EARNESTNESS LEADS TO SOVEREIGNTY
Appamadena Maghava devanam setthatam gato
Appamadam pasamsanti pamado garahito sada.
Maghava, the king of gods, attained such great supremacy over the gods through heedfulness.
Heedfulness is always praised and heedlessness is always blamed.
One day, a Licchavi prince named Mahali, came to listen to a religious discourse given by the Buddha. The discourse given was Sakkapanha Sutta. The Buddha spoke of Sakka vividly in glowing terms; so, Mahali thought that the Buddha must have personally met Sakka. To confirm this he asked the Buddha who replied, 'Mahali, I do know Sakka; I also know what has made him a Sakka.' He then told Mahali that Sakka, king of the devas,** was in a previous existence a young man by the name of Magha, in the village of Macala. The youth Magha and his thirty-two companions had undertaken many socially useful tasks such as building roads and rest houses. Magha took it upon himself also to observe seven obligations. These seven obligations were that throughout his life:
he would support his parents,
he would respect the elders,
he would be gentle of speech,
he would avoid back-biting,
he would not be avaricious, but would be generous,
he would speak the truth, and,
he would restrain himself from losing his temper.
It was because of his enormous good deeds and right conduct in that existence that Magha was reborn as Sakka, king of the devas.
* Sakka is synonymous with Magha king of the gods. This story is related in detail in theMaghamanavaka Jataka.
**DevasLit., sporting or shining ones, are a class of beings with subtle physical bodies invisible to the naked eye. They live in the celestial planes. There are also earth-bound deities.