> Digital Library > Multimedia
Documentation > Jataka Stories > The
Story of The Jewelled Serpent
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|060 - The Jewelled Serpent|
by the death of their parents
the two brothers took to the life of ascetics and dwelt on the bank of the
river Ganga (Anglicised: the Ganges) by building leaf-huts. The elder one
had his hut built on the upper side of the Ganga and the younger one on
the lower side.
day, Nagaraj, the king of the serpents came out of the river and crawled
around. He was no ordinary snake as he had a wish-fulfilling gem (mani)
kept in his throat (kantha): for
which he was called Manikantha. Furthermore, he also possessed the power
to assume any form. That day, rambling on the bank of the Ganga in the
form of a human being he came by the hermitage of the younger brother and
exchanged greetings with him. When invited, he entered inside the hut for
a conversation. There they exchanged pleasant dialogues and soon became
good friends. Since then, Manikantha became a frequent visitor to the
hermit. As they were good friends they often cuddled each other before
course of time, the serpent king shed his human form and appeared before
the hermit in his original form of a snake, which terrified the latter.
And before parting, he cuddled the hermit in the serpent form in a routine
fear engendered by the embraces of the serpent made the hermit so
frightened that he lost his hunger and became sickly and pale. So, one
day, when he visited his elder brother with his emaciated and pale look,
the latter enquired into the sudden break down in his health; and having
learnt the whole story, he suggested that one could easily get rid of
anybody by demanding his dearest possession. As the most precious
possession of the snake was his mani,
so, if he be approached for the gem, he would himself break away.
day, when the serpent was saying good-bye to the ascetic, the latter asked
for his mani. The serpent, in
turn, then bade adieu without embracing or kissing him. On the following
day, too, when the snake appeared before him to enter the hermitage, he
again asked for his gem. The serpent then left from outside without
entering the hut. On the third occasion, when the hermit saw Nagaraja
coming out of the river he shouted at him, “Give me your gem, o
serpent then said:
food and drink in plenty I can have
means of the gem you crave.
ask for too much;
I cannot give.
shall I visit you again.
long I shall live.
these words the king of the serpents dived back to the water and never
came back to the hermit.
scared, the hermit too loved the serpent king; and his absence made him
suffer more than the fear and in a few days he looked sickly.
day, the elder hermit paid a visit to his brother and found him aggrieved
and sickly. Having learnt the reason for his grief he comforted him by
long for one, whose love you prize
by begging you become hateful in his eyes.
the gem made the serpent sore
he disappeared to come back no more.
These words of the
truth soothed the younger brother and he stopped grieving for the snake
friend and concentrated on the ascetic practices.
was the younger brother and the elder was the Bodhisatta).
Copyright IGNCA© 2002