Composed around 300 B.C, the Jataka tales are an interesting collection of short stories that have been very popular among folklores and legends. These stories are an interesting way to teach the values and morals of life and good living. Each and every Jataka story has a moral to learn and these stories have been passed from generation to generation and are still popular in the contemporary world as they serve as bedtime tales for children. These tales were written in Pali language and are often called as Jataka Buddhist tales, since Pali is the language of ancient Buddhist scriptures. To know more about Jakata tales, continue to read this insightful article on it.
History Of Jakata Tales
These tales are said to have inspired further fables and tales like the Arabian Nights, Aesop's Fables and Adventures of Sindbad. These stories talk of the incarnations of Lord Buddha in different forms like human, animals and teach some of the most important lessons of life. They talk about perseverance, self-respect, respect for others, wisdom, honesty, morality, etc. and many other important goals of life that can be easily realized through hard work and determination.
The Jataka tales have much educational value and were used to teach youngsters the important morals and goals of life. These fables are around 547 in number and are very interesting to read. Most of the tales have an Indian backdrop and are said to have the backdrop of the northern parts of India, near the holy city of Varanasi near the river Ganges.
Morals written around 300 B.C in a language called PALI, which were later translated and distributed to people across the world. These stories are mainly about past incarnations of Buddha, and are meant to teach the values of self-sacrifice, honesty, morality and other didactic values to a common person. They are a total of 547 in number. They really make interesting reading just like their counterparts in Panchatantra.
Popular Jakata Tales
Power Of A Rumor: Once upon a time, a hare was resting under a tree and he had a gloomy thought. He questioned himself that what will happen to him if the earth will break into two. While he was having this thought, he heard a shrieking sound and got scared that it might be the sound of the earth splitting up. He started running randomly in order to save his life. While he was running in a mad frenzy through the jungle, another hare saw him and asked him as to what happened. The hare told him that the earth is getting destroyed and he should better run too. On hearing this, the second hare also started running and in fact overtook the first hare. On seeing these two hares running in desperation, other animals also got frightened and ran for their lives. In a short while, all the animals came to know that the earth was breaking apart and whether it was a reptile or a tiger or a giant elephant, everyone was running in the same direction without thinking. And soon all of the jungle was in a chaos. Amidst all this commotion, there was a lion standing on the top of the hill and he witnessed this disorder. He ran down the hill and stood in front of the running crowd, asking them to stop running. Because of his powerful presence, all the animals stopped at once. He asked them what was it about and they told him that they are running because the earth is breaking apart. He asked them who told them that and a parrot replied that he heard it from the monkeys. On hearing this monkeys said that they heard it from the tigers. Tigers told the lion that they got to know about it from the elephants and elephants blamed it on the buffaloes. Like this it was finally found out that the whole thing about the earth cracking up was started by the two hares. Lion asked the hare, who was the original source of the news, as to what made him think that the earth was breaking apart. He told the lion that he heard the sound of earth breaking up with his own two ears. When the matter was further investigated, it was found out that what the hare heard was the sound of a coconut falling off a tree and causing a minor landside. Lion told all the animals to go back to their homes as the earth was safe. All the animals went back to their normal lives, feeling quite stupid. The moral of the story is to check a rumor before acting on it.
The Penny Wise Monkey: There once lived a king who belonged to a very prosperous country. This king had a passion for travelling, but he did not really like travelling in his own country, instead he was fond of travelling to far away distant lands. One fine day he decided that he will go on his traveling expedition and for this purpose he gathered his army and went on for his holiday. They all walked for the whole day in forest and decided to take some rest. Everyone was tired; the horses were tired as well. The tired horses were fed some peas by king’s army. There was a monkey in the forest who was following the king and his army and as soon as he observed that, he jumped down from the tree he was sitting on and swiftly gobbled some peas and picked some up in his hands too. He went up to his tree again to eat rest of the peas. As soon as he started to eat the peas in his hands, one pea fell down the tree. The monkey, in the hope of getting the fallen down pea by picking it up from the ground, dropped rest of peas from his hands. Soon he realized his stupidity and sat on the tree in remorse. In the meanwhile, the king was observing the monkey from a distance and said to himself that he would not repeat the same mistake as the foolish monkey, who did not realize the importance of what he had and instead ran after what was not his anymore. Therefore, the king decided that he will go back to his country and enjoy what he has. The moral of the story is to value the importance of what you have.