Mahālatā pasādhana (-pilandhana)

A very costly ornament of gold. In the time of the Buddha it was possessed only by three persons: Bandhula's wife, Mallikā, Visākhā and Devadāniyacora (DA.ii.599; at DhA.i.412 the daughter of the treasurer of Benares is substituted for Devadāniya).

Visākhā once left it behind in the monastery, where she had gone to hear the Buddha preach, and when she sent her slave girl for it Ananda had already put it away. She, thereupon, refused to take it back and had it sold. It was worth nine crores, the workmanship being worth one hundred thousand. No one was found able to buy it, so Visākhā herself paid the price for it, and, with the proceeds, erected the Migāramātupāsāda (DhA.i.411ff).

Mallikā, after the death of her husband, refused to wear her jewels, and, when the Buddha's body was being taken for cremation, she washed her ornament in scented water and placed it on the Buddha's bier with the following resolve: " May I, in future births, have a body that shall need no ornaments, but which shall appear as though it always bore them (DA.ii.597).

The making of Visākhā's ornament took four months, with five hundred goldsmiths working day and night. In its construction were used four pint pots (nāli) of diamonds, eleven of pearls, twenty two of coral, thirty three of rubies, one thousand nikkhas of ruddy gold, and sufficient silver. The thread work was entirely of silver, the parure was fastened to the head and extended to the feet. In various places, seals of gold and dies of silver were attached to hold it in position. In the fabric itself was a peacock with five hundred feathers of gold in either wing, a coral beak, jewels for the eyes, the neck feathers and the tail. As the wearer walked the feathers moved, producing the sound of music.

Only a woman possessed of the strength of five elephants could wear it.

DbA.i.393ff. MA.i.471.

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