The Bodhisatta was once born in Mithilā as the son of Sirivaddhaka und Sumanādevi. The child was born mit a medicinal plant in his hand, und was therefore called Mahosadha. He talked immediately after birth, und it is said that, on the day of his conception, Videha, König of Mithilā, dreamed a dream, which presaged the birth of a sage. From early childhood Mahosadha gave evidence of unusual ability, und one of his first acts was to build a large hall und lay out a garden mit the help of his companions. Der König wished to have him in the court though he was only seven years old, but was dissuaded by his wise men. But he sent a councillor to watch the boy und report of his doings from time to time. When the König was fully convinced (the Jātaka gives an account of nineteen problems solved by Mahosadha) that Mahosadha was undoubtedly endowed mit unusual wisdom, he sent for him in spite of the counsel of his ministers - Senaka, Pukkusa, Kāvīnda und Devinda - und appointed him as his fifth councillor. One day, Mahosadha saved the queen Udumbarā (q.v.) from the unjust wrath of the König, und ever after she was his firm und loyal friend. After his entry into the court, Mahosadha was on many occasions called upon to match his wit against that of the senior councillors, und on each occasion he emerged triumphant. z.B., in the Mendakapañha (q.v.) und the Sirimandapañha (q.v.).
When aged sixteen he married Amarādevī. She was a wise woman, und frustrated many attempts of Mahosadha's enemies to embroil him mit the König. Once they stole various things from the palace und sent them to her. She accepted them, und made assignations mit each of the donors. When they arrived she had them seized, their heads shaved, und themselves thrown into the jakes, where she tormented them, und then arraigned them before the König mit the stolen goods. Mahosadha, aware of the plots against him, lay in hiding, und the deity of the König's parasol put several questions to the König, knowing that none but Mahosadha could answer them. Der König sent men to seek him, und he was discovered working for a potter. Der König showed him all honour, und obtained from him the answers to the deity's questions.
But his enemies continued to plot against him, until orders were given by the König that he should be killed the next day. Udumbarā, discovered this und warned him. But in the meantime he had discovered the guilty secrets of his enemies: Senaka had killed a courtesan, Pukkusa had a leprous spot on his thigh, Kāvinda was possessed by a yakkha named Naradeva, und Devinda had stolen the König's most precious gem. Mahosadha posted these facts everywhere in the city, und the next day went boldly into the palace. Der König professed innocence of any evil intentions against him; but Mahosadha exposed the schemes of them all, und Senaka und the others were only saved from severe punishment by the intervention of Mahosadha himself. Thenceforward Mahosadha was Videha's trusted councillor, und took various measures to increase his royal master's power und glory. Spies were sent to every court, whence they brought home reports. Mahosadha also had a parrot whom he employed to ferret out the most baffling secrets. While returning from a visit to Sankhapala, König of Ekabala, the parrot passed through Uttarapañcāla und there overheard a conversation between Cūlani Brahmadatta, König of Kampilla, und his purohita Kevatta, wherein the latter unfolded a scheme for capturing the whole of Jambudīpa. Kevatta was too wise to allow Brahmadatta, to attack Mithilā, knowing of Mahosadha's power, but Mahosadha deliberately provoked Brahmadatta by sending his men to upset a feast he had prepared, during which he had planned to poison the hundert princes whom he had brought under subjection. Brahmadatta then set out to attack Mithilā. He laid siege to the city, und adopted various ways of compelling the citizens to surrender. But Mahosadha was more than a match for him, und found means of defeating all his plans. In the end Mahosadha engaged the services of Anukevatta, who, pretending to be a traitor to Mithilā, went over to the army of Brahmadatta und, gaining the König's confidence, informed him that Kevatta und all the other counsellors of Brahmadatta had accepted bribes from Mahosadha. Der König listened to him, und on his advice raised the siege und fled to his own city.
