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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Jataka >>Takka-Jātaka

Source: Adapted from Archaic translation by Robert ChalmersEdit


JATAKA No. 63

TAKKA-JATAKA

"Full of anger are women."--This story was told by the Master while at Jetavana monastery, about another passion-struck Brother(Monk). When on being questioned the Brother confessed that he was passion-struck, the Master said, "Women are ungrateful and treacherous; why are you passion-struck because of them?" And he told this story of the past.


Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva, who had chosen an hermit's life, built himself a hermitage by the banks of the Ganges, and there won the Attainments and the Higher Knowledges, and so lived in the bliss of Insight. In those days the Lord High Treasurer of Benares had a fierce and cruel daughter, known as Lady Wicked, who used to abuse and beat her servants and slaves. And one day they took their young mistress to frolic herself in the Ganges; and the girls were playing about in the water, when the sun set and a great storm burst upon them. On this folks ran away, and the girl's attendants, exclaiming, "Now is the time to see the last of this creature!" throw her right into the river and hurried off. Down poured the rain in torrents, the sun set, and darkness came on. And when the attendants reached home without their young mistress, and were asked where she was, they replied that she had got out of the Ganges but that they did not know where she had gone. Search was made by her family, but not a trace of the missing girl could be found.

Meantime she, screaming loudly, was swept down by the swollen stream, and at midnight approached where the Bodhisattva lived in his hermitage. Hearing her cries, he thought to himself, "That's a woman's voice. I must rescue her from the water." So he took a torch of grass and by its light descried her in the stream. "Don't be afraid; don't be afraid!" he shouted cheerily, and waded in, and, thanks to his vast strength, as of an elephant, brought her safe to land. Then he made a fire for her in his hermitage and set delicious fruits of many kinds before her. Not till she had eaten did he ask, "Where is your home, and how came you to fall in the river?" And the girl told him all that had happened to her. "Dwell here for the present," said he, and installed her in his hermitage, while for the next two or three days he himself dwelling in the open air. At the end of that time he told her to depart, but she was set on waiting till she had made the ascetic fall in love with her; and would not go. And as time went by, she so caused on him by her womanly grace and tricks that he lost his Insight. With her he continued to dwell in the forest. But she did not like living in that solitude and wanted to be taken among people. So yielding to her importunities he took her away with him to a border village, where he supported her by astrology telling lucky dates (times), and so was called the Date-Sage (*1). And the villagers paid him to teach them what were lucky and unlucky seasons, and gave him a hut to live in at the entrance to their village.

Now the border was harassed by robbers from the mountains; and they made a raid one day on the village where the pair lived, and looted it. They made the poor villagers pack up their belongings, and off they went--with the Treasurer's daughter among the rest--to their own dwellings. Arrived there, they let everybody else go free; but the girl, because of her beauty, was taken to wife by the robber chieftain.

And when the Bodhisattva learned this, he thought to himself, "She will not endure to live away from me. She will escape and come back to me." And so he lived on, waiting for her to return. She meantime was very happy with the robbers, and only feared that the Date-sage would come to carry her away again. "I should feel more secure," thought she, "if he were dead. I must send a message to him feigning love and so entice him here to his death." So she sent a messenger to him with the message that she was unhappy, and that she wanted him to take her away.

And he, in his faith in her, set out then, and came to the entrance of the robbers' village, from where be sent a message to her. "To fly now, my husband," said she, "would only be to fall into the robber chieftain's hands who would kill us both. Let us put off our flight till night." So she took him and hid him in a room; and when the robber came home at night and was inflamed with strong drink, she said to him, "Tell me, love, what would you do if your rival were in your power?"

And he said he would do this and that to him.

"Perhaps he is not so far away as you think," said she. "He is in the next room."

Seizing a torch, the robber rushed in and seized the Bodhisattva and beat him about the head and body to his heart's content. Amid the blows the Bodhisattva made no cry, only murmuring, "Cruel ungrateful! slanderous traitors!" And this was all he said. And when he had thus beaten, bound, and laid by the heels the Bodhisattva, the robber finished his supper, and lay down to sleep. In the morning, when he had slept off his over-night's debauch, he fell again to beating the Bodhisattva, who still made no cry but kept repeating the same four words. And the robber was struck with this and asked why, even when beaten, he kept saying that.

"Listen," said the Date-Sage, "and you shall hear. Once I was a hermit living in the solitude of the forest, and there I won Insight. And I rescued this woman from the Ganges and helped her in her need, and by her allurements fell from my high estate. Then I left the forest and supported her in a village, from where she was carried off by robbers. And she sent me a message that she was unhappy, pleading me to come and take her away. Now she has made me fall into your hands. That is why I thus exclaim."

This set the robber in thinking again, and he thought, "If she can feel so little for one who is so good and has done so much for her, what injury would she not do to me? She must die." So having reassured the Bodhisattva and having awakened the woman, he set out sword in hand, pretending to her that he was about to kill him outside the village. Then asking her hold the Date-Sage he drew his sword, and, making as though to kill the sage, split the woman in two. Then he bathed the Date-Sage from head to foot and for several days fed him with choice foods to his heart's content.

"Where do you purpose to go now?" said the robber at last.

"The world," answered the sage, "has no pleasures for me. I will become a hermit once more and dwell in my former habitation in the forest."

"And I too will become a hermit," exclaimed the robber. So both became hermits together, and lived in the hermitage in the forest, where they won the Higher Knowledges and the Attainments, and qualified themselves when life ended to enter the Realm of Brahma(upper heaven).


After telling these two stories, the Master explained the relation, by reciting, as Buddha, this stanza:-

Full of Anger are women, slanderers, ungrateful,
The sowers of dissension and dispute !
Then, Brother(Monk), walk the path of holiness,
And Bliss in that you shall not fail to find.

His lesson ended, the Master preached the Truths, at the close of which the passion-struck Brother won the Fruit of the First Path(Trance). Also, the Master identified the Birth by saying, "Ananda was the robber-chief of those days, and I myself the Date-Sage."

Footnotes:

(1)A common roadside astrologer in India who makes calculations of stars & finds lucky & unlucky times for ceremonies & for important events.

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