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Story of Mahilaimukha Elephant
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|036 - Mahilaimukha Elephant|
Once there lived an elephant called Mahilamukha in a royal stall. He was gentle, innocuous and extremely obedient to his mahout.
some burglars sat close to the stall and indulged in conversations. They
were talking about all sorts of evil deeds by extolling their merits.
Thus, they praised all the burglarsí tricks and cruelty. Mahilamukha,too,
overheard those conversations.
day, the burglars again visited the stall as they found it to be a safe
haven for their late night meetings and conversations. Soon, the stall
became a rendezvous for their late night meetings, where they discussed
nothing but their feats and prowess of all sorts of cruelty and killings.
by repeatedly listening to the glorification of the cruelty the elephant
thought that cruelty alone was the virtue. His ears were, thus, poisoned
by repeatedly listening to the evils.
morning, when the mahout
approached the stall the elephant lifted and flung him on the ground and
trampled his head, because he thought that killing was a virtue.
gruesome act of Mahilamukha surprised every body because he was otherwise
known as the gentlest of all elephants. When the second mahout tried to control him, the elephant killed him too. Likewise,
the third, fourth and fifth mahouts
were killed by the elephant.
Now, the king sent the
Bodhisatta to examine into the matter. In course of investigation he
learnt that the elephant was both sane and physically fit, yet, something
was amiss about him. So, he made a thorough investigation of the place and
discovered that some burglars had camped and conversed in the stall. This
gave the Bodhisatta the clue for the ill-behaviour of Mahilamukha. So, he
submitted a report to the king with the recommendation to send a group of
sages near the stall to deliver some saintly discourses. As the sages
extolled the merits of right conduct and so on, the elephantís mind soon
changed and he stopped inflicting pains on others.
it is said,
Mahilamukha Jataka Jataka Pali No. 26.
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