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LEXICON

 

 

Jujaka

Name of a greedy old brahmin in the Vessantara Jataka or Wetsandorn Chadok, who according to the story lived as a beggar and had a very young and beautiful wife named Amittada, who worked hard and served him well. Yet, in a fit of jealousy the other village women one day attacked her and beat-up Amittada near the village well. Hence, after the incident, she was afraid to return to the well and fetch water for her old husband, who consequently set out to find some servants to help his wife. Jujaka turned to Prince Wetsandorn and asked him for his children Jali and Kanha. The prince agreed and they became the slaves of Jujaka. In iconography, this scene is represented by an old man in a white robe and with a walking stick, leading two children away that are tied-up by a cord. Some say that Jujaka was the god Dharma, i.e. the god of virtue, politics, justice and morality, who appeared as a mendicant to test Vessantara's generosity. In Thai, Jujaka is referred to as Chuchaka or Chuchok, and small statues of this old man, usually represented with a white of grey beard, long hair tied into a topknot, a walking stick and carrying a bag over his shoulder, are used as good luck charms (fig.). Since the bodhisattva, i.e. the Buddha-to-be in his incarnation as Prince Wetsandorn granted the old man's wishes, he is today by Thai believers prayed to as Chuchakoh, i.e. the Pali version of his name, in order to attract good fortune.