The Mahavastu (great story)

by J. J. Jones | 1949 | 502,133 words | ISBN-10: 086013041X

This page describes story of padumavati (padmavati) which is Chapter XV of the English translation of the Mahavastu (“great story”), dating to the 2nd-century BC. This work belongs to the Mahasanghika school of early Buddhism and contains narrative stories of the Buddha’s former lives, such as Apadanas, Jatakas and more..

Chapter XV - The story of Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī)

(153) The monks said to the Exalted One, “Behold, Lord, how Yaśodharā here without being tried[1] and without being examined was sent away by King Śuddhodana to be punished.[2] The Exalted One replied, “Monks, that was not the only occasion that Yaśodharā without being tried and found guilty was sent away to be punished by King Śuddhodana. There was another occasion.”[3] The monks asked, “Lord, was there another occasion?” The Exalted One replied, “Yes, monks, there was.”

Long ago, in a large forest on the slopes of the Himalayas there was a hermitage belonging to Māṇḍavya, a seer who had realised the four meditations and achieved the five superknowledges. The hermitage was well supplied with roots, fruits, flowers, leaves and water, and was the haunt of thousands of deer and birds.

Now, monks, it happened that in the last month of summer Māṇḍavya the seer ate ripe fruits which were sweet as honey, and drank too much water. So his humours became excessive,[4] and he passed water containing some semen into a stone pot. Then, monks, a certain doe, who was ripe for conception, being thirsty drank the seer’s urine mixed with his semen from the stone pot, under the impression that it was drinking water. And while her mouth was smeared with the semen she licked the orifice of her uterus with her snout. The result of men’s actions is unexpected. For that doe became stupefied with that blood and semen, and she conceived. She roamed and wandered round the hermitage. In due time she gave birth to a little girl, who was beautiful, of distinguished mien,[5] and possessed perfect beauty of complexion,[6] yellowish like a slab of fresh butter.

When the doe was delivered of this young girl, the seer saw it happen. He reflected, “How comes it that this doe, who is a beast, has a human offspring?” Now when seers who have the five super-knowledges concentrate their minds, understanding comes to them. Māṇḍavya the seer then, (154) having the five super-knowledges and being greatly blessed, concentrated his mind. “Here in this hermitage,” thought he, “no other human comes and goes. This doe was born here in my hermitage, and there are likewise hundreds of other deer and birds as well in this forest. As far as I know[7] none of the deer and birds goes anywhere to any other forest, nor does any deer or bird come hither from any other forest. These deer and birds were born here in this forest, grew up and enjoy themselves in this forest, which is not frequented by man. But some time ago, in the last month of summer, I ate some over-ripe fruits and drank too much cold water. Thus my humours became excessive, and I passed water mixed with my semen into a stone pot, and that was drunk by this thirsty doe under the impression that it was drinking water. And thus she conceived. This child, therefore, is the issue of my body.”

Māṇḍavya the seer conceived a very great affection for the little girl. He carried her in an antelope’s hide and brought her to the hermitage, while the doe followed behind. The seer cut the child’s umbilical cord with a knife. She was brought up as a human being,[8] but for suckling she sat at the doe’s teat. The seer, too, crushed sweet ripe fruit for her in his mouth, and from time to time rubbed her with sesamum oil and bathed her with pleasant water.

As she grew up the child made the wood a cheerful place, in company with the doe and the seer. Her mother would lick her with her tongue. When the child had grown big enough to move about[9] on her own feet, then, wherever she put her feet, there, as a result of good karma stored up by her in previous lives, lotuses sprang up. (155) As the child roamed about all over the hermitage of the seer lotuses sprang up, so that it became lovely like a lotus grove. And among these lotuses the child would play, culling them with her hands as she moved among them. When the seer saw that as a result of the young girl’s karma lotuses sprang up in her footsteps, he was amazed, and he exclaimed, “Ah, what magic power the young girl has, since wherever her footsteps fall there lovely and beautiful lotuses spring up! It must be that she is a virtuous child who gained the root of virtue in the past by making offerings to the worthy[10] and planting the seeds of merit,[11] since she has such great power.” And the seer gave the child the name of Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī).

As she grew up the child roamed all over the hermitage with her mother. Wherever the mother went roaming, there did the child roam with her, playing with the deer and their fawns. When she wanted food she came with her mother to the hermitage accompanied by the other deer and hinds and their fawns. When the doe came to the hermitage the seer would give her succulent[12] fruits and delicious[13] drinks. And she would eat some of the fruits herself, and then give some to the young fawns. When the child lay down in the hermitage, the young fawns, male and female, who had accompanied her in her wanderings, would lie down too. When they wished to go wandering again, they woke up the child with their snouts. Wherever the deer wandered and roamed, there did the child roam, playing with the deer and their young fawns. And wherever she roamed (156) there in all her footsteps lotuses sprang up. The child would gather these lotuses and string them together for herself and for the young fawns. Thus did she grow up in the hermitage playing with them. They were not happy when separated.

