Sarabhanga Jātaka (No. 522)
The Bodhisatta was once born as the son of the purohita of the king of Benares. He was called Jotipāla because, on the day of his birth, there was a blaze of all kinds of arms for a distance of twelve leagues round Benares. This showed that he would be the chief archer of all India.
After having been educated in Takkasilā, he returned to Benares and entered the king's service, receiving one thousand a day. When the king's attendants grumbled at this, the king ordered Jotipāla to give an exhibition of his skill.
This he did, in the presence of sixty thousand archers. With the bow and arrow he performed twelve unrivalled acts of skill and cleft seven hard substances.
Then he drove an arrow through a furlong of water and two furlongs of earth and pierced a hair at a distance of half a furlong. The sun set at the conclusion of this exhibition, and the king promised to appoint him commander in chief the next day.
But during the night, Jotipāla felt a revulsion for the household life, and, departing unannounced, went into the Kapitthavana on the Godhāvarī and there became an ascetic.
On Sakka's orders, Vissakamma built a hermitage for him, in which he lived, developing great iddhi powers. When his parents and the king with his retinue visited him, he converted them to the ascetic life, and his followers soon numbered many thousands.
He had seven pupils - Sālissara, Mendissara, Pabbata, Kāladevala, Kisavaccha, Anusissa and Nārada. When Kapitthavana became too crowded, Jotipāla, now known as Sarabhanga, sent his pupils away to different parts of the country:
Sālissara to Lambacūlaka, Mendissara to Sātodikā, Pabbata to Añjana Mountain, Kāladevala to Ghanasela, Kisavaccha to Kumbhavatī and Nārada to Arañjara, while Anusissa remained with him.
When Kisavaccha, through the folly of a courtesan, was ill treated by King Dandakī of Kumbhavatī and his army, Sarabhanga heard from the king's commander in chief of this outrage and sent two of his pupils to bring Kisavaccha on a palanquin to the hermitage.
There he died, and when his funeral was celebrated, for the space of half a league round his pyre there fell a shower of celestial flowers.
Because of the outrage committed on Kisavaccha, sixty leagues of Dandakī's kingdom were destroyed together with the king. When the news of this spread abroad, three kings - Kalinga,
Atthaka and Bhimaratha - recalling stories of other similar punishments that had followed insults to holy men, went to visit Sarabhanga in order to get at the truth of the matter.
They met on the banks of the Godhāvarī, and there they were joined by Sakka. Sarabhanga sent Anusissa to greet them and offer them hospitality, and, when they had rested, gave them permission to put their questions.
Sarabhanga explained to them how Dandaka, Nālikira, Ajjuna and Kalābu, were all born in hell owing to their ill-treatment of holy men, and went to expound to them the moral law. Even as he spoke the three kings were filled with the desire for renunciation, and at the end of Sarabhanga's discourse they became ascetics, under him.
The story was told in reference to the death of Moggallāna. It is said that after Moggallāna had been attacked by brigands and left by them for dead, he recovered consciousness, and, flying to the Buddha, obtained his consent to die.
The six deva worlds were filled with great commotion, and, after his death, the devas brought offerings of flowers and incense to his pyre, which was made of sandalwood and ninety nine precious things.
When the body was placed on the pyre flowers rained down for the space of one league round and for seven days there was a great festival. The Buddha had the relics collected and deposited in a shrine in Veluvana.
The Buddha identified Moggallāna, with Kisavaccha and related this Jātaka. Of the others, Sālissara was Sāriputta, Mendissara Kassapa, Pabbata Anuruddha, Devala Kaccāyana, and Anusissa Ananda. J.v.125 51.