Tibetan tales (derived from Indian sources)

by W. R. S. Ralston | 1906 | 134,175 words

This page related the story of “prince jivaka as the king of physicians” from those tibetan tales (derived from Indian sources) found in the Kah-gyur (Kangyur or Kanjur). This represents part of the sacred Tibetan canon of Buddhist literature. Many of such stories correspond to similar legends found in the West, or even those found in Polynesia.

Chapter 6 - Prince Jīvaka as the King of Physicians

[Source: Kah-gyur, vol. iii. pp. 50*-67*. 249, a portion of Jīvaka’s wonder. Spence Hardy has given in his ful cures, and also some varying “Manual of Buddhism,” pp. 237—accounts of his origin.—S.]

In Videha, in a vast, rich, prosperous, fruitful, and populous land, reigned King Virūḍhaka. He had five hundred ministers, with Śakala at their head, and through his chief minister Śakala he ruled in accordance with the law, and transacted business according to justice. For this reason all men looked up to Śakala. After Śakala had taken to himself a wife of his own degree, and had lived with her, there was born unto him a son, to whom, on the twenty-first day after his birth, the name of Gopāla was given. After he had again lived with his wife, another son was born to him, to whom he gave the name of Siṃha.

When these two sons were grown up, it was with them just as it had been with their father, who from the very first surpassed all the other ministers in courage and superiority in the five arts. Now these ministers could not endure this. So they took counsel together, and betook themselves to the king, and asked him, when an opportunity presented itself, who really was king. The king replied, “Honoured sirs, what is the meaning of such a question? I am the king. Who else could there be?” They said, “O king, Śakala is king, not you. If he could manage it, he would deprive you of the regal power, set the diadem on his own head, and seize the regal power for himself.” But the king saw quite clearly that they were hostile to Śakala because he was superior to them all.

On another occasion, the king was sitting surrounded by the band of ministers, while the first minister, Śakala, was detained in the king’s palace, surrounded by eight thousand plaintiffs and defendants, so that the king’s palace was quite full. But when the public business was brought to an end and the crowd had gone away, the palace was left quite empty. The king asked if all the crowd had left the palace. The ministers, trusting that they had found an opportunity, replied, “O king, what you wished to hear is evidently this: If Śakala could bring it about, he would deprive you of the sovereignty, set the diadem upon his own head, and seize the regal power for himself.”

As kings, like crows, live in fear of death, he thought that what they said was doubtless true, and he began to find fault with Śakala. As every one finds in the world friends, foes, and indifferent persons, Śakala’s attention began to be called to the fact that the king wanted to get up a quarrel with him, and that he must therefore take some precautions. After pondering over the matter, he considered whither he should betake himself. If he were to go to Śrāvastī, he would be in the same danger there, as that also was under regal power. Just the same would be the case if he were to go to Vārāṇasī, to Rājagṛha, or to Campā. Only in Vaiśālī did the people rule. There, if ten men were contented, twenty were discontented. He had better betake himself thither.

So he sent a messenger to the Liccavis[1] of Vaiśālī to ask if he might take up his abode under the shelter of their power. They replied with all respect that he might come to Vaiśālī, and would be welcome there. Thereupon the first minister, Śakala, called his kinsmen together, and said to them, “Honoured sirs, I am about to move to Vaiśālī. Let those among you who are contented here remain here; but he who is not so, let him get ready and go with me.” He also ordered the herdsmen to drive the oxen and buffaloes to Vaiśālī, and told his servants to get themselves ready for the journey thither.

After having thus incited many men to get ready, he went to the king, touched his two feet, and said, “O king, as I have a little business to see to, allow me to go to the park.” The king gave his consent. When Śakala had caused the park to be ransacked, he filled his waggons with treasures, which he covered over with food and liquor, and set off.

When the ministers heard that Śakala had absconded, they came in haste to the king and reported his flight. The king ordered them to recall him. They equipped a fourfold army, overtook him, and ordered him to turn back in compliance with the king’s commands. He replied, “Honoured sirs, ye have long been considering whether I should die or take to flight. As the latter has now come to pass without much difficulty, think no more of it. I have escaped.”

They shot some arrows in order to satisfy the king’s expectations. Then they turned back and informed the king that Śakala had escaped. The king was displeased thereat and kept silence.

At that time there were three districts in Vaiśālī. In the first district were 7000 houses[2] with golden towers, in the middle district were 14,000 houses with silver towers, and in the last district were 21,000 houses with copper towers. In these lived the upper, the middle, and the lower classes, according to their position. The people of Vaiśālī had made a law that a daughter born in the first district could marry only in the first district, not in the second or third; that one born in the middle district could marry only in the first and second; but that one born in the last district could marry in any one of the three; moreover, that no marriage was to be contracted outside Vaiśālī, and that a woman recognised as a pearl among women should not be married to any one, but should appertain to the people for common enjoyment.

As Śakala was a man of position, he was allotted a house in the first district. When he began to live there, he could not be induced, although invited, to appear in the assembly of the people. The Liccavis asked him why he did not appear. He replied, “As harm might come to me from the assembly, therefore I do not go to it.” The inhabitants of Vaiśālī encouraged him to attend, saying that no harm could come to him. He then went to the assembly, but he never expressed any opinion. They invited him to do so. But he explained that he never did so, because if he did some evil might come upon him. They declared that he ought to do so, and that doing so would bring him into no trouble. So when he afterwards appeared in the public assembly, he expressed his opinion along with the rest.

Up to that time, the Liccavis of Vaiśālī, whenever they sent a missive to any one, wrote it in a rude style. But after Śakala had given his advice they framed their missives in a friendly tone. They who received such friendly missives talked them over among themselves, and tried to find out the reason for this friendliness. Then some of them explained that it was since Śakala, the first minister of Virūḍhaka, king of Videha, came to Vaiśālī and took part in the councils, that letters of this kind, full of friendliness, had been issued.

After Śakala had arranged marriages for his two sons, Gopāla and Siṃha, there was born unto Siṃha a daughter, to whom the name of Vāsavī was given at her birth-feast. When the seers had inspected her, they declared that she would bear a son who would take his father’s life, set the diadem on his own head, and seize the sovereignty for himself. After Siṃha had again lived with his wife, a daughter was born to him, whose birth also was celebrated in the most festive manner, and to whom the name of Upavāsavī was given. Her also the seers inspected, and they declared that she would bring into the world a son provided with excellent qualities.

Now it came to pass that Gopāla, who was fierce and of great strength, ravaged the parks of the Liccavis of Vaiśālī. The park-keepers tried to prevent him from doing so, pointing out to him that the Liccavis were fierce and of great power. As the keepers gained nothing thereby, they betook themselves to his father and besought him to restrain his son. Śakala sent for him, and made him aware of the danger which threatened him on the part of the Liccavis. He replied, “Father, they have parks; we have none.” Śakala said that he would ask the popular assembly for a park. He did so, and the assembly granted them an old park. In the park there was an ancient Sāla tree, out of which the one made an image of Bhagavant, and the other consecrated the same. The Sthaviras in the Sūtras also say that the Buddha Bhagavant went out from Vaiśālī into the Sāla forest of Gopāla and Siṃha.