When the child grew to years of discretion,[14] she would sprinkle and clean the seer’s hermitage, bring him dishes of various kinds of roots, leaves, flowers and fruits, and fetch water, wood and fuel. She would anoint[15] the seer with sesamum oil and bathe him. She would tend his sacred fire and serve him with various roots, leaves, flowers and fruits. She would bring him extracts of various fruits. Wherever she roamed in the hermitage, and wherever she went gathering roots, leaves, flowers and fruits, there was she accompanied by the deer and birds.

Now it happened that once when Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī), accompanied by the deer and birds, had gone to fetch water, Brahmadatta, king of Kampilla,[16] was out hunting with his men. While he chased a deer on a horse swift as the wind, he outstripped his men and no one else had reached that place.[17] The deer led King Brahmadatta to a glade of the forest.

As has been said by the Exalted One in the Dharma-pada,[18]

The way of the wild beasts is the wood;[19] of the birds the air. Dharma is the way of the twice-born;[20] nirvana is the way supreme.[21]

And there in the forest glade the deer was caught. Now while King Brahmadatta was (157) tracking down that deer, there at a pool of water he saw Padumāvatī garbed in a cloak of antelope hide. She was carrying a pitcher of water and had a lovely lotus in her hand. She was lovely and handsome, with perfect beauty of complexion. Wherever she planted her footsteps, there charming and lovely lotuses sprang up. And, monks, when King Brahmadatta had seen Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter he reflected, “Ah, what splendid magical power this girl has, since, wherever sne plants her footsteps, there exceeding charming, lovely and beautiful lotuses spring up! Now who can she be? Is she a girl of the devas, or of the Nàgas or of the Kinnaras? Is she a human or a nonhuman? What if I were to go up to her and ask?”

Then, monks, King Brahmadatta went up to Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter, and said to her, “Madam, who are you? Whose daughter are you?” When he had so spoken, Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter replied to King Brahmadatta, “I, O king, am a seer’s daughter, named Padumāvatī, the daughter of Māṇḍavya, who subsists on roots and fruits, dwells in the forest, and lives the brahma-life.”

King Brahmadatta then[22] said to Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter, “What kinds ot food can you have living here in the forest, that your body has been so built up? Or what kinds of dress can you have that you have the appearance of being delicately brought up?” Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter replied to King Brahmadatta, stroking his garments the while, “Our food,” said she, “consists of roots and fruits. Our clothes are of antelope hide, but not of such fine hide as these clothes of yours are.”

Then, monks, (158) King Brahmadatta reflected, “This seer’s daughter is unable to distinguish the sumptuous dress of a king. She does not know the difference between a seer and a king, nor between antelope hide and the rich dress of a king. Nor does she know what my horse is.[23] Yet, though she is the daughter of a seer, she is a right royal maiden who would be a fitting wife for me. But I cannot ask for her hand without the consent of Māṇḍavya the seer, not to speak of taking her hence from this hermitage to the city of Kampilla. Māṇḍavya the seer has great power, and with a curse could reduce me and my company to ashes. What if I were now by some means to try to entice Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter?”

Now, monks, when kings of olden days went hunting they filled a bag[24] with rich barley cakes made with honey and ghee, sweetmeats and confections,[25] and fastened it on the horse’s back behind the saddle.[26] Thus when a king had been carried away by his horse till he was all alone in the woods, he would not die of hunger.

So, monks, on this occasion King Brahmadatta had a bag on his horse’s back tied behind the saddle with a strap, and filled with barley cakes made with honey and ghee, sweetmeats and confections. And King Brahmadatta drew out[27] a sweetmeat from the bag and gave it to Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī). “Here, madam,” said he, “are some of our fruits.” She replied, “Sir, how much finer are your fruits than ours.” And when she had eaten the sweetmeat she said, “These fruits of yours are lovely, succulent[28] and nice, while ours are sour and bitter.” The king replied, “It is fruits like these that grow on the trees in my hermitage. If you wish to eat their like, come to that hermitage of mine.”

Then, monks, Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter said to King Brahmadatta (159) “I do wish to eat fruits like these. But wait[29] a moment so that I can take this water to our hermitage, which is not far off, and tell my father that I am going to your hermitage.” So, monks, King Brahmadatta gave Padumāvatī some more sweetmeats, saying, “Take these to your father and tell him that you are going to be the wife of the seer in whose hermitage there are such fruits as these. But come back quickly. I shall be sitting here on the bank of the stream.”

