The Meaning of Dighiti’s Dying Words

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Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die. Now reconciled, with Brahmadatta, Dighavu will share with him the meaning of his father’s dying words.

Turning to Dighavu, Brahmadatta said, “Your father’s dying words have preoccupied my thoughts on many sleepless nights. Can you help me understand them. What did he mean when he said, ‘Be not short-sighted’?”

Dighavu answered, “The words mean cherish friendship. Do not be quick to fall out with friends.”

“What did he mean when he said, ‘Be not long-sighted’?”

“He meant, do not dwell on thoughts of past harm, for then hatred will endure,” said Dighavu.

“What did he mean when he said, ‘Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love’?”

“”You Majesty,” explained Dighavu, “you stole my father’s kingdom and murdered my parents. If I avenged their death and killed you, then your kinsmen would kill me. In turn, my relatives would kill them. There would be no end to the hatred and bloodshed. But now, I have granted you your life and you have granted me mine. We can live together in peace.”

Next Time: “Restoration & Peace”

Reconcilation

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Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Face to face Dighavu and Brahmadatta pleaded for their lives.

Fear eased its hold on Brahamadatta. “Grant me my life,” he said to Dighavu,”and I will grant you yours.”

Dighavu released his grip and set down his sword. The two men clasped hands and swore an oath never to harm one another.

“Let us go back to the palace,” said Brahmadatta.

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” replied Dighavu.

When they arrived back at the palace, Brahmadatta called together his counselors. With Dighavu at his side, he addressed them and asked, “If you saw Dighavu, son of my enemy Dighiti, what would you do?”

The counselors raucously shouted their affirmations of loyalty. “Cut off his hands! Cut off his feet! Chop off his head!”

Then Brahmadatta spoke. “Listen to me,” he said, lifting his open palm toward Dighavu, “this is Prince Dighavu.” The astonished counselors immediately grabbed the hilts of their swords. “No harm must come to him,” commanded Brahmadatta.” He has granted me my life and I have granted him his.”

Next time: “The Meaning of Dighiti’s Dying Words”

Grant Me My Life

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Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Twice Dighavu lowered his up-raised sword poised to avenge his parents’ death. Then…

Brahmadatta awoke in a cold sweat.

“What’s the matter, Your Majesty?” inquired Dighavu.

“I had a terrible dream, a dream that haunts me and that I cannot get rid of. In it, I learn that Dighiti, my enemy, had a son named Dighavu, who is coming after me with his sword raised trying to kill me and avenge the death of his parents.”

Dighavu grabbed the king by his hair and yanked his head back onto the ground. With his right hand, he grabbed his sword and raised it. “I am Dighavu,” he snarled,” I will kill you and avenge my parents’ death.”

For a moment, Brahmadatta looked uncomprehensively at the young man he had grown to trust–but then he saw the pain in Dighavu’s eyes, heard the hatred in his voice, and felt the angry strength of his grip.

“Please do not kill me,” he begged. “Grant me my life.”

Dighavu stared at him. “No you foolish king, don’t you understand? It is you who must grant me my life. For men can forgive those who hurt them, but they cannot forgive those they hurt. I will always be a reminder to you of your wrongdoing. You will see me as a threat to your peace of mind and your physical safety. You will seek to kill me so that you do not have to face me. No, my king, it is you who must grant me my life.”

Next time: Reconciliation

The Up-Raised Sword

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Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Brahmaddata laid his head in Dighavu’s lap to rest. Dighavu unsheathed his sword to take vengeance.

As he held the sword above Brahmadatta’s head, the dying words of Dighavu’s father echoed in his ears and clarified his thoughts: “Be not shortsighted. Be not long-sighted. Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love.”

Dighavu lowered the sword and put it back in its sheath as tears streamed down his face.

Again, the anguish and anger welled up inside Dighavu; he could almost smell the ashes of his parent’s burnt bodies. He pulled the sword out of its casing and lifted it into the air. Amid the pain, he recalled his father’s last hour and pleas that came from the depths of his soul: “Be not shortsighted. Be not long-sighted. Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love.”

With trembling hands, he put the sword back in its scabbard.

As Dighavu sat there, another level of sorrow surfaced. He keenly felt the isolation of his childhood, the loneliness of living in exile away from his parents, a separation made necessary because of the loss of his father’s kingdom.

He took up the sword once more. Again, his father’s words came back to him, words that were the only form of protection and legacy his father was able to offer. He could not dishonor his father by ignoring his guidance. He had to lay down his sword.

Next time: “Grant Me My Life”

An Opportune Moment

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Dighavu moved one step closer to Brahmadatta, his father’s murderer. Will he avenge himself?

Dighavu waited on the king; he always spoke politely and conducted himself in a pleasing manner. Dighavu’s keen intelligence and responsiveness allowed him to gain a position of trust with the king.

One morning Brahmadatta summoned Dighavu and said, “Today I would like to go hunting. Gather my huntsmen together. Harness my chariot and bring it around.”