When Gopāla had committed a thousand misdeeds, and the Liccavis had blamed and reproved him and called him to account, Śakala sent for him, and commanded him, in order not to irritate the people, to retire to a certain hill district, and there to practise agriculture on his own lands. The son obeyed his father’s commands.

Afterwards, when the commander of Vaiśālī died, the first minister, Śakala, was elected commander. After he had held this post for a short time, he also died. The people of Vaiśālī met together, and held counsel as to whom they should appoint commander. Then some of them said, “As the excellent minister, Śakala, has admirably protected the people, let us elect his son.” Others said, “His son Gopāla is fierce and of great strength. If we appoint him as commander, discord will be sure to come upon the people. His younger brother, Siṃha, is good, accessible, and likely to render the people contented. If it so please the people, let us appoint him commander.” As all acquiesced in this, the assembly waited upon Siṃha and offered him the post of commander. He answered, “Gopāla is my elder brother; therefore appoint him.” They replied, “O Siṃha, is the post of commander hereditary in your family? If you are not inclined to take the post, we will appoint some one else commander.” He reflected that it would not be well if the commandership were to pass to some other family from his own, so he decided that it would be better to accept it. Thereupon he was invested with the office in great state.

Previously to this, when the inhabitants of Vaiśālī sent a missive, they used to write, “Thus say the people, with Śakala at their head.” A little after this a missive arrived at the place where Gopāla was practising agriculture on his lands. When Gopāla had opened it and perused it, he asked if his father was dead, seeing that the inhabitants of Vaiśālī had been in the habit of writing, “Thus say the people, with Śakala at their head,” but now there was written, “Thus say the people, with Siṃha at their head.” When he was told that his father was dead, he took offence, and went to Vaisālī, and asked Siṃha if it was right that he should have been made commander, although he himself, Gopāla, was the elder brother. Siṃha explained how the whole matter had come about. Full of displeasure against the Liccavis, Gopāla determined, in consequence of this slight, to go to Rājagṛha. So he sent a messenger to King Bimbisāra to make known his desire to place himself under the king’s protection. The king sent back word that he would be welcome. So he went to Rājagṛha, and King Bimbisāra made him his first minister.

Now after some time King Bimbisāra’s chief wife died, and as he was sitting depressed, leaning his cheek upon his hand, Gopāla asked him what was the cause of his grief. He replied that his chief wife was dead, and he could not but be unhappy. Gopāla said, “O king, be not troubled in mind. My younger brother has two daughters, perfect in youth and beauty. They would be exactly suitable for you. One of them, according to predictions, will give birth to a son who will put his father to death. But the other will bring into the world a son possessing the most excellent characteristics. It will be well for you, O king, to have that maiden brought here, of whom it was predicted that she would bear a son with the most excellent characteristics.”

Thereupon Gopāla informed his brother Siṃha that King Bimbisāra’s chief wife was dead, and that he ought to send his daughter Upavāsavī, as she would in that case become the king’s chief wife. Siṃha wrote to him in reply, “What this will come to I will not ask you. But you, who understand the measure of things, will know what ought to be done. As the people have made a law that no maiden of Vaiśālī may be given in marriage to an outsider, you must come yourself and wait in the park. I will go to the park with my daughter, and you can carry her off from there.”

Thereupon Gopāla took leave of the king, mounted his chariot, and set off for Vaiśālī. Having arrived there, he waited in the park. At that time one of the gatekeepers of Vaiśālī had died and had been born again among the demons. He gave to the inhabitants of Vaiśālī the following instructions: “As I have been born again among the demons, confer on me the position of a Yakṣa and hang a bell round my neck. Whenever any foe to the inhabitants of Vaiśālī appears, I will make the bell sound until he is arrested or has taken his departure.” So they caused a Yakṣa statue to be prepared and hung a bell round its neck. Then they set it up in the gatehouse, provided with oblations and garlands, along with dance and song, and to the sound of musical instruments.

Gopāla sent word to Siṃha to come to him, as he was waiting in the park. Taking the people of Vaiśālī into consideration, Siṃha went home and said to Upavāsavī, “You are to be given to King Bimbisāra as his wife, so take your ornaments and go forth to the park.” When she began collecting her ornaments, Vāsavī saw her and asked why she was doing that.

“I am going to be married.”

“To whom?”

“To King Bimbisāra.”

Vāsavī said this could not be done, seeing that she was the elder sister.

“In that case do you take the ornaments.”

While they were still discoursing the bell began to sound. The inhabitants of Vaiśālī were in great commotion, supposing that an enemy had come to Vaiśālī. Full of anxiety, Siṃha took with him his elder daughter, Vāsavī, under the impression that she was Upavāsavī, and went hastily to the park. There Gopāla, equally full of anxiety, received Vāsavī into his chariot and drove away.

The people of Vaiśālī set out in pursuit of him, overtook him, and began to fight with him. But as he was versed in the five arts of battle, he pierced five hundred Liccavis to the heart, and said, “Honoured sirs, as I have pierced five hundred of your number to the heart, but am ready to leave the rest of you alive, do ye now turn back.”

“No living being among us has been killed.”

“Take off your armour.”

When they had taken off their armour, five hundred of them fell to the ground and died. Thereupon the survivors thought that this man must be a Bākṣasa, and they fled away full of terror. When they returned to Vaiśālī they began to take counsel together, and they said, “Honoured sirs, on this foe of ours we will let King Bimbisāra’s sons take vengeance. Let us inscribe this on a tablet, place the tablet in a chest, seal up the chest, and put it away.” All of which they did.

After a time Gopāla arrived at Rājagṛha and cried, “Upavāsavī, come forth.”

She replied, “Uncle, I am not Upavāsavī, but Vāsavī.” “Why did not you tell me so before?”

She uttered no word in reply. Displeased and troubled, he went to the king, and the king, as soon as he saw him, said, “Have you come, Gopāla? You are welcome.”

“I have come, O king.”

“Have you brought Upavāsavī along with you?”

“O king! I have brought her and have not brought her.”

“What does that mean?”

“I have brought Vāsavī, thinking that she was Upavāsavī.”

“Bring her here, that I may see her.”

Now when Vāsavī was brought, and the king saw her perfect youth and beauty, he was attracted by her to such an extent that he fell in love with her at first sight, and said, “Honoured one, a son who kills his father must do so merely for the sake of the sovereignty. Therefore, in case a son is born unto me, I will confer the diadem on him immediately after his birth.”

