While Brahma-Dutt ruled Banaras, Bodhisatva was born as a Master Sculptor at Taksha-sila. Princes from far-off countries went to him to learn the art from him.
The King of Banaras heard great reports of the Master and decided to send his son to him to study the art.
None of the ministers and other courtiers liked this idea. The prince was hardly sixteen. How could he live alone at far-off Taksha-sila, serve the Master and learn art? “Oh, King,” they said, “do we not have enough Master Sculptors in our kingdom? Why should the prince undergo an ordeal ?”
But the King disagreed with them. In the kingdom of Banaras, the boy was a prince, and as such, he would never learn anything properly. At Taksha-sila, he would be ordinary; he would serve his teacher and learn things under discipline.
The prince was given only a pair of thin slippers and an umbrella. He was asked to carry a bag of a thousand silver pieces. “Walk to Taksha- sila,” the King said to his son, “pay the Master a thousand pieces of silver, obey him and learn the art from him, and come back after your education is complete.”
The prince had difficulty carrying the bag, walking the long distance, resting under the trees, sleeping on hard ground, eating whatever he could, and having no one to look after him.
He finally reached Taksha-sila and went to the Master, told him the purpose of his coming, gave him the money, and joined as a pupil under him. The boy was very sharp and quick in learning, and the Master was satisfied.
The Master and his pupil used to go to the river every morning for bathing. One day, an older woman came to the river with a bag of jinjili seeds as they were having their bath. She washed the origin and spread them on a cloth. The prince saw this, finished his bath quickly and came out of the water. When he thought the older woman was not looking, he grabbed a handful of jinjili and put it in his mouth. The older woman noticed everything but said nothing.
The next day the same thing happened. The older woman ignored it again. But, when the boy also repeated the offence on the third day, she got furious. “Good sir,” she said to the Master, “Your pupil has been stealing my jinjili daily. I do not mind the loss much. But this boy is a thief and a real blot on your great reputation. Punish him so that he will be thieving in future.”
On reaching home, the Master ordered his other pupils to hold the prince by his hands and gave him three strokes on his back with a cane. “I’ve punished you,” he said to the prince, “because you have done a bad thing. Don’t you ever do it again!”
The prince was in a terrible rage, but he could do nothing. Though he was a Prince in Banaras, he was ordinary. Also, the Master had the right to punish his pupils.
“When I become king,” he swore, “I shall get him to Banaras on some pretext and have him killed.”
Over time, the prince completed his studies. Having gotten ready for his journey back to Banaras, he touched the feet of the Master and received his blessings. “Sir,” he said to the Master, “I request you to come to Banaras after I become King. Then I shall be in a position to give you a reception which you merit.” The Master was glad to hear these words and promised to make the trip to Banaras in due course.
Over time, the prince became King. One day he thought of the oath he had taken regarding his teacher. So he got an invitation sent to the Master at Taksha-sila.
The Master accepted the invitation but did not start for Banaras at once. The boy ascended the throne only recently, he thought. Let him enjoy his new status for some time. He could go and see him later.
Sometime later, the Master made the trip to Banaras. When he went to see the King, the entire court received him with great respect because he was the teacher of the King himself. He was made to sit next to the King.
The rage smoking in the King’s breast grew into a fire at the sight of this older man who once dared to punish him. Amid general conversation, he suddenly turned to the Master and said.
“Sir, one who dealt out punishment for a mere handful of jinjili is surely fit to be put to death. Tell me, is it not so?”
None in the court save the Master could understand what the King said. He wanted the Master to undergo the torture of a doomed man. He was going to die anyway.
But the Master was not shocked as the King expected. On the other hand, he revealed the King’s secret to the full court.
“O King,” he said, “while you were my pupil and under my charge, you did something beneath your status. The teacher must punish his pupil when he does wrong and make him walk the path of righteousness. Had I not punished you that day, you’d have been a bandit by now instead of occupying this dignified throne. A wise man would never get angry with one who punished him for a misdeed; on the contrary, he would be grateful! “
The King blushed with shame now that the entire court knew of his misdeed. He fell at the Master’s feet and cried, “O Great One! I made one more slip, and you pulled me up once again. I’m grateful to you!”
By saying these words, the King earned the respect of the entire court and the Master himself.
The King insisted that the Master should remain with him for good. So the Master gave up his residence at Taksha-sila and settled himself at Banaras.