On the
occasion of the exhibition of the Great Miracle by
the Buddha, even his lay disciples, such as Grhapati
Luhasudatto, Kalo Rajabhrata; Rambhaka Aramika,
Riddhilamata Upasika, and Bhikshuni Utpalavarna,
offered to exhibit their riddhi (apparently
Sarvacravakasadharana).(10) Gharani, Sulu-anepidu and
others offered to show astounding miracles, before
which Devadatta's miracles pale.(11) Even the
titthiyas or heretics, much hated by the Buddhists,
seem to have exercised iddhi. In the Cullavagga
(V.8.1) and the Divyavadana (p. 143, et sep.) the
heretic leaders Purano Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, and
others claimed to be arahats endowed with Magical
Power (aham, araha c'eva iddhima ca; vayam sma
riddhimanto....yady ekam cramano Gautamo' nuttare
manushyadharme riddhipratiharyam vidarcayishyati vayam
dve)(12). Though no where in the Buddhist boobs are
the latter made to show their iddhi, abundant
references to this are found elsewhere. In the
Bhagavati Sutra, a Jaina book, it is related that
Makkhali Gosala, destroyed by his Magic Power two
disciples of Mahavira (Nigantha Nataputta), and tried
to kill Mahavira himself, but was for his pains
killed by the Magic Power of the latter, The heretics
undoubtedly were " utterly wicked "; still they seem
to have exercised Magic Power. I therefore do not see
anything very peculiar in the attribution of magical
power to Devadatta.
References to the cross-cousin system are to be
found in the Brahmana and Sutra literature.
Westermarck in his History of Human Marriage (p. 304)
says, " yet in the older literature marriage with the
daughters of the mother's brother and sons of the
father's sister is permitted " and quotes passages in
support of this in the footnote. Weber: (Die
Kastenver- haltnisse in dem Brahman und Sutra' in
Indische Studien, vol. X, pp. 75 et sep. Pradyumna
married the daughter of Rukmi, his mother Rulrmini's
brother.(13) Arjuna married his mother's
8 Burlingame, Buddhaghosa's Dhammapada Commentary
(Proc. of the American Academy: 45--20), p. 504.
9 Ibid., p. 505. Also C.V., VII, 4. 3.
10 Cowell and Nail, DivydvadanadBn,a, pp. 160, 161.
l1 Hardy's Manual, p. 297.
12 See also Sarabhamigo Jataka, (483).
13 Srimabdbhagavata, Skandha, X, sl. 22, 23,
Vrtah svayamvare sakshadanango' angayutastaya,
rajnoh sametan nirrjitya jaharaikaratha yudhi
││ 22 ││
yadyapy anusmaran vairam Rukmi Krshnavamanitah.
byatarat bhagineyaya sutam kurvan svasuh priyam
││ 23 ││
brother's daughter, Subhadra (Krshna's sister).
We need not examine here whether Krshna and Arjuna
were Aryans or Non-Aryans, to determine whether the
custom was Aryan or Non-Aryan. Anyhow it shows that
the custom prevailed in Northern India. Arjuna
married her in the Rakshasa form by abducting her,
which involved him in a fight with the Yadavas, his
cross-cousin relations. This may point to the rivalry
adverted to by Mr. Hocart, but then it militates
against the great friendship which existed between
Krshn a and the Pandavas. King Avimaraka in Bhasa's
drama Avimaraka marries Kurangi, the daughter of his
mother's brother, Kuntibhoja. Madhavacarya in his
commentary on Parasara Samhita says that though
marriage with a mother's brother's daughter is
against the practice of wise men in Northern India
(Udicyacishta garhilam) yet being a good practice in
the Dekhan, this system is not indecorous (avinita)
in Northern India. The Crutis support it
(matulasutavivahasyanugrahakah Crutyadayah), and he
quotes Rg Veda (7. 4. 3. 22. 6--trptam
jahurmatulasyeva yosha, etc.) , as being the
mantravarna used in that marriage. References to this
marriage are also contained in Kumarila Bhatta's
Tantravartika (pp. 127--129, Benares edition) and
Viramitrodaya-Samskara-prakaca (pp. 139--141, 172,
203)(14) But as I have not sufficiently investigated
this line of evidence, I am unable to say if it
strengthens Mr. Hocart's theory of cross-cousin
rivalry. Mysterious are the ways in which the seeds
and pollen of a myth or custom are carried and
propagated and Mr. Hocart's theory demands serious