Thereupon he took her as his wife. As she came from Videha, she received the name of Vaidehī.

Now there lived in a hermitage a Rishi endowed with five kinds of insight. One day when the king had gone to the chase, a gazelle terrified by the shooting of arrows took refuge in the Rishi’s hermitage, and being seen there, was struck by the king’s arrow. The Rishi said in his wrath, “Will you, O king of evil, kill the gazelle which had placed itself under my protection, when even beasts of prey respect my hermitage?”

While the Rishi was calling the king to account with such words as these, the king’s troops came up and asked to whom these words were being addressed. The king said that they were levelled at him, and asked what ought to be the punishment for such a calling to account. The answer was that the proper punishment was that of death. “In that case,” said the king, “I abandon the Rishi to it.” When the preparations were being made for putting the Rishi to death, he formulated a curse, desiring that he, wheresoever he should be born again, might take the king’s life, inasmuch as that king of evil had ordered him to be put to death without his having committed any fault or done any harm. Moreover, he reflected that as such kings keep very much out of the way, and are greatly watched over and guarded, he would scarcely be able to find a fit opportunity if he were born again anywhere else, and that he must therefore be brought into the world by this king’s chief wife. By means of this curse he was brought into the world by Vāsavī.

On the day of his conception a rain of blood fell. Vāsavī was seized by a desire to cut flesh from the king’s back and eat it. When she had told the king of this, he called the soothsayers together and consulted them about it. They decided that it was caused by the influence of a being which had entered into his wife’s womb. The king sat absorbed in thought, meditating how he could satisfy her longing. Some sagacious persons advised him to have a cotton garment lined with raw meat, and to put it on, and then to offer the meat to his wife. Thereupon the king ordered a cotton garment to be lined with raw meat, and he put it on. and then offered Vāsavī the meat. She thought that it was the king’s own flesh, and so ate it, whereby she was freed from her longing.

Afterwards a longing came upon her to drink of her husband’s blood, and she told this to the king. The king had the veins opened in five of his limbs, and gave her the blood to drink, whereby she was freed from her longing.

When nine months had passed by, a fine, good-looking boy was born, and on the day of his birth there fell a rain of blood. The king called the soothsavers together and consulted them. They said, “O king, so far as we can learn from the words of wisdom, this son will undoubtedly deprive his father of life, and then set the diadem on his own head and seize the sovereignty for himself.” The king thought, “As it could only be for the sake of the sovereignty that he would deprive me of life, he would surely not do so if I were myself to hand over the sovereignty to him.”

At that time there lived in Vaiśālī a Liccavi named Mahānāman. In his park there was an Āmra grove, in which the park-watchers saw that a Kadalī tree had suddenly grown up. As it immediately began to put forth blossoms, the watchers were greatly astonished, and they told Mahānāman. He sent for the soothsayers and consulted them. They decided that he ought to have the tree watched, for it would burst open at the end of seven days, and from within it a maiden would come forth. The householder Mahānāman, marvelling greatly at this decision, set careful watchers over the grove and kept count of the days. When seven days had elapsed, he caused the park to be cleared of all stones, gravel, and rubble, and to be sprinkled with sandal-water, very fragrant incense to be provided, many silken hangings to be set up, and flowers to be freely strewn around. Then he and his wife went out in great state to the park, surrounded by friends and acquaintances, to the sound of song and all kinds of music. After he had there sported, rejoiced, and enjoyed himself, the stem of the Kadalī tree burst, and there came into sight out of it a beautiful maiden, lovely to look upon, perfect in all parts of her body. Mahānāman handed her over to his good wife, who said, “My lord, be pleased to give her a name.” Mahānāman said, “As this girl has been obtained from the Āmra grove, her name ought to be Āmrapālī. Mahānāman returned home and took charge of Āmrapālī.

She grew up, and there came to woo her, from the Krauñca land and the Śakya land and many other lands, many kings’ sons, ministers’ sons, merchants, traders, and caravan leaders. The householder Mahānāman reflected that those among them who did not obtain her would be offended, and that he had better ask the people for a legal decision. So when the people of Vaiśālī were gathered together he said, “Honourable Brahmans and householders, give ear! Having obtained a girl from my park, I have brought her up. As I am now thinking of giving her in marriage to some man of a family corresponding with my own, so let the people consider the matter.” The men of Vaiśālī replied, “O householder, the people long ago passed a law that a pearl of a woman was not to be given in marriage, but should be placed at the disposal of the people. Therefore you must bring forward the maiden, in order that we may see what she is like.”

After a time he came into the assembly with her. When the perfection of her youth and beauty was seen, all the people opened their eyes wide with astonishment, and when they had critically examined her, some of them cried, “O householder, this is a pearl of a woman, and therefore she belongs to the enjoyments of the people, and must not be married to any one.”

When Mahānāman had returned home in displeasure, and was sitting absorbed in thought, his cheek leaning upon his arm, Āmrapālī saw him, and asked why he was so dejected.

“O daughter, you have been recognised as a pearl of a woman, and therefore you belong to the enjoyments of the people, so that my wishes will not be fulfilled.”

“O father, are you dependent upon any one.”

“O daughter, as the people formerly made a law that she who is really a pearl of a woman shall belong to the enjoyments of the people, and as you have now been recognised as a pearl of a woman, I am powerless.”

Then she said, “If the people will grant five wishes of mine, I will belong to their enjoyments. A house must be allotted to me in the first district. When a man has entered my house, no one else must be allowed the right of entry. Whoever enters must bring with him five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas. At the time when houses are searched, my house must not be searched till seven days have elapsed. And no heed is to be taken of those who enter or leave my house.” Mahānāman laid Āmra-pālī’s proposal before the people, and they agreed to it, saying, “If she asks for a house in the first district, a house in the first district befits a pearl of a woman. If she asks that when one man has entered into her house, no other man should have the right of entry, that also is just; for as no wrath is so bad as wrath on account of a woman, in case one man entered in and another came in after him, assuredly one of them might kill the other. If she makes a stipulation that every one who comes in must bring with him five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas, this likewise is reasonable; she doubtless requires the money for clothing and ornament. If she asks that her house shall not be searched till after seven days have elapsed, that also is reasonable; what danger can arise, whether the search takes place sooner or later? If she wishes no heed to be taken of the men who enter or leave her house, that again is just. As she is to be a courtesan, no man would enter her house if he knew that all who went in or came out would be watched.” So when the people had granted her five wishes, she became the property of the people for enjoyment.

After a time,[3] Āmrapālī sent for painters living in various regions, and ordered them to paint on her walls the portraits of the kings, ministers, capitalists, merchants, traders, and caravan leaders whom they had seen. When the painters had completed the portraits, Āmrapālī put on ornaments of various kinds and inspected the portraits one after the other, asking the while, “Honoured sirs, who is this?”

“King Pradyota.”

