Hatred is overcome only by non-hatred
Sarada Maha Thero
Na hi verena verani
Averena ca sammanti
Esa dhammo sanantano
Never here by enmity
Are those with enmity allayed,
They are allayed by amity,
This is a timeless Truth.
The principal revealed in this verse is clear. Quarrels can never come to an end
by quarrelling. War can never end through further wars. Enmity never ends by
returning enmity for enmity. Only by giving up anger, enmity, quarrelling and
wars that these evils can be stopped. It is through friendliness, forgiving and
forgetting that enmity ceases.
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha spoke this
verse, with reference to a certain woman who was barren and another capable of
bearing a child.
Once there lived a householder, whose wife was barren. Being unable to bear a
child and afraid that she would be mistreated by her husband and her
mother-in-law, she arranged for her husband to marry another woman. But on two
occasions, as soon as she knew the second wife was pregnant, the barren wife
gave her food mixed with drugs causing her to have a miscarriage. On her third
pregnancy, the pregnant wife kept it to herself without informing the barren
wife. But when the latter came to know about it, she again caused an abortion.
Eventually the second wife died in childbirth. Before her death, the unfortunate
woman was filled with hatred and vowed vengeance on the barren wife and her
future offspring. Thus a feud started.
Among their later existences the two were reborn as a hen and a female cat; a
doe and a leopards; and finally as the daughter of a nobleman in Savatthi and a
female evil spirit. One day she (Kali Yakkhini) was in pursuit of the nobleman’s
daughter and her baby. When this lady heard that the Buddha was giving a
religious discourse at the Jetavana Monastery, she fled to him and placed her
son at his feet for protection. The evil spirit was prevented from entering the
Monastery. She was later called in and both the lady and the evil spirit were
admonished by the Buddha. The Buddha told them about their past trouble as rival
wives and how they had been harboring hatred towards each other. They were made
to see that hatred could only cause more hatred, and that it could only cease
through friendship, understanding, and goodwill. Both realised their mistake,
and on the admonition of the Buddha, made their peace with each other.
The Buddha then requested the woman to hand over her son to the evil spirit.
Fearing for the safety of her son, she hesitated, but because of her devotion
and confidence in the Buddha she did hand over her son.
The child was warmly received by the evil spirit. After kissing and caressing
the child tenderly like her own son, she handed back the child to his mother. As
a result, there was no more hatred.