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Aciravatī

1. Aciravatī.– A river, the modern Rāpti in Oudh; one of the five great rivers (pañca-mahānadī),¹ flowing from the Himavā eastwards (pācīnaninnā)² into the sea. During the hot season it ran dry, leaving a bed of sand.³ It flowed through Kosala, and at Sāvatthi a Fig grove (udumbara: Ficus Glomerata) grew on its banks; it, could be seen from the terrace of Pasenadi’s palace.⁴ To the south of it was Manasākata, and on its southern bank was a mango grove where the Buddha sometimes resided.⁵ The Tevijja Sutta was taught here, and the Aciravatī is used in a simile to prove the futility of sacrifices and prayers: it is of no use standing on one bank of the river and calling to the other bank to come over.

In the river were many bathing places, in some of which courtesans bathed naked; the bhikkhuṇīs did likewise until a rule was passed prohibiting it.⁶ The Chabbaggiyā nuns, however, continued to do so even afterwards.⁷

The river was crossed in rafts;⁸ it sometimes became so full⁹ that disastrous floods occurred, in one of which Viḍūḍabha and his army were swept into the sea.¹⁰

In sheltered spots monks and brahmins used to bathe,¹¹ and once Sāriputta himself bathed there.¹² The Sattarasa-vaggiya monks frequented the river for water-sports.¹³

Once the Buddha was told that the Chabhaggiyā monks were in the habit of seizing the cows that crossed the river.¹⁴

The elder Sivalī stopped on the banks of the Aciravatī while on his way to the Himavā with five hundred monks.¹⁵ In the time of Kassapa Buddha the river flowed round Sāvatthi and, at the eastern fort, flowed into a wide and deep lake on which separate bathing places were made for the king, the people, the Buddha and the Order respectively.¹⁶

The people on the banks were in the habit of casting nets for fish.¹⁷ Near the river was Daṇḍakappaka, a Kosalan village, and while staying there Ānanda bathed in the river with many other monks.¹⁸

Two occasions are mentioned on which monks hit in the eye swans flying over the river.¹⁹ It was here that Patācārā’s child was drowned.²⁰

Kapila was born here as a golden fish as a result of his evil deeds.²¹

Back (history)¹ Vin.ii.237. ² S.v.39, etc. ³ A.iv.101. ⁴ Vin.iv.111‑12; SnA.i.19. ⁵ D.i.235‑6.

⁶ Vin.i.293; iv.278. ⁷ Vin.iv.259 f. ⁸ Vin.iii.63. ⁹ D.i.244‑5; M.iii.117; J.iv.167.

¹⁰ DhA.i.360. ¹¹ Vin.iv.161. ¹² AA.i.315. ¹³ Vin.iv.111‑12. ¹⁴ Vin.i.191.

¹⁵ AA.i.139. ¹⁶ MA.i.371. ¹⁷ UdA.366. ¹⁸ A.iii.402.

¹⁹ J.i.418 and ii.366. See also DhA.iv.5 and 8 f. ²⁰ DhA.ii.264

²¹ DhA.iv.41; see also Kapila Sutta. In the Avadānaśataka (DhA.i.63; also ii.60) the name is given as Aciravatī, and according to I Tsing (p.156) means the river of the Aji (dragon)

2. Aciravati.– A canal that ran westwards from the Mahāvāluka-gaṅgā in Sri Lanka from it flowed four other canals eastwards: the Sataruddhā, Nibbindā, Dhavalā and Sīdā. Cv.lxxix.51‑3.

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