“Who is that?”

“That is Prasenajit, king of Kośala.”

“And this?”

“Udajana, king of Vatsa.”

“And that?”

Śreṇi Bimbisāra, king of Magadha.”

In this way she went on asking, and the painters told her all the names. When she had looked at all the portraits, her eyes remained fixed on that of Bimbisāra, and she began to reflect whether a man of such port and stature would devote himself to love with her.

It happened one day that King Bimbisāra of Magadha went out on the roof of his palace, and there, surrounded by his band of ministers, he indulged in light talk, asking them what courtesans they had seen. Gopāla said, “O king, there are others besides, but in Vaiśālī there is one of exquisite youth and beauty, Āmrapālī by name. She is versed in the sixty-four arts of love, and deserves, O king, to be enjoyed by thee.” The king replied, “If that be so, Gopāla, I will betake myself to Vaiśālī and enjoy myself with her.” Gopāla called his attention to the fact that danger might threaten him on the part of the Liccavis, who had long entertained hostile sentiments towards him. The king was of opinion that men who possessed manly hearts might always go anywhere. Gopāla said, “O king, if a man attaches importance to matters of small account, let him go.” The king mounted his chariot and betook himself with Gopāla to Vaiśālī.

When they arrived there, Gopāla remained in the park, but the king went to Āmrapālī’s house. Then the bell began to sound. The Liccavis of Vaiśālī became greatly excited, thinking that as the bell had rung an enemy must have penetrated into the city. A great uproar arose, and King Bimbisāra asked Āmrapālī what it meant.

“O king, the houses are being searched.”

“On what account?”

“On your account, O king!”

“What is to be done, then? Shall I take to flight?”

“O king, be not troubled. As my house will not be searched till seven days have elapsed, you can go on enjoying yourself for seven days; therefore enjoy yourself. When seven days are over, you will know that it is time to go.” So he enjoyed himself with her, and she became with child by him. When she informed him of that, he gave her a robe and a ring, and said, “If it be a daughter, let her remain with you. But if it be a son, put on him this robe, press the seal of this ring on his neck, and send him to me.”

After leaving Āmrapālī’s house, the king mounted his chariot and drove away with Gopāla. But the bell sounded. The Liccavis, under the impression that an enemy had appeared, gave orders that he should be searched for, and sent after him five hundred men armed with arrows and spears.[4] When Gopāla saw them, he asked the king whether he would do the fighting or conduct the chariot. The king replied, “I am weary, so I will conduct the chariot, but do you fight with them.” When Gopāla began to enter into combat with them, the inhabitants of Vaiśālī recognised him, and said, “Honoured sirs, this is a Rākṣasa of a man, let us turn back.” So they returned to Vaiśālī, and passed a resolution that they would let the children of Bimbisāra take vengeance on this foe of theirs.

Now when nine months had gone by, Āmrapālī gave birth to a fine, good-looking boy. While he was a growing lad, he was playing one day with the sons of the Liccavis of Vaiśālī, and they addressed him with scoffing words, saying, “Son of a female slave, born from among the many hundreds of thousands, who is your father?” He went in tears to his mother. She asked him why he wept, and he told her the whole story. She said to him, “If any one asks you that again, reply, ‘There is not one among you who has such a father as I have.’ If they inquire who he is, tell them that he is King Bimbisāra.”

So when the children were again at play, and they questioned him as before, he replied that there was no one among them who had such a father as he had. “Who is he?” they cried. When he had mentioned the name of King Bimbisāra, they ill treated him all the more, because his father was their enemy. He told all this with tears to his mother, who reflected that the Liccavis of Vaiśālī were very fierce and strong, and that they might find an opportunity of putting him to death.

After thinking over all this, she found out that a number of merchants were travelling with goods to Rājagṛha, so she said to them, “You and your packages will be able to pass in without paying duty if they are sealed with the seal of this ring. Take the boy with you to the king’s palace, and place him, after stamping the seal of this ring on his neck, at the gate of Rājagṛha.” The merchants promised to act in accordance with these instructions. Then she gave the boy a string of pearls, and said, “O son, betake yourself in the way of business to the king; lay the string of pearls at his feet and climb up to his breast. Should any one say, ‘This is a boy who knows no fear,’ ask whether a son has anything to fear from his father?”

When the merchants had arrived at Rājagṛha with the boy, they gave him a bath, stamped him with the seal, and took him to the gate of the palace. The boy made his way to where the king was, laid the string of pearls at the king’s feet, and climbed up to his breast. The king said, “This boy seems to be without fear.” The boy replied, “Has a son anything to fear from his father?”

As the king had in this way given utterance to the words “without fear,” the boy was named Prince Ābhaya [or fearless.]

King Bimbisara, who was always longing after strange women, used to mount his elephant and roam through the streets of the city, turning his eyes this way and that. There lived at that time in Bājagṛha a very rich merchant, who told his wife one day that he was obliged to go into foreign parts with merchandise. After he had gone away, his wife, who fed delicately and dressed in fine raiment, was affected by desire. So when King Bimbisāra came riding on his elephant near her house, she seated herself at the window and threw him a wreath of flowers. The king caught sight of.her and called on her to come down, but she said, “O king, I am afraid. It were better that you should come in here.”

The king entered her house and took his pleasure therein; and as all things were propitious, she became with child. When she had made the king aware of this, he gave her a signet ring and a motley robe, and said to her, “If a son is born unto you, clothe him in this robe, stamp this seal on his neck, and send him to me. But if a girl is born unto you, she can remain with you.” Having thus spoken, he went his way.

Now when the merchant had finished his business and had arrived in the neighbourhood of Bājagṛha, he sent a message to his wife saying, “Rejoice, good wife! I have arrived here after finishing my business, and I shall return home on such and such a day.” Then she reflected that she had committed so great a fault, and she knew not what she was to do when her husband arrived. In her trouble she sent tidings thereof to the king. The king sent her back word that she should be of good cheer, for he would manage in such a way that her husband would not return home so soon. Accordingly he sent a messenger to the caravan leader, letting him know that such and such precious stones were required, and that he must not come back without bringing them. So the merchant was obliged to make a long journey on account of those precious stones.

When nine months had elapsed, the merchant’s wife gave birth to a fine, good-looking boy. As women, even without receiving instruction, are full of knowledge, she fed the babe on butter and honey, stamped the seal of the ring on his neck, wrapped him in the robe, laid him in a chest, and ordered her serving-maid to deposit the chest at the gate of the king’s palace, after having set lamps around it and lighted them, and then to keep watch till some one should take the child in.

