Today is Makha Puja Day...full moon Uposatha Day...and also Valentine's Day..Matanga Jataka : The Pride And Prejudice
[by Ken and Visakha Kawasaki]
That great crowd remained standing outside the pavilion all night. The next morning, they placed Ditthamangalika in a golden palanquin, and, crying loudly, "The wife of Maha-Brahma! Make way for the wife of Maha-Brahma!" they carried her into the city. As they made a procession around the whole city of Baranasi, twelve leagues in extent, many worshiped her and offered coins according to Matanga's instructions. That day, she received eighteen crores of coins.
In the city center, the people erected a great pavilion and decorated it with rich curtains. They invited Ditthamangalika to stay there during her confinement, provided her with every comfort, and paid her great respect. After ten months, she gave birth to a son, whom the brahmins named Mandavya because he was born in the pavilion.
In front of the pavilion, the devotees had begun building a seven-story palace with seven magnificent entrance gates. All of the workers and the donors gained a great deal of merit in the construction, and the palace was completed about the time the prince was born. Mother and son moved into the palace, and Mandavya grew up there, amid great splendor. When he was seven years old, renowned teachers came and taught him the three Vedas. By the time he was sixteen, he was feeding sixteen thousand brahmins every day in the alms-hall at the fourth gateway.
One day, which happened to be a festival day, Mandavya, brilliantly dressed with golden slippers on his feet and a gold staff in his hand, was at the gateway giving directions to servants who were serving special rice porridge with fresh ghee, honey, and jaggery to the sixteen thousand brahmins. At that time, Matanga was meditating in his hermitage in the Himavat. He directed his thoughts to Baranasi and saw what was happening. "Ditthamangalika's son is going in the wrong direction," he thought. "I must teach him how to give so that his gift will bring great fruit!" He passed through the air to Lake Anotatta, rinsed out his mouth, and assumed the guise of a poor wandering ascetic, with a ragged robe and an earthen bowl. Passing again through the air, he alighted at the alms-hall right in front of Mandavya.
"Where are you from?" the youth shouted. "Who are you, you wretched outcaste? You look more like a yakkha than an ascetic! How dare you show up here, in your vile, filthy rags, picked up from the garbage! You're not worthy to receive alms here!"
"This delicious food, sir," Matanga replied gently, "is beautifully arranged and is being graciously offered. There is plenty here, and we take only what we need to live. Why not let a low caste man enjoy a bit, as well?"
"This food is prepared exclusively for brahmins," Mandavya retorted sharply, "given from my pious heart, that I may reap the blessing. It's not for the likes of you! Get out of here, you brute!"
Matanga calmly replied, "Sow seed on high ground and on low, in good faith, and you will find those worthy to receive your gifts."
"Don't talk to me about worthy recipients!" Mandavya haughtily snarled. "I know where to sow my seeds of faith! For me, the noble brahmins, highborn and lofty, those who know the sacred scriptures, are a fertile field of merit."
Matanga answered him, "Pride of birth, arrogance, drunkenness, greed, hatred, and ignorance! Those who harbor these wicked vices are a barren and infertile field for seeds of faith. Those in whom pride of birth, arrogance, drunkenness, greed, hatred, and ignorance find no place, they are a fertile field of merit!"
"This miserable beggar talks too much!" Mandavya shouted angrily. "Where are my servants? Gandakucchi, Upajjhaya, and Upajotiya!" he called. "Come here!"
The three servants came running and asked, "What is it, Master?"
"Who is this damned outcaste?" Mandavya asked. "Have you ever seen him before"
"No, sir!" they replied. "He must be a juggler, a gambler, or some other trouble-maker!"
"How did he get in?"
"We don't know, sir. He didn't come through the outer gates."
"Well, don't just stand there! Do something!"
"What shall we do, Master?"
"Seize the miserable outcaste! Beat him! Whip him until his back is raw! Torture him! Break his jaw! Kill him, if you feel like it! Just get rid of him!"
Before the men could touch him, Matanga rose and stood poised in the air over their heads. "Reviling a sage," that champion of truth and right proclaimed, "is like swallowing a blazing ball of fire, biting hard iron, or leveling a mountain with your fingernails!"
While all the brahmins were gazing at him, Matanga turned to the east and flew away. Making a determination that his footprints should be visible, he came down in a street near the eastern gate and begged for alms. Then he went to sit in a nearby hall to eat his meager fare.