Gautama Buddha preached not to associate with foolish (Balanam), but to associate with the wise (Panditanan)
There was a philosophical upheaval in the society to realise what constituted a “Blessing” (Mangala)
Some declared an auspicious sight in the early morning as a Blessing (Mangalya). Some others believed auspicious sounds cause a blessing
The Devata made a pleading that the divine beings as well as human beings at large, are yearning for blessings
In ancient India, people gathered to listen to purana’s read aloud by the learned, in order to develop their knowledge and spiritual endeavours.
During the period when Tathagata Gautama was dwelling at the Anathapindika Jethavanaramaya in Shravasti, there was a philosophical upheaval in the society to realise what constituted a “Blessing” (Mangala).
Several people expressed diverse opinions. Some declared an auspicious sight in the early morning as a Blessing (Mangalya). Some others believed auspicious sounds cause a blessing.
Due to conflict and controversy over the issue among human beings, even the ‘Devas’ (Divine beings) too were disturbed.
Accordingly, Sakra Deva (Lord of the Devas) commissioned a certain Devata to approach Gautama Buddha to seek clarifications as to what really ‘Mangala’ means or in other words to clarify which is conducive to ‘Happiness and prosperity’.
As described in Sutta Nipata in Khuddaka Nikaya, there upon when the night was far spent, illuminating the Jethavana monastery premises, with his surpassing splendour, the Devata appeared before the Exalted One.
Respectfully approaching closer and paying his obeisance to the Buddha, and remaining beside and addressing the Buddha by reciting a verse, the Devata made a pleading that the divine beings as well as human beings at large, are yearning for blessings. “Pray, tell me the highest Blessings”.
“Bahu Deva Manussa ca, Mangalani Acintayum, Akankhamana Sotthanam, Bruhi Mangala Muttamam”.
Wishing for their own full well-being “Tell us Lord, what the highest blessings are”. Then the Buddha explained,
- “Do not to associate with foolish (Balanam), but associate with the wise (Panditanan)” and honour those who are worthy of honour (Pujaniyanam)”.
- “Reside in an appropriate area of residence (Patirupa-desa-vaso) together with a record of meritorious actions in one’s own past (Pubbe ca Katapunnata) and with perfect mastery over one’s own self (Atta Samma Panidhi).
- Vastness of learning and erudition (Bahu-saccan), together with manual skills in handicrafts (Sippan) and perfect discipline in one’s conduct (Vinayo ca Susikkhito) and delightful propriety of speech (Subhasita ca ya vaca).
- Support one’s father & mother (Mata Pitu — Upatthanam), dutiful maintenance of one’s wife and children (PuttaDarassa sangaho) and engage in Peaceful occupation (Anakula ca Kammanta).
- Generosity (Danan), righteous conduct (Dhammacariya), courteous care of one’s own relatives (Natakanan ca Sangaho) and one’s unblemished own conduct (Anavajjani Kammani).
- Loathe and abstinence from evil actions (Arati-Virati-Papa), refraining from intoxicants and drugs (Majjapana ca Samyamo), diligently active in pursuit of goodness (Appamado ca Dhammesu).
- Respectful and humble (Garavo - Nivato) in one ’s behaviour, contentment (Santutthi) and a profound sense of gratitude (Katannuta), regularly listen to Dhamma (Kalena Dhamma Savanam).
- Forbearance and patience (Kanti ca Sovacassata), associate with monks (Samananan ca dassanam) and regular discussion on the Dhamma (Kalena Dhamma Sakaccha).
- Spiritual austerity (Tapo) and celibate living (Brahmacariya), perception of the Noble Truths (Ariya Saccana Dassanam) and the realization of Nibbana (Nibbana Sacchikiriya).
- If one ’s mind remains unshaken when battered by realities of the worldly contingencies (Lokadhamma, i.e., conditions which are necessarily connected with life in this world; gain and loss, honour and dishonour, praise and blame, pain and joy), sorrowless, stainless and secure is the highest achievement of success.
In conclusion of the interview the Buddha declared,
Deva Putta! To them, fulfilling matters such as these, everywhere invincible, in every way secure.
“He delights here and he delights after
The merit doer delights in both worlds
He delights saying he had done merit
He delights more gone to states of bliss” (Dhammapada)
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(This article is based on facts gathered from the texts of noted authors Ven. Narada, Ven. Kassapa, Ven. K Dhammananda, Ven. Prof. Dhammavihari, Rhys Davids, Dr Ambedkar, Alex Robertson etc)