The story of Upgupta and Vasavdutta

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of about Buddhist monk Upgupta. How he guided a courtesan named Vasavdutta to the path of salvation.

Submitted: February 08, 2017

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Submitted: February 08, 2017



Vasavdutta along with her maid was on way to her house. Passing through a street when her chariot arrived at the square, she saw a crowd there. She stopped the chariot and looked at the crowd with curiosity.

“What is going on here?” she asked her maid.

Her maid replied, “Let me enquire about it with someone.”

Vasavdutta nodded her. Maid got off from the chariot and enquired a man about the crowd. He told her the crowd was gathered to listen to a monk who was preaching the teachings of the lord Buddha.

Instead of listening to preach, she moved her chariot to her house.


The monk was nobody else but Upgupta who was on journey to Mathura.



Vasavdutta was a courtesan. She was the most beautiful lady of the city. She was famous for her beauty and dance not only in Mathura but also in entire nation. She was visited by kings, princes and wealthy peoples.  No man could be indifferent to her beauty and charm.



Upgupta was a Buddhist monk. He along with some other monks was on the journey of Mathura city to spread the rays of spirituality in the darkness of materialism.


That day when Vasavdutta was going to royal palace to perform dance, on the way she came across with the Upgupta.  She never in her life saw such a divine brilliance, simplicity and beauty in any face. There was something in him which fascinated her. Upgupta, unaffected by her beauty, looked at her with kindness and purity and went ahead on his way ignoring her charm. For the first time someone ignored her beauty. She was surprised at this. But she didn’t know that the man was no one else but the Upgupta.

Soon Upgupta became popular with the people of Mathura. Whenever he preached, people gathered to listen to him. Hearing his popularity, Vasavdutta decided to meet him.


When she reached to meet him, he was telling some children a story about Buddha. Seeing him she got surprised; he was the same man as she met him on the way to royal palace.

Upgupta said, “I knew you would come. Tell me what make you come here to meet me.”

“I wish you to visit me in my house and spend some time with me,” she expressed her desire.

Upgupta closed his eyes and remained silent for some moments and said, “It is not a right time to visit you. I shall visit you when the time ripe.”

Vasavdutta could not understand the meaning. She asked, “excused me, I could not understand what do you mean by when the time ripe.”

Upgupta replied with calmness, “You will understand when the time will come.”


For the first time in her life, someone refused her invitation. She felt herself insulted. But she could not remove him out of her heart. She had a place in the heart for him.

After some days, Vasavdutta again sent her maid to Upgupta to request him to visit her. But this time too Upgupta refused her invitation.

She remained plunged in the thoughts of Upgupta days and nights. Being sad over the Vasavdutta’s state, the maid once again requested the Upgupta to visit her, but he refused to visit her saying time still had not ripe.

And the day came when Upgupta departed for another city leaving Mathura. Vasavdutta could never forget him.  


Months had passed. And the time began to ripe. Due to her immodest way of life and her coming contact with several men, she fall prey to a fatal disease.  The entire Mathura city was celebrating the festival of arrival of spring. Cool breeze was blowing over the city. Upgupta along with other monks was going to Mathura city. There was darkness all around. When they were crossing the wall of the city, they heard the groaning sound coming from under a tree. When they reached there, they found someone was lying groaning with pain under the tree. What Upgupta saw in the dim light of a lamp was no one but the Vasavdutta. Her entire body was covered with the pustules. She was diseased with a fatal disease and on body was with her to look after her. Those who were once near and dear to her now had left her alone to die. Vasavdutta was in semi unconscious state. Upgupta gave her water to drink and took her into his arms with sympathy and pity. When she regained conscious, she found Upgupta before her.

 Upgupta said, “Vasavdutta, I have come to you as you once desired.”

Vasavdutta said, “Now I have nothing to offer to you. I have lost all my beauty and wealth. Nobody come near to me. Why do you come to me?”

Upgupta replied, “It was right time to come to you. Once I had told you that I would come to you at the right time. Now that time has come.”

Upgupta took her with him to his monastery to heal her wounds. Within a few weeks she recovered but she lost her beauty and was sad for losing her all wealth and beauty.”

Seeing her depressed one day Upgupta told her, “Vasavdutta, what you have lost are only the material things. All the material and physical things are mortal. Don’t run after materials. Give attention to spiritual side of the life. Wants give birth to sorrows. Control your wants. Discover the beauty of the self. Physical beauty is momentarily. Light the lamps within you, you will find the true peace.”

Hearing this discourse, Vasavdutta began to think about the spiritualism and soon decided to walk on the way of Dherma, on the way of salvation.

© Copyright 2019 Sumit Kumar Arora. All rights reserved.

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