Dick Whittington, three times the Lord Mayor of London, owed his fortune to a cat. In this endearing Jataka tale, which preceded the popular English folktale by more than a thousand years, the hero owes his fortune to a mouse! Meet the most successful entrepreneur of the Jataka period, the Mouse Merchant.
King Brahmaddatta of Varanasi was terribly upset. His son, Prince Abja, could neither walk nor sleep. The disabilities did not trouble the queen to whom her son's silence spoke much more than words but the king was distressed. He summoned every physician in the land to diagnose the malady but no one could. What was ailing the prince? Buddhism took root in Tibet in the 7th and 10th centuries. The sacred books written in Sanskrit and Pali were translated into Tibetan by the 14th Century. Today a number of stories from those earlier years are available only in Tibetan translations. This Amar Chitra Katha is based on one of them.
Vishnu, they say, is just one of a powerful threesome, the highest lords of the universe. However, though Brahma has created the universe and Shiva can destroy it, it is up to the great god Vishnu to keep all creatures within it well and happy. Always compassionate, he is also the wisest of the trinity. It is he who good-naturedly sorts out the mess the others create and above all, Vishnu always favors the good and the pure.
The bandit wore a gruesome garland of fingers of the men he had killed. As his garland of fingers grew longer strong men cowered in fright. The bandit was invincible - until he met a gentle monk - Buddha. Thus darkness came face to face with light and at last the restless bandit found peace.
When the child Basava was born he did not cry or open his eyes for days. According to Sage Jataveda, who later became his guru, Basava had been in a yogic trance. Basaveshvara was a unique human being, a reformer way ahead of his times. Eight hundred years ago, at a time when society was ridden with the evils of a rigid caste system, he spoke of equality and believed in the emancipation of women.
Bharata, king of Ayodhya, had an overriding ambition to become king of kings. He set about subduing every kingdom possible including those of his brothers. The only person to oppose his arrogance was his half-brother, Bahubali, who defeated Bharata in single combat. However, Bahubali abdicated all claims to the throne and left for the forests to meditate. Centuries later Chavundaraya, a commander-in-chief of the Ganga dynasty built a 57 feet high statue of Bahubali at Shravana Belagola. This story has been taken from Pampa's Adi Purana and Panchabana's Bhujabali Charita.
When Alexander, the great Macedonian conqueror, invaded India in 327 B.C., the various kingdoms and republics of the North-West failed to forge a united front against the common enemy. Some rulers, like Ambhi, submitted without resistance, while others, like Paurava and the chief of Massaga, refused to bow to Alexander even when defeat seemed certain. Although Alexander met his match in King Paurava, he managed to overpower him. Alexander was also helped by the weather, the heavy rain on the day before the battle had made the earth wet, so that Paurava's able archers found it difficult to rest their bows on the slippery ground. Nineteen Greek writers, who either accompanied Alexander or visited India soon after the invasion, wrote accounts of Alexander's march. Based on these early records Arrian (1st century A.D.) wrote his biography of the Macedonian conqueror. This and other works by Curtius, Diodoros, Plutarch and Justin describe Alexander's invasion but there is no detailed Indian source to which we can turn. It is, therefore, difficult to trace Alexander's movements in India with precision or to identify the tribes he encountered in the course of his arduous march.
This Amar Chitra Katha highlights the life of revolutionaries who were exiled to the dreaded cellular prison on Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. Many went insane and a few committed suicide, but Veer Savarkar refused to be daunted. He valiantly continued the fight for human dignity and freedom, even in prison. What was the secret of Savarkar's strength? He was utterly confident that India would achieve freedom. That conviction gave him hope and courage to overcome depression and keep fighting wherever he was, inside the prison or outside.
Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas and established himself on the throne of Magadha in 321 B.C. It was a journey fraught with dangerous challenges but his chance meeting with the wily Chanakya changed his destiny forever. The clever Brahmin showed him how by the sheer brilliance of his wit and wile he could help the young Mauryan prince to rise from being an unknown warrior to one of the greatest emperors of India.
The king of Vijayanagara, Vira Narasimha, was very ill. He was afraid that after his death, his much loved and popular brother, Krishnadeva Raya, would seize the throne from his little son. So he asked a trusted minister to put Krishnadeva to death. The conscience-stricken minister could not perform such a heinous deed and convinced the bewildered prince to escape. Fate had already decreed that Krishnadeva Raya would one day rule the Vijayanagara empire and take it to its zenith of glory.
Young and virtuous, Nachiketa and Satyakama had one thing in common - they sought true knowledge. The song of birds, the thunder of rain clouds, and the glow of the morning sun revealed life's secrets to Satyakama. Coming face to face with the lord of death, Nachiketa found the key to immortality. The lessons the two seekers learned were priceless, for they opened to others the door to eternal bliss.
Prince Kshemankara was a kind and generous person. His younger brother, Papankara, was more suspicious by nature.Kshemankara decided to take a fleet of ships and search for riches in other lands. Papankara went along with him. During a storm their ship capsized. Kshemankara managed to get his unconscious brother to the shore, before he too collapsed. Many months later, Papankara returned home alone and was made king. What could have happened to Kshemankara? Originally of Indian origin, the tale travelled with Buddhist monks to monastries in Tibet. It was found by European travellers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and translated into English.