Then, monks, Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter went to the hermitage of Māṇḍavya, put down the pitcher of water and presented those sweetmeats to her father, saying, “Eat these fruits, father, I am going to be the wife of the seer in whose hermitage such fruits are growing.” But, monks, Māṇḍavya the seer said to himself, “Now Brahmadatta, the king of Pañcāla, while following the chase here, has come near to this hermitage. He has given royal sweetmeats like these to Padumāvatī and she has eaten them. No longer can she live on the sour and bitter fruits of this hermitage. But Padumāvatī is a right royal maiden. What then if I were to give her to Brahmadatta to wife?” And so, monks, Māṇḍavya the seer said to his daughter Padumāvatī. “Of a truth, Padumāvatī, there are no fruits like these. Who has allured you with fiery desires?” But Padumāvatī thought to herself. “These ‘desires’ must be the trees on which fruits like these grow.” And she said to her father, “If, father, the sweetness of the fruits of desire is like this, then will I eat them. The fruits we have here, large though they be, do not please me.” Māṇḍavya the seer replied to Padumāvatī, “Who gave you these fruits, Padumāvatī? What kind of young seer was he, and where is he now?”

(160) When this had been said, Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī) replied to Māṇḍavya the seer and said “Father, the young seer is dressed in fine antelope hide, and he waits on the bank of the stream mounted on a deer. It was he who gave me these fruits. In his hermitage there grow fruits like these.”

Then Māṇḍavya the seer together with Padumāvatī went to King Brahmadatta. After he had greeted him he performed the water ritual[30] and gave him Padumāvatī, saying, “Your majesty, let her be your wife. Let her be considered worthy of your majesty, and do not put her away on the mere accusation of another and without trial.”

And so King Brahmadatta put Padumāvatī on his horse’s back, bade farewell to Māṇḍavya the seer and set out for Kampilla. His troops saw King Brahmadatta coming when he was still some way off and came to meet him. Then King Brahmadatta together with Padumāvatī the seer’s daughter alighted from horseback, and mounting an elephant with her he came to his own park in the city of Kampilla.

In the city of Kampilla Padumāvatī heard the noise of the great crowd. She saw the pleasant city with its high walls, turrets and round watch-towers. And when she had seen it, she asked King Brahmadatta, “Why, pray, do I hear the noise of seers and forest deer in this open space in the forest? And why do I see these tall grass-huts?” King Brahmadatta replied to Padumāvatī, “Yes, it is the voice of the seers and of the deer of the forest, and these tall grass-huts are ours.”

When he had come to his own park, King Brahmadatta with Padumāvatī alighted from the elephant’s back and entered the park. He gave instructions to the assembly of his counsellors, saying, “Ho, there, governors,[31] quickly (161) fetch my priest, and clothes and jewels for Padumāvatī. Have all the way from the park to the palace decorated. Have a canopy stretched over it. Have it fringed with bright flowers, draped with festoons of fine cloth, made fragrant with incense, sprinkled and cleaned, and strewn with garlands of flowers. Here and there have players[32] stationed, and actors, dancers, athletes, wrestlers, tambourine-players, clowns, dvistvalakas, buffoons, and performers on the naṭṭa.”[33]

The desires of devas are fulfilled by their minds; those of kings by the word of command; those of rich men speedily and those of poor men by their own exertions.[34]

As soon as the king had spoken his counsellors saw to it[35] that his orders were carried out. Then Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī) said to King Brahmadatta, “Where, my lord, is your abode, your fire, your hot water[36] and your water-pot?[37] Is it time for me to tend the sacred fire?” King Brahmadatta replied to Padumāvatī, “Come this instant and at once.[38] Fine antelope hides are being brought for you. Then when we have bathed together in the Ganges, we shall offer the fire sacrifice.” Then at that moment and that instant the king’s attendant counsellors brought the women of the court into the park, with clothes and jewels for Padumāvatī. They brought also the brāhman who was the king’s priest and tutor. There came out the townsmen with their president at their head,[39] the community of tradesmen with the chief merchant at their head,[40] and all the eighteen guilds.

The counsellors, attendants, the foremost townsmen, brāhmans and Brahmadatta’s priest and royal tutor saw the king’s consort arrayed in all her finery, lovely, handsome and possessing perfect beauty of complexion. With King Brahmadatta she circumambulated the fire by the right. And wherever she planted her footsteps, there lovely and beautiful lotuses sprang up. When the people saw this, they were thrilled, joyful and elated, and spoke of it to King Brahmadatta. “Your majesty,” said they, “never have we seen or heard of (162) anyone having such magic power as this that Queen Padumāvatī has. Well would it be, your majesty, if Queen Padumāvatī went on foot as she is being conducted to the palace.[41] Then the multitude would witness the great magic power the queen has, and seeing it they would be well pleased.”

Then King Brahmadatta together with the women of his court and Queen Padumāvatī, escorted by his attendant counsellors and accompanied by a great crowd of people, in great royal splendour and majesty came from the park and entered the palace. The people saw all along the way from the park to the palace lovely and beautiful lotuses springing up from each succeeding pair of Padumāvatī’s footprints.[42] And when they had seen this they gave vent to a shout of joy. “King Brahmadatta,” cried they, “is meritorious, seeing that he has won such a jewel of a wife.”