“As you wish, You Majesty,” responded Dighavu, and he proceeded to organize the expedition. The hunting party gathered in the stable yard, and when Brahmadatta arrived, Dighavu gave him his weapons, escorted him to his chariot, and ceremoniously handed him the reins.

“You may drive my chariot today,” said Brahmadatta.

“As you wish, Your Majesty.” Dighavu led the men out of the gates of Benares, through the countryside, and into the forest beyond. As they raced through the tangled trees, Dighavu told the king, “Your Majesty, I am quite familiar with these woods. I know a better way.”

“Very well,” said Brahmadatta, and Dighavu drove the chariot away from the rest of the party, deep into the untamed woodlands.

After a time, Brahmadatta called out, “Stop, I am weary. Let us search for a place to rest.” Dighavu found a secluded glade and unharnessed the hoses from the chariot. Both men unbuckled their swords and sat down, side by side, underneath a banyan tree. “I am tired,” said the king. He rested his head on Dighavu’s lap and fell sound asleep.

Ddighavu looked at the king asleep in his lap. He remembered his mother and father being marched through the city streets and his feelings of helplessness and rage. From the shadows of his mind, there arose a menacing thought.

Slowly, he unsheathed his sword and held it above Brahmadatta’s head. “Now, I could kill you. I could satisfy my anger and avenge my parents,” he said to himself.

Will Dighavu finally take vengeance?

Next time:”The Up-raised Sword”

From Elephant Trainer to Personal Attendant

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Dighavu became the king’s elephant trainer. How will he use his new position the service of his father’s murderer?

Dighavu often awakened early, before the light of day gilded the sky. It was his habit on those days to take his lute into the stable yard and play sweet melodies as he welcomed the dawn with a delicate song.

One such morning Brahmadd]atta, whose dreams had not allowed him to sleep, restlessly prowled the palace grounds. When he reached an empty courtyard on the far side of the elephant barn, the sweet sound of Dighavu’s music floated through the air and reached Brahmadatta’s ears. As he listened, the burden of his troubling thoughts slowly eased and drifted away.

The music stopped and Brahmadata returned to his bedchamber. Calling one of his servants, e asked, “This morning I heard a beautiful song that gladdened my heart. Who makes such music?”

His attendant replied, “The master of elephants has a young apprentice who is talented in many ways. I have heard that he likes to sing and play the lute. Perhaps it was him you heard.”

“I would like to meet this young man,” said Brahmadatta.

Later that morning, Dighavu appeared before the king. “Young man,” said Brahmadatta,” was it you who played such a sweet melody this morning?”

“I was singing in the stable yard this morning,” answered Dighavu

“Sing for me now.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” and Dighavu sang a tantalizing song that charmed the king.

Brahmadata wa impressed with the young man’s demeanor and abilities, and he said, “I could use someone of your sensibilities to wait on me.”

“As you wish,” Your Majesty,” replied Dighavu, and he became Brahmadatta’s personal attendant.

Another step closer to his father’s killer, will Dighavu avenge his father’s death?

Next time: An Opportune Moment

The Elephant Trainer

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” As Brahmadatta watched the blaze of Dighiti’s funeral pyre he feared a never ending cycle of retribution.

When the funeral ritual was completed, Dighavu walked deep into the forest where he wept and wailed unil all the tears had left his body. Numb and exhausted, he collapsed to the ground and slept for several days. When he awoke, the raw wound of his grief had hardened into resolve, and, in the dark recesses of his mind, a plan began to take shape.

Dighavu went into the center of the city and found Brahmadatta’s palace. He stood at the gates of the royal elephant barn and asked the elephant trainer, “How can I learn the art of training elephants?”

The master of the elephants looked Dighavu over and, judging him a capable young man, declared, “I will take you on as an apprentice and teach you how to train elephants.”

Dighavu learned quickly and his reliability and engaging manner endeared him to all who worked in the stables. Yet he kept his identity a secret, going by another name.

How will Dighavu use his new found position in the service of his father’s enemy?

Next Time: “From Elephant Trainer to Personal Attendant”

Is There No End to This?

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”   Dighavu heard his father’s dying words and witnessed his parents’ execution.

Dighavu could not leave his parents’ bodies disrespectfully discarded. As the soldiers stood watch, he went into the city and bought some strong wine. When night fell, he returned to the city’s edge and walking up to the soldiers said, “You have put in a hard day’s work. You need something to relieve the strain of your labors,” and he handed them each a bottle. The soldiers gladly accepted and soon lay drunk and sound asleep on the ground.

Dighavu collected pieces of wood and stacked them up. He dragged his parent’s bodies out of the dirt, carefully placed them on top of the pile, and set the wood on fire. With palms pressed together, he walked around the funeral pyre three times, as the flames rose high into the night sky.

Brahmadatta had received word of Dighiti’s execution. Restlessly, he paced his rooftop terrace, trying to grasp the meaning of Dighiti’s final utterance. He looked out beyond the south gate and, in the very spot where the corpses had been thrown, saw the fire.

