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Mahosot Chadok (มโหสถชาดก)

Thai-Sanskrit. Name for one of the Totsachat, i.e. life stories of the ten last incarnations of the Buddha, in which the bodhisattva was born as Mahosot, a wise prince born with a golden complexion. At his birth, he clasped a medicinal herb in his hand, which caused a painless birth for his mother and which cured all the sick, who had come to see the infant. All through his childhood Mahosot grew in wisdom. He built a great hall with many rooms and surrounded it with lakes covered with lotus blossoms. There the bodhisattva would sit giving out advice to all who needed help. In the Kingdom of Mithila ruled a king called Vedeha, who was instructed in the ways of the law by four sages. When he learned of the wisdom of Mahosot, he decided to fetch him to his court and he sent the four sages to find him. However, overcome with jealousy and reluctant to hasten their own fall from authority, they instead plotted to keep the bodhisattva from reaching the king's presence, by giving the boy difficult trials and riddles to solve. Yet, able to solve whatever was set before him with great ingenuity, he was eventfully let in to the court, where he became the king's wise advisor, while remaining ceaselessly on guard against the relentless devious tricks of the old sages. During this time, a wicked sage called Kevatta set out to conquer the whole of India conquering and uniting many kingdom's under his leadership. However, thanks to the actions of Mahosot, such as rebuilding Mithila's defenses and sending out spies to live among Kevatta's men, Vedeha was ready to counter the attack when Kevatta's army laid siege to Mithila and was able to confront the attacking army. Unable to conquer his enemy, Kevatta devised a trick, luring Mahosot into meeting him outside the city gate, presuming that the younger Mahosot would have to bow in respect to salute him, knowing that whoever does obeisance is conquered. Hence, Mahosot thwarted the wicked plan by bringing along gem that glittered in the sunlight. Pretending to offer it to Kevatta, Mahosot dropped the jewel into the dirt. Kevatta immediately lunged to retrieve it. As he knelt on the ground to do so, his armies thought he bowed in obeisance to Mahosot and quickly fled from the battlefield, presuming they had lost the war. Humiliated and furious, Kevatta withdrew to the city of king Culani, where he devise a new plan to defeat Mithila and its king. Since King Culani had a beautiful daughter, she was offered to King Vedeha in marriage. Bewildered with passion, the king accepted to have her for his bride, despite Mahosot's warnings of probable trickery. Thus, in order to outwitting Kevatta and King Culani, Mahosot travelled ahead to Culani's kingdom. He constructed a splendid palace on the outskirts of the capital for the wedding to take place, including a marvelous underground tunnel, that on one side led to the room of Culani's daughter and on the other side ended in a cave at the mouth of the Ganges River, some distance from the city. When all was ready, King Vedeha arrived at Culani's city, soon to discover that he was tricked and in danger of his life, as Culani's troops started to encroach on his new palace, where he was waiting to receive his bride. Contemplating suicide as advised by the old sages as the only alternative to a slow death at the hands of his enemy, King Vedeha in despair turned to Mahosot. Though ashamed after initially disregarding his advice completely, he now begged for his help. Upon this, Mahosot revealed the tunnel and after abducting the princess, they all escaped through its corridors. Although initially distressed, the princess soon became reconciled to her abduction and she and King Vedeha were married. As a consequence, King Vedeha and King Culani were reconciled and the wicked Kevatta was banished and heard of no more. Thus the wisdom and architectural talents of Mahosot brought peace and saved both his kingdom and his king from destruction. Also known as Mahosadha or Mahosatha Jataka. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.