The king went up with Padumāvatī to a room on an upper floor, and being possessed of and endowed with the five strands of sensual desires, he dallied and amused and enjoyed himself with her. He taught[43] Padumāvatī how to drink,[44] play the dice and sing and play. Being infatuated with her he paid no attention to the other queens. And Padumāvatī cohabited with King Brahmadatta and she became pregnant.

When in due course the time came for the queen’s delivery, King Brahmadatta ordered the chamberlains of the harem, who were skilled in the duties pertaining to women, to take Padumāvatī away. The king sat down with gold and silver and various kinds of garments laid out in front of him, and said, “To those who will bring me the news that Padumāvatī has been safely delivered, I will give a reward.”[45] But the other queens said among themselves, “Ever since Padumāvatī was brought here the king has paid no attention to us. And now that she is about to give birth to a child,[46] we are bound to fall on trouble and misfortune.” Then they asked Padumāvatī, (163) “Do you know how women bring forth?” She replied, “No, I do not.” The women of the court then said, “When a woman is giving birth she is blindfolded.” So she told them, “Do you then blindfold me, when I am giving birth.” Thus when it was time for her to bring forth she was blindfolded. She gave birth to twins who were lovely and beautiful.

Then the women said among themselves, “This queen was beloved and honoured by King Brahmadatta even when she was childless. How much more will she be so when she brings children to a childless palace? Since she has borne these twins she will become exceeding dear to King Brahmadatta, and he will pay no attention to us.”[47] So the women lined a chest[48] with cloth and put the children in it. They closed and shut it down. They sealed it with royal gold,[49] and then threw it into the river Ganges.

Now Padumāvatī’s face was smeared with the dregs of her womb. She asked the women, “What did I give birth to?” The women steeped the two cauls in the dregs of the womb and brought[50] them to Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī). “It is these that you brought forth,” said they. She replied, “Take them away. What can I do with them?”

Then King Brahmadatta asked, “What did the queen give birth to?” The women answered, “Your majesty, she bore a lovely and beautiful pair of twins, but as soon as they were born she devoured them. How, your majesty, could she be the offspring of a holy saint? It was an ogress[51] you brought home, and you were lucky to escape with your life. Come near the ogress and look at her, if you do not believe us.” So the king went in to have a look at the queen. And he saw Padumāvatī (164) smeared with blood[52] like an ogress.[53] When he had seen her he was dismayed, and he said to his counsellors, “Go, have her put to death. I brought her here thinking that she was human. If she is a Piśācinī or a Rākṣasī I’ll have nothing to do with her.” Thus she was thrown out of the palace.

Then she asked the counsellors, “Where are you taking me?” They replied, “You are being sent away by King Brahmadatta to be killed.” She asked them, “What offence have I given King Brahmadatta that I should be sent away to be killed?” The counsellors replied, “You bore two young ones and then devoured them. So the king thinks you are an ogress and is sending you away to be killed.” She said, “No, I did not bear two children. I asked the women, and they said I had borne two cauls. I bid them take these away at once.[54] I did not then bear two children, nor did I devour them.”

Now these counsellors were wise, and familiar with the knavish wiles of women. They said among themselves, “Padumāvatī here was loved and honoured by King Brahmadatta. But the situation as understood by these women was that, if Padumāvatī proved childless, she would be scorned and mocked at.” Then they asked Padumāvatī, “How were you delivered?” And she related the whole affair in detail to the counsellors. “When I was about to give birth,” said she, “these women blindfolded me. Thus I did not see my children. No more did I devour them. When I was delivered I asked the women what I had given birth to. And they brought me two cauls and told me that it was those that I had borne.”

Then the counsellors said among themselves, “This queen has been deceived out of jealousy, because she was loved and honoured by King Brahmadatta. We must see to it that King Brahmadatta (165) does not later feel remorse on account of Queen Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī) nor become sick with sorrow.” So Padumāvatī was concealed by the counsellors in the house of one of them, while the king was told that she had been put to death.

Now when the queens heard that Padumāvatī had been put to death they started flattering[55] King Brahmadatta. They threw ghee and mustard into the fire,[56] scattered the bali[57] offering to the four quarters, performed expiatory rites,[58] and said to him, “Fortunate are you, O king, in that you have escaped from the clutches of the ogress.” At that moment the king, bathed and anointed, was amusing himself at a dance of the women.[59] Some of the women played the lute, others the trumpet,[60] others the tabour and others the flute. Some danced and others sang.

