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A Jataka Tale
All living creatures die to be born again ? so the Hindus believe. Siddhartha who became the Buddha was no exception. It is believed that several lifetimes as a Bodhisattva go into the making of the Buddha, the Enlightened one.
The Bodhisattva has come in many forms ? man, monkey, deer, elephant and lion. Whatever his mortal body, he has spread the message of justice and wisdom, tempered with compassion. This 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 the Maha Ummagga Jataka, the Bodhisattva was once born as Aushadha Kumar who was endowed with celestial knowledge and superhuman powers. The present issue of Amar Chitra Katha presents the second set of the tales connected with Aushadha Kumar.
The first title, The Battle of Wits, represented the tales connected with the childhood of Aushadha Kumar. This issue presents stories of Aushadha Kumar at the court of Mithila.
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