Monday 15 April 2024

What Are Jataka Tales? - Shambhavi Nautiyal

What are Jataka Tales? What do you know about them?

Jataka Tales are a voluminous body of literature which is a compound of stories from the life of Gautam Buddha as well as his previous births.

In these stories, the future Buddha may appear as a king, an outcast, a deva, an animal—but, in whatever form, he exhibits some virtue that the tale thereby inculcates. Often, Jātaka tales include an extensive cast of characters who interact and get into various kinds of trouble - whereupon the Buddha character intervenes to resolve all the problems and bring about a happy ending. The Jātaka genre is based on the idea that the Buddha was able to recollect all his past lives and thus could use these memories to tell a story and illustrate his teachings.

Did the story connect with you today and why?

I think, yes, it did connect with me in some manner. For instance, I like that the king, at least, tried providing for his illegitimate child in the form of a signet ring, because that doesn’t happen often. Most of the time, women get estranged in such cases, by both their parents and the father of the child.

I was also able to relate when the king tried denying the fact that it was his son who had come to the court since although it wasn’t upright, it’s something we all have done in our lives- trying to deny a mistake due to shame and fear of being judged but I was glad when the kind got over it and owned his ‘mistake’ as he had thought.

And I feel like we all can take away something from this, even after thousands of years,i.e., that no child should be denied their parental love despite whatever society might think. This resonates with a thought I came across right after the class, “You need to fully experience the karmic cycle to break free from it” as only after he tried denying it did he realise its ramifications and started operating from a standpoint of love.

So for me, the moral of the story is ‘Own whatever you do, because, after some point, they will get to know about it anyway.'

Shambhavi Nautiyal 
Class- 10
Ahlcon Public School


  1. Own whatever you do.... That's a great way to put it

    1. One should always be courageous enough to take the onus of one's deeds and actions!


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