Scene 4

(The Buddha with hundreds of disciples. Enter King Ajatashatru. All the disciples are excited. Ajatashatru prostrates himself before the Buddha.)

AJATASHATRU: O Lord of the world, out of our stupendous ignorance my friend Devadatta and I tried to kill you several times, but we failed, badly failed. Today I am at your august feet, to be killed immediately by your wisdom-sun.


AJATASHATRU: Master, I am not your King. You are the King of my heart and soul. You are the Lord of my heart and soul. I am your undeserving slave.

BUDDHA: You are not my slave, you are my son, my chosen son. My compassion-sun forgives your ignorance-night. My wisdom-sun illumines, liberates and immortalises your heart’s cry.

(Enter Devadatta. Falls at the feet of the Buddha.)

DEVADATTA: Siddhartha, while we two were quite young I fought with you over the possession of a bird. The strength of my unruly, undivine vital had to surrender to the strength of your all-loving heart. You won the bird. I told you that one day with my vital love of power I would conquer your heart’s power of love. Since then I have tried in hundreds of ways to humiliate you, to ruin your mission and to kill you, but I have failed. You forgave me then, O Siddhartha. Now, O Buddha, my shameless life desperately begs your forgiveness.

BUDDHA: Devadatta, forgiveness is granted.

DEVADATTA: O Buddha, if you have really forgiven this inhuman creature, then do me another favour out of your infinite bounty. Your heart of compassion took care of that innocent bird. Now I pray to you to take care of the crying, bleeding bird inside my heart. And also I pray to you to take care of its cage, this body.

(Devadatta sings three times.)

Buddham saranam gacchami
dhammam saranam gacchami
sangham saranam gacchami

(I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dharma for refuge.
I go to the Order for refuge.)

Sri Chinmoy, Supreme sacrifice, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973