Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Bodhisattva was born in a low caste village of the Candelas and became a learned sage.
About the same time Devadatta was born in a Brahmin family. When his whole family was killed by malaria he was sent to Takhasila where, under a world-renowned teacher he learned all the arts and accomplishments. He left his teacher to travel and eventually came upon the Bodhisattva.
The Bodhisattva knew a charm that enabled him to gather fruit out of season. Early in the morning he would take his carrying pole and set off. He'd go up to a mango tree, step back seven paces, recite the charm, and then sprinkle a handful of water on the tree. In a twinkling, down fall the old leaves. Then new leaves sprout, flowers bloom and fall. The mango swells and ripens, all in a moment, they become sweet and delicious. When they fall from the tree, the great being catches what he will and fills his baskets. Balancing baskets on either end of his pole he goes to market. He has the only mangos for sale so the price is high and he makes a good living to care for his wife and child.
The young Brahmin saw the sage offering ripe mangos out of season and guessed that he knew some charm.
"Perhaps, this man can teach me this priceless charm." thought he. So he followed him and soon saw the way he worked his charm.
One day Devadatta went to the Bodhisattva's house when he was out, greeted his wife and asked, "Where is the teacher?"
"Gone to the woods." said she.
"May I wait?" he asked.
"Please do." the sage's wife answered, and went about her business as usual. He waited outside and in a little while seeing the sage coming, he went out to him and taking pole and baskets from him carried them into the house. The sage said to his wife, "Lady, this youth has come to get the charm, but no charm will stay with him, for he's not a good man."
The youth was thinking he could get the charm by being the teacher's servant and so from that time he did all that was to be done in the house, brought in wood, did the cooking and helped with everything and every day he washed the sage's feet. There was nothing he would not do.
One day the wife said, "Husband, this lad, well born though he is, performs every menial service for us, all for the sake of the charm. Why don't you let him have it, whether it stays with him or not."
So the sage taught him the charm, and said, "My son, this is a priceless charm and will bring you great gain and honor someday. But when some king or minister asks who taught you, say it was I. But if you are ashamed that a low caste man taught you, you will have no benefit from it, and will lose the charm."
'Why should I hide your name?" protested Devadatta.
After awhile he left the village and went to Benares where he sold mangos out of season and made a fortune.
One day the king was presented with a mango out of season and wondered how it was possible. He was told about a young man who sold the mangos all year round. But on one knew how he did it. The king sent for him.
"Where do you get these fragrant sweet mangos, does some serpent or angel give them to you? Or is it the power of Magic?"
"No one gives them to me but I have a powerful charm which makes it possible." explained the young man.
"Will you show me the power of the charm?" asked the king.
"By all means, my lord."
Next day the king and his court went with him to the park. The young man went up to a mango tree without fruit, stood seven paces away and repeated the charm; threw the water at the tree and both watched as blossoms came and went and fruit ripened and fell from the tree.
The company was delighted and waved their handkerchiefs and cheered in a storm of appreciation. The king rewarded him with precious gifts.
"Who taught you this marvelous feat of Magic?" the king inquired.
Devadatta gave the name of a world famous teacher. He was afraid they would make fun and belittle him if he said a low caste Candala sage had been his master. But the instant he told the lie the charm was gone and he knew he had lost it and stood there ashamed. The king, suspicious that he could no longer produce fruit out of season, tested him and when he failed he spoke these stanzas:
Young student when asked of late,
you brought me mangoes small and great.
but now no fruit on tree appears
though all of us the same charm hears.
The young Brahman made some excuse about auspicious planetary conjunctions but the king wasn't buying it and asked why he had said nothing about special times or conditions before. The Brahmin thought, "There is no deceiving the king, I'd better tell the truth."
A low-caste man it was who taught
and well the charm and how it's wrought
who said if asked his name and birth
lie not or charm would lose its worth.
Hearing this the king thought, "The sinful take no care of a treasure. When one has a thing so priceless what has birth to do with it?" and in anger he recited,
Nimb, castor oil, or plassey
whatever the tree may be
where he who seeks finds honeycombs
that tree is the best thinks he.
Even a shudra can teach what's right
And must be respected in the learner's sight
Now punish the worthless, or even slay,
throttle him without delay
who, gaining a treasure through great toil
for false pride, his teacher's name would soil.
So the king’s men beat him and said, "Go back to your teacher and win his forgiveness. And if you're lucky, he'll give you the charm again; if not, never set foot in Benares again."
Feeling sorry for himself and for his loss and the beating he had received, Devadatta limped back to the Candala village. The great being saw him coming and pointed him out to his wife. "See lady, here comes that scoundrel again, and he's lost the charm."
When the young Brahmin approached the sage asked, "What are you doing here?"
Oh, my teacher, I am here because I lied and denying my true teacher am ruined." Then he told him what had happened and asked for forgiveness. He asked again for the charm.
"What are you saying? I told it to you once. So what do you want here now?" and the Bodhisattva recited:
In right good faith I did tell
and in some manner you learned the spell
to come crying back is needless
there's no teaching for the heedless.
Thus dismissed, the Brahmin plunged into the woods, and died forlorn.