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The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma


061 - The Mango-Thief  

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Ambacora-Jataka, Bharhut

Once, a wicked ascetic built a hermitage in a mango grove on the bank of the river Ganga. He was an ascetic for the name’s sake as his real motive was the greed for donations and gifts. Further, he devoted most of his time in guarding the mangoes; and enjoying and eating them.

Those days, the Bodhisatta was born as Sakka, the king of heaven. One day, when he was viewing the affairs on the earth, he saw the wicked ascetic resorting to all sorts of evil practices. So, he decided to teach him a lesson.

That day, when the ascetic had gone to the village for alms, Sakka by his supernatural power knocked down the mangoes from the orchard and made it appear as if it were plundered by the thieves.

Upon return from the village, the false ascetic was much aggrieved at the sight of his orchard and looked for the thieves all around. At that moment the four daughters of a Varanasi merchant were passing by. The ascetic caught them in suspicion and accused them as the thieves. 

Each of the four women then solemnly swore of their innocence. The wicked ascetic then set them free as he could not find any evidence against them. Thus, insulted and humiliated all four maidens went away sobbing.

Sakka, however, did not like the behaviour of the wicked ascetic towards those women. So, he appeared before him in a terrible form to teach him a lesson. Thus, frightened by Sakka the wicked ascetic fled from the orchard for ever.

 

See Amba-chora Jataka  Jataka Pali No. 344.

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