Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story)

by Somadeva | 1924 | 1,023,469 words | ISBN-13: 9789350501351

This is the English translation of the Kathasaritsagara written by Somadeva around 1070. The principle story line revolves around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidhyādharas (‘celestial beings’). The work is one of the adoptations of the now lost Bṛhatkathā, a great Indian epic tale said to have been composed by ...

163. Story of Mṛgāṅkadatta

WHILE Mṛgāṅkadatta was thus residing in the palace of Māyāvaṭu, the king of the Bhillas, accompanied by Vimalabuddhi and his other friends, one day the general of the Bhilla sovereign came to him in a state of great excitement, and said to him in the presence of Mṛgāṅkadatta:

“As by your Majesty’s orders I was searching for a man to offer as a victim to Durgā, I found one so valiant that he destroyed five hundred of your best warriors, and I have brought him here disabled by many wounds.”

When the Pulinda chief heard that, he said to the general:

“Bring him quickly in here, and show him to me.”

Then he was brought in, and all beheld him smeared with the blood that flowed from his wounds, begrimed with the dust of battle, bound with cords, and reeling, like a mad elephant tied up, that is stained with the fluid that flows from his temples [see notes on the must condition of elephants] mixed with the vermilion painting on his cheek.

Then Mṛgāṅkadatta recognised him as his minister Guṇākara, and ran and threw his arms round his neck, weeping. Then the king of the Bhillas, hearing from Mṛgāṅkadatta’s friends that it was Guṇākara, bowed before him, and comforted him as he was clinging to the feet of his master, and brought him into his palace, and gave him a bath, and bandaged his wounds, and supplied him attentively with wholesome food and drink, such as was recommended by the physicians.

Then Mṛgāṅkadatta, after his minister had been somewhat restored, said to him:

“Tell me, my friend, what adventures have you had?”

Then Guṇākara said in the hearing of all: “Hear, Prince, I will tell you my story.

“At that time when I was separated from you by the curse of the Nāga, I was so bewildered that I was conscious of nothing, but went on roaming through that far-extending wilderness. At last I recovered consciousness and thought in my grief:

‘Alas, this is a terrible dispensation of unruly destiny. How will Mṛgāṅkadatta, who would suffer even in a palace, exist in this desert of burning sand? And how will his companions exist?’

Thus reflecting frequently in my mind, I happened, as I was roaming about, to come upon the abode of Durgā. And I entered her temple, in which were offered day and night many and various living creatures, and which therefore resembled the palace of the God of Death. After I had worshipped the goddess there, I saw the corpse of a man who had offered himself, and who held in his hand a sword that had pierced his throat. When I saw that, I also, on account of my grief at being separated from you, determined to propitiate the goddess by the sacrifice of myself. So I ran and seized his sword. But at that moment some compassionate female ascetic, after forbidding me from a distance by a prohibitive shake of the head, came up to me, and dissuaded me from death, and after asking me my story said to me:

‘Do not act so, the reunion of the dead has been seen in this world, much more of the living. Hear this story in illustration of it.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

There is a celebrated city on the earth, of the name of Ahicchatrā[1]; in it there dwelt of old time a mighty king, of the name of Udayatuṅga. And he had a noble warder named Kamalamati. This warder had a matchless son named Vinītamati. The lotus, in spite of its threads, and the bow, in spite of its string, could not be compared to that youth who possessed a string of good qualities, for the first was hollow and the second crooked. One day, as he was on a platform on the top of a palace white with plaster, he saw the moon rising in the beginning of the night, like a splendid ear-ornament on the darkness of the eastern quarter, made of a shoot from the wishing-tree of love. And Vinītamati, seeing the world gradually illuminated with its numerous rays, felt his heart leap within him, and said to himself: “Ha! the ways are seen to be lighted up by the moonlight, as if whitened with plaster, so why should I not go there and roam about?” Accordingly he went out with his bow and arrows, and roamed about, and after he had gone only a kos,[2] he suddenly heard a noise of weeping. He went in the direction of the sound and saw a certain maiden of heavenly appearance weeping, as she reclined at the foot of a tree.

And he said to her:

“Fair one, who are you? And why do you make the moon of your countenance like the moon when flecked with spots, by staining it with tears?”

When he said this to her, she answered:

“Great-souled one, I am the daughter of a king of the snakes named Gandhamālin, and my name is Vijayavatī. Once on a time my father fled from battle, and was thus cursed by Vāsuki[3]:

‘Wicked one, you shall be conquered and become the slave of your enemy.’

In consequence of that curse my father was conquered by his enemy, a Yakṣa named Kālajihva, and made his servant, and forced to carry a load of flowers for him. Grieved thereat, I tried for his sake to propitiate Gaurī with asceticism, and the holy goddess appeared to me in visible form, and said this to me:

‘Listen, my child; there is in the Mānasa lake a great and heavenly lotus of crystal expanded into a thousand leaves. Its rays are scattered abroad when it is touched by the sunbeams, and it gleams like the many-crested head of Śeṣa,[4] yellow with the rays of jewels. Once on a time Kuvera beheld it, and conceived a desire for that lotus, and after he had bathed in the Mānasa lake, he began to worship Viṣṇu in order to obtain it. And at that time, the Yakṣas, his followers, were playing in the water, in the shapes of Brahmany ducks and geese, and other aquatic creatures. And it happened that the elder brother of your enemy Kālajihva, a Yakṣa named Vidyujjihva, was playing with his beloved in the form of a Brahmany drake, and while flapping his wings, he struck and upset the argha vessel[5] held in the extremity of Kuvera’s hand. Then the God of Wealth was enraged, and by a curse made Vidyujjihva and his wife Brahmany ducks[6] on this very Mānasa lake. And Kālajihva, now that his elder brother is so transformed and is unhappy at night on account of the absence of his beloved, assumes out of affection her form every night to console him, and remains there in the day in his own natural form, accompanied by your father Gandhamālin, whom he has made a slave. So send there, my daughter, the brave and enterprising Vinītamati, of the town of Ahicchatrā, the son of the warder, and take this sword[7] and this horse, for with these that hero will conquer that Yakṣa, and will set your father at liberty. And whatever man becomes the possessor of this excellent sword will conquer all his enemies and become a king on the earth.’

After saying this the goddess gave me the sword and the horse, and disappeared. So I have come here to-day in due course to excite you to the enterprise, and seeing you going out at night with the favour of the goddess, I brought you here by an artifice, having caused you to hear a sound of weeping. So accomplish for me that desire of mine, noble sir!”

When Vinītamati was thus entreated by her, he immediately consented.

