It was the day of the royal wedding! The entire city-state of Junagadh near Girnar Mpountains in western India was in a festive mood in anticipation of the marriage of Princess Rajul, daughter of their King Ugrasain, to a handsome prince from nearby Shauripur.
As cooks and florists, seemstresses and decoraters bustled about, the princess paced up and down the balcony of her palace, eager to catch first climpse of her husband-to-be, Prince Nemi Kumar, son of King Shamudra Vijay.
At last, the band struck up a happy tune as Prince Nemi Kumar appeared, riding on a chariot with his marriage procession. The people cheered widly and it seemed that, for today at least, there was no sadness anywhere in the city.
Quite suddenly, shrieks of desperation cut through the sounds of jubilation.
At once the prince halted, asking, "What is that screaming?"
"My lord,"the charioteer replied,"they are the cries of the animals and birds that are to be slaughtered for your wedding dinner."
The kind Prince was shocked. "Animals being sacrificed for my sake? Violence being committed for my guests' pleasure?"
Distraught, Prince Nemi Kumar walked away from his marriage procession towards the animals. Tears came to his eyes as he saw in the caged animals how precious life should be. Refusing to have any part in this violence, the prince opened the cages, freeing the animals.
The prince replied,"How can we rejoice when so many animals are suffering? What use is happiness if it is built on the suffering of others?" With this, the prince turned his chariot towards home.
Many of the people at the wedding, struck by the truth of the prince's words, decided to stop eating meat, fish and eggs from that day on.
With his newfound compassion, the prince decided to give up all his luxuries to live a life of peace and meditation in the forest as a muni(Monk). Hise bride-to-be, Princess Rajul, was shattered at first. But she accepted the prince's decisions and decided to join him, not as a princess, but as a sadhvi(nun)