Upagupta and a Beautiful Prostitute- Interesting Story (Post No.5268)

Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 29 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London – 7-48 am  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5268


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A young lady, a healthy child of nature full of animal spirits, met Upagupta, the disciple of the Buddha, one fine evening and made advances to him. He was in a dialectical mood. She checked him and said,

“Do not talk to me about stars and saints, the suffering of the world and the plan of the cosmos . They are not in my line. I believe in warm, natural, happy, healthy life. What the blood feels and believes is all that real for me.”

With difficulty Upagupta got out of the situation that evening, not before promising to return on another occasion.

Long years elapsed. The young lady of leisure and life, of wealth and beauty, with her easy morals made a mess of them all till she decayed and became a mass of rotting flesh, festering with sores, stinking with horrible odour. As if this were not enough, she committed a crime for which she was condemned to have her limbs cut off. Despised and rejected by all, she was turned out of the city gates and left on the spot where her punishment was carried out. A few years ago, she was a spirit aflame with zeal, now nothing but a mass of weakness and helpless ness

No more revolt, no more passion, not even complete darkness, just emptiness. Accepting nothing, refusing to be touched, to be cared for, remaining empty, she saw through everything. No one can deceive her again. In what she thought her last moment amid prayer and silent weeping she remembered her interview with Upagupta and felt a gentle touch.

Her eyes found Upagupta shining with an unearthly radiance and vitality, looking down on her, tender with a mother’s love for a sick child. He noticed in her eyes an expression of anxiety, distress and self- reproach, an appeal for mercy.

She said,
“Upagupta when my body was adorned with brilliant jewels and costly clothes and was as sweet as a lotus flower, I waited for you in vain. While I inspired flaming desire, you came not. Why come you now to witness this bleeding and mutilated flesh full of horror and disgust”?

Upagupta gently stroked her hair, stirred her whole being and said,

“Sister, for him who sees and understands, you have not lost nothing. Do not covet the shadows of the joys and pleasures which have escaped you. My love to you is deeper than what is based on vain appearances.”

Her eyes brightened, her lips parted and with a new sense of well-being and lightness of heart, she became his disciple, which is another illustration that saints start their careers by first losing their characters!
It needs a great soul to respond to a soul in torment”.
From Radhakrishnan Reader- An Anthology.