Then the snake-maiden went at once and brought that swift white horse, that looked like the concentrated rays of the moon rushing forth into the extreme points of the earth to slay the darkness, and that splendid sword, equal in brightness to the starlight sky, appearing like a glance of the Goddess of Fortune in search of a hero, and gave them both to Vinītamati. And he set out with the sword, after mounting that horse with the maiden, and thanks to its speed he reached that very Lake Mānasa. The lotus-clumps of the lake were shaken by the wind, and it seemed by the plaintive cries of its Brahmany ducks to forbid his approach out of pity for Kālajihva. And seeing Gandhamālin there in the custody of some Yakṣas, he wounded those miserable creatures with his sword and dispersed them, in order to set him at liberty. When Kālajihva saw that, he abandoned the form of a Brahmany duck and rose from the middle of the lake, roaring like a cloud of the rainy season. In the course of the fight Kālajihva soared up into the air, and Vinītamati, with his horse, soared up after him, and seized him by the hair. And when he was on the point of cutting off his head with his sword, the Yakṣa, speaking in a plaintive voice, implored his protection. And being spared, he gave him his own ring, that possessed the power of averting all the calamities called īti,[8] and with all marks of deference he released Gandhamālin from slavery, and Gandhamālin, in his delight, gave Vinītamati his daughter Vijayavatī, and returned home. Then Vinītamati, being the possessor of a splendid sword, ring, horse and maiden, returned home as soon as the day broke. There his father welcomed him and questioned him, and was delighted at the account of his exploits, and so was his sovereign, and then he married that Nāga maiden.[9]

And one day his father Kamalamati said in secret to the youth, who was happy in the possession of these four priceless things, and of many accomplishments:

“The King Udayatuṅga here has a daughter named Udayavatī, well taught in all the sciences, and he has publicly announced that he will give her to the first Brāhman or Kṣatriya who conquers her in argument. And by her wonderful skill in argument she has silenced all other disputants, as by her beauty, which is the theme of the world’s wonder, she has put to shame the nymphs of heaven. You are a distinguished hero, you are a disputant of the Kṣatriya caste; why do you remain silent? Conquer her in argument, and marry her.” [also see notes on the use of riddles]

When Vinītamati’s father said this to him, he answered:

“My father, how can men like me contend with weak women? Nevertheless I will obey this order of yours.”

When the bold youth said this, his father went to the king, and said to him:

“Vinītamati will dispute with the princess to-morrow.”

And the king approved the proposal, and Kamalamati returned home, and informed his son Vinītamati of his consent.

The next morning the king, like a swan, took up his position in the midst of the lotus-bed of the assembly of learned men, and the disputant Vinītamati entered the hall, resplendent like the sun, and being gazed on by the eyes of all the accomplished men who were assembled there, that were turned towards him, he, as it were, animated the lotus-bed with circling bees. And soon after the Princess Udayavatī came there slowly, like the bow of the God of Love bent with the string of excellence; adorned with splendid sweetly tinkling ornaments, that seemed, as it were, to intimate her first objection before it was uttered.[10] A pure streak of the moon in a clear heaven would give some idea of her appearance when she was seated on her emerald throne. Then she made her first objection, stringing on the threads of her glittering teeth a chain of elegant words like jewels. But Vinītamati proved that her objection was based upon premises logically untenable, and he soon silenced the fair one, refuting her point by point. Then the learned audience commended him, and the princess, though beaten in argument, considered that she had triumphed, as she had gained an excellent husband. And Udayatuṅga bestowed on Vinītamati his daughter, whom he had won in the arguing match. Then the king loaded Vinītamati with jewels and he lived united to the daughter of a snake and the daughter of a king.

Once on a time, when he was engaged in gambling, and was being beaten by other gamblers, and much distressed in mind thereat, a Brāhman came and asked him for food with great importunity.

He was annoyed at that, and whispered in the ear of his servant, and caused to be presented to the Brāhman a vessel full of sand wrapped up in a cloth. The simple-minded Brāhman thought, on account of its weight, that it must be full of gold, and went to a solitary place and opened[11] it. And seeing that it was full of sand, he flung it down on the earth, and saying to himself, “The man has deceived me,” he went home despondent. But Vinītamati thought no more of the matter, and left the gambling, and remained at home with his wives in great comfort.

And in course of time, the King Udayatuṅga became unable to bear the burden of the empire, as his vigour in negotiations and military operations was relaxed by old age.[12] Then, as he had no son, he appointed his son-in-law Vinītamati his successor, and went to the Ganges to lay down his body. And as soon as Vinītamati obtained the government, he conquered the ten cardinal points by the virtue of his horse and his sword. And, by the might of his calamity-averting ring, his kingdom was free from sickness and famine, like that of Rāma.

Now, once on a time, there came to that king from a foreign country a mendicant, named Ratnacandramati, who was among other disputants like the lion among elephants. The king, who was fond of accomplished men, entertained him, and the mendicant challenged him to dispute on the following terms, which he uttered in the form of a verse:

“If thou art vanquished, O King, thou must adopt the law of Buddha; if I am vanquished, I will abandon the rags of a Buddhist mendicant, and listen to the teaching of the Brāhmans.”

The king accepted this challenge, and argued with the mendicant for seven days, and on the eighth day the mendicant conquered that king, who in the dispute with Udayavatī had conquered the “Hammer of Shavelings.”[13] Then faith arose in the breast of the king, and he adopted the Buddha law taught by that mendicant, which is rich in the merit of benefiting all creatures; and becoming devoted to the worship of Jina, he built monasteries and almshouses for Buddhist mendicants, Brāhmans, and other sectaries, and all men generally.

And being subdued in spirit by the practice of that law, he asked that mendicant to teach him the rule for discipline leading to the rank of a Bodhisattva, a rule which involves benefits to all. And the mendicant said to him:

“King, the great discipline of a Bodhisattva is to be performed by those who are free from sin, and by no others. Now you are not tainted with any sin which is palpable, and therefore visible to men like myself, but find out, by the following method, if you have any minute sin, and so destroy it.”

With these words the mendicant taught him a charm[14] for producing dreams, and the king, after having had a dream, said to the mendicant in the morning:

“Teacher, I fancied in my dream last night that I went to the other world, and being hungry I asked for some food. And then some men with maces in their hands said to me:

‘Eat, O King, these numerous grains of hot sand earned by you, which you gave long ago to the hungry Brāhman, when he came to beg of you. If you give away ten crores of gold, you will be liberated from this guilt.’

When the men with maces had said this to me, I woke up, and lo! the night had come to an end.”

When the king had related his dream, he gave away, by order of the mendicant, ten crores[15] of gold as an atonement for his sin, and again employed the charm for producing dreams. And again he had that dream, and in the morning when he got up he related it, and said:

“Last night also those mace-bearers in the other world gave me sand to eat, when I was hungry, and then I said to them:

‘Why should I eat this sand, though I have bestowed alms?’

Then they said to me:

‘Your gift was of no avail, for among the gold coins was one belonging to a Brāhman.’

When I heard this I woke up.”

Having told his dream in these words, the king gave away another ten crores of gold to beggars.

And again, when the night came, he used that charm for producing dreams, and again he had a dream, and next morning when he got up he related it in the following words:

“Last night too those men in the other world gave me sand to eat in my dream, and when I questioned them, they said this to me:

‘King, that gift of yours also is of no avail, for to-day a Brāhman has been robbed and murdered in a forest in your country by bandits, and you did not protect him, so your gift is of no avail on account of your not protecting your subjects; so give to-day double the gift of yesterday.’

When I heard this I woke up.”

After the king had related his dream to his spiritual guide in these words, he gave double his former gift.

Then he said to the mendicant:

“Teacher, how can men like myself obey in this world a law which admits of so many infractions?”

