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According to legend, several lifetimes as a Bodhisattva went into making of the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
The Bodhisattva came in many forms ? man, monkey, deer, elephant, lion. Whatever his mortal body, he spread the message of justice and wisdom, tempered with compassion. This wisdom, the wisdom of right thinking and right living, is preserved in the Jataka tales.
These tales are based on the folklore, legends and ballads of ancient India. We cannot assign a definite date to the Jataka stories. Taking into account archaeological and literary evidence, it appears that they were compiled in the period the third century B.C. to the fifth century A.D. They give us invaluable information about ancient Indian civilization, culture and philosophy.
According to Maha Ummagga Jataka, the Bodhisattava was once born as Aushadha Kumar who was endowed with celestial knowledge and superhuman powers. Earlier, we had published the stories of Aushadha Kumar?s childhood (Battle of Wits) and his early life at the court of Mithila (The Priceless Gem). This issue of Amar Chitra Katha presents Aushadha Kumar in the role of the chief minister of Mithila.
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