Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births
Book 5 Pañcanipāta
371. Dighitikosala Jātaka
“Thou art within my power,” etc.—This story the Master, whilst dwelling at Jetavana, told concerning some quarrelsome folk from Kosambi. When they came to Jetavana, the Master addressed them at the time of their reconciliation and said, “Brethren, ye are my lawful sons in the faith, begotten by the words of my mouth. Children ought not to trample under foot the counsel given them by their father, but ye follow not my admonition. Sages of old, when the men who had slain their parents and seized upon their kingdom fell into their hands in the forest, did not put them to death, though they were confirmed rebels, but they said, “We will not trample on the counsel given us by our parents.” And hereupon he related a story of the past. In this Birth both the incident that led up to the story and the story itself will be fully set forth in the Sanghabhedaka Birth.
Now prince Dighavu, having found the king of Benares lying on his side in the forest, seized him by his top-knot and said, “Now will I cut into fourteen pieces the marauder who slew my father and mother.” And at the very moment when he was brandishing his sword, he recalled the advice given him by his parents and he thought, “Though I should sacrifice my own life, I will not trample under foot their counsel. I will content myself with frightening him.” And he uttered the first stanza:
Thou art within my power, O king,
As prone thou liest here:
What stratagem hast thou to bring
Deliverance from thy fear?
Then the king uttered the second stanza:
Within thy power, my friend, I lie
All helpless on the ground,
Nor know I any means whereby
Deliverance may be found.
Good deeds and words alone, not wealth, O king,
In hour of death can any comfort bring.
“This man abused me, that struck me a blow,
A third o’ercame and robbed me long ago.”
All such as harbour feelings of this kind,
To mitigate their wrath are ne’er inclined.
“He did abuse and buffet me of yore,
He overcame me and oppressed me sore.”
They who such thoughts refuse to entertain,
Appease their wrath and live at one again.
Not hate, but love alone makes hate to cease:
This is the everlasting law of peace.
After these words the Bodhisatta said, “I will not do thee a wrong, Sire. But do thou slay me.” And he placed his sword in the king’s hand. The king too said, “Neither will I wrong thee.” And he sware an oath, and went with him to the city, and presented him to his councillors and said, “This, Sirs, is prince Dighavu, the son of the king of Kosala. He has spared my life. I may not do him any harm.” And so saying he gave him his daughter in marriage, and established him in the kingdom that had belonged to his father. Thenceforth the two kings reigned happily and harmoniously together.
The Master here ended his lesson and identified the Birth: “The father and mother of those days are now members of the royal household, and prince Dighavu was myself.”