Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “legend of druma (king of the gandharvas)” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

Appendix 7 - The Legend of Druma (king of the Gandharvas)

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XV part 10.10:

“The king of the gandharvas is called T’ong long mo (Druma) [in the Ts’in language, ‘Tree’]”.

Druma, king of the kiṃnaras and not of the gandharvas, is completely ignored in the Pāli sources, but well-known in the Sanskrit sources. He appears in the Drumakiṃnararāja-paripṛcchā, of which there are two Chinese translations due respectively to Tche tch’an (T 624) and Kumārajīva (T 625) and one Tibetan translation entitled Mi ḥam ciḥi rgyal po ljon pas zhus pa, Mdo XII, 6 (Csoma-Feer, p. 3253; OKC, no. 824, p. 314). The Saddharmapuṇḍarika, p. 4, knows four kiṃnara kings: Druma, Mahādharma, Sudharma and Dharmadhara.

– But Druma is best known from the adventures of his daughter, the kiṃnarī Manoharā, captured by the hunters of king Sucandrima, wed by prince Sudhanu (Sudhana), pursued by her father-in-law Subāhu, retrieved in the Himālaya by her husband and finally brought back in triumph to Hastiāpura.

This story, where Druma plays a very minor role, occurs in the following sources:

Sanskrit sources: Mahāvastu, II, p. 94–115; Śrīkiṃnarījātaka; – Avadānakalpalatā, ch. LXIV, vol. II, p. 318–413: Sudhanakiṃnaryavadāna; – Bhadrakalpāvadāna, chap. XXIX.

Chinese sources: Lieou tou tsi king, T 152, no. 83, k. 8, p. 44b–46b (tr. Chavannes, Contes, I, p. 292–304); – Ken pen chou … yao che, T 1448, k. 13–14, p. 59b16–64c25.

Tibetan sources: Schiefner-Ralston, Tibetan Tales, p. 44–74.

Iconography: Barabudur: A Foucher, Notes d’archeologie bouddhique, BEFEO, IX, 1909, p.12–18 and fig. 6–9; – Nāgārjunikoṇḍa: J. Ph. Vogel, The Man in the Well and some other Subjects illustrated at Nāgārjunikoṇḍa, RAA, XI, 1937, p. 119–121 and pl. XXXVI.