Then a certain female deva who was well-disposed towards Māṇḍavya the seer, came flying through the sky and, standing in the air, said to King Brahmadatta, “Your majesty, it was on a false report,[61] without a true knowledge and understanding, that you sent the innocent Padumāvatī away to be killed without examination and trial, and you forgot the words of the blessed seer.”[62] But King Brahmadatta’s women on hearing the voice of the deva in the air, sang and played still more[63] in order that the king should not hear the deva talking. He then stopped the women, saying, “Wait,[64] until I know what this deva in the air is talking about.” At this command of the king’s the women fell silent, and the deva again said to the king, “Your majesty, it was on a false report that you sent the innocent Padumāvatī away to be put to death without examination or trial, and you forgot the words of the blessed seer.” King Brahmadatta, (166) paying heed to the deva, questioned the women, saying, “Tell me the truth. Was it children that were born to Padumāvatī?” And the women on being thus questioned reflected,[65] “Padumāvatī has been killed by the king’s orders. The king can abandon us, too. Let us tell him the true facts.” So they answered, “Your majesty, two children were born to Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī). We put them in a chest,[66] which we sealed with the king’s seal. We then threw the chest with the two children in it into the river Ganges. She never saw them nor did she devour them.”

At this King Brahmadatta was sore distressed, and said, “I have put such an innocent jewel of a woman to death. I have not followed the instructions of such a blessed seer. I have lost my sons as soon as I had got them.”[67]

Now that chest was carried down the river Ganges and was dragged out by fishermen who were netting fish. The fishermen saw that the chest was sealed with the king’s seal, and they said among themselves, “We must beware lest this comes from a burglary at the royal palace.[68] Then this chest will be searched for,[69] and every mystery about it will be cleared up. Let us go then and take this chest to King Brahmadatta, lest, being taken for thieves, we be punished with the extreme penalty.” So they came to King Brahmadatta bringing the chest with them, and said to him, “Your majesty, while we were netting fish in the river Ganges we dragged out this chest which was being carried down by the stream. It is sealed with the king’s seal. We pray you, sire, to have a look at it.”

Then, monks, King Brahmadatta said to his attendant counsellors, “Ho there, gentlemen, (167) find out what there is in this chest.” The counsellors opened the chest and saw Padumāvatī’s two children. They said, “Your majesty, in this chest are the lovely and beautiful children of Padumāvatī, boys the very image of your majesty. Queen Padumāvatī was innocent, but you, sire, sent her away to be killed without examination or trial.”

When King Brahmadatta saw the children and remembered the many virtues of Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī), he fell to the ground in a swoon at the loss of such a jewel of a woman. The counsellors said among themselves, “We must see to it that the king comes to no bodily harm through his sorrowing over Padumāvatī.” And to the king they said, “Your majesty, do not mourn for Queen Padumāvatī. For your sake, sire, we harboured her and no harm has come to her. The queen is safe and has not been killed. We knew that some day we should have good news for you.” On hearing these words of the counsellors the king rejoiced. He asked them, “Where is Padumāvatī?” They answered and said, “Yonder, in a certain house.”

Then the king went to Queen Padumāvatī, and when he had come to her he strove in many ways to reassure her, saying, “What good fortune it is that you are this day rescued from destruction and reunited with me and your sons! Now your rivals would have had you killed. What is your pleasure that I should do to these enemies of yours? What punishment should they receive?[70] It were best if by the king’s orders they should all go wandering in chains and clothed in hempen rags.” But, monks, Queen Padumāvatī in tears said to King Brahmadatta, “Your majesty, do not deal harshly with these queens. They are senior to me. (168) Increase the subsistence provided for them,[71] do not decrease it. Let things be as they were.[72] Men reap the fruits of the karmas they have contracted when the proper time is come,[73] just as the flowers and fruits of trees appear.[74] And, your majesty, I was contracting these karmas both when I was being honoured and esteemed by you, and when I was being sent away by you to be killed.”[75]

Then King Brahmadatta said to Queen Padumāvatī, “Madam, do not shed tears. I will make over the whole realm to you. Be glad in the company of your sons, only forgive me the wrong I have done you.” But Queen Padumāvatī replied to King Brahmadatta, “Your majesty, what have I, with my understanding, to do with kingdom, son, or wealth? I will go and take up the religious life again with my father. My father spoke to me, saying, “Padumāvatī, who is alluring you with these desires which are as flame?” And now they do burn me as my father said[76] when he spoke to me in his hermitage. Like any deer of yours I was taken[77] from my father’s hermitage to be slain, innocent though I was.”

So Queen Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī) took up once more the religious life of an ascetic, and clad in red[78] garments she came to the hermitage of Māṇḍavya the seer. But he was dead. His huts of grass and straw lay in ruins. Queen Padumāvatī reflected, “Because of my persistence, I have had two losses. King Brahmadatta have I disowned, and now I am bereft of my father who is dead. What if I were now to live the life of a nun, wandering up and down the provinces and the royal cities?”

