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Story of The Sacrifice of Sivi
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|048 - The Sacrifice of Sivi|
Bodhisatta was born in Aritthapura as a king with the name Sivi. He was
a pious king reputed for his charity. No one ever returned empty-handed
from his court. Yet, he was never satisfied with his alms giving. In the
zeal to donate more and more once it flashed on his mind to donate some
part of his body if asked by some one. This thought aroused the curiosity
of Sakka, the lord of the devas to examine the firmness of his will. So,
in the guise of a blind brahmin he arrived at Sivi’s court and begged
for his eyes. Despite the shocks and persuasions and oppositions by the
courtiers the king agreed to donate his eyes to the beggar. He removed
his eyes resembling the petals of a blue lotus with a knife and offered
them to Sakka. Surprisingly, those eyes got fixed in the beggar’s face.
The Brahmin was then able to see. But the king became blind; and with
the loss of the eyes his visage looked like a lotus-pond with no lotus.
When the king’s wound
healed he visited a secluded floral garden on the bank of a pond. There,
he sat on a couch under the trees laden with flowers and thought of his
future without eyes. Sakka, watching him from the heaven felt sorry for
him. So, he descended there to oblige him with a boon. When the king desired
for the restoration of his eyes, he then advised him to perform the sacchakiriya
(act of truth) to restore his eyes.
Sivi, to Perform the
If the thankful blessings of a beggar
Arouse similar pleasure
When enunciated before
And enunciated after the
Act of the donations
My Eye! Must you then reappear”.
And thus his one eye
He then added,
If the pleasure in offering the second eye
Has given equal pleasure
Like the offering of the first eye
O My Eye! You must then reappear”.
If I was equally pleased to offer
The other eye to the person,
Who I gave the first
let the other eye also reappear.”
Thus, the second eye
of the king also emerged. The earth then trembled in its joy. The oceans
crossed their boundaries with the gay effusions. And the songs and music
of the celestial beings echoed all over. The celestial nymphets hovered
in the sky with their wide-open eyes. Sun emanated its warmth like a winter
day and the trees showered their flowers in profusion.
Thus it is said:
The sole worth of the worthless wealth
Is its charitability;
As what is given in charity accumulates into the [meritorious] treasury;
And what is not used as benefaction
Is rather a fruitless consumption.
nissaralaghoh sa saro yaddiyate lokahitonmukhena /
Nidhanato yati hi diyamanamadiyamanam nidhanaekanistam //) - Jataka-Mala 2.50
See Sivi Jataka Jataka Pali No.499; Jataka Mala 2.
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