When the mendicant heard that, he said:

“Wise men should not allow such a little thing to damp their ardour in the keeping of the law of righteousness. The gods themselves protect firm men, endowed with perseverance, that swerve not from their duty, and they bring their wishes to fulfilment. Have you not heard the story of the adorable Bodhisattva in his former birth as a boar? Listen, I will tell you.


163dd. The Holy Boar, the Monkey and the Lions

Long ago there dwelt in a cavern in the Vindhya mountains a wise boar, who was an incarnation of a portion of a Buddha, together with his friend a monkey. He was a benefactor of all creatures, and he remained always in the society of that friend, honouring guests, and so he spent the time in occupations suited to him. But once on a time there came on a storm lasting for five days, which was terrible, in that it hindered with its unintermitting rainfall the movements of all living creatures. On the fifth day, as the boar was lying asleep with the monkey at night, there came to the door of the cave a lion with his mate and his cub.

Then the lion said to his mate:

“During this long period of bad weather we shall certainly die of hunger from not obtaining any animal to eat.”

The lioness answered:

“It is clear that hunger will prevent all of us from surviving, so you two had better eat me and so save your lives. For you are my lord and master, and this son of ours is our very life; you will easily get another mate like me, so ensure the welfare of you two by devouring me.”

Now, as chance would have it, that noble boar woke up and heard the conversation of the Hon and his mate. And he was delighted and thought to himself:

“The idea of my receiving such guests on such a night in such a storm! Ah! to-day my merit in a former state of existence has brought forth fruit. So let me satiate these guests with this body that perishes in a moment, while I have a chance of doing so.”

Having thus reflected, the boar rose up, and went out, and said to the lion with an affectionate voice:

“My good friend, do not despond. For here I am ready to be eaten by you and your mate and your cub: so eat me.”

When the boar said this the Hon was delighted, and said to his mate:

“Let this cub eat first, then I will eat, and you shall eat after me.”

She agreed, and first the cub ate some of the flesh of the boar, and then the Hon himself began to eat. And while he was eating, the noble boar said to him:

“Drink my blood quickly, before it sinks into the ground, and satisfy your hunger with my flesh, and let your mate eat the rest.”

While the boar was saying this, the Hon gradually devoured his flesh until nothing but bones was left, but still the virtuous boar did not die, for his life remained in him, as if to see what would be the end of his endurance. And in the meanwhile the Honess, exhausted with hunger, died in the cave, and the Hon went off somewhere or other with his cub, and the night came to an end.

At this juncture his friend the monkey woke up, and went out, and seeing the boar reduced to such a condition said to him, in the utmost excitement: “Who reduced you to such a state? Tell me, my friend, if you can.” Thereupon the heroic boar told him the whole story. Then the monkey prostrated himself at his feet, and said to him with tears:

“You must be a portion of some divinity, since you have thus rescued yourself from this animal nature: so tell me any wish that you may have, and I will endeavour to fulfil it for you.”

When the monkey said this to the boar, the boar answered:

“Friend, the only wish that I have is one difficult for even Destiny to fulfil. For my heart longs that I may recover my body as before, and that this unfortunate Honess, that died of hunger before my eyes, may return to life, and satiate her hunger by devouring me.”

While the boar was saying this, the God of Justice appeared in bodily form, and stroking him with his hand, turned him into a chief of sages possessing a celestial body. And he said to him:

“It was I that assumed the form of this Hon, and Honess, and cub, and produced this whole illusion, because I wished to conquer thee, who art exclusively intent on benefiting thy fellow-creatures; but thou, possessing perfect goodness, gavest thy life for others, and so hast triumphed over me, the God of Justice, and gained this rank of a chief of sages.”

The sage, hearing this, and seeing the God of Justice standing in front of him, said:

“Holy lord, this rank of chief of sages, even though attained, gives me no pleasure, since my friend this monkey has not as yet thrown off his animal nature.”

When the God of Justice heard this, he turned the monkey also into a sage. Of a truth, association with the great produces great benefit. Then the God of Justice and the dead lioness disappeared.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“So you see, King, that it is easy for those who in the strength of goodness do not relax their efforts after virtue, and are aided by gods, to attain the ends which they desire.”

When the generous King Vinītamati had heard this tale from the Buddhist mendicant, he again used, when the night came, that charm for obtaining a dream.

And after he had had a dream, he told it the next morning to the mendicant:

“I remember a certain divine hermit said to me in my dream:

‘Son, you are now free from sin, enter on the discipline for obtaining the rank of a Bodhisattva.’

And having heard that speech I woke up this morning with a mind at ease.”

When the king had said this to the mendicant, who was his spiritual guide, he took upon himself, with his permission, that difficult vow on an auspicious day; and then he remained continually showering favours on suitors, and yet his wealth proved inexhaustible, for prosperity is the result of virtue.

One day a Brāhman suitor came and said to him:

“King, I am a Brāhman, an inhabitant of the city of Pāṭaliputra. There a Brāhman-Rākṣasa has occupied my sacrificial fire-chamber and seized my son, and no expedient which I can make use of is of any avail against him. So I have come here to petition you, who are the wishing-tree of suppliants; give me that ring of yours that removes all noxious things, in order that I may have success.”

When the Brāhman made this request to the king, he gave him without reluctance the ring he had obtained from Kālajihva. And when the Brāhman departed with it, the fame of the king’s Bodhisattva-vow was spread abroad throughout the world.

Afterwards there came to him one day another guest, a prince named Indukalaśa, from the northern region. The self-denying king, who knew that the prince was of high lineage, showed him respect, and asked him what he desired.

The prince answered:

“You are celebrated on earth as the wishing-stone of all suitors; you would not send away disappointed a man who even asked you for your life. Now I have come to you as a suppliant, because I have been conquered and turned out of my father’s kingdom by my brother, whose name is Kanakakalaśa. So give me, hero, your excellent sword and horse, in order that by their virtue I may conquer the pretender and obtain my kingdom.”

When King Vinītamati heard that, he gave that prince his horse and his sword, though they were the two talismanic jewels that protected his kingdom; and so unshaken was his self-denial that he never hesitated for a moment, though his ministers heaved sighs with downcast faces. So the prince, having obtained the horse and sword, went and conquered his brother by their aid, and got possession of his kingdom.

But his brother Kanakakalaśa, who was deprived of the kingdom he had seized, came to the capital of that King Vinītamati; and there he was preparing in his grief to enter the fire, but Vinītamati, hearing of it, said to his ministers:

“This good man has been reduced to this state by my fault, so I will do him the justice which I owe him, by giving him my kingdom. Of what use is this kingdom to me, unless it is employed to benefit my fellow-creatures? As I have no children, let this man be my son and inherit my kingdom.”

After saying this, the king summoned Kanakakalaśa, and in spite of the opposition of his ministers gave him the kingdom.

And after he had given away the kingdom, he immediately left the city with unwavering mind, accompanied by his two wives. And his subjects, when they saw it, followed him distracted, bedewing the ground with their tears, and uttering such laments as these:

“Alas! the nectar-rayed moon had become full so as to refresh the world, and now a cloud has suddenly descended and hid it from our eyes. Our king, the wishing-tree of his subjects, had begun to satisfy the desires of all living creatures, when lo! he is removed somewhere or other by fate.”

Then Vinītamati at last prevailed on them to return, and with unshaken resolution went on his way, with his wives, to the forest, without a carriage.