Thus as she wandered up and down the villages, towns and royal cities, Queen Padumāvatī came to Benares, the city of King Kṛkī.[79] And the king of Kāśi at Benares saw (169) Queen Padumāvatī within the city. On seeing her he sought by various means to seduce her. “Madam,” said he, “What have you, with your tender and fresh beauty, to do with the religious life? Here are trees lovely, beautiful and charming, laden with flowers and foliage. Come, let us take our joy in yonder grove.” When this had been said, Padumāvatī the ascetic replied to the king of Kāśi, “Your majesty, you are wishing to enter fire when you wish to make love to one who has taken up the religious life and is established in dharma.[80] Your majesty, I have no desire for sensual pleasures.” The king of Kāśi said, “If you are not willing, madam, I will take you by force.”[81] Padumāvatī replied, “If you take me by force, I will bum you with the power of my austerity[82] as fire bums dry grass.” When the king heard this he was frightened, and desisted. But she stayed on in the kingdom in ease and comfort.[83] For the king said to her, “I shall entertain you with every kindness and care.”

Then King Brahmadatta came to the house of the king of Kāśi disguised as a brahman. “Your majesty,” said he, “I am skilled at dice.” He joined the king and the queens in a game,[84] and he accosted Padumāvatī and asked her, “Because of whose anger did you come here?” Padumāvatī replied, “It was because of your wrong-doing that I came here.” The king of Kāśi being at a loss asked King Brahmadatta, “I have never heard before of such a way of playing on the chequer board.[85] Who are you, and what is she to you?” King Brahmadatta replied, “I am Brahmadatta, king of Pañcāla, and she who is here is Padumāvatī my wife.” When this had been said, the king of Kāśi said to King Brahmadatta, “Hail and welcome to you, your majesty. Lead away your queen. I shall escort you with a well-arrayed army.”[86]

Thus Brahmadatta, king of Pañcāla, with an army of the four divisions, and mounted on horseback, in great royal majesty and splendour brought Queen Padumāvatī from Benares once again to the city of Kampilla. Now when Queen Padumāvatī had been sent away by King Brahmadatta to be killed (170) the lotuses stopped springing up in her footsteps. But when she was brought again by King Brahmadatta from Benares to Kampilla the lotuses sprang up in her footsteps once more.

The Exalted One said, “Verily, monks, the seer Māṇḍavya was not somebody else. I was then the seer Māṇḍavya. Nor, monks, was Queen Padumāvatī somebody else. Yaśo-dharā here was Queen Padumāvatī. Nor, monks, was King Brahmadatta somebody else. King Śuddhodana here was at that time King Brahmadatta. Then also was Yaśodharā sent away by King Śuddhodana to be killed without examination or trial, although she was innocent. And on this other occasion also[87] was she sent away by King Śuddhodana to be killed without examination or trial, although she was innocent.

Here ends the preliminary story[88] of Padumāvatī (Padmāvatī).

Footnotes and references:


Ananuyujyitvā, “without being questioned,” though Senart inclines to think that, in spite of the -yujy- the form is active. The next participle, too, is active in form, aparyavagāhitvā “without scrutinising” (cf. Pali pariyogāhati). But the turn of the whole sentence is passive; so, though these indeclinable participles may in construction go with rajñā Śuddhodanena, it is simpler in translation to take them as passives, as such participles can often be taken in our text.


I.e. in her former life as Nalinī, in the tale just related, though she is there said to have been sent away to be married.


The text, of course, repeats the whole statement.


See p. 139, n. 1.


Akṣudrāvakāśa, cf. Pali akhuddāvakāsa dassanāya, “not appearing inferior,” one of the attributes of a well-bred brahman. See P.E.D. for references.


See vol. 2, p. 375, n. 3.


Mama,? ethic genitive. Or is it purely possessive, “my deers and birds”?


Literally, “she was nourished with a human nourishment,” mānuṣikāye kelāyanāya kelāyantī, where kelāyanāya is oblique case of kelāyana, nomen actionis, and kelāyantī, pres. part, pass of kelāyati, a BSk. and Pali formation from kīl (=Sk. krīd, “to play”) and meaning primarily “to amuse oneself with, hence to fondle, to nourish.” See P.E.D. But apart from the fact that the development of meaning here assumed is rather improbable, some at least of the meanings of the word in BSk. listed by Edgerton, (B.H.S.D.) hardly bear out this etymology, and perhaps it is better, with Edgerton, to regard the origin as obscure.


Aṇvati. See p. 140, n. 2.


Dakṣinīyā. See vol. 1, p. 61, n. 3.


Literally, “with good or meritorious deeds planted,” oruptakuśaliṣu. For orupta. See vol. 2, p. 295, n. 3.


Mṛṣṭamṛṣṭa, “cleansed,” “polished,”” bright,” “agreeable,” “savoury,” etc.


Mṛṣṭamṛṣṭa, again.


See p. 128, n. 1.


Abhyaṅgeti, sic for abhyañjeti.


See vol. 1, p. 235, n. 4.


