Ja 245 The Story about the Root Discourse

In the present some brahmins learn from the Buddha, and then think they know all that he knows, but when he teaches a particularly deep discourse they cannot understand it. The Buddha tells a story of how in the past he had faced the same slight, and had asked questions of the pupils which they couldn’t answer.

1. Kālo ghasati bhūtāni sabbāneva sahattanā,
Yo ca kālaghaso bhūto, sa bhūtapacaniṁ pacī ti.

Times devours all beings including its very own self, that being who devours time, roasts the roaster of beings.

In this connection, time means the time before noon, and the time after noon, and so on like this.

Beings, this is a term for beings, Both words come from roots that mean being; bhūta from √bhū; satta from √as. time does not chew on them, having ripped off the skin and flesh and so on of beings, but wastes away their long life, good looks, and strength, trampling on youth, destroying health, it devours, chews on them, this is what is said. Thus devouring, it does not avoid anything, it devours it all.

But not merely beings, but including itself, it devours itself, and the time before noon does not reach the time after noon. This is the method for the time before noon and so on. This may have been proverbial.

That being who devours time this is a term for the one who has destroyed the pollutants. This would indicate that kālaghasa is equal to khīṇāsava, and may have been an alternative designation. Because of the relinking time in the future having been wasted away, chewed over by the noble path, there is stability, that being who devours time, is what is said.

He roasts the roaster of beings, this craving roasts the beings in the downfall, being roasted with the highest knowledge, it is burned to cinders, therefore: he roasts the roaster of beings is said.

Progenitor is also a reading, a producer, one who brings forth, this is the meaning. The translation would then have to be: (he) roasts the progenitor of beings, meaning craving.

2. Bahūni narasīsāni lomasāni brahāni ca,
Gīvāsu paṭimukkāni, kocid-evettha kaṇṇavā ti.

Many people have heads and hair growing on them, which are fastened on necks, and someone here has ears.

This is the meaning: many people are seen to have heads, and all of them have hair, they are all set up upon great necks, they are not taken by the hand like a palm-fruit, for them there is no difference with these things. But here someone who has ears is said referring to himself. Has ears means there is nothing for the wise one with an ear canal.