Did you know that some Jataka stories date back to 300 BC? As per record, there are a total of 550 stories, and they are closely associated with Buddhism and its teachings. The Jataka tales aim to teach valuable moral lessons based on the life and incarnations of Lord Buddha.
Each of these stories instils the ideals of morality, self-sacrifice, and honesty in the heart of common people. On this Vesak, also known as the Budhha Day or Buddha Purnima, let us look at the top 5 Jataka Stories that are loved and appreciated everywhere.
1. Monkey and Crocodile
This story revolves around two crocodiles who want to prey on a monkey and how the monkey escapes the tricky situation with his wit. The crocodiles lay an evil plan to eat the monkey’s heart by luring him with the promise of some sweet fruits. However, the monkey was a cunning animal who used his wit to fool the crocodiles and escape his clutches.
Moral of the story: A quick wit will solve most of your problems. Choose your friends wisely.
2. Bhola, the elephant
This is a story about a royal elephant named Bhola and his bond with the King. Bhola was adored by everyone in the kingdom and was loved by the King because of his nice and friendly aura.
However, one night a group of dacoits hid in Bhola’s shed and crafted a plan to rob a shop. Bhola turned violent hearing the plan. His behaviour worried the king, who then appointed a trainer to tame him instead of locking him up.
Moral of the story: Friendship knows no boundaries
3. The Tricky Wolf and Rats
This story is based on a cunning wolf who plans to prey on an entire group of rats in the jungle. So, he devised a clever plan to fool the rats and attack one rat each day until the chief of the rat took notice of the missing rats and decided to teach the wolf a lesson.
Moral of the story: One cannot continue lying forever
4. Three Fishes
This Jataka Tale revolves around three fishes who live in a river and the great friendship they share among themselves. In this story, one of the three fishes gets caught in a fisherman’s net, while two fishes work their way out of the net, and the third one struggles to do so.
Moral of the story: Those who do not adapt to change often perish
5. The Heron and the Crab
This popular story revolves around a mischievous heron and a wise crab. In this story, the heron takes advantage of a dry spell in the jungle to prey on the fishes living in a pond.
The heron devises a plan to prey on the fishes by telling them that he would take them one by one to the bigger pond nearby. Soon the crab became suspicious of the heron and found out the truth behind the disappearing fishes.
Moral of the story: Too much greed is harmful