A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

NANDI VISHALA – A Tale from the Jatakas


Once upon a time, there was a man named Buddhamitra, who owned a fine white bull which was called Nandi Vishala. The man looked after the bull with great affection and care and treated it as he would treat his own son. Nandi Vishala was very happy to work for Buddhamitra.

One day Nandi Vishala felt that he should do something good for Buddhamitra as he was taking very good care of him. The next day, as Buddhamitra was tying him to the pole in his cowshed at the end of the day, Nandi Vishala spoke. “Master”, said he. Buddhamitra turned around startled, as he had never heard Nandi Vishala speak before nor did he know that Nandi Vishala could speak. “Was it you…” Buddhamitra stuttered.

“Yes Master. You have been very kind to me all these days and I want to help you” said Nandi Vishala. Buddhamitra, still pleasantly shocked, patted Nandi Vishala and looked at him lovingly. Nandi Vishala continued and said, “Master, please go to the Headman and tell him that I shall pull a hundred loaded carts singly”. Looking at the shocked face of Buddhamitra, he continued, “Go Master, go and challenge the Headman and bet a thousand gold coins. I shall win them for you”.  Buddhamitra, over the years had saved a thousand gold coins and he was extremely happy at the thought that he would earn another thousand coins.

Buddhamitra went to the Headman and asked him whose bull was the strongest in the village. The Headman said “Undoubtedly mine” Buddhamitra nodded his head and said, “No Sir, my Nandi Vishala is the strongest. I can challenge you that he can pull a thousand loaded carts singly. I bet a thousand gold coins for this Sir!” The Headman was amused and thought Buddhamitra was off his head. “OK” said he secretly smiling at the prospect of winning a thousand gold coins.

The day was fixed and on that day, the Headman had arranged for a hundred carts filled with gravel, stones and sand and there Buddhamitra came with Nandi Vishala. All the carts were linked to one another and Nandi Vishala was yoked onto the first cart. Buddhamitra climbed on to the cart and took the whip in his hand. The very thought of going to earn a thousand coins and furthering his wealth and status made Buddhamitra feel very arrogant and high handed. In a rude voice, he commanded, “Hey you, Come on, start pulling Hmmm!” Nandi Vishala was startled at the language of his master for he had never heard him speak thus. Buddhamitra was becoming impatient, He cracked the whip and yelled, “You slow coach, start pulling eh!” Nandi Vishala was very angry. He stay put where he was and refused to move.

The Headman started laughing aloud scornfully at Buddhamitra and demanded his thousand gold coins. Buddhamitra went home and sadly parted with his savings.

Buddhamitra was dejected and angry with himself for having listened to the bull’s words. But he did not show any hatred towards Nandi Vishala. He could not sleep and was tossing and turning about. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Buddhamitra heard Nandi Vishala’s voice from near his window. Nandi Vishala was calling out, “Master, Master…” It seemed that he had broken loose from his tether and was standing near the window. Buddhamitra sat up. There was a frustrated look on his face.

Nandi Vishala spoke on, “Master, I wanted to help you, but why did you raise your voice against me? Did I do anything wrong till now? Have I behaved badly with you or your family? Then why did you yell at me master? I have heard only your kind voice all these days. It is not late even now master… Go to the Headman again and challenge him again. But this time challenge him to a two thousand gold coins. And do not forget, I will only work for your loving words….”

Buddhamitra hesitated, but Nandi Vishala urged him again and so Buddhamitra went to the Headman again in the morning and challenged him again. The Headman was sure that Buddhamitra was out of his senses completely.

So, the next day again a hundred carts fully loaded with bags of gravel and sand and stones were assembled and Nandi Vishala was yoked to the first cart. Buddhamitra got onto the first cart. He did not take the whip. Instead, he patted on Nandi Vishala’s side and said stroking him, “Ahoy, my boy, come on, you can do it… Jai Bajrangbali…” and to the utter shock of the Headman, Nandi Vishala, with one pull started pulling the entire hundred carts. He pulled the carts for a distance of about ten metres and stopped. All the villagers who had assembled to see Buddhamitra fail again were so taken aback and clapped their hands in great happiness.

It was the turn of the Headman now to feel ashamed and he went into his house and brought a bag containing two thousand gold coins and gave it to Buddhamitra. Buddhamitra went home a happy and wise man. He had learnt now that a many things could be achieved with love rather than by using force. He went home a happy man with his Nandi Vishala.

MORAL: More things can be achieved by love than by use of force.




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  1. Ram Mohan Narasimhan

    Nice story! Management motivational theory at work. Theory X vs Theory Y. In most cases (as in the case of Nandi Vishala), Theory Y seems to work better, as inherently all individuals are self-motivated to perform well. Pure Theory X never works, In the real world, a combination of the two Theories may work better depending on the situation.

  2. Usha

    Really good, the story unfolds like a picture. Could imagine nandi’s sad face. Awesome VIdya!

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