Dhammapada Verse 24
appamattassa yaso bhivaddhati.
Verse 24: If a person is energetic, mindful, pure in his thought, word and
deed, and if he does everything with care and consideration, restrains his
senses, earns his living according to the Law (Dhamma) and is not unheedful,
then, the fame and fortune of that mindful person steadily increase.
The Story of Kumbhaghosaka, the Banker
While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (24) of
this book, with reference to Kumbhaghosaka, the banker.
At one time, a plague epidemic broke out in the city of Rajagaha. In the
house of the city banker, the servants died on account of this disease; the
banker and his wife were also attacked by the same. When they were both down
with the disease they told their young son Kumbhaghosaka to leave them and flee
from the house and to return only after a long time. They also told him that at
such and such a place they had buried a treasure worth forty crores. The son
left the city and stayed in a forest for twelve years and then came back to the
By that time, he was quite a grown up youth and nobody in the city recognized
him. He went to the place where the treasure was hidden and found it was quite
intact. But he reasoned and realized that there was no one who could identify
him and that if he were to unearth the buried treasure and make use of it people
might think a young poor man had accidentally come upon buried treasure and they
might report it to the king. In that case, his property would be confiscated and
he himself might be manhandled or put in captivity. So he concluded it was not
yet time to unearth the treasure and that meanwhile he must find work for his
living. Dressed in old clothes Kumbhaghosaka looked for work. He was given the
work of waking up and rousing the people to get up early in the morning and of
going round announcing that it was time to prepare food, time to fetch carts and
yoke the bullocks, etc.
One morning, King Bimbisara heard him. The king, who was a keen judge of
voices, commented, "This is the voice of a man of great wealth." A
maid, hearing the king's remark, sent someone to investigate. He reported that
the youth was only a hireling of the labourers. In spite of this report the king
repeated the same remark on two subsequent days. Again, enquiries were made but
with the same result. The maid thought that this was very strange, so she asked
the king to give her permission to go and personally investigate.
Disguised as rustics, the maid and her daughter set out to the place of the
labourers. Saying that they were travellers, they asked for shelter and was
given accommodation in the house of Kumbhaghosaka just for one night. However,
they managed to prolong their stay there. During that period, twice the king
proclaimed that a certain ceremony must be performed in the locality of the
labourers, and that every household must make contributions. Kumbhaghosaka had
no ready cash for such an occasion. So he was forced to get some coins
(Kahapanas) from his treasure. As these coins were handed over to the maid, she
substituted them with her money and sent the coins to the king. After some time,
she sent a message to the king asking him to send some men and summon
Kumbhaghosaka to the court. Kumbhaghosaka, very reluctantly, went along with the
men. The maid and her daughter also went to the palace, ahead of them.
At the palace, the king told Kumbhaghosaka to speak out the truth and gave
him assurance that he would not be harmed on this account. Kumbhaghosaka then
admitted that those Kahapanas were his and also that he was the son of the city
banker of Rajagaha, who died in the plague epidemic twelve years ago. He further
revealed the place where the treasure was hidden. Subsequently, all the buried
treasure was brought to the palace; the king made him a banker and gave his
daughter in marriage to him.
Afterwards, taking Kumbhaghosaka along with him, the king went to the Buddha
at the Veluvana monastery and told him how the youth, though rich, was earning
his living as a hireling of the labourers, and how he had appointed the youth a
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 24: If a person is energetic, mindful, pure in his thought,
word and deed, and if he does every thing with care and consideration,
restrains his senses, earns his living according to the Law (Dhamma)
and is not unheedful, then, the fame and fortune of that mindful
person steadily increase.
At the end of the discourse, Kumbhaghosaka attained Sotapatti Fruition.