The Bodhisatta born as a musician in Benares. He was unmarried and supported his blind parents. He had as pupil Mūsila from Ujjeni, and to him Guttila taught all he knew. Later, Guttila introduced Mūsila at the king's court where, as soon as he had the ear of the king, he arranged for a competition with his master, that the king might decide who should be the court musician. Guttila, fearing a contest in his old age, fled into the forest where Sakka appeared before him and promised to help him to victory. The contest was held, and when Guttila played according to Sakka's instructions, the sound of his music filled the city and heavenly nymphs descended to earth to dance. Mūsila was defeated and stoned to death by the enraged crowd. Later, Sakka sent Mātali to fetch Guttila to Tāvatimsa in his chariot, and as a return for his music Guttila was allowed to discover to what good deeds the inhabitants of Tāvatimsa owed their birth there. On returning to earth after seven days, he told the people what he had seen and exhorted them to do good (J.ii.248ff; VvA.137ff).
It is said that once Guttila sent a thousand to a woman, wishing to win her favour, but she would not grant it. He decked himself, and in the evening sang and played his lute outside her house. She was so enthralled by his music that she opened her window and, thinking it was a door, walked out and was killed by the fall (AA.i.16f; is this perhaps a different person?).
Guttila is mentioned (Mil.115, 291) as one of the four human beings who went to Tāvatimsa even in their human body, the others being Sādhīna, Nimi and Mandhātā.