Karma and Reincarnation Stories Indra and the Ants

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Karma and Reincarnation Stories

Indra and the Ants
In this story from the *Brahmavaivarta Purana*,[13]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra#cite_note-12> [14] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra#cite_note-13> Indra (king of the demi-gods) orders the heavenly craftsman to build him a grand palace. Full of pride, Indra continues to demand more and more improvements for the palace. At last, exhausted, the craftsman asks Brahma the Creator for help. Brahma in turn appeals to Vishnu <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishnu>, the Supreme Being.
Vishnu visits Indra's palace in the form of a boy; Indra welcomes him in.
Vishnu praises Indra's palace, casually adding that no former Indra had succeeded in building such a palace. At first, Indra is amused by the boy's claim to know of former Indras. But the amusement turns to horror as the boy tells about Indra's ancestors, about the great cycles of creation and destruction, and even about the infinite number of worlds scattered through the void, each with its own Indra. The boy claims to have seen them all. During the boy's speech, a procession of ants had entered the hall. The boy saw the ants and laughed. Finally humbled, Indra asks the boy why he laughed. The boy reveals that the ants are all former Indras (kings of the demi-gods).

No longer interested in wealth and honor, Indra decides to leave his life of luxury to become a hermit and seek wisdom. Horrified, Indra's wife asks the priest to change her husband's mind. He teaches Indra to see the virtues of both the spiritual life and the worldly life. Thus, at the end of the story, Indra learns how to pursue wisdom while still fulfilling his kingly duties.

Take a look at Samsara Dog. It is wonderful and explains the Buddhist concept through the lives of a dog.

Written by Helen Manos and illustrated by Julie Vivas, It is published by Kane/Miller.

There's a great Hindu game on which "Chutes and Ladders" was based called Moksha Patamu or Snakes and Ladders.

It was used to teach reincarnation morality to Hindu children, starting in the 1500's. If you land on the "greed" square, you slide down the snake and get reincarnated as a crow, if you land on the "pride" square you slide down the snake and get reincarnated as a horse.

Then there are the ladders, up to the heavens. If you are generous, you climb the ladder to one of the heavens (there are 7). You win when you enter the heaven of final deliverance.


I found a Brotman/Marshman version of this game in the curriculum archives here where I work. Perhaps you can find one, too! It might have been from "Why Do Bad Things Happen?"
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