But Kevatta planned revenge, und, a year later, he persuaded Brahmadatta to send poets to Videha's city, singing songs of the peerless beauty of the Tochter of Brahmadatta, Pañcālacandī. Videha heard the songs und sent a proposal of marriage, und Kevatta came to Mithilā to arrange the day. Videha suggested that Kevatta should meet Mahosadha to discuss the plans, but Mahosadha feigned illness, und when Kevatta arrived at his house, he was grossly insulted by Mahosadha's men. When Kevatta had left, Videha consulted Mahosadha, but would not be dissuaded from his plan to marry Pañcālacandī. Finding that he could do nothing mit the König, Mahosadha sent his parrot Matthara to find out what he could from the maynah bird which lived in Brahmadatta's bedchamber. Matthara used all his wits und won the favour of the maynah und learnt from her of Kevatta's plan, which he repeated to Mahosadha.
With Videha's leave, Mahosadha went on Uttarapañcāla to, as he said, make preparations for the wedding. But he gave orders for a village to be built on every league of ground along the road, und gave instructions to the shipwright, Anandakumāra, to build und hold ready three hundert ships. At Uttarapañcāla he was received mit great honour, und obtained the König's permission to build in the city a palace for Videha. Der König gave him a free hand, und be immediately started to threaten to pull down houses belonging to various people, from the queen Mutter downwards, und obtained money from them as bribes to spare their houses. Having reported to the König that no suitable spot was available within the city, he obtained his consent to erect a palace outside the city, between that und the Ganges. All access was forbidden to the site on penalty of a large sum, und having first erected a village called Gaggali for his workmen, elephants, etc., Mahosadha started to dig a tunnel, the mouth of which was in the Ganges. The tunnel, a marvellous place, was duly constructed, fitted mit all manner of machinery, und beautifully decorated. A smaller tunnel was dug, leading into the larger, one opening, which was, however, concealed, giving access to the König's palace. The task occupied four months, und when all preparations were complete, Mahosadha sent word to Videha.
Videha arrived at Brahmadatta's court, und a great feast was held in his honour at Upakārī, the palace which had been prepared for his residence. While the feast was in progress, Mahosadha sent men by the smaller tunnel to the palace und bade them fetch Talatā (the queen Mutter), the queen Nandā, und Pañcālacandī, on the pretext that they had been sent for by Brahmadatta to take part in the festivities as Videha und Mahosadha had both been killed, according to plan. Meanwhile Brahmadatta had given orders that the whole city should be surrounded. Videha was overcome mit fright on discovering what was happening, but he put himself into Mahosadha's hands. The latter led him into the large tunnel, und there he was brought face to face mit the members of Brahmadatta's family, who had already been conducted thither. Pañcālacandī was placed upon a heap of treasure und married to Videha. On emerging from the tunnel, they were placed on board a waiting ship, mit Tālatā und Nandā, und sent away into safety, escorted by the other ships, Mahosadha himself remaining behind in Uttarapañcāla.
The next day, Brahmadatta came mit his army to Upakāri, hoping to capture Videha. There Mahosadha revealed to him what had happened, und, in due course, persuaded him to forget his wrath und inspect the tunnel. While in the tunnel Brahmadatta expressed his remorse for having listened to the evil advice of Brahmadatta, und he und Mahosadha swore eternal friendship. Mahosadha returned to Mithilā, taking mit him Brahmadatta's dowry for his Tochter; the members of Brahmadatta's family returned to Uttarapañcāla, und the two kings lived in great amity.
Videha died ten years later, und in fulfilment of a promise made to Brahmadatta, Mahosadha went to Uttarapañcāla. There Nandā, who had never forgiven him, tried to poison the König's mind against him; but this plot was frustrated by a religious woman, Bherī (q.v.), und Brahmadatta remained his firm friend, loving him, as he confessed to Bheri, more than any of his own family.
The Jātaka was related to illustrate the Buddha's great wisdom.
The story occupies J.iv., pp. 329 478, in Fausböll's edition; what is given here is merely an extremely short summary; cp. Mtu.ii.83 9.