Offering of music to the Buddha by the Gandharva Pañcasikha

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Offering of music to the Buddha by the Gandharva Pañcasikha

Post by Aemilius »

This story is from Dirgha Agama. Lyrics are a mixture of a love song and a praise to Gautama Shakyamuni, which is slightly weird, in my opinion. Bhagavan Gautama praises the Pañcasikha Gandharva for his artistic performance.

" 7. At the time, the Bhagavān had entered the samādhi of blazing fire, and Mount Vaidehaka looked like one giant flame. The people in the countryside saw its appearance and said, “Mount Vaidehaka looks like one giant flame. Is this due to the power of gods that are arriving?”

8. Śakra the Lord of Gods told Pañcaśikha, “The Tathāgata, the Arhat, is so hard to see, but we can go down to this place of seclusion that’s quiet without voices, where the animals gather. There, the Bhagavān is constantly attended to by great spirits and gods. You can take the lead and play music with your cymophane lute to delight the Bhagavān. I and the gods will be right behind you!”

9. Pañcaśikha replied, “Very well.” He did as he was instructed, going first to visit the Bhagavān with his cymophane lute in hand. When he was not far away from the Buddha, he played his lute and sang these lyrics:

“Bhadrā, I bow to your father;
Your father is so dignified!
I’m so lucky you were born,
My heart desires you so much!

For some reason in the past,
The desire to be born here arose in you.
It developed and grew larger,
Like an offering to an arhat!

The Śākyan son focused on four dhyānas,
Always happy living in seclusion.
He pursued immortality with the right attitude;
My thoughts are focused in the same way!

Śākyamuni set his heart on enlightenment,
Sure he’d achieve correct awakening.
Now, if I were to pursue that woman,
I’d be sure to join with her, too!

My heart is stained by attachment;
I haven’t renounced the love of beauty.
I’d like to renounce it, but I can’t,
I’m like an elephant led by a hook.

It’s like a cool wind when it’s hot,
Like finding a cool spring when thirsty,
Like someone choosing Nirvāṇa,
Or like water dousing a fire.

It’s like someone sick finding a doctor
Or a starving person getting a fine meal.
They’re filled with happiness
Like an arhat enjoying the Dharma.

It’s like an elephant that’s hooked deeply
But still refuses to submit.
Charging around and hard to control,
The reckless don’t stop themselves.

It’s like a refreshing lake
Covered by assorted water lilies.
Hot and tired elephants bathe there,
Cooling off their whole bodies.

I’ll give gifts, one after another,
As support for the arhats.
This world’s rewards for such merit
Will all be given as gifts to her.

When you die, I’ll die with you.
How could I live on with you gone?
I would rather die myself;
It’s impossible to exist without you.

Lord of the Trāyastriṃśa Heaven!
Śakra, grant me my wish now!
You’ve an honorable character;
You’ll consider it well.”

10. The Bhagavān then roused from his samādhi and told Pañcaśikha, “Good, Pañcaśikha, good! You’re able to praise the Tathāgata with your clear voice and harmonious cymophane lute. The sound of both your lute and voice are neither long or short. Their compassion and gracefulness moves people’s hearts. Your song is replete with many meanings and explains the bonds of desire, the religious life, the ascetic, and Nirvāṇa!”

11. Pañcaśikha then said to the Buddha, “I remember when the Bhagavān became a Buddha sitting beneath the Ajapāla Nigrodha tree on the bank of the Nairañjanā River in Uruvilvā. The great god general’s son Sikhaddi and the gandharva king’s daughter had a rendezvous just to enjoy themselves. I saw the way they were feeling at the time and composed this song. The lyrics explain the bond of desire, and they explain the religious life, the ascetic, and Nirvāṇa.

the whole sutra: The Long Discourses,14. Questions Asked by Śakra the Lord of Gods ... .html#ref2
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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