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Translate Pāli Stanzas 44 to 53

of Nāgadīpāgamana of Mahāvaṃsa
to English.

Lecturer: PhD. Ven. Vēgama Piyaratana

ven. Czech Sarana

Univ. No.: BS/2009/48
Subject: PG. 302 -
Advanced Pāli Grammar and Unprescribed Texts
Sri Lanka Buddhist and Pali University

1. Introduction - 2

2. Translation by ven. Czech Saraṇa - 3

3. Vocabulary - 4

4. Index 1 - Translation by Wilhelm Geiger (1912) - 6

5. Literature - 7


Mahāvaṃsa, the Great Chronicle, is a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the kings of Sri
Lanka. The first version of it covered the period from the coming of King Vijaya of the Rarh region of
ancient Bengal) in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena (334–361).
The first printed edition and English translation of the Mahavamsa was published in 1837 by George
Turnour, an historian and officer of the Ceylon Civil Service. A German translation of Mahavamsa was
completed by Wilhelm Geiger in 1912. This was then translated into the English by Mabel Haynes Bode,
and the English translation was revised by Geiger.1

Translating the Pāli language, not unlike in the case with other languages, is a work quite difficult,
especially if we try to give perfect translation. Each language has its specific flow and sound, which makes it
“untranslatable”. We may only attempt for translation of meaning, or we may try verbatim translation – both
these translations have their drawbacks. Translation of meaning is an outcome of the translator's perception,
how the translator himself understands the original. Verbatim translation may not be comprehensible and
may lead to misunderstandings. Thus the translator has to decide for one of these or he may attempt to apply
both methods.

This translation, that I have done, is an attempt to combine both the translation of meaning and
verbatim translation. As I explained above, no translation can be perfect and we may find deficiencies in all
the three translations given here. For convenience of the reader, I have given also the list of vocabulary,
which I have prepared using two Pāli-English dictionaries (mentioned in literature at the end of this work)
and thus the reader himself may decide how the translation may look like if another meanings of particular
words were used.

Ven. Czech Saraṇa

Mīgoda, Sri Lanka,

1 – retrieved 30th of March, 2011.

2. Translation by ven. Czech Saraṇa

Mahāvaṃsa - Nāgadīpāgamaṇa - 44-53

Pāli Translation from ven. Czech Saraṇa
44 Mahākāruṇiko satthā, sabbalokahite rato; The most compassionate Master, devoted to the happiness
Bodhito pañcame vasse, vasaṃ jetavane jino. of whole the world; in the fifth year of enlightenment the
Conqueror dwelled in Jeta's grove.
45 Mahodarassa nāgassa, tathā cūḷodarassa ca; The (celestial) cobra Mahodara and Cūlodara as well, the
Mātulabhāgineyyānaṃ, maṇipallaṅkahetukaṃ. uncle and nephew, for the sake of the jewel-sofa,

46 Disvā sapārisajjānaṃ, saṅgāmaṃ paccupaṭṭhitaṃ; Having seen the members of that assembly (and) the
Sambuddho cittamāsassa, kāḷapakkhe uposathe. imminence of battle, the Perfectly-Enlightened One during
the Citta month's new moon's day (dark side uposatha)
47 Pātoyeva samādāya, pavaraṃ pattacīvaraṃ; Just in the morning, receiving (His) noble bowl and robes,
Anukampāya nāgānaṃ, nāgadīpamupāgami. with compassion to the (celestial) cobras, arrived to the
(celestial) cobras' island.
48 Mahodaro’pi so nāgo, tadā rājāmahiddhiko; Even he, the (celestial) cobra Mahodara, (was) at that time
Samudde nāgabhavane, dasaddhasatayojane. serpent king endowed with psychic powers, in the sea
region of (celestial) cobras on half a thousand yojanas,
49 Kaṇiṭṭhikā tassa kaṇṇāvaḍḍhamānamhi pabbate His younger sister, on the Kaṇṇāvaḍḍhamāna rock was
Nāgarājassa dinnā’si, tassa cūḷodaro suto. given (as a wife) to the king of (celestial) cobras, her son
(was) Cūlodara,
50 Tassa mātā mahomātu, maṇipallaṅkamuttamaṃ; The great father of his mother, having given (to Cūlodara's
Datvā kālakatā nāgī, mātulena tathā hi so. mother) the excellent jewel-sofa, that (celestial) female-
cobra (Cūlodara's mother) died, likewise the maternal
51 Ahosi bhāgineyyassa, saṅgāmo paccupaṭṭhito; (Thus) there was imminent war of the sister's son. Indeed,
Pabbateyyā’pi nāgā te, ahesuñhi mahiddhikā. those (celestial) cobras of great psychic powers were on
that rock.
52 Samiddhisumano nāma, devo jetavane ṭhitaṃ; A god named Samiddhisumana in Jeta's grove took the
Rājāyatanamādāya, attano bhavanaṃ subhaṃ. Rājāyatana (king's position) “standing”/tree(?), his own
pleasant dwelling-place.
53 Buddhānumatiyāyeva, chattākāraṃ jinopari; And with the consent of the Buddha, holding it as a parasol
Dhārayanto upāgañchi, ṭhānaṃ taṃ over the Conqueror, (they) arrived, to the place of his
pubbavuṭṭhakaṃ. (Samiddhisumana's) formerly inhabited place.

