Ja 329 Kālabāhujātaka
The Story about (the Black Monkey) Kālabāhu (4s)
In the present Devadatta has tried to have the Buddha killed, but has been found out and is in disgrace. The Buddha tells a story of two parrots who were the king’s favourites till a black monkey became the favourite. The elder parrot cautioned patience, and soon the monkey fell into disgrace and was banished.
The Bodhisatta = (the parrot) Rādha,
Ānanda = (his younger brother) Poṭṭhapāda,
Devadatta = (the black monkey) Kālabāhu.
Keywords: Patience, Animals, Birds.
“Once we enjoyed.”
The monks started a discussion in the Dhamma Hall, how that Devadatta thought to get gain and honour, but when he had got it he could not keep it. The Teacher came and inquired what was the subject the monks sat in a meeting to discuss, and on being told what it was he said: “Not only now, monks, but formerly too, Devadatta was deprived of gains and honour.” And he then told them a story of the past.
In the past when Dhanañjaya was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta became a parrot named Rādha. He was a well-grown bird with perfectly-formed limbs. And his younger brother was called Poṭṭhapāda. A certain fowler trapped these two birds and brought them as a present to the king of Benares. The king put the pair in a golden cage
1. “Once we enjoyed of food abundant store,
This monkey now has what was ours before.
Come, Rādha, let us to the forest hie;
Such scurvy treatment what can justify?”
Rādha, on hearing this, replied in the second verse:
2. “Gain and loss and praise and blame,
Pleasure, pain, dishonour, fame,
All as transient states conceive –
Why should Poṭṭhapāda grieve?”
On hearing this, Poṭṭhapāda was unable to get rid of his grudge against the monkey and repeated the third verse:
3. “Rādha, wisest bird alive,
Sure you knowest things to come,
This vile creature who shall drive
From the court to his old home?”
Rādha, on hearing this, uttered the fourth verse:
4. “Oft will his puckered face and moving ears
The royal children fill with foolish fears:
Soon Kālabāhu through some impish freak,
Far far away his food will have to seek.”
In a very short time the monkey by shaking his ears and similar tricks terrified the young princes. In their alarm they made an outcry. The king asked what it meant, and hearing the cause, said: “Drive him away.” So he had the monkey driven away, and the parrots were restored to their former condition of gain and honour.
The Teacher here ended his lesson and identified the Jātaka, “At that time Devadatta was Kālabāhu, Ānanda was Poṭṭhapāda, and I myself was Rādha.”
last updated: November 2021