And in course of time he reached a desert without water or tree, with sands heated by the sun, which appeared as if created by Destiny to test his firmness. Being thirsty and exhausted with the fatigue of the long journey, he reclined for a moment in a spot in this desert, and both he and his two wives were overtaken by sleep. When he woke up and looked about him, he beheld there a great and wonderful garden, produced by the surpassing excellence of his own virtue. It had in it tanks full of cool pure water adorned with blooming lotuses, it was carpeted with dark green grass, its trees bent with the weight of their fruit, it had broad, high, smooth slabs of rock in shady places; in fact it seemed like Nandana drawn down from heaven by the power of the king’s generosity.

The king looked again and again, and was wondering whether it could be a dream, or a delusion, or a favour bestowed on him by the gods, when suddenly he heard a speech uttered in the air by two Siddhas, who were roaming through the sky in the shape of a pair of swans:

“King, why should you wonder thus at the efficacy of your own virtue? So dwell at your ease in this garden of perennial fruits and flowers.”

When King Vinītamati heard this speech of the Siddhas, he remained in that garden with mind at ease, practising austerities, together with his wives.

And one day, when he was on a slab of rock, he beheld near him a certain man about to commit suicide by hanging himself. He went to him immediately, and with kindly words talked him over, and prevailed on him not to destroy himself, and asked him the reason of his wishing to do so.

Then the man said:

“Listen, I will tell you the whole story from the beginning. I am the son of Nāgaśūra, Somaśūra by name, of the race of Soma. It was said by those versed in the study of astrology that my nativity prognosticated that I should be a thief, so my father, afraid that that would come to pass, instructed me diligently in the law. Though I studied the law, I was led by association with bad companions to take to a career of thieving. For who is able to alter the actions of a man in his previous births?

“Then I was one day caught among some thieves by the guards, and taken to the place of impalement, in order to be put to death. At that moment a great elephant belonging to the king, which had gone mad, and broken its fastening, and was killing people in all directions, came to that very place. The executioners, alarmed at the elephant, left me and fled somewhere or other, and I escaped in that confusion and made off. But I heard from people that my father had died on hearing that I was led off to execution, and that my mother had followed him. Then I was distracted with sorrow, and as I was wandering about despondent, intent on self-destruction, I happened to reach, in course of time, this great uninhabited wood.

No sooner had I entered it than a celestial nymph suddenly revealed herself to me, and approached me, and consoling me, said to me:

‘My son, this retreat, which you have come to, belongs to the royal sage Vinītamati, so your sin is destroyed, and from him you shall learn wisdom.’

After saying this, she disappeared; and I wandered about in search of that royal sage, but not being able to find him, I was on the point of abandoning the body, out of disappointment, when I was seen by you.”

When Somaśūra had said this, that royal sage took him to his own hut, and made himself known to him, and honoured him as a guest; and after he had taken food, the kingly hermit, among many pious discourses, told him, as he listened submissively, the following tale, with the object of dissuading him from ignorance.


163ddd. The Brāhman Devabhūti and his Chaste Wife

Ignorance, my son, is to be avoided, for it brings harm in both worlds upon men of bewildered intellects: listen to this legend of sacred story. There lived in Pañcāla, of old time, a Brāhman named Devabhūti, and that Brāhman, who was learned in the Vedas, had a chaste wife named Bhogadattā. One day when he had gone to bathe, his wife went into the kitchen-garden to get vegetables, and saw a donkey belonging to a washerman eating them. So she took up a stick and ran after the donkey, and the animal fell into a pit, as it was trying to escape, and broke its hoof. When its master heard of that, he came in a passion, and beat with a stick and kicked the Brāhman woman. Accordingly she, being pregnant, had a miscarriage; but the washerman returned home with his donkey.

Then her husband, hearing of it, came home after bathing, and after seeing his wife, went, in his distress, and complained to the chief magistrate of the town. The foolish man immediately had the washerman, whose name was Balāsura, brought before him, and, after hearing the pleadings of both parties, delivered this judgment:

“Since the donkey’s hoof is broken, let the Brāhman carry the donkey’s load for the washerman until the donkey is again fit for work. And let the washerman make the Brāhman’s wife pregnant again, since he made her miscarry. Let this be the punishment of the two parties respectively.”

When the Brāhman heard this, he and his wife, in their despair, took poison and died. And when the king heard of it, he put to death that inconsiderate judge, who had caused the death of a Brāhman, and he had to be born for a long time in the bodies of animals.[16]


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“So people, who are obscured by the darkness of ignorance, stray into the evil paths of their vices, and not setting in front of them the lamp of sound treatises, of a surety stumble.”

When the royal sage had said this, Somaśūra begged him to instruct him further, and Vinītamati, in order to train him aright, said:

“Listen, my son, I will teach you in due order the doctrine of perfections.


163d (1). The Generous Induprabha [17]

There lived a long time ago in Kurukṣetra a king of the name of Malayaprabha. One day the king was about to give money to his subjects in a time of famine. But his ministers dissuaded him from doing so, out of avarice; thereupon his son Induprabha said to him:

“Father, why do you neglect your subjects at the bidding of wicked ministers? For you are their wishing-tree, and they are your cows of plenty.”

When his son persisted in saying this, the king, who was under the influence of his ministers, got annoyed, and said to him:

“What, my son! do I possess inexhaustible wealth? If, without inexhaustible wealth, I am to be a wishing-tree to my subjects, why do you not take upon yourself that office?”

When the son heard that speech of his father’s, he made a vow that he would attain by austerities the condition of a wishing-tree, or die in the attempt.

Having formed this determination, the heroic prince went off to a forest where austerities were practised, and as soon as he entered it, the famine ceased. And when Indra was pleased with his severe austerities, he craved a boon from him, and became a wishing-tree in his own city. And he seemed to attract the distant, and to summon suitors with his boughs stretched out in all directions, and with the songs of his birds. And every day he granted the most difficult boons to his petitioners. And he made his father’s subjects as happy as if they were in Paradise, since they had nothing left to wish for.

One day Indra came to him and said to him, tempting him:

“You have fulfilled the duty of benefiting others; come to Paradise.”

Then that prince, who had become a wishing-tree, answered him:

“When these other trees with their pleasing flowers and fruits are for ever engaged in benefiting others, regardless of their own interests, how can I, who am a wishing-tree, disappoint so many men, by going to heaven for the sake of my own happiness?”

When Indra heard this noble answer of his, he said:

“Then let all these subjects come to heaven also.”

Then the prince, who had become a wishing-tree, replied:

“If you are pleased with me, take all these subjects to heaven; I do not care for it: I will perform a great penance for the sole object of benefiting others.”

When Indra heard this, he praised him as an incarnation of Buddha, and being pleased, granted his petition, and returned to heaven, taking those subjects with him. And Induprabha left the shape of a tree, and living in the forest, obtained by austerities the rank of a Bodhisattva.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“So those who are devoted to charity attain success. And now I have told you the doctrine of the perfection of charity, hear that of the perfection of chastity.


163d (2). The Parrot who was taught Virtue by the King of the Parrots

A long time ago there lived on the Vindhya mountain a continent king of parrots, named Hemaprabha, who was an incarnation of a portion of a Buddha, and was rich in chastity that he had practised during a former birth. He remembered his former state and was a teacher of virtue. He had for warder a parrot named Cārumati, who was a fool enslaved to his passions. Once on a time a female parrot, his mate, was killed by a fowler, who was laying snares, and he was so much grieved at being separated from her, that he was reduced to a miserable condition.

