This is a story about Bhagwan Mahaveera when he was a monk. He used to fast, meditate and perform penance. He was traveling barefoot from place to place and village to village. Once Bhagwan Mahaveera decided to go to the village of Vachala. On his way there, he would have to go through a forest where there was a poisonous snake named Chandkaushik.
It was said that Chandkaushik could kill a person or animal just by casting its evil and angry glance at them. All the people of the villages near that forest lived in absolute fear. When the villagers learned about Mahaveera’s intention to pass through the forest, they begged him to take another route. Mahaveera had no fear. He practiced supreme non-violence.
He had no hatred towards anyone and considered fear and hatred as violence to the self. He was at peace with himself and all other living beings. There was a glow of serenity and compassion on Bhagwan’s face. He convinced the people that everything would be all right and he proceeded to the forest where Chandkaushik lived. After a while, he noticed the beautiful green land fading. The forest looked like a desert.
Trees and plants were dead so, he thought this must be the land that the villagers were talking about where Chandkaushik lived. So, Mahaveera stopped there to meditate. Peace, tranquility and compassion for the well being of each and every living being flowed from Mahaveera’s heart. Chandkaushik sensed that someone had come near his land so he came out of his furrow. To his surprise, he saw a man standing there.
He became furious, thinking, “How dare he came this close to my land?” Chandkaushik started hissing to threaten Mahaveera. He did not understand Mahaveera’s tranquility. He became angrier, came closer to the Lord, and swayed his head, ready to strike. He saw no sign that this man would run away or even felt threatened. This made Chandkaushik even angrier and he blew poisonous venom towards Mahaveera three times.
The venom neither affected Mahaveera nor disturbed his meditation. Chandkaushik was not ready for this. Now he became more irritated and bit Mahaveera’s toe. When he looked at the man again, he was surprised to see that not only had nothing happened to him, but also instead of blood, milk came out his toe. Mahaveera opened his eyes. He was calm and there was no fear or anger on his face.
He looked at Chandkaushik in its eyes and told it, “Wake up! Wake up Chandkaushik! Realize what you are doing!” There was love and affection in those words. Chandkaushik calmed down and felt as if he had seen this kind of a person before. He suddenly remembered his two previous lives. Chandkaushik then realized the truth of life and what the anger and ego of his last two lives had done to him. He bowed his head respectfully to the ground.
Chandkaushik peacefully retreated to its furrow with its head inside while most of his body was outside. After a while when the people came to know that Chandkaushik was no longer harmful to anymore, they came to see it out of curiosity. They saw it lying quietly. Some started worshipping, pouring milk on it, and offered food. While some were still mad because their loved ones had died due to it.
They threw stones at it and hit it with wooden sticks. Blood, milk, and food attracted ants. Chandkaushik willingly suffered biting, beating, and remained in peace without any anger. This self-restraint and control on its feelings destroyed many of its bad karmas. Therefore, at the end of its life, it went to heaven.
Fear, hatred and ego are really violence to one’s self, and not to anyone else. Chandkaushik depicts this from the anger and ego he had committed during his past lives. Self-realization through the help of Bhagwan Mahaveera made him realize his mistake and led him to repent his deeds. This ultimately washed away his bad karmas and led him to heaven. Learning from this story, we should remain calm and avoid anger, ego, and all forms of violence.