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Story of The Dumb Prince
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|058 - The Story of The Dumb Prince|
BabyTemiya in the king’s lap
Temiya standing behind Sunanda in the cemetery, who is digging the grave.
Ascetic Temiya giving discourse to the people.
Devi, the wife of the king of Kashi had no son. This filled her life with
misery. Sakka, the king of the devas,
when saw her grief he decided to help her because she was a virtuous lady.
So, he persuaded the Bodhisatta, who was then born in the realm of the
Tavatimsa to prepare for his descent in her womb for the sake of her
Bodhisatta then entered the womb of the queen. When born, there was a
heavy rain-fall in the city. As he was born wet he was called Temiya.
Temiya was one month old and was lying in his father’s lap, he overheard
the father’s harsh sentence meant for some bandits. This made him
remember one of his births when he was the king of Varanasi and reigned
there for twenty years for which he suffered for twenty thousand years in
the Ussada Niraya (a kind of hell). So, he loathed the idea of being a
king for the second time. As he was conversant with the deities of the
higher world he received the advice from one of them to pretend to be dumb
and inactive to avoid the inheritence of the kingdom. He took the advice
and accordingly pretended to be dumb and inactive for sixteen years.
to his pretence he was declared unfit as a prince or a future king and was
eventually handed over to the royal charioteer Sunanda to be taken to the
cemetery to be clubbed to death and buried there.
When Sunanda was
digging the grave to dispose off the dead body, Temiya stealthily sneaked
behind him and confided his resolve to him. Impressed, Sunanda then wanted
to be an ascetic like him. But Temiya asked him first to inform his
whereabouts to the king and his mother; and then become an ascetic. The
king, queen and others then soon arrived there. Temiya gave them a sermon
to praise the ideals of asceticism. All the people, including the king and
the queen, were highly impressed by his sermon and became ascetics. Soon,
the fame of Temiya spread all over the place, which made the citizens of
the three kingdoms adjacent to Varanasi his followers.
(Temiya’s parents are identified with Suddhodana and Mahamaya; and Sariputta as Sunanda)
Mugapakkha (also called Temiya Jataka) Jataka Pali No.538; cf. Temiyachariya, Chariyapitaka iii.6; Buddhavamsa Atthakatha 51.
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