Then Hemaprabha, the wise king of the parrots, in order by an artifice to rescue him from his grief, told him this false tale for his good:

“Your wife is not dead, she has escaped from the snare of the fowler, for I saw her alive a moment ago. Come, I will show her to you.”

Having said this, the king took Cārumati through the air to a lake.

There he showed him his own reflection in the water, and said to him:

“Look! here is your wife!”

When the foolish parrot heard that, and saw his own reflection in the water, he went into it joyfully, and tried to embrace and kiss his wife.

But not being embraced in return by his beloved, and not hearing her voice, he said to himself:

“Why does not my beloved embrace me and speak to me?”

Supposing therefore that she was angry with him, he went and brought an āmaláka fruit, and dropped it on his own reflection, thinking that it was his beloved, in order to coax her. The āmaláka fruit sank into the water, and rose again to the surface, and the parrot, supposing that his gift had been rejected by his beloved, went full of grief to King Hemaprabha and said to him:

“King, that wife of mine will not touch me or speak to me. Moreover she rejected the āmalaka fruit which I gave her.”

When the king heard that, he said to him slowly, as. if he were reluctant to tell it:

“I ought not to tell you this, but nevertheless I will tell you, because I love you so much. Your wife is at present in love with another, so how can she show you affection? And I will furnish you with ocular proof of it in this very tank.”

After saying this, he took him there and showed him their two reflections close together in the tank. When the foolish parrot saw it, he thought his wife was in the embrace of another male parrot, and turning round disgusted, he said to the king:

“Your Majesty, this is the result of my folly in not listening to your advice. So tell me, now, what I ought to do.”

When the warder said this, King Hemaprabha, thinking that he had now an opportunity of instructing him, thus addressed him:

“It is better to take Hālāhala poison,[18] it is better to wreathe a serpent round one’s neck, than to repose confidence in females, a calamity against which neither charms nor talismanic jewels avail. Females being, like the winds, very changeful, and enveloped with a thick cloud of passion,[19] defile those who are walking in the right path, and disgrace them altogether. So wise men, of firm nature, should not cleave to them, but should practise chastity, in order to obtain the rank of sages who have subdued their passions.”

Cārumati, having been thus instructed by the king, renounced the society of females, and gradually became continent like Buddha.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“So you see, those that are rich in chastity deliver others. And now that I have instructed you in the perfection of chastity, listen to the perfection of patience.


163d (3). The Patient Hermit Śubhanaya

There lived on the Kedāra mountain a great hermit, named Śubhanaya, who was for ever bathing in the waters of the Mandākinī, and was gentle and emaciated with penance. One night some robbers came there to look for some gold, which they had previously buried there, but they could not find it anywhere.

Accordingly, thinking that in that uninhabited place it could have been carried off only by the hermit, they entered his cell and said to him:

“Ah! you hypocritical hermit, give up our gold, which you have taken from the earth, for you have succeeded in robbing us, who are robbers by profession.”

When the hermit, who had not taken the treasure, was falsely reproached in these words by the robbers, he said:

“I did not take away your gold, and I have never seen any gold.”

Then the good hermit was beaten with sticks by those robbers, and yet the truthful man continued to tell the same story; and then the robbers cut off, one after another, his hands and his feet, thinking that he was obstinate, and finally gouged out his eyes. But when they found that, in spite of all this, he continued to tell the same tale without flinching, they came to the conclusion that someone else had stolen their gold, and they returned by the way that they came.

The next morning a king, named Śekharajyoti, a pupil of that hermit’s, who had come to have an interview with him, saw him in that state. Then, being tortured with sorrow for his spiritual guide,[20] he questioned him, and found out the state of the case, and had a search made for those robbers, and had them brought to that very spot.

And he was about to have them put to death, when the hermit said to him:

“King, if you put them to death, I will kill myself. If the sword did this work on me, how are they in fault? And if they put the sword in motion, anger put them in motion, and their anger was excited by the loss of their gold, and that was due to my sins in a previous state of existence, and that was due to my ignorance, so my ignorance is the only thing that has injured me. So my ignorance should be slain by me. Moreover, even if these men deserved to be put to death for doing me an injury, ought not their lives to be saved on account of their having done me a benefit? For if they had not done to me what they have done, there would have been no one with regard to whom I could have practised patience, of which the fruit is emancipation. So they have done me a thorough benefit.”

With many speeches of this kind did the patient hermit instruct the king, and so he delivered the robbers from punishment. And on account of the excellence of his asceticism his body immediately became unmutilated as before, and that moment he attained emancipation.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“Thus patient men escape from the world of births. I have now explained to you the perfection of patience; listen to the perfection of perseverance.


163d (4). The Persevering Young Brāhman

Once on a time there was a young Brāhman of the name of Mālādhara: he beheld one day a prince of the Siddhas flying through the air. Wishing to rival him, he fastened to his sides wings of grass, and continually leaping up, he tried to learn the art of flying in the air. And as he continued to make this useless attempt every day, he was at last seen by the prince while he was roaming through the air.

And the prince thought:

“I ought to take pity on this boy who shows spirit in struggling earnestly to attain an impossible object, for it is my business to patronise such.”

Thereupon, being pleased, he took the Brāhman boy, by his magic power, upon his shoulder, and made him one of his followers.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“Thus you see that even gods are pleased with perseverance. I have now set before you the perfection of perseverance; hear the perfection of meditation.


163d (5). The Merchant who fell in Love with a Painting

Of old time there dwelt in the Carnatic a rich merchant, named Vijayamālin, and he had a son named Malayamālin. One day Malayamālin, when he was grown up, went with his father to the king’s court, and there he saw the daughter of the King Indukeśarin, Induyaśas by name. That maiden, like a bewildering creeper of love, entered the heart of the young merchant as soon as he saw her. Then he returned home, and remained in a state of pallor, sleepless at night, and during the day cowering with contracted limbs, having taken upon himself the kumuda vow.[21] And thinking continually of her, he was averse to food and all other things of the kind, and even when questioned by his relations he gave no more answer than if he had been dumb.

Then, one day, the king’s painter, whose name was Mantharaka, an intimate friend of his, said to him in private, when in this state owing to the sorrow of separation:

“Friend, why do you remain leaning against the wall like a man in a picture? Like a lifeless image, you neither eat, nor hear, nor see.”

When his friend the painter asked him this question persistently, the merchant’s son at last told him his desire. The painter said to him:

“It is not fitting that you, a merchant’s son, should fall in love with a princess. Let the swan desire the beautiful face[22] of the lotuses of all ordinary lakes, but what has he to do with the delight of enjoying the lotus of that lake which is the navel of Viṣṇu?”