The text is corrupt here. It reads tam pradeśam ujjhita (? for ujjhitvā) “he left that place behind,” which hardly makes sense. Senart suggests that we should read some verb like utsthita, “set out.” But comparison with a text describing a similar incident in the Śyāmaka Jātaka (2 p. 212, text) shows that the obscurity here is due to a careless abridgement of what may have been a conventional description of the over-eager huntsman. The latter passage reads, ujjhitvā balavāhanā na kaścana taṃ pradeśaṃ anuprāpta, “he left behind his troops and no one had reached that place.” The translation given above is made from the text of this latter passage.


See vol. 2, p. 202, n 5.


Plavana, which is the reading of two MSS., and which, if correct, is for Sk. pravaṇa. But the quotation as given in vol. 2, p. 212 (text) has pavana, which is the usual BSk. and Pali form, and which, in the Mhvu. at least has the meaning of “wood” or “forest,” whether analogically with, or actually derived from, vana. See e.g., 2. 361, 382 (text). At 3. 61 (text) pravaṇa has the regular Sk. meaning of “slope” or “prone.” See vol. 2, p. 328, n. 3, and P.E.D. Also B.H.S.D.


Dvijātīnām, i.e. Brahmans. The quotation in vol. 2. 212 (text) has vibhāgīyānam. See vol. 2, p. 203, n. 2.


Mahatī. vol. 2 says “the way of the Arhans.”


Evamukte, is omitted in translation here and elsewhere in the dialogue.


This would seem to show that in the above dialogue there has dropped out an allusion to the king’s horse which, on the analogy of the “wild-boy-of-the-wood” theme in the previous tale, Padumāvatī (Padmavātī) would have dubbed a deer.


Yamalaka. Senart suggests a poche made of the material called yamalī at Divy. 276 and Avś. 1. 265. Possibly what is meant is one of twin (yama) bags or panniers slung on either side of a beast of burden. Cf. B.H.S.D.


The text here and at 2. 190 has ukkārika, which Senart in a note on the former passage can only explain as being for utkārika, “a poultice.” At neither of the two passages does such a meaning suit the context. The queried rendering, “dung,” after the Pali ukkāra, given in vol. 2 of this translation (p. 183), should now be amended. For it seems clear that ukkārika is for utkārika, “a sort of sweetmeat made with milk, treacle and ghee” (M.W.). See also B.H.S.D.


Pallāṇa, for pariyāṇa or paryāṇa. The MSS. have pallāsa or palāśa. Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) says that Senart’s emendation into pallāṇa is probably right, and he cites the Prakrit form with the same meaning. It would now appear that the verb pallānayati at vol. 2. 160 should be regarded as a denominative of pallāṇa, rather than, with Senart, as a compound of pari-ā-ni. See vol. 2, p. 150, n. 2.


Ukkaḍḍheti. On the verb kaḍḍhati, see vol. 2, p. 72, n. 1. Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) adopts the form of the MSS., kaṭṭati.


Mṛṣṭa. See p. 150, n. 4.


Āgame. See vol. 2, p. 296, n. 4.


Literally “gave her with water” (udakena). See p. 146, n. 2.


Grāmaṇika, Pali gāmaṇika, gāmaṇī.


See p. 110 f. for all these terms, with the exception of the last.


Literally, “holders of the naṭṭanaṭṭadharāṇi. Naṭṭa is a doubtful and inexplicable word. Also the neuter termination of a compound giving names of performers, and not those of the instruments, is strange, although it is true that our text has some other instances of neuter for masculine.


For this couplet see vol. 1, p. 213 n, vol. 2, p. 173, vol. 3, p. 124.


Paṭijāgṛtam, past part, of paṭijāgareti.


Uṇhodaka; uṇha BSk. and Pali for uṣṇa.


Kamaṇḍalu, “the waterpot with long spout used by non-Buddhist ascetics.” (P.E.D.)


Sārdham, so interpreted by Senart on the analogy of the use of the related saha.


See p. 114, n. 2.


Sārthavāhapramukho vaṇijagrāmo. Cf. śreṣṭhipramukho vaṇiggrāmo, p. no, n. 4.


Literally, “Let her be made to enter on foot,” padehi praveśiyatu.


Padavītihārāṇāṃ ubhayato. Padavītihāra, as in Pali, for padavyatihāra “taking over or exchange of steps.” The translation given above seems better than saying “on both sides of her stride,” for the other allusions to the phenomenon make the flowers grow from her footprints, and not beside the way she walked. Cf. B.H.S.D.


Śekheti, a causal denominative from śekha, Pali sekha or sekkha, Sk. śaikṣa, “to be trained.” A passive formation from the same stem is found at 2. 434 (text), śekhiyanti “they are taught.” Cf. B.H.S.D.


Literally, “in intoxications”, madehi.


Āchāda for ācchāda. See p. 36, n. 2.


Eṣā prajāyamāni, nominative absolute, of which another example is found at 1.68, vanditau kramau, etc.


yam, acc. pi., cf. Edgerton, Gram. § 20. 46.