All this the maid did. When the king had come out on the roof of his palace, and was standing there with Prince Abhaya, he perceived the lamps at the door of his palace. So he ordered his servants to find out what was the meaning of there being lamps burning at the palace door. The servants brought back word that there was a chest there. The king ordered it to be fetched, but Prince Abhaya besought the king to give to him whatever should be found within the chest. The king acceded to his request. When the chest had been fetched and laid before the king, he gave orders that it should be opened. When it was opened a boy was seen inside it. The king asked if the child was alive or dead. He was told that it was alive. Then the king recognised the seal and the robe, and he made over the child to Prince Abhaya. The prince brought him up, and as the king had asked if he was alive, and as Prince Abhaya had looked after his maintenance, the boy received the name of Jīvaka Kumārabhaṇḍa.[5]

When Jīvaka had grown up, he was sitting one day conversing with Abhaya. Abhaya said that it was incumbent on them to learn some craft, whereby they might gain their bread later on. For even before the birth of Ajātaśatru it had been predicted that the sovereign power would appertain to him. When they two had considered this matter, a white-clad coachmaker, surrounded by a number of men clad in white, entered the king’s palace. When Prince Abhaya saw him, he asked the king’s people who that man was. They replied that he was a coachmaker.

“How much does he earn?”

“He earns his living.”

Thereupon he thought that he too, after he had asked the king, would learn coachmaking. So he went to the kins and told him that he wished to learn coachmaking. The king asked whether he desired to earn his bread in that way.

“Father, kings’ sons are in the habit of learning all arts.”

“In that case, O son, learn coachmaking.”

So he began to study coachmaking.

Jīvaka also, having seen a white-clad physician, surrounded by several men clad in white, entering the king’s palace, asked who that was.

“He is a physician,” was the reply.

“What does he do?”

“He cures.”

“What does he earn?”

“When he cures a patient he receives his fee; but if the patient dies, he receives nothing, for nothing is given.”

Thereupon Jīvaka resolved to study the healing art. He went to his father and said, “O king, allow me to study the healing art.”

“O son, you are a king’s son. What do you want to do with the healing art?”

“O king, kings’ sons are in the habit of learning all arts.”

“In that case, O son, learn this art.”

So Jīvaka began to study the healing art.

When he had studied it well, but had not as yet learnt how to open skulls, he had recourse to the king of physicians, Ātreya in Takṣaśilā, of whom he had heard that he understood the art of skull-opening. Going to the king, he told him that he was about to journey to Takṣaśilā.

“What for?”

“The king of physicians, Ātreya, lives there, who understands the art of opening the skull. It is in order to learn that art that I wish to go there.”

“Do you desire, O son, to make a living thereby?”

“O king, a man must either not study the art of healing at all, or he must study it thoroughly.”

“In that case, O son, go thither.”

The king wrote a letter to King Puṣkarasārin, saying, “My son is going to Ātreya in order to study the healing art. Provide him with all things which he may require.”

In the course of time Jīvaka arrived at Takṣaśilā, and Puṣkarasārin, after reading the letter, handed him over to Ātreya, to whom he gave orders to instruct in the healing art the prince who had come there on his account. When Ātreya began to teach him, Jīvaka mastered everything excellently at the slightest intimation. Now Ātreya was wont, when he visited a patient, to take a young Brahman along with him. One day he took Jīvaka also, gave him directions to administer such and such remedies, and then went away. Jīvaka thought, “In the present case the master has made a mistake. If the patient takes this medicine, he will die this very day. As the remedy which the master has prescribed is not good, I will contrive an expedient. So he left the house along with Ātreya, and said when he came back again, “The doctor has told me not to give the medicine which he has prescribed, but such and such a remedy.” When the patient had been treated in this way, he became better. The next time Ātreya visited the patient, after asking how he was getting on, he gave directions that the same medicine should be given to him on the following day. Being asked whether he meant the medicine which he had prescribed first or that which he had afterwards ordered, he said, “What did I prescribe first, and what afterwards?” He was told, “You prescribed the one when you were present here; about the other you gave orders to Jīvaka.” He said to himself, “I made a mistake. Jīvaka is endowed with great insight.” Then he said that the medicine which Jīvaka had prescribed was to be given.

Ātreya became well pleased with Jīvaka, and took him along with him wherever he went. The Brahmans’ sons said, “O teacher, you are well pleased with him because he is a king’s son, and you bestow instruction upon him, but none upon us.” He replied, “That is not the case. Jīvaka possesses great intelligence, and he is able to comprehend intuitively whatever I indicate to him.” They said, “O teacher, how do you know this?” He said to the Brahmans’ sons, “Go and ask the price of various commodities, you of such a one, you of such another.” And having so spoken he sent them off to the market. He also gave orders to Jīvaka to ask the price of a certain article. The Brahmans’ sons did as they were bid. Jīvaka did likewise'. But then he said to himself’, “Suppose the master asks the prices of other wares, what shall I be able to reply? I will make myself acquainted with the prices of other commodities as well.” When they had all returned to their teacher, they rendered an account of those things which they had been ordered to do. Then Ātreya began to ask the price of articles which he had not mentioned, saying, “O Brahman’s son, what does this or that commodity cost?” He whom he questioned replied that he did not know. In like manner did the others make reply when he questioned them. But Jīvaka, when he was asked, told him the price of every kind of goods.

“O Brahmans’ sons,” said Ātreya, “have ye heard?”

“We have heard.”

“Behold, this is the reason why I said that Jīvaka, as he is possessed of remarkable insight, intuitively comprehends any matter on a slight intimation being given to him. I will give you yet another proof of this.”

Then he said to his pupils, “Go to the pine-hil, and fetch from it that which is no remedy.” They went thither, and each of them brought away that which he thought was no remedy. But Jīvaka reflected that there is scarcely anything which is not a remedy, so he brought away only a knot from a reed and a morsel of stone. Halfway back he met a herd-girl, who was carrying a jug of curdled milk and a leavening pot, and who was intending to go to Ātreya, as she was suffering greatly with her eyes. Jīvaka asked her where she was going. When she had told him, he showed her a remedy which was near at hand. She applied it, and was cured at once. Full of joy thereat she said, “Take this pot and this jug of curdled milk.” He accepted the pot, but he gave her back the jug of curdled milk. Then he went on his way carrying the pot.

Now the Brahmans’ sons saw some elephant tracks in the middle of the road, and took to inspecting them. When Jīvaka came up with them, he asked what those marks were. “Footprints of an elephant,” they replied. He said, “Those are the footprints of an elephant, not male but female, blind of the right eye, and about to bring forth young to-day. On it a woman was riding. She too is blind of the right eye, and she will bear a son to-day.”

When they had all returned to Ātreya, each of them showed what he had brought away with him. Ātreya said, “O Brahmans’ sons, all these things are remedies. This one is of use in such and such an illness, and the others in other illnesses.” When Jīvaka was asked what he had brought, he said, “O teacher, all things are remedies; there exists nothing which is not a remedy. However, I have brought with me the knot of a reed, a morsel of stone, and a leavening pot.”