Still the painter could not prevent him from nursing his passion; so he painted the princess on a piece of canvas, and gave her picture to him to solace his longing, and to enable him to while away the time. And the young merchant spent his time in gazing on, coaxing, and toucing and adorning her picture, and he fancied that it was the real Princess Induyaśas, and gradually became absorbed in her, and did all that he did under that belief.[23] And in course of time he was so engrossed by that fancy that he seemed to see her, though she was only a painted figure, talking to him and kissing him. Then he was happy, because he had obtained in imagination union with his beloved, and he was contented, because the whole world was for him contained in that piece of painted canvas.[24]

One night, when the moon was rising, he took the picture and went out of his house with it to a garden, to amuse himself with his beloved. And there he put down the picture at the foot of a tree, and went to a distance to pick flowers for his darling. At that moment he was seen by a hermit, named Vinayajyoti, who came down from heaven out of compassion, to rescue him from his delusion. He by his supernatural power painted in one part of the picture a live black cobra, and stood near invisible.

In the meanwhile Malayamālin returned there, after gathering those flowers, and seeing the black serpent on the canvas, he reflected:

“Where does this serpent come from now? Has it been created by fate to protect this fair one, the treasure-house of beauty?”

Thus reflecting, he adorned with flowers the fair one on the canvas; and fancying that she surrendered herself to him, he embraced her, and asked her the above question, and at that very moment the hermit threw an illusion over him, which made him see her bitten by the black snake and unconscious. Then he forgot that it was only canvas, and exclaiming, “Alas! alas!” he fell distracted on the earth, like a Vidyādhara brought down by the canvas acting as a talisman. But soon he recovered consciousness, and rose up weeping, and determined on suicide, and climbed up a lofty tree and threw himself from its top.

But, as he was falling, the great hermit appeared to him, and bore him up in his hands, and consoled him, and said to him:

“Foolish boy! do you not know that the real princess is in her palace, and that this princess on the canvas is a painted figure devoid of life? So who is it that you embrace, or who has been bitten by the serpent? Or what is this delusion of attributing reality to the creation of your own desire that has taken possession of your passionate heart? Why do you not investigate the truth with equal intensity of contemplation, in order that you may not again become the victim of such sorrows?”

When the hermit had said this to the young merchant, the night of his delusion was dispersed, and he recovered his senses, and, bowing before the hermit, he said to him:

“Holy one, by your favour I have been rescued from this calamity; do me the favour of rescuing me also from this changeful world.”

When Malayamālin made this request to the hermit, who was a Bodhisattva, he instructed him in his own knowledge and disappeared. The Malayamālin went to the forest, and by the power of his asceticism he came to know the real truth about that which is to be rejected and that which is to be chosen, with the reasons, and attained the rank of an Arhat.[25] And the compassionate man returned, and, by teaching them knowledge, he made King Indukeśarin and his citizens obtain salvation.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“So even untruth, in the case of those mighty in contemplation, becomes true. I have now explained the perfection of contemplation; listen to the perfection of wisdom.


163d (6). The Robber who won over Yama’s Secretary [26]

Long ago there lived in Siṃhaladvīpa a robber, of the name of Siṃhavikrama, who since his birth had nourished his body with other men’s wealth stolen from every quarter. In time he grew old, and desisting from his occupation, he reflected:

“What resources have I in the other world? Whom shall I betake myself to for protection there? If I betake myself to Śiva or Viṣṇu, what value will they attach to me, when they have gods, hermits and others to worship them? So I will worship Citragupta,[27] who alone records the good and evil deeds of men. He may deliver me by his power, for he, being a secretary, does alone the work of Brahmā and Śiva: he writes down or erases in a moment the whole world, which is in his hand.”

Having thus reflected, he began to devote himself to Citragupta; he honoured him specially, and, in order to please him, kept continually feeding Brāhmans.

While he was carrying on this system of conduct, one day Citragupta came to the house of that robber, in the form of a guest, to examine into his real feelings.

The robber received him courteously, entertained him, and gave him a present, and then said to him:

“Say this: ‘May Citragupta be propitious to you.’”

Then Citragupta, who was disguised as a Brāhman, said:

“Why do you neglect Śiva and Viṣṇu, and the other gods, and devote yourself to Citragupta?”

When the robber Siṃhavikrama heard that, he said to him:

“What business is that of yours? I do not need any other gods but him.”

Then Citragupta, wearing the form of a Brāhman, went on to say to him:

“Well, if you will give me your wife, I will say it.”

When Siṃhavikrama heard that, he was pleased, and said to him:

“I hereby give you my wife, in order to please the god whom I have specially chosen for my own.”

When Citragupta heard that, he revealed himself to him, and said:

“I am Citragupta himself, and I am pleased with you, so tell me what I am to do for you.”

Then Siṃhavikrama was exceedingly pleased, and said to him:

“Holy one, take such order as that I shall not die.”

Then Citragupta said:

“Death is one from whom it is impossible to guard people; but still I will devise a plan to save you: listen to it. Ever since Death was consumed by Śiva, being angry on account of Śveta, and was created again in this world because he was required,[28] wherever Śveta lives, he abstains from injuring other people, as well as Śveta himself, for he is restrained by the command of the god. And at present the hermit Śveta is on the other side of the eastern ocean, in a grove of ascetics beyond the River Taraṅgiṇī. That grove cannot be invaded by Death, so I will take you and place you there. But you must not return to this side of the Taraṅgiṇī. However, if you do return out of carelessness, and Death seizes you, I will devise some way of escape for you, when you have come to the other world.”

When Citragupta had said this, he took the delighted Siṃhavikrama and placed him in that grove of asceticism belonging to Śveta, and then disappeared. And after some time Death went to the hither bank of the River Taraṅgiṇī, to carry off Siṃhavikrama. While there, he created by his delusive power a heavenly nymph, and sent her to him, as he saw no other means of getting hold of him. The fair one went and approached Siṃhavikrama, and artfully enslaved him, fascinating him with her wealth of beauty. After some days had passed, she entered the Taraṅgiṇī, which was disturbed with waves, giving out that she wished to see her relations. And while Siṃhavikrama, who had followed her, was looking at her from the bank, she slipped in the middle of the river.

And there she uttered a piercing cry, as if she were being carried away by the stream, exclaiming:

“My husband, can you see me carried away by the stream without saving me? Are you a jackal in courage, and not a lion as your name denotes?”

When Siṃhavikrama heard that he rushed into the river, and the nymph pretended to be swept away by the current, and when he followed her to save her, she soon led him to the other bank. When he reached it, Death threw his noose over his neck and captured him; for destruction is ever impending over those whose minds are captivated by objects of sense.

Then the careless Siṃhavikrama was led off by Death to the hall of Yama, and there Citragupta, whose favour he had long ago won, saw him, and said to him in private[29]:

“If you are asked here whether you will stay in hell first or in heaven, ask to be allowed to take your period in heaven first. And while you live in heaven, acquire merit, in order to ensure the permanence of your stay there. And then perform severe asceticism, in order to expiate your sin.”

When Citragupta said this to Siṃhavikrama, who was standing there abashed, with face fixed on the ground, he readily consented to do it.

And a moment afterwards Yama said to Citragupta:

“Has this robber any amount of merit to his credit or not?”

Then Citragupta said:

“Indeed he is hospitable, and he bestowed his own wife on a suitor, in order to please his favourite deity; so he has to go to heaven for a day of the gods.”

When Yama heard this, he said to Siṃhavikrama:

“Tell me, which will you take first, your happiness or your misery?”

