Mahavira is unnecessarily tortured

One day Mahavira was meditating peacefully at the foot of a tree. A cowherd brought his cow to that place and said to Mahavira, "Please take good care of my cow. I will return later."

Mahavira was in deep meditation and he did not reply to the cowherd. The cowherd felt that the sage's silence meant that he agreed to accept the responsibility of the cow and so he went on his way quite happily, leaving the cow behind.

Mahavira continued in his meditation as before. After a few hours, the cowherd came back. He was shocked to discover that his cow was no longer there. It had wandered away. He was furious with the sage and began striking Mahavira mercilessly. Then the cowherd climbed up the tree and broke off a small branch. He started thrashing Mahavira with the branch, but Mahavira did not utter a word.

Finally, the cowherd took two sharp sticks and drove them deep into Mahavira's ears to seal them up. He shouted, "Since you pretend to be deaf, let me make it true!" Then he left the place.

Mahavira's ears were now bleeding profusely and he was in acute pain. He rose to his feet and walked to the next village. When the villagers saw him, they were simply horrified that someone could have treated him so badly. They gave Mahavira proper medical treatment and they were able to cure him.