One of the great Brahmā. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was a potter of Vehalinga, looking after his blind parents. He was a very pious and devoted follower of the Buddha, ministering to him better than anyone else, and the Buddha accepted his invitation in preference to that of the king of Benares. It is said that when the Buddha was in need of anything he would go to Ghatīkāra's house and take it, whether he were at home or not, so great was his confidence in Ghatīkāra's piety. Once, when Ghatīkāra was absent, the people, at the Buddha's suggestion, took away the thatch from his house to roof the hut of Tathāgata. For three months Ghatīkāra's house remained open to the sky, but no rain fell on it, so great was his faith (Mil.223f). According to the Nalapāna Jātaka (J.i.172), no rain will ever fall on the site of Ghatīkāra's' house as long as this kappa lasts.
The Bodhisatta, who at the time of Ghatīkāra was a young brahmin named Jotipāla, was the friend of Ghatīkāra but had no faith in the Buddha, and Ghatīkāra, having failed to persuade him to visit the Buddha, in the end took him by force. Jotipāla was converted and joined the Order, but Ghatīkāra, as the only support of his parents, could not renounce the world. Kikī, king of Benares, having heard of his virtues from Kassapa Buddha, sent him five hundred cartloads of the choicest rice, etc., but Ghatīkāra returned the gifts, saying that he had plenty for himself (M.ii.46ff; S.i.35f; Bu.xxv.41; SnA.i.152).
After death, Ghatīkāra was born as a Mahābrahmā in the Avihā Brahma-world, and an Anāgāmī. He was evidently already a Sakadāgāmi before his death (see DhA.i.380), but he did not wish his attainments to be known (AA.i.44).
He provided the Buddha with the eight requisites of a monk when the Buddha, having left the world, decided to lead the life of a Bhikkhu (J.i.65; SnA.ii.382; BuA.236; VvA.314). The begging bowl, then provided by him, vanished when the Buddha was given a bowl of milk rice by Sujātā (J.i.69).
According to the Samyutta Nikāya (S.i.35f; 60), Ghatīkāra visited the Buddha some time after the Enlightenment and the Buddha reminded him of their former friendship. Ghatīkāra, on that occasion, speaks of several others (besides Jotipāla) who had been his friends in Vehalinga - Upaka, Phalaganda, Pukkusāti, Bhaddiya, Khandadeva, Bāhuraggi and Pingiya. They had listened to the Buddha's teaching and, after death, were born in the Avihā-world, where he himself was. In this context the Buddha addresses him as Bhaggava.