Then Siṃhavikrama entreated that he might have his happiness first. So Yama ordered his chariot to be brought, and Siṃhavikrama mounted it and went off to heaven, remembering the words of Citragupta.

There he rigidly observed a vow of bathing in the Ganges of heaven, and of muttering prayers, and remained indifferent to the enjoyments of the place, and so he obtained the privilege of dwelling there for another year of the gods. Thus in course of time he obtained a right to perpetual residence in heaven, by virtue of his severe asceticism; and by propitiating Śiva his sin was burnt up, and he obtained knowledge. Then the messengers of hell were not able to look him in the face, and Citragupta blotted out the record of his sin on his birch-bark register, and Yama was silent.


163d. How King Vinītamati became a Holy Man

“Thus Siṃhavikrama, though a robber, obtained emancipation by virtue of true discernment; and now I have explained to you the perfection of discernment. And thus, my son, the wise embark on these six perfections taught by Buddha, as on a ship, and so cross the ocean of temporal existence.”

While Somaśūra was being thus instructed in the forest by King Vinītamati, who had attained the rank of a Bodhisattva, the sun heard these religious lessons, and became subdued, and assuming the hue of sunset as a red robe of a Buddhist, entered the cavern of the western mountain. Then King Vinītamati and Somaśūra performed their evening rites, according to pious usage, and spent the night there. And the next day Vinītamati went on to teach Somaśūra the law of Buddha, with all its secrets.[30] Then Somaśūra built a hut at the foot of a tree, and remained there in the wood, sitting at the feet of that instructor, absorbed in contemplation. And in course of time those two, the teacher and the pupil, attained supernatural powers, the result of abstraction, and gained the highest illumination.

And in the meanwhile Indukalaśa came, out of jealousy, and by the might of his sword and horse ejected his brother Kanakakalaśa from the kingdom of Ahicchatra also, which Vinītamati gave him when he was afflicted at losing his first kingdom. He, having been deposed from his throne, wandered about with two or three of his ministers, and, as chance would have it, reached the grove which was the retreat of Vinītamati. And while he was looking for fruits and water, as he suffered from severe hunger and thirst, Indra burnt up the wood by his magic power, and made it as it was before, wishing to entrap Vinītamati, by making it impossible for him to show such hospitality to every wayfarer.[31] And Vinītamati, beholding the grove, which was his retreat, suddenly turned into a desert, roamed about hither and thither for a short time, in a state of bewilderment. And then he saw Kanakakalaśa, who in the course of his wanderings had come there with his followers, and was now his guest, and he and his train were all on the point of death from hunger.

And the hospitable Bodhisattva approached the king, when he was in this state, and asked him his story, and then he exerted his discernment, and said to him:

“Though this wood has become a desert, and affords no hospitable entertainment, still I can tell you an expedient for saving your lives in your present state of hunger. Only half a kos from here there is a deer, which has been killed by falling into a hole; go and save your lives by eating its flesh.”

His guest, who was suffering from hunger, took his advice, and set out for that place with his followers, but the Bodhisattva Vinītamati got there before him. He reached that hole, and by his supernatural power assumed the form of a deer, and then he threw himself into it, and sacrificed his life for the sake of his petitioner.

Then Kanakakalaśa and his followers slowly reached that hole, and found the deer lying dead in it. So they pulled it out, and made a fire with grass and thorns, and roasted its flesh, and devoured it all. In the meanwhile the Bodhisattva’s two wives, the daughter of the Nāga and the princess, seeing that the wood of their retreat had been destroyed, and not seeing their husband, were much distressed, and went and told what had happened to Somaśūra, whom they roused from deep meditation. He soon discerned by contemplation what his spiritual teacher had done, and he told the news to his wives, distressing as it was to them. And he quickly went with them to that hole, in which his spiritual guide had sacrificed himself for his guests. There the princess and the Nāga’s daughter, seeing that only the bones and horns of the deer, into which their husband had turned himself, remained, mourned for him. And the two ladies, who were devoted to their husband, took his horns and bones, and brought a heap of wood from their hermitage, and entered the fire. And then Kanakakalaśa and his companions, who were there, being grieved when they heard the story, entered the fire also.

When all this had taken place, Somaśūra, unable to endure the grief which he felt for the loss of his spiritual teacher, took to a bed of darbha grass with the intention of yielding up his breath.

And then Indra appeared to him in person and said to him:

“Do not do so, for I did all this to try your spiritual teacher. And I have now sprinkled with amṛta the ashes and bones, which were all that remained of him, and his wives, and his guests, and restored them all to life.”[32]

When Somaśūra heard Indra say this, he worshipped him, and rose up delighted, and went and looked, and lo! his spiritual guide the Bodhisattva Vinītamati had risen up again alive, with his wives, and Kanakakalaśa, and his attendants. Then he honoured with an inclination of the head, and worshipped with gifts of flowers and respectful speeches, his spiritual father, who had returned from the other world with his wives, and feasted his eyes upon him. And while Kanakakalaśa and his followers were respectfully testifying their devotion to him, all the gods came there, headed by Brahmā and Viṣṇu. And pleased with the goodness of Vinītamati, they all gave him by their divine power boons earned by his disinterestedness, and then disappeared. And Somaśūra and the others told their history, and then Vinītamati went with them to another and a heavenly wood of ascetics.


163. Story of Mṛgāṅkadatta

“‘So you see that in this world even those who are reduced to ashes meet again, much more men who are alive and can go where they will. So, my son, no more of abandoning the body! Go, for you are a brave man, and you shall certainly be reunited with Mṛgāṅkadatta.’

When I had heard this tale from the old female ascetic, I bowed before her, and set out, sword in hand, with renewed hope, and in course of time I reached this forest, and was, as fate would have it, captured by these Śavaras, who were seeking a victim for Durgā. And after wounding me in fight, they bound me, and brought me as a prisoner to this king of the Śavaras, Māyāvaṭu. Here I have found you, my sovereign, accompanied by two or three of your ministers, and by your favour I am as happy as if I were in my own house.”

When Mṛgāṅkadatta, who was in the palace of the Śavara prince, had heard this story of the adventures of his friend Guṇākara told by himself, he was much pleased, and after he had seen the proper remedies applied to the body of that minister who had been wounded in fight, as the day was advancing, he rose up with his other friends, and performed the duties of the day.

And he remained there for some days engaged in restoring Guṇākara to health, though eager to go to Ujjayinī, in order to be reunited with his other friends and to obtain Śaśāṅkavatī.[33]

Footnotes and references:


Also known as Ahikṣētra, Ahikṣatra and Adhichhatrā. The later form is found in the inscriptions (see Epigraphia Indica, vol. ii, p. 243). It is referred to in the Mahābhārata, Ādiparva, sect. clxviii, as Chhatravatī, and is the’O-hi-chi-ta-lo of Hiuen Tsiang (a.d. 629). For his account see S. Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, vol. i, pp. 200-201. It has been identified by Cunningham (Ancient Geography of India, vol. i, p. 359 et seq.) with Rāmnagar, twenty miles west of Bareli, in Rohilkhand. The name Ahicchatrā is now confined to the great fortress in the lands of ‘Ālampūr Kōṭ and Nasratgañj. It was the capital of North Pañcāla or Rohilkhand. (See Führer, Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the N.-W. Provinces and Oudh, p. 26 et seq.; and Nundolal Dey, “Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Mediaeval India,” Indian Antiquary, vol. xlviii, 1919, Supp., pp. 2-3.) In Jaina works it is described as the chief town of Jaṅgala, another name for North Pañcāla (Weber, Indische Studien, vol. xvi, p. 398).—n.m.p.


