The Sivi's family is best known for its
charitable trusts and forfeits in the Indian
civilizations from the time being. Once, there
was Bodhisatta who was born as Vessantara in
the house of the Sivi in the Jetuttara kingdom.
His father's name was King Sanjaya and
Queen Phusati was his mother. He seemed to be
a child miracle because he spoke on the very day
when he was himself born. Amusingly, on the same day
a white elephant was also born with him. This elephant was given the name Pacchaya.
When he was born he also was gifted with
the supernatural power to make the rain fall.
Vessantara’s craze for contributions was so
that the earth shuddered when he promised to make
a great gift at the young age of eight. At
sixteen he married Maddi. He had two children
named as Jali and Kanhajina.
At that very time there was a great drought in Kalinga. So, eight Brahmins from Kalinga came to
Vessantara to beg for his white elephant to make
the rain fall in their country. Vessantara
agreed to their request and donated the
elephant to them. When the people of Jetuttara heard of
this news they were extremely worried.
Protesting, they went to the king and asked him
to punish the prince by sending him to the
forest of Vanka Giri. The want of the people
finally succeed and Vessantara had to go away
much to the refusal of the king. Before leaving
out he obtained the king’s approval to hold an
alms-giving ceremony called the “Gifts of Seven
Hundreds. On the occasion he gave away seven
hundred pieces of seven hundred kinds of things
to the poor
people in need.
Vessantara took leave of his parents and was
about to take leave from his wife Maddi. She
to accompany him with her children Jali and
They all left the palace in a royal chariot
four horses. On the way four Brahmins met him
and begged for his four horses. After giving the
four horses to the Brahmins when he began to
tie up the belt tightly round his waist to put
himself under the burden and to drag the wagon
there appeared four Yakkha in the form of red
deer. They put their shoulders under the burden
like well-trained excellent horses and drew his
wagon. When Maddi was staring at them with
joy and surprise the Bodhisatta said,
Lo! the authority
of the giving forest
Of the hermitage
That the best of the deer
To the forest-guests
The queen, however, said,
You may cover your virtues, and say so
I call this to be your
Like the laughing lotuses,
which beat the beauty of the stars mirrored in the water,
Revealing so fully
To the strange watch of the
With its probing rays
For the delightful titillation.
When they were thus engaged in the pleasing
conversation they come across one more Brahmin
beggar, who begged for the wagon. So,
Vessantara had to share with his wagon, too.
He then raise his son Jali in his arms, and
Maddi lifted Kanhanjana; and thus they continued
their journey on their foot itself. The sun was
The cloud spread over them to act as a roof. The
trees extended their branches to offer them
delicious fruits as a gift to
their righteousness of contributions. When they
were in a need for
water, the lotus ponds appeared before them to
fulfill their thirst. Moreover, the yakkhas
reduced their way to protect them from
efforts. As a result, walking through Suvannagiritala,
Kantimara, Mount Aranjagiri, Dunnivittha, the
capital of Cheta, Gandhamadana, the foot of Mount Vipula to the
river Ketumati and then by crossing the river Nalika
along the bank of lake Muchalinda and then
crossing a dense forest they finally reached
Vissakamma, the persuade of Sakka had already
built two houses for them in the forest. One
was for Vessantara and the other was for the
rest of the family. The power of Vessantara was
so strong that no wild animal came near their
houses. Happily, they spent four months over
One day, one old Brahmin named Jujaka came to
the house when Maddi had gone to the forest
to bring some fruits for the family. Approaching
Vessantara he begged for his two children
because Amittatapana, his wife had demanded for
two servants for herself. As Vessantara was widely
known for his dana-Paramita the greedy Brahmin was
exploiting the situation. Vessantara tried to
encourage the Brahmin to change his mind in
several ways. Still, he continued on accepting
nothing but the two children. Knowing Jujaka’s
mind the children were exceedingly terrified and
ran away to a nearby pond and hid themselves.
They, still, arrived when their father
called them. And at that time Vessantara had finally
agreed to the sharp demand of Jujaka. The
brahmin, then chanting some phrases of
approval to the donor ordered the children
to accompany him. The children, who did not want
to leave their father to
ask Jujaka to wait at least until the arrival of
their mother. But sharp and mean Jujaka without
wasting time caught hold the hands of the two
delicate children with a creeper and forcibly
dragged them to his destination. The bleeding
and moaning children, however, screamed,
Oh! the mother will certainly cry like the chataka (bird) upon return
Whose little ones are killed.
How would she act
When she comes back with many roots and fruits
which she gathered from the forest
But finds the houses empty.
Oh father! I have many toys –
Horses, elephants and chariots –
Give half to mother to
lessen her sadness.
When Maddi returned late in the evening with
lots of roots and fruits and did
not find her children around, she asked
Vessantara about their young ones. But Vessantara
kept silence. She then repeated the same
question again and again, yet Vessantara did not
say a single word. So, she again went inside
the forest and looked for the children for the whole
night. Next morning, when she returned she
fainted. Vessantara then helped her to get back
consciousness. That was the time he described her
about the children and repeated
the the whole story. By then Maddi had gathered up the
courage to tolerate the disturbance. Surprisingly, she
praised Vessantara’s great act of dana-sila.
Their forfeit trembled the earth. And so did
mount Sineru with all its magnificent charms.
Amazed by this, Sakka, the lord of the devas inquired
into the reason for all this what was happening. When he learnt the
reason of the
quakes owing to the forfeits of Vessantara he
visited his place next morning to test the
stability of his promise in the get-up of a mendicant
and begged him for his wife. Even then
Vessantara did not lose the resolve of his mind
and accepted to donate Maddi as well. Besides, no
anger leap even in the heart of Maddi. She did
not weep. She rather looked confused and stood
like a statue with her eyes fixed on her husband
with a fresh load of suffering.
Approvingly, Sakka then said,
Yet giving up the most
dearly loved children and wife in contributions
With such disinterest;
Can there be a greater
illustration of nobility?
Now, it was the time for Sakka to expose his
identity. He gave Maddi back to Vessantara.
Besides, he offered eight advantages to the great
donor, which included the get-together of his family;
his recall to the father’s kingdom; and his
ability to support.
In the same time, Jujaka had traveled sixty
leagues and having lost his way he reached
Jetuttara, though he planned to reach Kalinga.
His uneven appearance and harsh behaviour with
the two delicate children attracted the royal
guards, who brought him before the king. King
Sanjaya, when saw his grand-children and learnt
their story he bought them back from the cruel
brahmin in lieu of handsome gifts and seven-storeyed
palace. But Jujaka could hardly enjoy those
riches as he died of over-eating in a few days.
The king along with Phusati, Jali and his army
then marched to Vanka Giri to bring back his son
and the daughter-in-law.
The white elephant Pacchaya also joined the
parade as he had just returned from Kalinga
as no one could suppress him there.
Lastly, after a month of merry-making in the
forest they all returned to the kingdom,
happily and enjoyed their life with great joy.