Tapana. The meaning is certain, for the word is replaced below by a synonym mañjūṣā. Senart does not know of any other instance of the word in this sense, either in Sk. or Pali. Divy. 342, 343, has tapu, which Cowell and Neil hesitatingly render “cauldron,” but Burnouf, with greater correctness in Senart’s opinion, translates “vase,” or “coupe.” Senart thinks that both tapu and tapana are collaterals from the same stem, tap. See next note.


Literally, “they gilded it with (royal) gold and sealed it,” tāpanīyena tāpayitvā mudrayitvā. Tāpanīya, however, is ordinarily an adjective, so that we should probably read tapaniya, which in both Śk. and Pali means” refined gold.” Tāpayitvā is causative of the verb tapati, from which is derived tapanīya, i.e. the burnt (or refined) metal. It is likely, therefore, as Senart suggests that tapana and tapu are from the same root tap, and denote a receptacle “en métal fondu ou soudé.” See B.H.S.D., however, where Edgerton says that tapu in Divy., l.c. should be read taṭṭu.


Allīpita. See vol. 2, p. 419, n.


Piśācinī, a female piśāca. See vol. 1, p. 74, n. 2.


Rudhiramrakṣitena, sic(?) for rudhiramrakṣitām.


Rākṣasī is the word used here, i.e. a female rākṣasa. See vol. 1, p. 73 n. 5.


Literally, “they were sent away just then,” te pi tatraiva mellitā (see vol. 1, p. 308, n. 1, for this verb.).


Caṭulāyati, BSk. Cf. Sk. caṭu, “kind or flattering discourse.” Not in B.H.S.D.


As a thank-offering for Brahmadatta’s escape.


See vol. 2, p. 401, n. 6.


Śāntim karonti.


Nāṭakena niṣpuruṣeṇa. See vol. 1, p. 183, n. 2, and cf. Divy. 314 and Pali nippurisa.


Sughoṣika. See vol. 1, p. 183, n. 3.


Literally “it was ill heard by you,” duḥśrutante.


I.e. the admonition not to put Padumāvatī (Padmavātī) away.


Suṣṭhutaram. Cf. Pali suṭṭhutaram.


Āgametha. See vol. 2, p. 296, n. 4.


Literally “saw (things) thus,” (=eva) paśyanti.


Tapana. See p. 158, n. 2.


Literally, “sons being got are lost,” putrā labhyantā ca paribhraṣṭā, where labhyantā is pr. part. pass, with active ending. Cf. Edgerton, Gram. § 37.15.


Literally “lest this is a felony by thieves in the royal palace” mā haiva corehi rājakule aparāddham.


Praṣṭa for pṛṣṭa. See Edgerton, Gram., § 34. 13.


Literally, “into what evil plight should they go?” kīdṛśam vyasanam nigacchantu, where the imperative for the potential is very strange. But Senart is far from satisfied with the text.


Sānam, gen. pl.


? Sarvāṇi anuvartāhi, literally “follow (or cling to) all things.”


Literally, “on reaching the time,” kālam kālamāsādya, where the repetition of kālam appears to be otiose.


This verb is supplied in translation. The text is yathā drumāṇāṃ puṣpaphalā. The yathā which begins this sentence should probably be changed to tathā. As the text stands yathā is untranslateable.


Morally her position in the two sets of circumstances was the same; in both she alone was responsible for the karma.


Reading vacanena for vacanā. The latter reading would give “my father’s words burn me.”


There is no verb in the text, only the ablative of separation āśramāto.


? dhāturakta.


See vol. 1, p. 252, n. 3; pp. 271 ff.


Pravrajitāye sārdham... dharmasthitāya. An example of the juxtaposition of two variant forms of the oblique case of stems in .


Balasā, adverbial instrumental, as if from a consonantal declension of bala. P.E.D. cites Trenckner at Miln. 430, and Prakrit balasā in Pischel (Gr. § 364). Cf. padasā, vol. 2, p. 199 (text). Now add Edgerton, Gram., § 8. 41.


Or “torment” simply, tapasā.


Yaíhāsukham yathāphāsu. For phāsu, see p. 47, n. 1.


Literally, “he played with the king who was playing with the queens.”


Literally “a method of the chequer board,” aṣṭāpodasya nīti. Here neither the game of chess nor of draughts can be alluded to. More than two were playing, and they were playing with the dice (akṣa) as mentioned above. Presumably the game consisted in throwing the dice on to the board, the value of the throw being determined by the square on which it fell or settled. Cf. D. 1.6. Senart doubts the reading here because of apparent irrelevance. But Kṛkī’s statement is natural enough, when it is considered that the conversation between the brāhman and the unknown lady had nothing, as far as Kṛkī could see, to do with the game.


Literally, “I shall lead with an army well-arranging it,” balagreṇa saṃvibhajya nemi. But the reading is far from certain.


I.e. as Nalinī. See p. 148, n. 2.


Parikalpa. See vol. 2, pp. 175, 209.

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