Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

070 – Sama: The Good Son

Sama-Jataka, Sanchi

Once two beings of Brahma-loka (higher divine world) were born as boy and girl. They were called Dukulaka and Parika, respectively. Their parents were bosom friends. When the two children attained maturity their parents married them. As the two were the beings of higher world they did not indulge in any physical relationship. Detached from the earthly life they lived in a hermitage as ascetics. Nonetheless, persuaded by Sakka Dukulaka touched the navel of Parika at a proper time, which made the latter conceive a baby. The baby was born with golden colour. So, he was given the name of Suvannasama; but was often called Sama.

Once, Sama’s parents took shelter under a tree when there was heavy rain pour. The water, which dripped from their body fell on a snake living in the ant-hill on which they were standing. This made the snake furious and exhale the venomous breath, which made them blind. Having not found his parents back till late in the evening, Sama himself went outside to look for them; and finally brought them home. Since then he looked after them.

Once Piliyakkha, the king of Varanasi was out on a hunting expedition in the forest around the hermitage. There, he heard the sound of water, which was being drawn by Sama for his parents. Mistaking Sama as a goblin, he shot him with a poisoned arrow. Now, a yakkhini Bahusodari, who happened to be the mother of Sama seven births before, saw Sama being killed, descended and stood in the mid air. She then frightened the king and ordered him to go and inform the blind parents of his misdeed.

Despite the news of the son’s death the blind parents remained calm and did not show any resentment. They instead requested the king to escort them to their dead son. After reaching near the body of Sama, Parika performed the Sacchakiriya (Act of Truth) which evaporated the poison and made him well. Then the yakkhini performed the similar kiriya for the blind parents. And the parents, too, were cured and regained their eye-sight.

(Bodhisatta is identified with Sama; Dukuluka with Kassapa; Parika with Bhadda Kapilani; Piliyaka with Ananda; and the yakkhini Bahusodari with Uppalavanna).

See Sama Jataka Jataka Pali No.540. See Mahavatthu (ed. Senart 3 vols); Milinda Panha 198 f.