Introduction of the story
This story is taken from Panchatantra (पञ्चतन्त्र) and is called as Kshapanaka Katha (क्षपणक–कथा). Kshapanaka means a monk of Jain or Buddhist order
Moral of the Story
A man should not perform actions without proper seeing, proper knowing, proper listening and proper testing. Otherwise he will do what the barber has done to Jain monks. (कुदृष्टं कुपरिज्ञातं कुश्रुतं कुपरीक्षितम्। तन् नरेण न कर्तव्यम् नापितेनात्र यत् कृतम्॥ )
This story is also mentioned in Hitopadesha (हितोपदेश ), Vigraha , Story -10, where it states :
Objects which others have acquired by their virtues, I will also get them one should not think that, because due to excessive greed a barber died after killing a beggar ( पुण्याल्लब्धं यदेकेन तन्ममापि भविष्यति । हत्वा भिक्षुं महालोभान्निध्यर्थी नापितो हतः )
Story of Jain monk (क्षपणक–कथा)
Once in the town of Patliputra, there lived a merchant named Manibhadra. He was a rich and charitable man. But once, misfortune struck him and he lost all his wealth. He became poor and his social status also diminished. He became very depressed.
One night, he was lying in bed feeling depressed and cursing his fate. In his dream, he saw a Jain monk appear before him and speak to him. The monk said, “You have no cause to worry. I am wealth. I was gathered by your forefathers and you have a legitimate right to possess me. I will come to your house in the form of a Jain monk tomorrow. Hit me on my head with a stick and I will turn into pure, solid gold.”
When the merchant woke up the next morning, he could hardly believe his dream. That day, the merchant’s wife had called the barber to the house to massage her feet. While the barber was there, a Jain monk appeared at the door of the merchant’s house. The merchant hit the monk on his head with a stick. Immediately, the body of the monk turned into gold. The merchant was very happy. He collected all the gold and kept it in his safe.
The barber who had witnessed this scene was astonished. He thought to himself, “I should also invite some monks to my house. When they come inside, I will hit them on their heads and they will turn into gold. Soon I will be the richest man in the town.”
So, the barber went to a monastery and invited the head monk to dinner at his house.
Some of the monks agreed and the next day, they went to the barber’s house. As soon as they entered the house, the barber hit all of them on their heads with a heavy stick. Some of the monks died on the spot while some got seriously injured. Soon, as talk of this incident spread around the town, the barber was arrested for his crime and was made to appear before the court of law.
In the court, the judge asked the barber for an explanation of why he had committed this crime.
“I saw the merchant doing it,” the barber replied.
So, the merchant too was summoned to the court. He told the judge the whole story about his dream and the monk turning into gold.
The King ordered death sentence for the barber for having killed and injured many people.
************Story End *****************