Truth Of Present - Stories From Jain Heritage ► [44] Compromise The Body With The Soul

Posted: 02.08.2008

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Compromise The Body With The Soul

Once, in the city of Rajgriha, there lived a rich man, Dhan. He had a slave named Panthak who used to take care of Dhan’s son, Devadatta. One day, Dhan’s wife Bhadra, bathed Devadatta and after adorning him with precious ornaments gave him to Panthak.

Panthak carried Devadatta and walked on till he reached the highway where he met some of his friends. Panthak made the child sit on the side of the road. He, then, began playing with his friends and got so engrossed that he completely forgot about the child. It so happened that a thief, named Vijay, was then passing that way and saw the child adorned with ornaments, sitting all alone on the side of the road. The thief glanced all around him carefully and when he felt that no one would notice him, he quietly picked up the child in his arms and covering him with a cloth, walked away swiftly from Rajgriha. He stopped near a well in the outskirts of the city. There, he killed the child Devadatta and after taking off the ornaments, threw the body of the child into the well. After that, he went and hid in Maaluka city.

Soon, Panthak realized that the child was missing. He got worried and searched for him frantically in all directions but in vain. When he failed to find the child, he returned to his master’s house and nervously narrated then entire story to him. When Dhan, heard about the incident, he was greatly grieved at his son’s disappearance and fell consciousness, he along with a search party went out to find his son, but failed to find him. Finally, he reported the matter to the police. The police started investigations immediately and searched for the child everywhere. Soon, they reached the well and found Devadatta’s dead body, floating in water, in the well. They exclaimed in horror, “Oh! What a terrible sight.” They took out the dead body from the well and handed it over to Dhan.

Now, they had to catch the culprit, so they followed the footprints of the thief and soon reached Maaluka City, along with Dhan. They caught him red handed with the ornaments and brought him back to Rajgriha. All along the way, the police kept beating and whipping Vijay, the thief. At Rajgriha, the police loudly announced that they had caught the kidnapper, and said, “This is the thief who killed the child.” Vijay, the thief, was shackled with iron chains and thrown into the prison cell, where he was beaten and whipped every day. He was also not given any food to eat.

After sometime, Dhan was also arrested for some political crime he had committed. He, too, was shackled with iron chains and had to share the same cell in the prison with Vijay, the thief and the murderer of his son. Bhadra did not like this and was hurt by this incident. Once, she prepared food and asked Panthak to deliver it to her husband in prison Panthak serve the food to Dhan. Vijay, who was sitting next to Dhan, requested him to give him some food. Dhan retaliated angrily by saying, “I will throw this food, to the innocent animals rather than share it with my son’s assassin.” After having the food, Dhan asked Panthak to leave. After some time, Dhan felt the urge of nature’s call and was forced to request Vijay to accompany him, for they had been tied together. Vijay refused to co-operate and when Dhan could not control himself he once again requested Vijay.

Then Vijay proposed, “If you agree to share some food with me, I shall accompany you.” Dhan had no other option but to accept this proposal.

When Bhadra came to know that Dhan had shared his food with Vijay, she got angry with Dhan. After getting bail, Dhan was released and he returned home, but Bhadra did not greet him or welcome him. When Dhan enquired about her changed behavior, she said, “How can I respect a person who shares his food with my son’s killer?” Then, Dhan explained and convinced her by saying, “I don’t regard Vijay as my friend or relative but in order to overcome my physical obstruction, I was compelled to share food with Vijay.” Hearing this, Bhadra understood the requirement of that moment and was convinced. She forgave her husband and inquired about his well being and they started living a happy life.

In order to reach the soul, we often have to compromise with the body, jut like Dhan compromised with the assassin of his son.

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© & Publisher Jain Vishva Bharati
Translated & Edited by Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha