Jataka Tales-Educative Stories


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The people of that time considered the giving of alms charity or food to the holy wanderers to be a sacred duty. The bodhisattva hare had three friends — a monkey, a jackal, and an otter. These three looked to the wise hare as their leader. He taught them the importance of keeping moral laws, observing holy days, and giving alms. Whenever a holy day approached, the hare told his friends that if someone asked them for food, they were to give freely and generously from the food they had gathered for themselves.

Sakra, the lord of devas, was watching the four friends from his great palace of marble and light on the peak of Mount Meru, and on one holy day he decided to test their virtue. He wanted to see if they would keep their promise to share their food. That day, the four friends separated to find food. The otter caught seven red fish near a riverbank; the jackal found a lizard and a vessel of curdled milk someone had abandoned; the monkey gathered mangoes from the trees.

Sakra took the form of a Brahman, or priest, and went to the otter. I need food before I can perform my priestly duties.

Can you help me? Do you have food you can share with me? The hare had found no food but the lush grass growing in the forest. The Brahman built the fire. Sakra, still disguised as a Brahman, was astonished and deeply moved. With his powers, the Brahman caused the fire to be cold, so the hare was not burned. Then Sakra revealed his true form to the selfless little hare.

And then Sakra painted the wise hare's likeness on the pale face of the Moon, for all to see. Picture of hare in the moon.

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Sakra returned to his home on Mount Meru, and the four friends lived long and happily in their beautiful forest. And to this day, those who look up at the Moon can see the image of the selfless hare.


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Yes, to honor him because of his virtuous life. What were those virtues?


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Yes, service, sacrifice and keeping his promise. Can you remember to give to others selflessly this next week? Permission is granted to copy and share this lesson in its entirety, including all copyright and contact information. This lesson may not be sold or used in any way to gain profit. Published by Montessori International. All rights reserved. The Summit Lighthouse is a trademark registered in the U.

Some Sanskrit words have multiple meanings. A slight mistake in pronunciation, as in this case, would give a different meaning altogether. And such errors were perpetuated and multiplied because of the erroneous transference of the spelling and the preferred pronunciation in the host language. Interestingly, even in the subcontinent of their origin, the tales have been the fountainhead of inspiration to many a literary creations, even scriptural writings. In this tale, the locale is Benares, not Ayoddhya.

Jātaka Tales and Kipling’s Commitment to India

An Indian version of the story appears in the Panchatantra, where a tortoise lives with its friends in a lake that is likely to dry up. The tortoise had made friends with a pair of geese. They take pity on its probable suffering in the days to come and suggest the tortoise fly off with them to safety.

They will hold a stick in their beaks and the tortoise would bite the stick while the geese fly. The tortoise had been advised to keep its mouth shut during the flight, lest he should fall until they reach their destination.

WORKSHEET: About the Jataka Tales

However, in the midway, when some people, in a place they are passing, jeer at the sight, the tortoise gets annoyed and opens its mouth to shout back at them. Needless to say, it falls down the moment it opens its mouth. After its fall, it is cut up and eaten.

The last of these began to be translated into other European languages at the end of the middle ages. French fabulist Jean de la Fontaine added it to his fables as La Tortue et les deux canards x 3. For him the story illustrates human vanity and imprudence. His tortoise tires of living in the same place and decides to travel. In the Mongolian version, it is not a tortoise but a frog, jealous of geese that can migrate to a warmer climate. While being carried thus by the geese, the frog shouts in excitement and tells his clan about his great fortune and falls, back to where he belongs.

There the frog falls because it wants to tell those below that the traveling was its own idea and not that of the ducks that carry him. The tortoise, which is a West African trickster figure, hears of a feast being given by the sky-dwellers to the birds and persuades them to take him with them, winged in their feathers. The enraged birds claim their feathers back and leave.

Instead, the parrot tells her to bring out all the hard things so that when the tortoise jumps down its shell is broken. He survives, however, and the broken shell is glued together. Much the same story is now claimed by the Swazi people and the Kikuyu [ the largest ethnic group in Kenya]. This kind of narrative style has also influenced the puranas and mahakavyas to a great extent and has even formed the structure of the bhasha literatures in the recent times.

These tales, which are easily the early artifacts of many of the world literatures, have perhaps influenced the episodic character in the respective literatures. In the form of Buddha, the Enlightened One, you had compassion in your heart. You condemned the ritualistic practices of the Vedas and the killing of innocent animals.

Hail O Jagadish!

Baalgatha : Children's Stories from Panchatantra, Jataka Tales and more

Lord of the universe! Translation mine. When astrologers predicted that his own son Josaphat would one day become a Christian, the king kept the young prince in isolation. Nevertheless, somehow Josaphat met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. In spite of the anger and persuasion of Abenner, Josaphat kept his faith. It so happened that eventually the king also embraced Christianity, and abdicated the throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit.

Josaphat himself later abdicated and joined his teacher Barlaam. He is also a universally acclaimed scholar in the area of Indian English literature and Odia literature and culture studies.

Jataka Tales For Kids

He has published, besides fifty research papers, thirty-two books in Odia, English and in Kannada translation. After forty years of teaching and educational administration, Dr Mund is now an independent scholar living in Bhubaneswar India. Toggle navigation.

Jataka Tales-Educative Stories Jataka Tales-Educative Stories
Jataka Tales-Educative Stories Jataka Tales-Educative Stories
Jataka Tales-Educative Stories Jataka Tales-Educative Stories
Jataka Tales-Educative Stories Jataka Tales-Educative Stories
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