27. VENERABLE ANANDA RECITING RATANA SUTTA PARITTA TO RELIEVE THE PEOPLE OF VESALI FROM ATTACKS OF FAMINE AND PESTILENCE
There was scarcity of rain at Vesali (modern Besrah) and many people died from the effects of famine which attacked it. The offensive smell from the corpses brought demons and ogres into the town and there were more deaths. To make matters worse, a disease very much like modern plague broke out, and there were still more deaths. The people discussed ways and means of relief from attacks of famine and disease. They eventually agreed to invite the Buddha for that purpose, and requested the Blessed One to come over from Rajagaha together with his retinue of monks. When the Blessed One arrived at Vesali in the royal barge there was a heavy downpour of rain which washed away all the corpses and the town had become clean. On arrival at the city gate the Venerable Ananda learnt the Ratana Sutta Paritta and recited it by walking round the city in between its three walls, and sprinkling the holy water from his bowl now and again while going round the city with the Licchavi Princes accompanying him. Thus, all the evil spirits were driven away from the city which was rendered free from diseases.