Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

062 – The Foot-Print Reader

Padmanakusalamanava-Jataka, Mathura

Yaksini (with the head of a horse) with her son Padakusalamanava, Ajanta

Once a queen owing to her false oath was born as a yaksini. She had a well-demarcated territory to exercise her powers. She could kill and eat people within her territory. One day, she caught hold a rich and handsome Brahmin and fell in love with him. She brought him home and married him. But whenever she went outside she chained him in her abode lest he would run away. In course of time, the Bodhisatta was born out of her womb. When growing the yakkhini empowered him with a charm to read or trace the foot-step of any person even after the lapse of twelve years.

When the son grew old enough to note the captivity of his father he felt sorry for him. Having discovered the extent of the power of his yakkhini mother, which was effective only within a certain range, he, one day, meticulously engineered a plot and escaped out of the forest with his father and began a new life in a new city.

As the boy had the ability to trace the foot-steps of any person even after the lapse of twelve years he easily entered the service of the king of Varanasi. One day, the king and his chaplain stole some public treasury and hid it in a tank. Next morning, they asked the boy to find the same. The boy easily took the people to the tank by tracing the foot-steps in the air. The people were amazed. When insisted to reveal the names of the thieves he first declined as he knew that the thieves were none other than the king and his chaplain. None the less, when pressed long by the people, he divulged the names of the two. This infuriated the mob, which in frenzy killed the king and the chaplain. The Bodhisatta was then crowned as the king.

See Padakusalamanava Jataka Jataka Pali No.432