Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C. B. Varma Introduction | Glossary | Bibliography

019 – Kalbahu

Radha, the elder brother

Once, two parrots were caught and sold to a king. They were brothers. The name of the elder brother was Radha; and the younger was called Potthapada. Charmed by their gaiety, the king put them inside a golden cage. They were then served honey and parched corn in a golden bowl and given the best care. Thus, the two enjoyed a happy life. They also attracted the royal guests, who in turn praised them.

One day, a forester brought a big dark gibbon to the royal court and presented it to the king. Now, the care and attention, which the two parrots had enjoyed so far, drifted to the gibbon. The change in the treatment hurt the younger brother – Potthapada. But Radha, the wiser of the two, did not bother.

One day, upset with the changed attitude of the people, little Potthapada shared his feelings with his brother. He said, “O brother ! This is not right that once being so well attended, we are now being neglected. Should we not quit this palace then?”

Radha tried to console his younger brother by saying, “Look brother! Gain and loss; praise and blame; honour and dishonour are all transitory and seasonal. So, one should not be upset with such changes.” Nonetheless, Potthapada was grumpy, because he resented the people’s attention to the ugly gibbon, who attracted the people by making puckered face and ears move. Radha, then reading his mind, again told his brother, “O dear brother! Don’t worry ! One day the real worth of the gibbon shall be made known to the world; and then your due honour shall be restored.

Soon, the real nature of the gibbon was revealed by his wild gestures and awkward tricks, which terrified the young princes and made them cry. When the king heard the terror of the gibbon he ordered his men to drive it away.

Thus, at the end the parrots were restored with their due gains and attention.

(Those days the Bodhisatta was Radha and Potthapada was Ananda; and Devadatta was Kalabahu).

See Kalabahu Jataka Jataka Pali No. 329.