|Churning Space: bas-relief of Samudra manthan, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, shows Vishnu in the center, in his Kurma avatar, with the asuras and the devas on either side (Wiki).|
|Rebel asuras, cast from deva-world by Sakka, fall to Earth (Hieronymus Bosch).|
|Asura Dvarapala, Borobudur (wiki)|
The devas are ultimately victorious (as happens in later Greek and Norse versions of the same myth). They capture Vepacitti [full history], a titan king. Bound in chains, he is brought to the space station of the Thirty-Three and into the presence of Sakka, King of the Devas.
- Sakka (St. Michael), Lord of the Thirty-Three Lords
- A previous Sakka's ancient space flight (Jataka)
The poem is in the prevalent vatta meter, with eight syllables per line, and contains much subtle word-play. For example, the words bala (fool) and bala (strong, powerful) dance with one another throughout the piece (appearing 17 times), nowhere more intimately than in the frolicking alliteration of Lines 31 and 32 (abalan-tam balam aahu yassa balaabalam balam).
- FOOLS (Bala Sutra, Book of the Twos, AN 2.98) "Meditators, there are two fools. Who are the two? The one who takes up a burden that has not befallen one, and the one who does not take up a burden that has. These are the two fools."
|A king of the titans (Evs in Nz/flickr)|
This exchange shows well how the Buddha adapted the heroic ideals of his warrior's heritage to the inner struggle for self-mastery. The strength of the victorious Sakka -- who is a stream enterer having been a hearer of the Buddha's Dharma and won that attainment -- rests in his wisdom and forbearance.
The weakness of the fierce yet vanquished titan comes from his lack of understanding, earning him the label "foolish," which leaves him helpless to resist the passions raging within him.
|Was Zarathustra an asura? (G6G)|
Conquest is only the apparent victory of the short-sighted, while transformation of oneself and others is the more lasting "victory" of the wise. Remaining unprovoked in the face of anger and hostility still offers the best hope for healing our troubled world.
- THE FOOLISH AND THE WISE (Bala-Pandita Sutra, AN 2.21) "Meditators, there are two foolish persons. Who are the two? The one who does not see a transgression as a transgression, and the one who does not rightly forgive another who has confessed a transgression. These are the two fools. There are two wise persons. Who are the two? The one who sees one's own transgression as a transgression, and the one who rightly forgives another who has confessed a transgression. These are the two wise persons."
|Bas relief of Sakka, King of the Devas [of Tavatimsa], and apsaras (wiki)|
|Deva Sakka defeats the dragon or naga (1st-art-gallery.com).|
[Sakka:] Let him think whatever he likes: