Mahājanaka, king of Mithilā in Videha, had two sons, Ariṭṭhajanaka and Polajanaka. On his death, the elder came to the throne and made his brother viceroy, but, later, suspecting him of treachery, had him put in chains. Polajanaka escaped, and, when he had completed his preparations, laid siege to the city, killed Ariṭṭhajanaka, and seized the throne. Ariṭṭhajanaka’s wife escaped in disguise, taking with her a lot of treasures. She was pregnant, and as her child was the Bodhisatta, Sakka’s throne was heated, and he appeared before her as a charioteer and took her to Kālacampā. There she was adopted by an Udicca brahmin as his sister and the child was born. When he played with other boys they mocked at him, calling him the widow’s son. He asked his mother what this meant, but she put him off with evasive answers until one day he bit her on the breast and insisted on being told the truth. When he was sixteen, she gave him half the treasures, and he embarked on a ship going to Suvaṇṇabhūmi for trade. The ship was wrecked in mid ocean, but nothing daunted, Mahājanaka (as the boy was called) swam valiantly for seven days, until Maṇimekhalā, goddess of the sea, admiring his courage, rescued him and placed him in the mango grove in Mithilā.
Meanwhile Polajanaka had died and left orders that the throne should go to one who could find favour in the eyes of his daughter, should know which is the head of a square bed, could string the bow that required the strength of one thousand men, and could draw out the sixteen great treasures. No one seemed forthcoming who was able to fulfil these conditions; the ministers thereupon decked the state chariot with the five insignia of royalty and sent it out, accompanied by music. The chariot left the city gates, and the horses went to the mango grove and stopped at the spot where Mahājanaka lay asleep. The chaplain, seeing the auspicious marks on his feet, awoke him, and explaining to him his mission, crowned him king. When he entered the palace, Sīvalī (the late king’s daughter) was immediately won over by his appearance, and willingly agreed to be his queen. He was told of the other conditions mentioned by the dead king; he solved the riddles contained in some and fulfilled them all.
In time Sīvalī bore him a son, Dīghāvu-
The sage Nārada, dwelling in Himavā, saw Mahājanaka with his divine-
The story was told in reference to the Buddha’s Renunciation.
Maṇimekhalā is identified with Uppalavaṇṇā, Nārada with Sāriputta, Migājina with Mahā-
The Jātaka exemplifies the perfection of energy (viriya-