Great Horse Knowing-One
a time, King Brahmadatta ruled in Benares, in northern India.
He had a mighty horse, who had been born in the land of Sindh,
in the Indus River valley of western India. Indeed, this horse
was the Enlightenment Being.
As well as
being big and strong, he was very intelligent and wise. When he
was still young, people noticed that he always seemed to know
what his rider wanted before being told. So he was called Knowing-one.
He was considered
the greatest of the royal horses, and was given the very best
of everything. His stall was decorated and was always kept clean
and beautiful. Horses are usually faithful to their masters. Knowing-one
was especially loyal, and was grateful for how well the king cared
for him. Of all the royal horses, Knowing-one was also the bravest.
So the king respected and trusted him.
It came to
pass that seven neighbouring kings joined together to make war
on King Brahmadatta. Each king brought four great armies
an elephant cavalry, a horse cavalry, a chariot brigade and ranks
of foot soldiers. Together the seven kings, with all their armies,
surrounded the city of Benares.
assembled his ministers and advisers to make plans for defending
the kingdom. They advised him, "Do not surrender. We must
fight to protect our high positions. But you should not risk your
royal person in the beginning. Instead, send out the champion
of all the knights to represent you on the battlefield. If he
fails, only then must you yourself go."
So the king
called the champion to him and asked, "Can you be victorious
over these seven kings?" The knight replied, "If you
permit me to ride out on the bravest and wisest, the great horse
Knowing-one, only then can I win the battle." The king agreed
and said, "My champion, it is up to you and Knowing-one to
save the country in its time of danger. Take with you whatever
knight went to the royal stables. He ordered that Knowing-one
be well fed and dressed in protective armor, with all the finest
trimmings. Then he bowed respectfully and climbed into the beautiful
knew the situation. He thought, "These seven kings have come
to attack my country and my king, who feeds and cares for and
trusts me. Not only the seven kings, but also their large and
powerful armies threaten my king and all in Benares. I cannot
let them win. But I also cannot permit the champion knight to
kill those kings. Then I too would share in the unwholesome action
of taking the lives of others, in order to win an ordinary victory.
Instead, I will teach a new way. I will capture all seven kings
without killing anyone. That would be a truly great victory!"
Then the Knowing-one
spoke to his rider. "Sir knight, let us win this battle in
a new way, without destroying life. You must only capture each
king, one at a time, and remain firmly on my back. Let me find
the true course through the many armies. Watch me as you ride,
and I will show you the courage that goes beyond the old way,
the killing way!"
As he spoke
of 'a new way', and 'the true course', and 'the courage that goes
beyond', it seemed the noble steed became larger than life. He
reared up majestically on his powerful hind legs, and looked down
on all the armies surrounding the city. The eyes of all were drawn
to this magnificent one. The earth trembled as his front hoofs
returned to the ground and he charged into the midst of the four
armies of the first king. He seemed to have the speed of lightning,
the might of a hundred elephants, and the glorious confidence
of one from some other world.
The elephants could remember no such horse as this, and so the
elephant cavalry retreated in fear. The horses knew that this
their relative was the worthy master of them all, and so the horse
cavalry and the chariot brigade stood still and bowed as the Great
Being passed. And the ranks of foot-soldiers scattered like flies
before a strong wind.
king hardly knew what had happened, before he was easily captured
and brought back into the city of Benares. And so too with the
second, third, fourth and fifth kings.
In the same
way the sixth king was captured. But one of his loyal bodyguards
leaped out from hiding and thrust his sword deep into the side
of the brave Knowing-one. With blood streaming from the wound,
he carried the champion knight and the captured sixth king back
to the city.
When the knight
saw the terrible wound, he suddenly became afraid to ride the
weakened Knowing-one against the seventh king. So he began to
dress in armour another powerful war horse, who was really just
as big as Knowing-one.
though suffering in great pain from his deadly wound, Knowing-one
thought, "This champion knight has lost his courage so quickly.
He has not understood the true nature of my power the knowledge
that true peace is only won by peaceful means. He tries to defeat
the seventh king and his armies in the ordinary way, riding an
taking the first step of giving up the killing of living beings,
I cannot stop part way. My great effort to teach a new way would
disappear like a line drawn in water!"
horse Knowing-one spoke to the champion knight. "Sir knight,
the seventh king and his armies are the mightiest of all. Riding
an ordinary horse, even if you slaughter a thousand men and animals,
you will be defeated. I, of the mighty tribe of Sindh horses,
the one called Knowing-one, only I can pass through them harming
none, and bring back the seventh king alive!"
knight regained his courage. The brave horse struggled to his
feet, in great pain. While the blood continued to flow, he reared
and charged through the four armies, and the knight brought back
the last of the seven warlike kings. Again all those in his path
were spared from harm. Seeing their seven kings in captivity,
all the armies laid down their weapons and asked for peace.
that the great horse Knowing-one would not live through the night,
King Brahmadatta went to see him. He had raised him from a colt,
so he loved him. When he saw that he was dying, his eyes filled
said, "My lord king, I have served you well. And I have gone
beyond and shown a new way. Now you must grant my last request.
You must not kill these seven kings, even though they have wronged
you. For a bloody victory sows the seeds of the next war. Forgive
their attack on you, let them return to their kingdoms, and may
you all live in peace from now on.
reward you would give to me, give instead to the champion knight.
Do only wholesome deeds, be generous, honour the Truth, and kill
no living being. Rule with justice and compassion."
Then he closed
his eyes and breathed his last. The king burst into tears, and
all mourned his passing. With the highest honours, they burned
the body of the great horse Knowing-one the Enlightenment
had the seven kings brought before him. They too honored the great
one, who had defeated their vast armies without spilling a drop
of blood, except his own. In his memory they made peace, and never
again did these seven kings and Brahmadatta make war on each other.
moral is: True peace is only won by peaceful