Devadatta was the son of Suppabuddha who was the maternal
uncle of the Buddha, was jealous of him since
his early days.
When the Buddha went to visit the Kapilavatthu
and speak among the Sakyan nobles, many
dignified men joined the Sangha.
That was the time when Devadatta, also had, joined
the Sangha; and in that same period of time he, too,
developed some extreme supernatural powers.
However, on the other hand, his opposition and jealousy against
the Buddha never reduced.
One day, when he went to Ajatasattu who was the future
ruler of the Magadha Janapada he
amazed him by a unbelievable appearance. There, he
appeared in his knees as a kid having snake
strap. Fascinated and impressed by the wonder Ajatasattu became his
follower and his big fan.
Back to the order, Devadatta, one day declare
his power over the Buddha to suppose the
leadership of the Order by arguing that the
latter was old and senile. His argue, however,
did not suggest much response in the order. So,
he complaint against both - the Buddha and the
Dissatisfied by this, he then went to Magadha and
instigated prince Ajatasattu to resort to
fratricide by killing Bimbisara and take over the
throne, chiefly because Bimbisara was the chief
patron of the Buddhist order, and his
removal would mean the loss of royal
support to the order. The scheme, however, did
not work out originally at first. So, he employed sixteen
archers to kill the Buddha. But the archers in
turn became the followers of the Buddha.
Irritated by this, Devadatta himself then tried to kill
the Buddha by throwing down a great rock from a
peak of the mount Gijjhakuta when the latter was
walking down the slopes. The Buddha, however,
escaped because two peaks appeared from the
ground and arrested the advancement of the
In additional, irritated and disturbed, Devadatta then
won over the
royal elephant-keepers to let loose a violent
elephant Nalgiri, also called Dhanapala, on the
path of the Buddha by making him drunk with
toddy. Thus Nalgiri was let loose. The
violent and dangerous looking drunk
elephant when walked on the streets the people
run off at his sight. Yet, the Buddha kept on
walking in his usual dignity and calm,
though, Ananda tried to avoid and protect him.
In the same moment, a frightened woman running
helter-skelter dropped her baby on the feet of
the Buddha. When the animal was just
about to stamp on the baby the Buddha in his
usual equipoise touched the animal’s forehead
and pat it gently. Calmed by the Buddha’s
patting the elephant bowed down before him on
his knees. The people, further, noticed that the
Buddha delivered a talk on dhamma to the
The tradition believes that had the elephant not
been a beast he would certainly have become a
Sotapanna which was the first step to the
Arahatahood after having listened to the talk.
The Nalgiri elephant-episode, however, made
Devadatta very hated and he had to run away from
the city. Moreover, the royal favour , which he
had enjoyed so far, was also calm down to honour
the public opinion.