The Golden Bowl
Now at the time, in a
nearby village called Senani, there lived a young,
very beautiful and rich girl called Sujata, who wanted
a husband of equal rank and a son. She had waited
for many years and she was not successful. The people
told her that she must go to certain banyan tree near
the Neranjara river and pray to the tree-god to give
her a husband and son. She did as the people told
her and later on she got married to a young man and
they had a lovely son. She was extremely happy and
decided to fulfil her vow to the tree-god for giving
her all that she had asked for.
Sujata had a thousand
cows, and she fed them with sweet creepers called valmee
so that the cows milk was sweet. She milked
these thousand cows and fed that milk to five hundred
cows, and then fed their milk to two hundred and fifty
cows and so on until she fed only eight cows. She
did this to get the sweetest and most nourishing milk,
to make delicious milk-rice as an offering to
As she was doing this she was surprised
to see her servant running back from cleaning and
preparing the area at the foot of the banyan tree.
Very happy and excited, the servant said, "My
lady Sujata! The banyan god is meditating at the foot
of the tree. How lucky you must be to have the god
in person to accept your food."
Sujata too was happy
and excited and danced with joy with the servant.
They then took even more pains to prepare the milk-rice,
pouring it into a golden bowl.
Taking the delicious
milk-rice both of them went to the banyan tree and
Sujata saw what she perceived to be a holy man. He
was handsome and golden looking and sat serenely in
meditation. She did not know that he was in fact Ascetic
Gotama. She bowed with respect and said, "Lord,
accept my donation of milk-rice. May you be successful
in obtaining your wishes as I have been."
Ascetic Gotama ate the
sweet thick milk-rice and then bathed in the river
Neranjara. This was the last food and bath he would
have for seven weeks. When he finished he took the
golden bowl and threw it in the river, saying, "If
I am to succeed in becoming a Buddha today, let this
bowl go upstream, but if not, let it go downstream."
The golden bowl went upstream, all the while keeping
in the middle of the river.