In the holy city of Varanasi there lived a Brahmin. He knew a number of mantras. One such mantra was quite miraculous. If that mantra was uttered exactly at a certain moment when three stars attained a specific position, the person uttering the mantra would be showered with golden coins.
Gautama Buddha was in search of knowledge of all kinds. He accepted only that knowledge which would help him in his spiritual journey. Further, it was the practice with Buddha to quietly serve the guru and collect the bits of knowledge falling out of Guru'swords and actions.
Buddha knew about the miraculous powers possessed by the Varanasi Brahmin. Buddha became the Brahmin'sdisciple. He started serving his Guru with sincerity.
In course of time Buddha became aware that the Brahmin knew that mantra which will result into the shower of gold coins. He also came to know that the unique astral position, which used to arrive at every 12 years, was arriving soon.
Both Buddha and his guru setout for a pilgrimage. The road was passing through a dense forest. The forest was infested with robbers. The robbers had horses and sharp weapons. They moved in gangs and killed and looted the travellers.
Neither the Brahmin nor Buddha had any valuable with them. So both of them quietly started their journey through the forest. Soon they met a gang of 40 robbers. All the robbers were riding over the horses. They came shouting. Their swords were glittering. They caught both Buddha and his Brahmin guru. The robbers demanded money from both the guru and his disciple.
Both of them did not have any. So the robbers held the guru at ransom. They tied the guru to a trunk of a tree. They asked the disciple to go out, beg, borrow or steal, collect 2,000 gold coins, produce them before the gang within 48 hours and get the guru liberated. The robbers further made it clear that if the said coins were not brought in time they would kill the guru.
Buddha assured his guru that he will move heaven and earth and bring 2,000 gold coins within time. Buddha further whispered into the ears of guru that the astral position would arrive soon and that, come what may, the guru should not utter the mantra as otherwise it will ruin all.
Saying so Buddha proceeded on his mission.
Time ran fast. Forty hours rolled on. Forty four hours were over. Buddha did not turn up. Tension went on mounting in the mind of guru. His life was at stake. A couple of hours over and the guru would be cut to pieces. The unique opportunity to save himself was ready at hand. The astral position was arriving within half an hour.
Out of sheer fear of life the guru disclosed to the robbers that he would produce out of magic as many gold coins as they wanted.
Now the guru was freed and allowed to perform the magic. The exact moment arrived. The guru sat on a rock. He uttered the mantra. Soon there was heavy shower of gold coins. The robbers went on collecting the coins and filling their bags with them. The robbers went mad in the glittering rays of gold around.
The gang of 40 robbers with the horses loaded with bags full of golden coins went ahead roaring with joy. But, they did not freed the Brahmin. They carried the Brahmin along with them. They repeatedly asked the Brahmin to perform the miracle again which the Brahmin obviously could not do as the star position had changed. The robbers got infuriated and they killed the Brahmin with their sword.
The greed never settles down. It grows and it grows fast. Further the greed gives birth to hatred. Greed divides. Greed leads to violence.
A new group consisting of 20 robbers was formed. These 20 overpowered the remaining 20 and so each of the 20 survivors doubled their fortune. Even the 20 horses of those killed were decimated.
The lust for fortune triggered into further grouping and further fighting so that at long last only two robbers with their horses were left behind. Both of them were extremely happy as each of them had increased his fortune 20 times.
Both were very much tired. So the elder of them asked the younger one to go to the nearby market over his horse bring baskets full of sweetmeats and fruits so that they would celebrate their victory.
The younger one proceeded to the market. He purchased sweets and fruits. But lust went on burning in his chest. He spread poison over the sweets and fruits and decided to make his colleague eat it first. By doing so his colleague would die and he would be the sole owner of the huge heap of gold coins. With this plan in mind he returned to the forest.
The elder one who was waiting also wanted to eat the cake alone. So he decided to hide himself behind the bush and stab the younger one from behind and kill his horse too. Actually, he did likewise. He killed the younger one and he became the absolute owner of the heap of booty.
The sole survivor now did a devil'sdance. He ate the fruits and sweets to his hearts contents and also fed his dear horse too with them.
The poison did have its effect soon. The sole surviving robber and his horse twisted and convulsed with pains, they both breathed their last.
Meanwhile Buddha had moved from house to house begging for coins. With great efforts he had collected 2,000 golden coins. He hurried to the forest to get his guru freed of the decoits. He searched and searched the forest but he could not have any trace of either the robbers or his guru.
At long last he reached the spot and he was shocked to see the heap of golden coins on one side, heaps of human flesh, blood and bones of dead bodies of those noble animals viz. horses and baskets overflowing with sweets and fruits. Sheer devastation!
Buddha did understand what had happened. He was extremely dejected. Tears rolled down from his eyes. He exclaimed, ?I had repeatedly told my guru not to utter that mantra. Had he heeded my words??
(The author can be contacted at 16, Jeevanchchaya Hsg. Society, Opp. Civil Hospital, Satara-415 001 (Maharashtra))