“Of what use are these things?”

“If a man is stung by a scorpion, he can be fumigated with the reed knot and healed with the leavening pot, and with the morsel of stone can a pot of curdled milk be broken at harvest-time.”

Ātreya laughed. The Brahmans’ sons thought that the teacher was displeased with him, so they said, “O teacher, do you suppose that is all? We saw the track of an elephant in the middle of the road, and Jīvaka declared that the track was that of a female elephant, blind of the right eye and big with young, and that it will bring forth a young-elephant to-day; and also that a woman had been seated upon it, who was also pregnant and blind of the right eye, and who will give birth to-day to a son.”

Ātreya asked, “O Jīvaka, is this true?”

“Yes, O teacher.”

“How did you know whether the footprints were those of a male or of a female elephant?”

“O teacher,” replied Jīvaka, “how could I, who was brought up in a royal family, help knowing that? The footprints of a male elephant are round, those of a female elephant are oblong.”

“How did you know that she was blind of the right eye?”

“Because she had eaten the grass which grew on the left side only.”

“How did you know that she is big with young?”

“Because she had pressed hard with her feet.”

“How did you know that she will give birth to a male foal?”

“Because she pressed hardest on the right side.”

“How did you know that a woman had been riding on the elephant?”

“From her track in the road when she alighted.”

“How did you know that she was blind of the right eye?”

“Because as she walked she plucked the flowers which grew on the left side only.”

“How did you know that she was with child?”

“Because the heels of her feet had made the deepest impression. All this is so, but if the teacher does not believe me, let him send one of the Brahmans’ sons to the inn.”

Ātreya sent some of them there, and all turned out to be just as Jīvaka had said. Then Ātreya said to the Brahmans’ sons, “O Brahmans’ sons, have ye comprehended? After such a fashion is Jīvaka’s intelligence remarkable.”

Jīvaka had learnt the whole art of healing, with the exception of the operation of skull-opening. Now a man who was afflicted by a cerebral malady came to Ātreya and asked him to treat him. Ātreya replied that the man must dig a pit that day and provide it with dung, and that next day he would take the case in hand. When Jīvaka heard this, he went to him and said, “O friend, all that I have learnt have I learnt for the benefit of mankind. As I have not yet learnt the operation of skullopening, hide me away so that I may see how you perform it.” Ātreya promised to do so, and showed him a place to hide in.

When Ātreya came, he placed the man in the pit, opened his skull, and was about to seize the reptile with his pincers, when Jīvaka cried out, “O teacher, be not hasty in seizing it; otherwise this son of a good family might die to-day.”

“Are you there, Jīvaka?” asked Ātreya.

“Yes, teacher,” he replied.

“How then ought I to seize the reptile?”

“O teacher, warm the pincers and touch its back therewith. Then, if the reptile draws its arms and feet together, give it a toss out.”

When all this had been done the man was cured.

Then Ātreya said, “O Jīvaka, go and bathe, and then come to me. As I am much pleased, I will communicate to you after what fashion the skull is opened.”

Jīvaka bathed, and Ātreya showed him after what fashion the skull ought to be opened. Then Ātreya said, “O Jīvaka, as I earn my bread thereby, do not practise the art in this country.”

“O teacher, I will act accordingly.”

With these words Jīvaka paid his respects to Ātreya. Then he went to King Puṣkarasārin, and informed him that, as he had now learnt the art of healing, he was about to take his departure.

Now there were in the borderland at that time some enemies of Puṣkarasārin named Pāṇḍavas. Then said the king, “O Jīvaka, my enemies the Pāṇḍavas are in the borderland; bring them to discomfiture by the force of your intelligence, and afterwards come back here. Then will we proceed after the fashion of the world.” Jīvaka promised to do so. As soon as a fourfold army had been equipped, he set out, discomfited the Pāṇḍavas of the borderland, took hostages and tribute from them, and then, having returned safely, handed over to the king what he had taken. The king was greatly pleased, and bestowed presents on Jīvaka, as Jīvaka did on Ātreya.

Jīvaka journeyed by degrees to Bhadraṁkara, and having arrived in that city, spent the summer there. After learning there the Śāstra, “Language of all Creatures,” he departed from Bhadraṁkara. Seeing a man carrying a load of wood to the city, of whom nothing was left but skin and bone, and the whole of whose body was dropping sweat, he said to him, “O friend, how came you into such a plight?” The man replied, “I know not. But I have got into this state since I began to carry this load.” Jīvaka carefully inspected the wood, and said, “Friend, will you sell this wood?”


“For how much money?”

“For five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas.”

Jīvaka bought the wood, and when he had examined it, lie discovered the gem which brings all beings to belief. The virtue of the gem is of this kind: when it is placed before an invalid, it illuminates him as a lamp lights up all the objects in a house, and so reveals the nature of his malady.

When Jīvaka had gradually made his way to the Udumbara land, he found there a man who was measuring with a measure, and who, when he had finished measuring, inflicted a wound upon his head with the measure. When Jīvaka saw this, he asked him why he behaved in that way.

“My head itches greatly.”

“Come here and I will look at it.”

The man lay down and Jīvaka examined his head. Then he laid on the mail’s head the gem which brings all beings to belief, and it immediately became manifest that there was a centipede inside. Thereupon Jīvaka said, “O man, there is a centipede inside your head.” The man touched his feet and said, “Cure me.” Jīvaka promised to do so, but he thought, “I will act according to the words of the teacher.” So he said, “O man, dig a pit to-day and have dung in readiness. I will take your case in hand to-morrow.” The man touched his feet and went away. Next day Jīvaka placed the man in the pit, opened the skull with the proper instrument, touched the back of the centipede with the heated pincers, and then, when the centipede drew its arms and feet together, he seized it with the pincers and pulled it out. Thereupon the patient recovered. The man gave Jīvaka five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas, which he sent to Ātreya.

After this Jīvaka came to the Rohitaka land. A householder had died there who had possessed a park with beautiful flowers, fruits, and water, and who, as he had been excessively fond of the garden, had been born again there among the demons. When his son became master of the house, he appointed a certain man to watch over the park. The watchman, however, was killed by that demon, as was also a second watchman, after which the son of the deceased householder abandoned the park. Thereupon a dropsical man, whom all the doctors had given up, came to that park and took up his quarters there for the night, thinking that it would not much matter if the demon were to kill him. Now it happened that Jīvaka also spent the night in this park. The demon began to threaten the dropsical man. Then stepped forward the Dropsy and said, “As I have already taken possession of this man, wherefore do you threaten him? Is there no one here who will fumigate you with the smoke of goats’ hair? That would make you fly twelve yojanas away?” The demon replied, “Is there no one here to give you radishseed pounded and beaten up in butter? Thereby would you be broken to pieces.” Jīvaka heard all this, and next morning he visited the householder, and asked him why he had abandoned the park which was so rich in flowers, fruits, and water. The householder told him all that had occurred. Then said Jīvaka, “O householder, fumigate the park with the smoke of goats’ hair. Then will the demon fly twelve yojanas away.” The householder did so, and the demon flew twelve yojanas away. This householder also gave five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas to Jīvaka, who sent them as before to Ātreya.

Afterwards Jīvaka asked the dropsical man why he abode in the demon-haunted park. The man told him everything that had occurred. Jīvaka said to him, “Swallow radish-seed pounded and beaten up in butter, and you will recover.” The man took the remedy and recovered his health. This man also gave five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas to Jīvaka, who, as before, sent them to Ātreya.

Jīvaka gradually made his way to Mathurā, where he rested under a tree outside the city. Now it had come to pass there that a wrestler was smitten by an antagonist, and his bowels were displaced, so that he died and was carried out to be buried. A vulture and her little ones had their nest on a tree, and one young vulture said, “Mother, give us flesh.” She replied, “Children, where is flesh to be found?” The young birds said, “Mother, as that Malla who was smitten in wrestling is dead and has been carried out, flesh is to be found there where he is.”

“O children, the king of doctors, Jīvaka, has come here, and will set him to rights again.”

“Mother, in what manner will he set him to rights?”

“By applying a certain powder to his bowels.”

Jīvaka overheard all this. So he arose and went to where the corpse was, and inquired, saying, “Honoured sirs, whom have ye here?”

“A man who died after being struck down while wrestling,” was the reply.

“Lay him down that I may look at him,” said Jīvaka.

The dead man was laid down, and Jīvaka placed on his head the gem which brings all beings to belief. Perceiving that the man’s entrails had been displaced, he blew some powder into the body through a hollow reed, and as soon as the powder had reached the entrails the man recovered. This man also gave five hundred Kārsḥāpaṇas to Jīvaka, who, as before, sent them to Ātreya.

Now there was in Mathurā a householder who had a wife of consummate youth and beauty, whom he loved exceedingly. After his death he was born again as a reptile in the lower part of his wife’s body.... When she heard that the physician Jīvaka had arrived, she went to see him, and said that she was ill, and that he must treat her.... He ordered her to lay aside her garments, and then he expelled the worm in the way in which, as will presently be described, he got rid of the centipede which had crept into a man’s ear. Whereupon the patient recovered. As her desires were enhanced by passion, she made overtures to him, but he shut his ears and said, “You seem to me like a Rākṣasī. I who have cured you am contented with having done so.” She also gave him five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas, which likewise he sent to Ātreya.

After this Jīvaka went on by degrees and reached the shore of the river Yamunā. There he saw a corpse which, when the fish twitched the sinews of its heels, opened its eyes and smiled. Observing all this, he became aware of the connection which exists between the sinews and the rest of the body.

Having gradually made his way to Vaiśālī, he found there a wrestler the ball of whose eye protruded in consequence of a blow from a fist. Jīvaka paid him a visit, pulled the sinews of his heel, and restored the eye to its right place. This man also gave him five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas, which he gave to Abhaya’s mother.

At Vaiśālī there lived a man into whose ear a centipede had crept, and had therein given birth to seven hundred young ones. Tormented by his pains in the ear, this man went to Jīvaka and intreated him to cure him. Jīvaka said to himself, “Hitherto I have acted in accordance with my teacher’s instructions, but now I will act according to my own intelligence.” He said to the man, “Go and make a hut out of foliage, carpet it with blue stuff, place a drum underneath, and make the ground warm.” The man provided everything as he was told. Then Jīvaka made the man lie down, sprinkled the ground with water, and beat the drum. Thereupon the centipede, thinking that the summer was come, crept out. Then Jīvaka placed a piece of meat on the ear. The reptile turned back, but presently came out again with its young ones, and they all laid hold of the piece of meat. Whereupon Jīvaka flung it into the flesh-pot, and the man recovered his health. He gave Jīvaka five hundred Kārṣāpaṇas, and Jīvaka gave them to Abhaya’s mother.

After a time Jīvaka came to Rājagṛha, and King Bimbisāra, hearing of his arrival, ordered Prince Ajātaśatru to go out to meet his elder brother. The prince set out on the way. But when Jīvaka heard that Prince Ajātaśatru was coming to meet him, he reflected that if he consented to this reception, Ajātaśatru, when he became king, might do him some harm. So he turned back, and entered the city by another gate.

On another occasion, when Jīvaka was strolling along surrounded by a great crowd, a Brahman who was afflicted with an eye disease accosted him, and begged him to prescribe a remedy. He replied angrily, “Sprinkle the eye with ashes.” The man, who was of a simple nature, did as he was told, and he became well.

Another man, also afflicted with an eye disease, was on his way to visit Jīvaka, when the Brahman saw him and asked him where he was going. When the man had told him, the Brahman said, “What need have you of Jīvaka? Do what he told me to do.” The man gave heed to the words of the Brahman, sprinkled his eye with ashes, and became blind.

At another time, a tumour formed on the crown of King Bimbisāra’s head. He ordered his ministers to summon the physicians. The ministers did so, and the king told the physicians to treat the tumour. They said, “O king, as the great physician Jīvaka is here, why should we deal with it?” So the king ordered Jīvaka to be summoned. When he had been introduced, the king asked him to undertake the case. He consented to do so, on the condition that he should be allowed to give the king his bath. Then he anointed the tumour with myrobalan and with ripening substances, and he poured over it five hundred jugs of water in which such substances had been infused. When it was ripe he secretly touched it with a razor and squeezed it out. Then he applied healing remedies, and poured over it five hundred jugs of water in which such substances had been infused. Whereupon the wound healed so completely that the skin and the hair were perfectly even. When the king’s bath was finished, he said that Jīvaka was now to begin the operation. Jīvaka replied, “O king, be pleased to partake of food.” When the king bad eaten, be again called upon Jīvaka to proceed. “O king,” said Jīvaka, “the operation has been performed.” The king would not believe this, but when he felt with his hand, he could not find the place where the hurt had been. Moreover, when he took a mirror and looked in it, he could see nothing. He asked his wife, but neither could she find the place where the hurt had been. The king was greatly astonished, and he said to his ministers, “Honoured sirs, appoint Jīvaka king of the physicians.” But the man who had become blind said, “O king, is it from love towards your son or on account of his knowledge of things that you give him this appointment?” The king replied, “On account of his knowledge of things.” The blind man said, “However this may be, he has not cured me.” Jīvaka said, “O man, I have never seen you before; how, then, could I have cured you?” The blind man replied, “That is true; but he to whom you did prescribe a remedy taught me what to do.”

“What did he teach you to do?”

“Such and such things.”

“Your nature and that man’s nature are different,” said Jīvaka. “Now do this and that, and you will be made whole.”

