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King Makhadeva

--------------Once on a time in Mithila in the realm of Videha there was a king named Makhadev
a, who was righteous and ruled righteously. For successive periods of eighty-fou
r thousand years he had respectively amused himself as prince, ruled as viceroy,
and reigned as king.
All these long years had he lived, when one day he said to his barber,- Tell me, f
riend barber, when you see any grey hairs in my head. So one day, years and years
after, the barber did find among the raven locks of the king a single grey hair
, and he told the king so. Pull it out, my friend, said the king; and lay it in my
The barber accordingly plucked the hair out with his golden tongs, and laid it i
n the king s hand. The king had at that time still eighty-four thousand years more
to live; but nevertheless at the sight of that one grey hair he was filled with
deep emotion. He seemed to see the King of Death standing over him, or to be co
oped within a blazing hut of leaves. Foolish Makhadeva! he cried; your hair has tur
ned grey before you have been able to rid yourself of depravities. And as he thou
ght and thought about the appearance of his grey hair, he grew aflame within; th
e sweat rolled down from his body; whilst his raiment oppressed him and seemed i
ntolerable. This very day, thought he, will I renounce the world for the ascetic s li
To his barber he gave the grant of a village, which yielded a hundred thousand p
ieces of money an year. He sent for his eldest son and said to him, My son, I hav
e become old and my hair is turning grey. I have had my fill of human joys, and
now would taste the joys divine; the time for my renunciation has come. Take the
sovereignty upon yourself; as for me, I will take up my abode in the Mango-grov
e, far from here and there I ll tread the ascetic s path.
As he was thus bent on leading an ascetic s life, his ministers drew near and said
, What is the reason, sire, why you adopt a renunciate s life?
Taking the grey hair in his hand, the king said to his ministers:Lo, behold the grey hairs that appear on my head
They are verily the messengers of death , who ve come to rob my life.
It is time I turned from worldly things
and in the hermit s path I must seek saving peace.
And after these words, he renounced his sovereignty the same day and became a re
cluse. Dwelling in that very Mango-grove of Makhadeva, he there during eight-fou
r thousand years fostered the Four Perfect States within himself, and, dying wit
h insight full and unbroken, was reborn in the Realm of Brahma. Passing thence,
he became a king again in Mithila, under the name of Nimi, and after uniting his
scattered family, once more became a hermit in that same Mango-grove, winning t
he Four Perfect States and passing thence once more to the Realm of Brahma.
-----------Once a calf was given to a brahmin, who called him Nandivisala and treated him w
ith care and affection. When the bull grew up he felt obliged because the brahmi
n had reared him up with care. To repay the expenses incurred toward his upbring
ing, he decided to help him. So, one day, he advised the brahmin to put a wager
of one thousand coins to prove that he possessed the strongest bull in the villa
ge, who could drag one hundred loaded carts. The brahmin accepted the proposal a
nd made the wager of one thousand gold coins in the local market to prove the st
rength of his bull.

A show was organised in presence of the people assembled there. The brahmin harn
essed the bull with a loaded cart, which in turn was tied with another ninety-ni
ne loaded carts. When the show was on, the Brahmin called the bull, O rascal! Now
pull these carts. Quick! Quick! These words were insulting. Thus hurt, Nandi fir
mly fixed all his feet on the ground and did not budge an inch. The brahmin shou
ted and wailed; but it was all in vain because nothing could make the bull move.
The brahmin thus lost the wager and paid one thousand coins to a local merchant
Back home, the brahmin lay on a cot in extreme grief. Moved with his agony the b
ull approached him and said, Sir! Have I ever made any mess or broken any pot in
your house ever since I lived here . The Brahmin said, No . The bull then demanded, Wh
y did you call me a rascal, when I intended to help you? So, if you lost the wag
er it is the fault of your tongue and not my weakness. The wrong can still be re
dressed and you can still win a wager of two thousand pieces, if you feel sorry
for your words.
The priest then made an apology and again followed the advice of the bull. This
time he made the wager of two thousand coins with a local folk. A similar show w
as organised in presence of the people. This time the priest decked the bull wit
h garlands and flowers. When the show was on he said, O Gentle fellow! Can you dr
aw the carts for me? To the surprise of all, the mighty bull dragged all the hund
red carts and helped the brahmin win the wager of two thousand gold coins.
(Those days Ananda was the brahmin and the Bodhisatta was Nandivisala)