3. Vocabulary

• Mahākāruṇiko - of great compassion

• satthā – Master, Teacher
• sabbalokahite rato – devoted to/delighted in the happiness/blessing/welfare of whole the world
• bodhito vasse – in the year of Enlightenment
• pañcame – in fifth
• vasaṃ – staying, dwelling; control, influence
• jetavana – the Jeta's grove
• jino – the Conqueror
• mahodarassa nāgassa – of the nāga/celestial cobra Mahodara (mahā, great/huger; udara, stomach/belly →
“Huge Stomach Cobra”)
• tathā ca – likewise also
• mātulābhāgineyyānaṃ – of maternal uncle and nephew
• maṇipallaṅkahetukaṃ – for the sake of/due to/because of jewel/gem-sofa
• disvā – having seen
• sapārisajjānaṃ – members of assembly/council (acc.)
• saṅgāma – battle
• paccupaṭṭhita – was present/imminent/ready
• sambuddho – the Perfectly Enlightened One
• cittamāsassa – of the month Citta (citta+māsa)
• kālapakkhe – in the dark side
• uposatha – sacred day; from Vedic – 'day of preparation for sacrifice' (upa+vasati)
• pāto – morning
• yeva – even, just, also
• samādāya – having accepted/received(?)
• pavaraṃ – noble/excellent
• pattacīvaraṃ – bowl and robes
• anukampāya – with compassion
• nāgānaṃ – for the nāgas/(celestial) cobras
• nāgadīpaṃ – to the island of nāgas/(celestial) cobras
• upāgami – arrived/came/reached (upa+ā+gami)
• tadā – at that time
• rājā mahiddhiko – a king endowed with psychic/miraculous powers
• samudde – in sea
• nāgabhavane – the realm/region of nāgas/(celestial) cobras
• dasaḍḍhasatayojane – of half of a thousand yojanas (dasa+aḍḍha+sata+yojana - “half-ten hundred
• kaniṭṭhikā – younger sister
• tassa – his/her
• kaṇṇāvaḍḍhamānamhi pabbate – on the rock Kaṇṇāvaḍḍhamāna (kaṇṇā, hearings; vaḍḍha, increasing; māna,
measure → “rock that increases measure of hearing”)
• dinnāsi – gave
• Cūlodaro suto – son Cūlodara (cūla, small/minor; udara, stomach/belly → “son Small Stomach”)
• suto – son
• mātā – of mother

• mahomātu – great father (maho, great; m; ātu, father)
• uttamaṃ – excellent/best
• datvā – having given
• kālakato – dead
• mātulena - of/by the maternal uncle
• tato hi – likewise
• bhāgineyyassa – of the nephew
• pabbateyyā – at the rock itself
• te ahesuṃ – they were
• mahiddhikā – of great magical/psychic powers
• samiddhisumano nāma devo – the god named Samiddhisumana (samiddhin, richly endowed with; sumana,
good mind/gladness → “Possessing Much Satisfaction”)
• ṭhitaṃ rājāyatanaṃ – standing position of kings (?)
• ādāya – gave
• attano bhavanaṃ subhaṃ – his own pleasant dwelling
• buddhānumatiyā – with the consent of the Buddha (Buddha+anumatiyā)
• yeva – even/just/also
• chattākāraṃ – as a parasol/umbrella/sunshade (chatta+ākāraṃ)
• jinopari – above/around the Conqueror
• dhārayanto – bringing/carrying/bearing
• upāgañchi – arrived/came/reached
• ṭhānaṃ taṃ – that place
• pubbavutthakaṃ – previously inhabited (pubba, previously, before; vutthaka, lived, dwelled)

4. Index 1 – Translation by Wilhelm Geiger (1912) 2

44. Now the most compassionate Teacher, the Conqueror, rejoicing in the salvation of the whole world, when
dwelling at Jetavana in the fifth year of his buddhahood,
45. and 46. Saw that a war, caused by a gem-set throne, was like to come to pass between the nagas Mahodara and
Culodara, uncle and nephew, and their followers; and he, the Sambuddha, on the uposathaday of the dark half of the
month Citta,
47. in the early morning, took his sacred alms-bowl and his robes, and, from compassion for the nagas, sought the
48. That same naga Mahodara was then a king, gifted with miraculous power, in a naga-kingdom in the ocean, that
covered half a thousand yojanas.
49. His younger sister had been given (in marriage) to the naga-king on the Kannavaddhamana mountain; her son was
50. His mother’s father had given to his mother a splendid throne of jewels, then the naga had died
51. And therefore this war of nephew with uncle was threatening; and also the nagas of the mountains were armed
with miraculous power.
52. The deva named Samiddhisumana took a rajayatana-tree standing in Jetavana, his own fair habitation,
53. and, holding it like a parasol over the Conqueror, he, with the Teacher’s leave, attended him to that spot where he
had formerly dwelt.

2 “Mahavamsa: Great Chronicle of Ceylon”; Wilhelm Geiger; Web version by Rhajiv Ratnatunga, Pittsburg, PA, USA; 2002

5. Literature

➢ website: – retrieved on 30th of March, 2011.

➢ “The Pali-English Dictionary”; T. W. Rhys Davids, William Stede; Asian

Educational Services, J. Jetley, New Delhi; 1997

➢ “Concise Pāli-English Dictionary”; Ambalaṅgoḍa Polvattē Buddhadatta; Motilal

Banarsidas; 1989

➢ “Mahavamsa: Great Chronicle of Ceylon”; Wilhelm Geiger; Web version by Rhajiv

Ratnatunga, Pittsburg, PA, USA; 2002

➢ program: Digital Pali Reader; ven. Yuttadhammo; version 0.942; 18th of December

➢ program: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyanā Tipiṭaka 4.0; version; text from Vipassana
Research Institute; 1995