Once the Bodhisatta was leader of a band of five hundred ascetics in Himavā. One day they came to the city of Bharu for salt and vinegar, and took up their residence under a banyan-tree to the north of the city. A similar group remained under a tree to the south. Next year, the tree to the south of the city was found to have withered away, and the group who had lived there, having arrived first, took possession of the other tree, to the north. This led to a dispute between the two groups, and they sought the intervention of Bharu, king of the Bharu country. He decided in favour of one group, but being bribed by the other, he changed his mind. Later, the ascetics repented of their greed and hastened back to Himavā. The gods, angry with the king, submerged the whole of Bharu, three hundred leagues in extent, under the sea (about survivors see Nālikera).
The story was told to Pasenadi, king of Kosala, who took bribes from some heretics and gave permission for them to build a centre near Jetavana. When the Buddha heard of it, he sent monks to interview the king, but the latter refused to receive even the Chief Disciples. The Buddha then went himself and dissuaded the king from giving permission for an act which would lead to endless dissensions.
J.ii.169ff.; the story is also given at SA.iii.218 f., which says further that Pasenadi built the Rājakārāma to make amends for his fault.