Or more correctly Krośa (literally, a “shout,” as expressing the range of the voice). It is usually taken as representing one and an eighth miles. See Fleet, “Imaginative Yojanas,” Joum. Roy. As. Soc., 1912, p. 237.—n.m.p.


The serpent who, at the Churning of the Ocean, acted as a rope by twining round Mount Mandara, which was used as the churning-stick. According to the Rāmāyaṇa, his city, Bhōgavatī, lies between Kūñjara and Ṛṣabha, two of the five mountains of Ceylon.— n.m.p.


Or Ananta, the giant cobra on which Viṣṇu is often represented sleeping. He has a thousand heads, and supports the earth on his hood. With Vāsuki and Takṣaka he rules the Nāgas.—n.m.p.


See Vol. II, p. 77n1.—n.m.p.


More usually spelt Brahminy. This is the Tadoma Casarca or Casarca rntila, the ruddy sheldrake of English authors. It appears in Barbary, South-East Europe and Central Asia. In colour the bird is bay, with the quill-feathers of the wings and tail black. The male has also a black ring round the neck. There seems to be foundation for the Hindu belief that the male and female stay apart during the night, calling to one another from opposite banks. This strange behaviour was not lost on Hindu poets, who explained it by telling a story of how two lovers were transformed into birds and condemned to separate at night. References to the three leading accounts of the Brahminy Duck are as follows:—E. C. Stuart Baker, The Indian Ducks and their Allies, Nat. Hist. Soc. Bombay, 1908, pp. 114-122 (good coloured plate); J. C. Phillips, A Natural History of the Ducks, vol. i, London, 1923, pp. 230-246 (coloured plate and map of distribution); R. G. Wright and D. Dewar, The Ducks of India, London, 1925, pp. 187-196. Reference might also be made to T. C. Jerdon, The Birds of India, vol. iii, 1864, pp. 791-793; and Sarat Candra Mitra, Quarterly Journal Mythic Society, vol. xvi, pp. 125-128.—n.m.p.


The sword may be compared with that of Caṇḍamahāsena in Chapter XI, and with Morglay, Excalibar, Durandal, Gram, Balmung, Chrysaor, etc. (See Sir G. Cox’s Mythology of the Aryan Nations, vol. i, p. 308.) The same author has some remarks upon Pegasus and other magic horses in his second volume, p. 287 et seq. See also Ralston’s Russian Folk-Tales, p. 256 et seq.——For the magic sword see Vol. I, p. 109n1, and cf. Mahājanaka-Jātaka, No. 539 (Cambridge edition, vol. vi, p. 26).—n.m.p.


Excessive rain, drought, rats, locusts, birds and foreign invasion.


I have before referred to Ralston’s remarks on snakes in his Russian Folk-Tales, p. 65. Melusina is a clear instance of a snake-maiden in European folk-lore. See her story in Simrock’s Die Deutschen Volksbücher, vol. vi. There is a similar marriage in Prym and Socin, Syrische Märchen, p. 246.——Many references will be found in Vols. I and II of this work.—n.m.p.


The passage is full of puns, which it is impossible to translate; the “ornaments” may be rhetorical ornaments, there is also a reference to the guṇas of rhetorical writers. " Sweetly tinkling” might mean “elegant words.” Guṇākṛṣṭā, in śloka 76 a, may also mean that the princess was attracted by the good qualities of her opponent.


Dr Kern conjectures udaghāṭayat, which is, as far as I can make out, the reading of the Sanskrit College MS.


There is probably a pun here. It may mean that his joints and body were relaxed by old age.


The practice of tonsure among Buddhists is well known. It is interesting to note that it became unpopular in China chiefly because it was an outward sign of the celibate priesthood, and so adverse to the Chinese idea of the importance of domestic life. See the various articles on the subject in Hastings’ Ency. Rel. Eth., vol. vii, pp. 385-388.—n.m.p.


This seems to be the meaning of māṇava here. See Böhtlingk and Roth s.v.


Sansk. koṭi, and Hindus, karoṛ. One hundred lakhsi.e. 10,000,000. A crore of rupees was originally worth a million sterling, but when the rupee was fixed at fifteen to £1 its value sank to £666,666.—n.m.p.


For tales of Jugements insensés see Chauvin, op. cit., viii, p. 203.—n.m.p.


Here, when the royal sage introduces six stories illustrating the six Perfections, a slightly different method of numbering is necessary. Thus the constant reduplication of the “D” will be avoided.—n.m.p.


This was the poison that was swallowed by Śiva at the Churning of the Ocean. See Vol. I, p. 1n2.— n.m.p.


The word also means dust.


Or “by great sorrow.”


The kumuda remains with its petals closed during the day.


The D. text would read sukha, “mouth,” instead of mukha, as in the B. text. The word Tawney translated “delight,” lakṣmī, is probably meant as a pun, the word also referring to the wife of Viṣṇu. See Speyer, op. cit., pp. 131, 132.—n.m.p.


I follow the Sanskrit College MS. reading dhṛtyā.


See Vol. IV, pp. 131-132, 132n1, 207-208.—n.m.p.


I.e. a “venerable”—a candidate for Nirvāṇa. See Monier Williams, Indian Wisdom, pp. 128, 129.— n.m.p.


This story is a good example of the “Escaping One’s Fate” motif, and belongs to the class of stories where fate is overcome by the person’s wit in obtaining divine aid, or putting the deity in such a position that it is practically impossible for him to withhold his aid. One of the best-known variants is that of the astrologer whose son Atirūpa was doomed to die at the age of eighteen. See Natesa Sastri, Indian Folk-tales, p. 366. Numerous other versions are given in W. N. Brown’s article, “Escaping One’s Fate,” in Studies in Honor of Maurice Bloomfield, pp. 100-103.—n.m.p.


A being recording the vices and virtues of mankind in Yama’s world. Kuhn, in his Westfälische Sagen, p. 71, speaks of “a devil who records the evil deeds of men.” Böhtlingk and Roth say that utpuṃsayati in śl. 323 should be utpānsayati.——One cannot help noticing the similarity between the duties of Citragupta and those of Thoth, the advocate of Osiris.—n.m.p.


Cf. the story in Waldau’s Böhmische Märchen, p. 242, Gut, dass es den Tod auf Erden gibt!


Cf the speech of Chi, the scribe of the realms below, in Giles’ Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, vol. i, p. 366.


I substitute Bauddham for bodhum. [So in the D. text.]


I follow the Sanskrit College MS., which reads lopataḥ for lobhataḥ.


This idea is found in the story of Jīmūtavāhana (No. 27). See Vol. II, p. 155n4. Cf. also “Das Wasser des Lebens,” Grimm, 97; and Herrtage’s edition of the English Gesta, p. 344.——Bolte and Polivka, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 394-401, give a very comprehensive bibliography of stories from all parts of the world containing the “water of life” motif.—n.m.p.


I read ullāghayan, which is found in the Sanskrit College MS. [So in the D. text.]

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