Dasaratha Jataka

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Dasaratha Jataka is the Budhist story of Rama of Ramamyana. Jataka Tale is found in Buddhist literature about the previous life of the Shakyamuni Goutama Budha as a prince named Rama. It is found as the 46 th Jataka story in Khuddaka Nikaya of sutta Pitaka in the pali ccanon. The Jataka describes the previous birth of Budha as Rama Pandita, a Bodhisatva. The moral of the Jataka is non-attachment. The crown prince Rama, was sent to exile for 14 years by his father king Dasaratha as he was afraid that the prince might be killed by his stepmother for the kingdom. The younger brother Laxman and wife Sita followed him. Out of grief, Dasaratha died. Bharata, the son of the stepmother refused to be crowned. Bharata went to the forest to search for Rama. Bharata requested to go back to the kingdom. But Rama refused because exile was not completed.

After the exile, Rama returned to the kingdom and ruled for 16000 years. The story of Dasaratha Jataka is different from Ramayana written by Valmiki. The Buddhists were preachers of Non-Violence. So they had not narrated any tragic story. Rama-Ravana battle is absent in Dasaratha Jataka. The abduction of Sita is absent. Simply, Rama, Sita, and Laxman spent their exile in the foothills of the Himalayas, and on completion of exile, they came back to Ayodhya. The Buddhists avoided tragic elements. They did not like sorrow. They like a happy ending. For example – The story of Sravana Kumara in Ramayana. It is a sad tale. But the Buddhists made it a happy ending.

The parents of Sravana Kumar pardoned king Dasaratha and told him if they were virtuous Parents and Sravan Kumar was virtuous son then Sravan Kumar was virtuous son, then Sravan Kumar is alive again. And that happened. The story ended happily. Goutama Budha became mendicant because life is full of sorrows. And desire is the cause of sorrow. Cessation of desire is the cessation of sorrow. Budha wanted to make the world full of happiness. So he avoided tragic aspects of stories of Indian tales.

Moreover, Budha was the preacher of Non-Violence. So he did not allow the introduction of violence in the stories of India. Life should be happy. Life should be normal. Then only man can be moral. Philosophy also says – The moral standard of the individual is the greatest happiness. That’s why Gautama said subject to decay are compound things; strive for the earnest.

Indeed tathagata Budha was a real person to remove the sorrows of life. We should live a normal life so that it would be easier to achieve self-realization Edwin Arnold rightly said – Gautama Budha was the light of Asia in Hinduism also, Budha was taken as one of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu. Keshaba dhrita Budha Sarira Jay Jagadisha Hare.

(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)

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Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur.  He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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