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Jataka Tales – The Foolish Disciple

Power can be pretty tricky.


A great sage once had a group of disciples. They were all very bright and eager students and the sage had all reason to be proud of them. One day the sage realized that he had imparted enough knowledge to his disciples. Now they were very learned. There was only one thing that the sage had not taught them, and that was the special verse that could bring the dead back to life. The sage knew that such a piece of knowledge was too wonderful and could prove to be dangerous in the hands of someone who was not very wise.

The wise sage pondered over this for a long time. But he also knew that if he did not pass on this secret verse, it could die with him. So at last, he called his cleverest disciple aside and said,

Sage: I am going to teach you a very special verse. If you chant this you can bring life into any dead person or animal. Use it only when you need to and never misuse or test your powers vainly.


The sage called all the disciples together and said,

Sage: I am sending you all into the forest for forty days. Go together and come back together. Each one of you has to help and guide one another to do good things.

Disciples: Yes Guruji.



So the disciples started out together into the forest. They were all united. But the clever disciple who knew the special verse wanted to show how he was better than the others. As they walked into the forest, they came across a dead tiger on the way. It was huge and looked fierce even when dead.

Clever disciple: Now I am going to show you what our teacher has taught me alone. How to bring life back into the dead. I will prove it to you by bringing this tiger back to life.

Another disciple: Please don’t do anything to prove yourself vainly. Moreover, if you put life into this tiger, it will only turn on us and kill us all. This will not be a wise thing to do.


But the clever disciple had decided to prove his skills and prepared to recite the verse. But before he did so, the other disciples scrambled up to the topmost branches of a big tree nearby. The disciple then recited the magical verse. First, there was nothing, and then slowly, the tiger began to breathe.


The tiger opened his eyes and saw this tiny human jumping and shouting in front of him. Roaring loudly, the tiger pounced on the poor disciple and killed him.

After some time the disciples came down and took the body and went back to the sage.


Guruji: What happened to him?

Disciple 1: Guruji, he gave life to a dead tiger,

Disciple 2: And he was killed by the same tiger.


The sage uttered the magic verse and brought the dead disciple back to life.

Clever disciple: Oh Guruji, please forgive me.

Sage: My dear child, do you understand the consequences of misusing your power?

Clever disciple: I understand Guruji,  I will use my knowledge and power only for good things.


Guruji: Let this be a lesson to all of you. And now, I will teach the verse to all of you.


The sage taught the verse to all his disciples and sent them into the world to do good. He was sure that they would all be wiser after such a lesson and use their knowledge and learning only for doing good.


So my dear children, please do not misuse it whenever you acquire power or have power in your possession. Knowledge and power should be handled in a very right way. As children you may not know, but please take the advice of elders and always use your power in a positive way.

The moral of the story is: Use your knowledge and power in a positive way.

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