As Brahmadatta watched the blaze, he became aware of the figure of a young man reverently performing a funeral rite. “Surely this must be a kinsman of Dighiti’s and he will seek revenge,” he thought to himself. “Is there no end to this?” he cried, trying to shake the cold fear that clutched at his heart.” I need someone who can help me make sense of all this,” he whispered aloud.

Will the feud continue?

Next time: “The Elephant Trainer”

A Father’s Last Words

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”   Dighiti’s presence in the royal city was betrayed by his former barber.

Brahmadatta listened intently as the barber explained his discovery and revealed the whereabouts of Dighiti and his wife. The king’s hidden dread surfaced. Fearing that the royal couple were still plotting revenge, Brahmadaatta turned to his soldiers and commanded them, “Take this man with you. He will lead you to Dighiti and his queen. Arrest them, bind their hands, shave their heads, and parade them through the streets to the edge of the city. Execute them and leave their bodies for the birds of the air to prey on. I will be rid of these enemies once and for all!”

At the same time, young Dighavu was experiencing the pangs of longing. “I have not seen my parents for some time,” he thought to himself. “How I miss my mother’s sweet voice and my father’s encouragement. I must go see them.”

Dighavu left the countryside and made his way to the city. When he arrived, he spotted a commotion in the streets outside his parents’ home and, sensing trouble, pushed his way through the crowd.

Dighiti looked up and saw Dighavu’s face in the crowd. He did not want the army to detect his son’s presence. Knowing that he was was about to die, he also wanted to leave Dighavu with some advice that would guide him through the difficult times ahead.

In a loud voice he called out, “Dighavu, Dighavu. Be not shortsighted. Be not long-sighted. Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love.”

The crowd jeered at Dighiti. “The man is mad with fear,” they cried. “He talks nonsense and gibberish.”

However, Dighavu recognized his father’s voice and he understood his warning. Silently, he ran along the edge of the crowd, staring helplessly at his mother and father as the soldiers marched them through the streets.

Dighiti saw his son’s pained expression and. worried tht he might try to intervene, called out again, “Dighavu, Dighavu! Be not shortsighted. Be not longsighted. Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love.”

Dighavu heard his father’s words; he struggled to understand what they meant. He followed the soldiers out of the south gate of the city, where they forced his parents to knell in the dirt.

Once more Dighiti called out, “Dighavu, Dighavu! Be not short-sighted. Be not long-sighted. Hatred is not quenched by hatred; hatred is only appeased by love.”

His father’s dying words penetrated Dighavu’s heart. He stared in horror as the soldiers executed his parents, chopping off their heads and tossing their bodies onto the street.

What will Dighavu do with his father’s dying words?

Next time: “Is there no end to this?”

Betrayed

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”   Dighiti and the Queen sent their son, Dighavu, to live with his grandmother to protect him from harm by king Brahmadatta.

Unfortunately, events unfolded just as Dighiti feared. King Brahmadatta’s barber was from Kosala and had worked for Dighiti many years before. One afternoon, as the barber made his way through the busy marketplace, he spotted a familiar figure begging in the streets. Recognizing his former employer, the scheming barber saw an opportunity for his own advancement.

He secretly followed Dighiti through the crowds and found out where he lived. Then he quickly returned to Brahmadatta’s palace and, claiming he had important information, requested an audience with the king.

Brahmadatta listened intently as the barber explained his discovery and revealed the whereabouts of Dighiti and his wife.

What will Brahmadatta do with word of Dighiti’s presence in his city?

Next time: “A Father’s Last Words”

The Exile of the Exiled

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Having fled for refuge to Brahmadatta’s hometown Dighiti and his wife now make a difficult decision.

One afternoon, as Dighiti watched his son playing happily in the street, anxiety overwhelmed him. He explained his apprehension to his wife. “People can forgive those who hurt them but they often harbor resentment toward those they hurt. King Brahmaddata has done us great harm and he fears our revenge. I worry about Dighavu’s safety. If Brahmadatta discovers us, he will kill us–all three of us.

The queen pondered the matter for some time before she answered her husband. “I understand your concern. Let us send Dighavu to my relatives in the countryside. They will care for him and bring him up as a prince.”

With deep sorrow that pierced their hearts, Dighiti and the queen sent Dighavu away to live with his mother’s family, where he developed all the skills necessary to become a king.

What will happen to the prince in exile?

Next time: “Betrayed”

A King is Born?

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“Bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Dighiti and his wife fled before Brahmadatta’s advancing army.

After a time, Dighhiti’s wife became pregnant. When the queen realized she was with child, she became distressed. Turning to Dighhiti she moaned, “How can I bring a child into this world. Look at this squalid hut and those crowded, filthy streets. Our child deserves to be raised in a palace with all the privileges of royalty.”

One day, a court priest arrived at Dighiti’s cottage. When he saw the queen, he folded his hands in reverent salutation and prophesied, “Fear not, the king of Kosala is in your womb!” The prediction eased the queen’s worries. She gave birth to a baby boy, whom they named Dighavu, the Long-Lived one.

Next time: “The Exile of the Exiled”

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