Once upon a time, there lived a merchant gadutta in the city of Rajagriha. He dearly loved his wife Bhavadutta. Years of bliss went by before tragedy struck. The merchant died suddenly, leaving his wife heartbroken. Because of his karma, gadutta was reborn as a frog in his own well.
One day Bhavadutta came to draw water from the well. The frog saw her and suddenly remembered his past life. Now that he knew who he was, he felt very happy. He started jumping and followed Bhavadutta into the house. She treated him kindly. Fearing the frog might get crushed accidentally, she put him outside. But the frog kept coming back. Wherever Bhavadutta went, he would be hopping right behind. This continued for many months.
One day Bhavadutta went to pay her respects to a monk. The frog followed her there too. The curiosity of the monk was roused. He soon learnt from Bhavadutta how the frog had been following her around.
The monk now used his inner vision. At once, he saw who the frog was. He told Bhavadutta that the frog was none else but her dear departed husband. She then picked up the frog gently and took it home. From that day onwards, she started taking good care of the frog.
Some time later, Lord Mahavira came to a nearby mountain. Everyone in the town, including the king, went to pay their homage to him. Bhavadutta joined the devotees eagerly. Hearing the news, the frog too wanted to go and see Lord Mahavira. Away he went, hopping along with everybody.
The crowd was pouring along the road. People saw the frog under their feet, so they tried to place him by the side of the road. But the frog kept hopping right back. And so the sad thing happened. The frog was crushed under the foot of an elephant.
Since the frog had died with devotiol thoughts, he earned good karma and was reborn as an angel in heaven. With his divine powers, he now looked back at not only his previous two lives as the frog and the merchant gadutta, but all other past lives as well. He saw all the bonds of attachment that had bound him up in those lives, and had then fallen away one after another with each death.
His last earthly wish had been to see Lord Mahavira. And that hope glowed brightly within him still. Born into royalty, had not Lord Mahavira renounced worldly pleasures to become a Ji, the conqueror of all inner enemies that are the roots of sin? Had he not attained perfect knowledge and bliss on His thirteenth year of rigorous pence?
Lord Mahavira had then taught mankind how to break the endless cycle of birth and death with right faith, knowledge and conduct. Every living being is sacred, deserving utmost respect and kindness. Not to lie, steal, live immorally or hanker after possessions is the way to peace of mind and spiritual purity. This is the responsibility that every soul bears to itself, instead of pushing it unto a God who does not exist.
The angel’s wish was fulfilled. He came down to earth, paid homage to Lord Mahavira and went back. His journey towards fil liberation had begun.
— the harbinger