Story of the thief
This same act is customary for those devoted to sense-objects, (but) without money in the house. If there is anything unusual, hear: In the city Pundravardhana, I am the son, Narayana, of the Brahman Somadeva. I constantly taught the people that heaven was from killing living creatures, et-cetera.
One day I saw some sad-faced men arrested on the suspicion that they were thieves. ‘All these rogues should be killed,’ I said at that time. A muni said, ‘Oh! the wicked ignorance!’ I bowed and asked the muni, ‘hat ignorance?’ and he said: ‘The imputation of non-existent crime, causing great pain to another. These men have fallen into misfortune from the ripening of former karma. Why do you invent a non-existent crime of thievery? Soon you will find the full fruit of acts committed in a former birth. So do not impose a false crime on another.’
Asked by me again about the full fruit of former acts, the muni, who had supernatural knowledge, his mind filled with compassion, said:
Former birth of thief
‘In this same Bharataksetra in the city Garjana, there was a Brahman, Asadha by name, and his wife Racchuka. Now in the fifth birth (before this) you were their son, Candradeva, and you were taught the Vedas by your father. Considering yourself learned, you were much honored by King Virasena. Another mendicant, named Yogatman, intelligent, was there. There was a child-widow, Viramati, the daughter of Sheth Vinita, and she went off with a gardener, Sinhala. Yogatman had been worshipped by her and by chance he went somewhere else on the same day without telling anyone because of freedom from attachment.
“Viramati has gone,” was the gossip among all the people. You reflected, “Surely Yogatman has gone with her.” “Viramati has gone somewhere,” was the talk in the palace and you said definitely, “She has gone with Yogatman.” The king said, “He has given up association with his wife, et-cetera,” and you said, “For that very reason he, a heretic, has taken other men’s wives.” On hearing that, the people became lax in religion and on account of that sin the other mendicants expelled Yogatman.
Having acquired in this way sharp, firmly bound karma,268 after death* you became a goat in the hamlet Kollaka. Having a putrid tongue from the fault of that karma, after death* you became a jackal in a great forest of Kollaka. After the jackal had died from cancer of the tongue, you became the son of Madanalata, a courtesan of the king in Saketa.
One day you, a young man, intoxicated, were restrained by a prince when you were insulting the king’s mother and you insulted him, also, deeply. He cut off your tongue and you, ashamed, fasted and died. Now you became a Brahman. The rest of your actions you know already.’
After hearing that, having disgust with existence which had been produced, I became a mendicant at the feet of Suguru, eager for obedience to a guru. The magic arts of ‘going-through-the air’ and of opening-locks were given to me by the guru as he was dying and I was instructed earnestly: ‘These magic arts must not be invoked in any other calamity except the rescue of a righteous person; and no falsehood must be spoken even in jest. If a falsehood is told through carelessness, you should recite the magic arts one thousand and eight times, standing in water up to the navel, holding the arms erect.’
Devoted to sense-objects I have done the reverse. Yesterday I told a falsehood in front of the habitation in the garden.
Yesterday some young women, after bathing, came to worship the god in the habitation and asked me the reason for taking the vow, I said carelessly the reason was the separation from a dear wife and I did not make the prayer prescribed by the guru, standing in water. At night in order to steal I entered, like a dog, Sheth Sagara’s house whose door happened to be open. As I was leaving after taking the gold, silver, et-cetera, I was caught by the police; and the magic art, ‘going-through-the air,’ did not manifest itself, though recalled.”
The minister asked him again: “Only a box of ornaments has not been found. Were you mistaken about the place?” He said: “The box was taken from the place where it was buried by someone who came and learned about it by chance.”
After hearing that the chief-minister released the ascetic and he remembered the uncle and nephew who had taken the box. He thought: “Surely the box was taken by them in ignorance and they lied because they were terrified. They must be questioned without fear* on their part.” He summoned them and questioned them unafraid. When they had told everything in detail, they were released by the minister conversant with right conduct.
They stayed two days because of emaciation and left on the third day; and they were caught by Candasena’s men who were looking for men. They were both thrown into the midst of prisoners by Kiratas for the sacrifice to the goddess Candasena. Taking Priyadarsana with slave-girls and her son, Candasena approached for the worship of Candasena. Saying, “Merchants’ wives are not able to look at this terrible goddess,” he covered Priyadarsana’s eyes with a cloth. After taking the boy himself, Candasena by a signal of his eye had Bandhudatta brought, the very first one by chance. The village-chief said to Priyadarsana, “After having your son bow to the goddess and having him give her red sandal, have him worship her,”
He himself, completely pitiless, drew his sword from its scabbard, but miserable Priyadarsana thought:
“Alas! this sacrifice with men to the goddess is for my sake. How has this inglorious thing been caused by me! Oh! Oh! I have become a Raksasi.”
Bandhudatta, knowing that death* had come, pure-minded, began to recite namaskaras, virtuous. Hearing his voice, at once Priyadarsana opened her eyes and saw her husband. She said to Candasena, “Brother, you have been faithful to a promise, since this is Bandhudatta, your sister’s husband.” Falling at his feet, Candasena said to Bandhudatta:, “Pardon this crime of ignorance. You are master. Give orders.”
Delighted, Bandhudatta said to Priyadarsana, “What crime is there of this man who has reunited me with you?” Then giving orders to Candasena, Bandhudatta had the men released from prison and said to him, “What is this?” and the Bhilla-king told the story ending in the offering for the fulfillment of his wish.
Bandhu said: “Pooja with living creatures is not fitting. You should worship the goddess with flowers, et-cetera. You should avoid injury, other people’s money and wives, and falsehood. Be a vessel of contentment.” He agreed, “Very well,” and the goddess, being near, said,” Beginning with today, my worship must be made with white lotuses, et-cetera.” Hearing that, many Bhillas became bhadrakas at once.
The son was handed over to Bandhudatta by Priyadarsana. Bandhudatta handed over his son to Dhanadatta and told his wife, “He is my maternal uncle.” She veiled herself and bowed from a distance to her father-in-law. He gave a blessing and said, “A name for the son is fitting today.” Since he had given joy to his relatives by the gift of life, his parents gave him the name Bandhavananda.
After conducting Bandhudatta and his uncle to his house, the Kirata-chief gave them food* and then handed over the loot that he had taken. Candasena, his hands folded respectfully, brought tiger-skins, chauris, elephant-tusks, pearls, fruit, et-cetera to Bandhudatta. Bandhu dismissed the prisoners, like brothers, with suitable gifts and, having helped Dhanadatta to accomplish his purpose, sent him to his own home.
Bandhudatta went to the city Nagapuri with the caravan, his son and Priyadarsana, accompanied by Candasena. His brothers, who came delighted, and the king had him mount an elephant* and enter the city with much honor. Bestowing gifts, Bandhudatta went to his own house and told his whole story to his brothers at the end of a meal.
Again he said to all: “Everything in this existence is worthless except the doctrine of the Jinas. This is my experience.” The people became devoted to the doctrine of the Jinas from Bandhudatta’s speech. Bandhudatta entertained Candasena and dismissed him. Bandhudatta lived there in comfort for twelve years. One day in autumn Srimat Parsva stopped in a samavasarana. Bandhudatta went there with Priyadarsana with great magnificence, bowed to Sri Parsvanatha and listened to a sermon.