The Bodhisatta was once born in a Candāla village outside
Benares and was named Mātanga. One day, when Ditthamangalikā, the daughter of a
rich merchant, was on her way to the park with a group of friends, she saw
Mātanga coming towards the city, and thinking the sight inauspicious, washed her
eyes with perfumed water and turned back home. Her companions, annoyed at being
deprived of their fun, beat Mātanga and left him senseless. On recovering
consciousness, he determined to get Ditthamangalikā as wife and lay down outside
her father's house refusing to move. Seven days he lay thus until her relations,
fearing the ignominy of having a candāla die at their door, gave Ditthamangalikā
to him as wife.
Knowing her pride to be quelled by this act, Mātanga
decided to bring her great honour. He, therefore, retired into the forest and in
seven days, won supernatural power. On his return he told her to proclaim abroad
that her husband was not a candāla but Mahābrahmā, and that seven days later, on
the night of the full moon, he would come to her, breaking through the moon's
disk. She did as he said and so it happened. The people thenceforth honoured her
as a goddess; the water in which she washed her feet was used for the coronation
of kings, and in one single day she received eighteen crores from those who were
allowed the privilege of saluting her. Mātanga touched her navel with his thumb,
and, knowing that she had conceived a son, admonished her to be vigilant and
returned to the moon.
The son was born in the pavilion, which the people had
constructed for the use of Ditthamangalikā, and was therefore called Mandavya,.
At the age of sixteen he knew all the Vedas and fed sixteen thousand brahmins
daily. On a feast day Mātanga came to him, thinking to turn him from his wrong
doctrines, but Mandavya failed to recognize him and had him cast out by his
servants, Bhandakucchi, Upajjhāya, and Upajotiya. The gods of the city thereupon
grew angry and twisted the necks of Mandavya and all the brahmins so that their
eyes looked over their shoulders. When Ditthamangalikā heard of this she sought
Mātanga, who had left his footsteps so that she might know where he was. He
asked her to sprinkle on the brahmins water in which were dissolved the leavings
of his food; to Mandavya himself was given some of the food. On recovering and
seeing the plight of the brahmins, he realized his error. The brahmins
recovered, but were shunned by their colleagues; they left the country and went
to live in the kingdom of Mejjha.
On the bank of the Vettavatī lived a brahmin called
Jātimanta, very proud of his birth. Mātanga went thither to humble the pride of
Jātimanta and lived higher up stream. One day he nibbled a tooth stick and threw
it into the river, where, lower down, it got entangled in Jātimanta's hair. He
was greatly annoyed and went up stream, where he found Mātanga and told him
that, if he stayed there any longer, at the end of seven days his head would
split into seven pieces. On the seventh day Mātanga stopped the sun from rising.
On discovering the cause, the people dragged Jātimanta to Mātanga and made him
ask forgiveness, falling at Mātanga's feet. Jātimanta's head was covered with a
lump of clay, which was immersed in the water as the sun rose.
Mātanga then went to the kingdom of Mejjha, where the
exiled brahmins reported against him to the king, saying that he was a juggler
and a mountebank. The king's messengers surprised Mātanga as he was eating his
food beside a well, and cut off his head. He was born in the Brahma world. The
gods were angry and wiped out the whole kingdom of Mejjha by pouring on it
torrents of hot ashes. Before his meeting with Ditthamangalikā the Bodhisatta
was a mongoose tamer (kondadamaka). But in SnA.i.186, he is called a
The story was told in reference to the attempt of King
Udena (q.i) to torture Pindolabhāradvāja. Udena is identified with Mandavya.
J.iv.375 90; the story is found also at SnA.i.184 93, with alterations in
certain details e.g., for Vettavatī we have Bandhumatī; see also