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Message From Buddha’s Nalagiri and St. Francis Assisi’s Brother Wolf

October 20, 2012  by: Paulose  Points: 15   Category: Inspirational Stories    Views: 2772

Buddha’s Nalagiri elephant sculpture at Amaravathi archeological museum reminds the Gubbio Brother Wolf of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just read on the interesting message that both the legends of Nalagiri and Gubbio’s wolf tell the modern humanity.


In this month of Eco-friendship, when Saint Francis of Assisi the patron of animals and ecology is commemorated (4 October), it is interesting to think of the message that his Brother Wolf of Gubbio and the ancient sculpture depicting Buddha’s great kindness that tamed the furious elephant Nalagiri.

The tale of taming Nalagiri

The Archaeological museum at Amaravati, in Guntur district in the Indian state Andhra Pradesh, unfolds the great wealth of Buddhist sculptures of 3rd century BC. The sculptures convey many legendary stories of Buddhism. One of the embossed sculptures there depicts the tale of Nalagiri, the elephant that was sent to attack Buddha when he was about to enter into the city. Buddhist scripture Vinaya Paththaka narrates tis incident in the chapter Kulavahu how Buddha tamed the furious elephant Nalagiri. Buddha’s enemy Devadatha who did not like Buddha entering the city plotted to stop Buddha by inducing the royal animal by intoxicating it.

Nalagiri got wild and ran through the streets, killing people. Buddha’s disciples persuaded him not to enter the city because of the panic of the people, telling him about the intoxicated elephant and the hatred of the king. But Buddha was silent, just sending his compassionate feelings towards the raged animal. He mustered up all his force of love and kindness from deep within himself, radiating his boundless heart toward Nalagiri. Unable to encounter the great compassion of Buddha, the rampaging elephant Nalagiri surrendered and fell at Buddha’s feet.

Taming the ravenous wolf of Gubbio

aint Francis of Assisi lived in Italy in the 12th century. He loved all creations on the earth and called birds, animals and even planets as his own brother and sister. He conversed with them. While Francis was staying in the town Gubbio, people ran to him and told him about a ravenous wolf, killing and eating animals and people. People had tried all their best to kill the animal or chase it to their enemy town Spoletto. When they failed in their attempts they came to Francis, who was known for his friendship with animals and birds. Francis went near the animal showing great compassion and making a sign of the cross. He called the wolf “Brother wolf” and told the wolf not to harm the people. The wolf felt his compassion, fell at his feet and stopped attacking people.

Message of compassion and love

Modern world is threatened by natural calamities, terrorism and human greed. These legends tell us the victory of nonviolence and love. Loving compassion is truly the way to conquer rage and anger. Love and faith in God can conquer selfish ego, fame, and greed.



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