Ja 129 Aggikajātaka
The Story about (the Brahmin) Aggika (1s)
Alternative Title: Aggikabhāradvājajātaka (Cst)
In the present one monk shows himself a deceitful person. The Buddha tells the story of a jackal who tricked the rat population and ate them up one by one till he was discovered.
The Bodhisatta = the king of the rats (mūsikarājā),
the deceitful monk = the jackal (sigāla).
Keywords: Deceit, Greed, Animals.
“ ’Twas greed.”
In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was king of the rats and dwelt in the forest. Now a fire broke out in the forest, and a jackal who could not run away put his head against a tree
On his way out in quest of food, the Bodhisatta observed the jackal and, crediting the beast with virtue and goodness, came to him and asked what his name was.
“Bhāradvāja, Votary of the Fire-God.” “Why have you come here?” “In order to guard you and yours.” “What will you do to guard us?” “I know how to count on my fingers, and will count your numbers both morning and evening, so as to be sure that as many came home at night, as went out in the morning. That’s how I’ll guard you.” “Then stay, uncle, and watch over us.”
And accordingly, as the rats were starting in the morning he set about counting them, “One, two, three,” and so again when they came back at night. And every time he counted them, he seized and ate the hindmost. Everything came to pass as in the foregoing story, except that here the king of the rats turned and said to the jackal, “It is not sanctity,
1. “ ’Twas greed, not virtue, furnished you this crest.
Our dwindling numbers fail to work out right;
We’ve had enough, fire-votary, of you.”
His lesson ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka by saying: “This monk was the jackal of those days, and I the king of the rats.”
last updated: November 2021