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  • Mahāhamsa Jātaka (No. 534)

Khemā, wife of Samyama, king of Benares, had a dream, after which she longed to see a golden hamsa preach the law from the royal throne. When the king came to know this, he consulted various people, and, acting on their advice, had a pond dug to the north of the city in the hope of enticing a golden hamsa there, and appointed a fowler, who came to be called Khemaka, to look after the pond.

The plan succeeded. Five different kinds of geese came: the grass geese, the yellow geese, the scarlet geese, the white geese, and the pāka geese.

Dhatarattha, king of the golden geese, who lived in Cittakūta, had taken as wife a pakā goose, and at the repeated suggestion of his minister, Sumukha, arrived with his flock of ninety thousand, to see the wonderful pond at Benares. Khemaka saw them and waited his opportunity. On the seventh day he found it, and set a snare in which Dhatarattha was caught. At his cry of alarm the flock fled, with the exception of Sumukha, who stayed and asked Khemaka for permission to take Dhatarattha's place. When Sumukha heard why they had been caught, he asked that both he and Dhatarattha should be taken before Samyama. When Samyama heard of Sumukha's devotion he was greatly touched, and showed the hamsas every possible honour, after asking their forgiveness for the way they had been treated. Dhatarattha preached to the queen and the royal household, and, having exhorted the king to rule righteously, returned to Cittakūta.

The story was told in reference to Ananda's attempt to sacrifice his own life for that of the Buddha, when Nālāgiri (q.v.) was sent to kill him.

Khemaka was Channa, Khemā the Therī Khemā, the king Sāriputta, Sumukha Ananda, and Dhatarattha the Bodhisatta. J. v.354 82; cp. Cullahamsa Jātaka.


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