Dhammapada Verse 151
Jiranti ve rajaratha sucitta
atho sarirampi jaram upeti
satanca dhammo1 na jaram upeti
santo have sabbhi pavedayanti.
Verse 151: The much ornamented royal carriages do wear out, the body also
grows old, but the Dhamma of the Virtuous does not decay. Thus, indeed, say the
Virtuous among themselves.
1. dhammo/dhamma: The nine Transcendentals, viz, the four Maggas, the four
Phalas and Nibbana. (The Commentary)
The Story of Queen Mallika
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (151) of
this book, with reference to Mallika, queen of King Pasenadi of Kosala.
One day, Mallika went into the bathroom to wash her face, hands and feet. Her
pet dog also came in; as she was bending to wash her feet, the dog tried to have
sex with her, and the queen appeared to be amused and somewhat pleased. The king
saw this strange incident through the window from his bedroom. When the queen
came in, he said angrily to the queen, "Oh, you wicked woman! What were you
doing with that dog in the bathroom? Do not deny what I saw with my own
eyes." The queen replied that she was only washing her face, her hands and
her feet, and so was doing nothing wrong. Then she continued, "But, that
room is very strange. If anyone went into that room, to one looking from this
window there would appear to be two. If you do not believe me, O King, please go
into that room and I will look through this window."
So, the king went into the bathroom. When he came out, Mallika asked the king
why he misbehaved with a she-goat in that room. The king denied it, but the
queen insisted that she saw them with her own eyes. The king was puzzled, but
being dim-witted, he accepted the queen's explanation, and concluded that the
bath room was, indeed, very strange.
From that time, the queen was full of remorse for having lied to the king and
for having brazenly accused him of misbehaving with a she-goat. Thus, even when
she was approaching death, she forgot to think about the great unrivalled
charities she had shared with her husband and only remembered that she had been
unfair to him. As a result of this, when she died she was reborn in niraya.
After her burial, the king intended to ask the Buddha where she was reborn. The
Buddha wished to spare his feelings, and also did not want him to lose faith in
the Dhamma. So he willed that this question should not be put to him, and King
Pasenadi forgot to ask the Buddha.
However, after seven days in niraya, the queen was reborn in the Tusita
deva world. On that day, the Buddha went to King Pasenadi's palace for
alms-food; he indicated that he wished to rest in the coach-shed where the royal
carriages were kept. After offering alms-food, the king asked the Buddha where
queen Mallika was reborn and the Buddha replied, "Mallika has been
reborn in the Tusita deva world." Hearing this the king was very
pleased, and said, 'Where else could she have been reborn? She was always
thinking of doing good deeds, always thinking what to offer to the Buddha on the
next day. Venerable Sir! Now that she is gone, I, your humble disciple, hardly
know what to do." To him the Buddha said, "Look at these carriages
of your father and your grandfather; these are all worn down and lying useless;
so also is your body, which is subject to death and decay. Only the Dhamma of
the Virtuous is not subject to decay."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 151: The much ornamented royal carriages do wear
out, the body also grows old, but the Dhamma of the Virtuous does not
decay. Thus, indeed, say the Virtuous among themselves.