Nigrodhamiga Jātaka (No. 12)
(Also called Nigrodha Jātaka.) Once the Bodhisatta was
born as king of the deer and was called Nigrodha. With him was the leader of
another herd, and he was called Sākha. There was an agreement between these two
leaders that, on alternate days, a deer from their herd should offer itself to
be killed by the king of Benares. One day the turn fell on a pregnant doe of
Sākha's herd, and when she asked to be allowed to wait until she had brought
forth her young she was refused by Sākha. She then appealed to Nigrodha, who
took her turn on himself. Immunity had been granted to Nigrodha, and when his
act was reported to the king, he came in person to enquire into the matter. On
hearing the story, he was greatly moved, and promised immunity both to Nigrodha
and the doe. But Nigrodha was not satisfied till the king promised immunity to
all living beings. Later, on discovering that the deer, taking advantage of
this, were destroying men's crops, Nigrodha, gave orders to his herd to refrain
from doing so.
The story was related in reference to the mother of Kumāra
Kassapa (q.v.). She had joined the Order under Devadatta not knowing that she
was pregnant. On discovering her condition, Devadatta expelled her from the
Order. She appealed to the Buddha, who caused an enquiry to be held, and, having
been assured of her innocence, he restored her to all honour. When Kumāra
Kassapa was born he, too, was admitted to the Order.
Devadatta is identified with Sākha, Kumāra Kassapa with
the doe's young one, his mother with the doe, and the king with Ananda.
J.i.145ff.; DhA.iii.148f. The story is figured in the
Bharhut Stupa (Cunningham: pl. xxv. (1) and xliii. (2). It is given in Mtu.
(i.359ff.) with several variations in detail.