A Brahmā. When the Buddha was once staying at Ukkatthā in the Subhagavana, he read the thoughts of Baka, who had conceived the idea that this world was permanent and free from decay and death; and the Buddha visited him in order to point out his error.
Baka welcomed the Buddha but, owing to the influence of Māra, refused to acknowledge his error, until the Buddha, by the exercise of his magical power, prevented Baka from disappearing from sight, while he himself dissolved into complete darkness. The Buddha then proceeded to tell him of four incidents connected with his previous birth as Kesava (M.i.326ff.; S.i.142ff).
Baka was once born in a noble family, but he renounced the world and became an ascetic named Kesava. One day, seeing a caravan in distress in the desert, by his supernatural power he turned a river into the desert, thereby rescuing the members of the caravan. On another occasion, while staying on the banks of the river Enī, near a frontier village, he found the village being attacked by dacoits, whom he drove away by causing them to see a vision of the royal police approaching, with himself at their head. On another day he saw people floating down the river in boats, making merry, singing and drinking. The Nāga of the river, incensed at their behaviour, appeared before them, threatening destruction. Kesava, assuming the form of a Garuda, frightened the Nāga away. The fourth incident is related in the Kesava Jātaka. The Bodhisatta, known as Kappa, was the pupil of Kesava. Kesava, practising meditation, developed the fourth jhāna and was born in the Vehapphala world. While there he developed the third jhāna and was born in the Subhakinha world. Thence he descended to the Abhassara world, and, later, by practising the first jhāna, he was reborn in the same world, but with a span of life of only a single kappa (J.iii.358 ff.; SA.i.164 f.; MA.i.553 ff).
See also Bakabrahma Sutta.
Baka 2. The Bodhisatta, born as the king of Benares. For his story see Pañcapāpā. J.v.440ff.