The man acted accordingly and was made whole. Then he said, “O king, be pleased to let Jīvaka be appointed king of the physicians.” So Jīvaka was seated upon an elephant, and with great pomp was installed king of the physicians.

There lived in Rājagṛha a householder who suffered from a swelling of the glands,[6] and had been given up by all the physicians. He resolved to go to Jīvaka. If he could be cured by him, well and good; if not, then he was ready to die. He came to Jīvaka, and entreated him to cure him. Jīvaka said that the remedies which his case required were hard to find. Thus the man thought, “As even Jīvaka has given me up, what is there for me to do? As my time has come, I will die of my own accord.” So he went away to the cemetery. Now a corpse was being burnt there, and an ichneumon and a lizard, which were fighting with one another, fell into the fire. Being tormented by hunger, he devoured them both. Then he drank some rain-water which he found in the cemetery, and afterwards he betook himself to a cattle-shed in the neighbourhood of the cemetery, where he fed upon kodrava[7] porridge and sour milk mixed with butter. Thereupon the tumour gave way, and he, after it had discharged upwards and downwards, was restored to health.

At another time Vaidehī suffered from a tumour in the groin. She communicated the fact to the king, who ordered Jīvaka to cure his stepmother. Jīvaka undertook the case, prepared a poultice, and asked her to sit down upon it. After examining the poultice on which she had sat, he perceived where the diseased spot was. Then he applied maturing means, and when he saw that the tumour was ripe, he concealed a lancet in the poultice, and gave directions to the queen-mother as to how she was to sit down upon it and rise up again. She acted accordingly, and the tumour gave way as soon as it was pricked by the lancet. He then caused it to be washed with bitter water mixed with healing substances, and applied healing substances to it, after which she became well.

Jīvaka went to the king, who asked him if he had healed his stepmother. He replied that he had done so.

“But you have not looked upon her without her clothing?”


“How then did you manage?”

When Jīvaka had described what he had contrived, the king marvelled greatly, and gave orders to the ministers to install Jīvaka a second time as king of the physicians.

But the man with the swelling of the glands, to whom Jīvaka had said that it would be difficult to find a remedy for his ailment, asked the king whether he had ordered Jīvaka to be installed as king of the physicians out of love for his son or on account of that son’s knowledge of things. The king replied, “On account of his knowledge.”

“However this may be, he has not cured me.”

“O man,” said Jīvaka, “I did not undertake your case. I merely said that it would be difficult to find you a remedy.”

“What is the remedy in my case?” asked the man.

“If on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon,” replied Jīvaka, “a fair-haired man dies and is burnt at the cemetery; and if at that time an ichneumon and a lizard are fighting with one another and fall into the fire; and if you eat both of them, and then drink of the water of the rain poured down by Maheśvara on the cemetery; and if you afterwards partake of kodrava porridge and curdled milk mixed with butter, in that case you will recover. It was because I thought of all this that I told you that the remedy would be a difficult one to find.”

Then the man said, “Your knowledge is excellent, for these are the very things of which I have partaken.” And he joyfully exclaimed, “O king, as Jīvaka deserves to be king of the physicians, let him be appointed to that office.”

And so Jīvaka was for the second time installed as king of the physicians.

At the time when Ajātaśatru, impelled by Devadatta, the friend of vice, deprived of his life his father, the lawful king, he fell ill with an internal tumour. He called upon the physicians to cure him. They replied, “O king, as your elder brother is here, Jīvaka, the king of the physicians, wherefore should we cure you?” So the king told his ministers to call in Jīvaka. This was done, and the king charged him to remove the tumour, which he undertook to do.

Jīvaka reflected that the tumour might yield to one of two influences, either that of excessive joy or that of excessive wrath. And that as it would be impossible to arouse excessive joy within so sinful a man, it would be necessary at all risks to excite in him excessive wrath. So he told the king that he could heal him, provided that the king would feed on Prince Udajibhadra’s flesh.

When the king heard this he became furious, and cried, “Very good! I have killed my father, and you want to put Udajibhadra to death. Then if I die of this complaint you will be king.”

Jīvaka replied, “Such are the means of effecting a cure; in no other way can I restore you to health.”

When the king had given his consent, Jīvaka brought Prince Udajibhadra before the king, robed in all stately array, and said, “O king, take pains to look well at Prince Udajibhadra, for after this you will not be able to see him again.” Having thus exhibited him, he took him to his own house and there hid him away.

He then went to the cemetery of Śitavana in search of human flesh. There was no lack of corpses there, and from one of these corpses he took some flesh and carried it away with him. This he prepared with the most excellent materials, and then he served it up to the king at dinner-time. When King Ājātaśatru had received the bowl of flesh-broth, and was preparing to partake of it, Jīvaka seized it, hit him over the head with it, and said to him, “O evil-doer, you have taken the life of your own father, and now you want to feed on the flesh of your own son.”

The king cried in his wrath, “If this be so, why have you put him to death?”

Ās he thus broke out in anger, his tumour gave way, and discharged upwards and downwards, its contents coming to light mixed with blood from the wound. When the king saw that, he fell fainting to the ground. But after he had been sprinkled with water he came to himself, and then, when he had bathed and partaken of strengthening nourishment, he recovered his health.

After that, Jīvaka brought before the king Prince Udajibhadra arrayed in all state, and touched the king’s feet and said, “O king, here stands Prince Udajibhadra. I would not deprive an ant of its life, not to speak of the prince. But as it was only by this contrivance that the king’s life could be saved, therefore did I contrive it.” The king marvelled greatly, and gave orders to his ministers to install Jīvaka for the third time as the king of the physicians. The ministers set him upon an elephant and with great pomp installed him for the third time as king of the physicians.

Footnotes and references:


For an account of the origin and history of these nobles, see Spence Hardy’s “Manual,” p. 235.


Properly a house with a belvedere or small tower.—S.


A few lines have been omitted here.


Literally “having lizard-arrow-spokes” [Eidechsen-Pfeil-Speichen], There is perhaps a connection between godhana, a kind of arrow with a broad point, and godhā. “an iguana, a very large sort of lizard” (Childers, p. 149).—S.


Or Jīvakakumārabhṛtya, the first form in Burnouf, “Lotus de la Bonne Loi,” 449, the second in Childers sub voc. Komārabhacco. See Böhtlingk-Roth under Kumārabhṛtya, a branch of the medical art [“care of a young child, care of a pregnant or lying-in woman, midwifery.”—Monier Williams.] Both names are personifications of the healing art. See also Hardv, “Manual of Buddhism,” p. 238.—S.


See Böhtlingk-Roth under gulma [“any glandular enlargement in the abdomen, as that of the mesenteric gland, &c, so as to be seen externally,” &c.—Monier Williams.]—S.


Kodrava, “a species of grain eaten by the poor, Paspalum Scrobiculatum.”

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