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 ...


MAY the god with the face of an elephant, who appears, with his head bowed down and then raised, to be continually threatening the hosts of obstacles, protect you.

I adore the God of Love, pierced with the showers of whose arrows even the body of Śiva seems to bristle with dense thorns, when embraced by Umā.

Now hear the heavenly adventures which Naravāhanadatta, speaking of himself in the third person, told from the very beginning, after he had obtained the sovereignty of the Vidyādharas, and had been questioned about the story of his life on some occasion or other by the seven Ṛṣis and their wives.


[M] (Main story line continued) Then that Naravāhanadatta, being carefully brought up by his father, passed his eighth year. The prince lived at that time with the sons of the ministers, being instructed in sciences and sporting in gardens. And the Queen Vāsavadattā and Padmāvatī also, on account of their exceeding affection, were devoted to him day and night. He was distinguished by a body which was sprung from a noble stock, and bent under the weight of his growing virtues, and gradually filled out, as also by a bow which was made of a good bamboo, which bent as the string rose, and slowly arched itself into a crescent.[1] And his father, the King of Vatsa, spent his time in wishes for his marriage and other happiness, delightful because so soon to bear fruit.

Now hear what happened at this point of the story.

There was once a city named Takṣaśilā[2] on the banks of the Vitastā, the reflection of whose long line of palaces gleamed in the waters of the river, as if it were the capital of the lower regions come to gaze at its splendour. In it there dwelt a king named Kaliṅgadatta, a distinguished Buddhist, all whose subjects were devoted to the great Buddha, the bridegroom of Tārā.[3] His city shone with splendid Buddhist temples densely crowded together, as if with the horns of pride elevated because it had no rival upon earth. He not only cherished his subjects like a father, but also himself taught them knowledge like a spiritual guide. Moreover, there was in that city a certain rich Buddhist merchant called Vitastadatta, who was exclusively devoted to the honouring of Buddhist mendicants. And he had a son, a young man named Ratnadatta. And he was always expressing his detestation of his father, calling him an impious man.

And when his father said to him, “Son, why do you blame me?” the merchant’s son answered with bitter scorn:

“My father, you abandon the religion of the three Vedas and cultivate irreligion. For you neglect the Brāhmans and are always honouring Śramaṇas.[4] What have you to do with that Buddhist discipline, which all kinds of low-caste men resort to, to gratify their desire to have a convent to dwell in, released from bathing and other strict ordinances, loving to feed whenever it is convenient,[5] rejecting the Brāhmanical lock and other prescribed methods of doing the hair, quite at ease with only a rag round their loins?”

When the merchant heard that, he said:

“Religion is not confined to one form; a transcendent religion is a different thing from a religion that embraces the whole world. People say that Brāhmanism too consists in avoiding passion and other sins, in truth, and compassion to creatures, not in quarrelling causelessly with one’s relations.[6] Moreover, you ought not to blame generally that school which I follow, which extends security to all creatures, on account of the fault of an individual. Nobody questions the propriety of conferring benefits, and my beneficence consists simply in giving security to creatures. So, if I take exceeding pleasure in this system, the principal characteristic of which is abstinence from injuring any creature, and which brings liberation, wherein am I irreligious in doing so?”

When his father said this to him, that merchant’s son obstinately refused to admit it, and only blamed his father the more. Then his father, in disgust, went and reported the whole matter to the King Kaliṅgadatta, who superintended the religion of his people.

The king, for his part, summoned on some pretext the merchant’s son into his judgment-hall, and feigning an anger he did not feel, said to the executioner:

“I have heard that this merchant’s son is wicked and addicted to horrible crimes, so slay him without mercy as a corrupter of the realm.”

When the king had said this, the father interceded, and then the king appointed that the execution should be put off for two months, in order that he might learn virtue, and entrusted the merchant’s son to the custody of his father, to be brought again into his presence at the end of that time.

The merchant’s son, when he had been taken home to his father’s house, was distracted with fear, and kept thinking,

“What crime can I have committed against the king?”

and pondering over his causeless execution which was to take place at the end of two months: and so he could get no sleep day or night, and was exhausted by taking less than his usual food at all times.

Then, the reprieve of two months having expired, that merchant’s son was again taken, thin and pale, into the presence of the king.

And the king, seeing him in such a depressed state, said to him:

“Why have you become so thin? Did I order you not to eat?”

When the merchant’s son heard that, he said to the king:

“I forgot myself for fear, much more my food. Ever since I heard your Majesty order my execution I have been thinking every day of death slowly advancing.”

When the merchant’s son said this, the king said to him:

“I have by an artifice made you teach yourself what the fear of death is.[7] Such must be the fear which every living creature entertains of death, and tell me what higher piety can there be than the benefit of preserving creatures from that? So I showed you this in order that you might acquire religion and the desire of salvation,[8] for a wise man being afraid of death strives to attain salvation. Therefore you must not blame your father, who follows this religion.”

When the merchant’s son heard this, he bowed and said to the king:

“Your Majesty has made me a blessed man by teaching me religion, and now a desire for salvation has arisen in me; teach me that also, my lord.”

When the king heard that, as it was a feast in the city, he gave a vessel full of oil into the hand of the merchant’s son and said to him:

“Take this vessel in your hand and walk all round this city, and you must avoid spilling a single drop of it, my son; if you spill one drop of it these men will immediately cut you down.”[9]

Having said this, the king dismissed the merchant’s son to walk round the city, ordering men with drawn swords to follow him.

The merchant’s son, in his fear, took care to avoid spilling a drop of oil, and having perambulated that city with much difficulty, returned into the presence of the king.

The king, when he saw that he had brought the oil without spilling it, said to him:

“Did you see anyone to-day as you went along in your perambulation of the city?”

When the merchant’s son heard that, he clasped his hands and said to the king:

“In truth, my lord, I neither saw nor heard anything, for at the time when I was perambulating the city I had my undivided attention fixed on avoiding spilling a drop of oil, lest the swords should descend upon me.”

When the merchant’s son said this, the king said to him:

“Because your whole soul was intent on looking at the oil you saw nothing. So practise religious contemplation with the same undivided attention. For a man who with intent concentration averts his attention from all outward operations has intuition of the truth, and after that intuition he is not entangled again in the meshes of works. Thus I have given you in a compendious form instruction in the doctrine of salvation.”

Thus the king spoke, and dismissed him, and the merchant’s son fell at his feet and went home rejoicing to his father’s house, having attained all his objects.

This Kaliṅgadatta, who superintended in this way the religion of his subjects, had a wife named Tārādattā, of equal birth with the king, who, being politic and well-conducted, was such an ornament to the king as language is to a poet, who delights in numerous illustrations. She was meritorious for her bright qualities and was inseparable from that beloved king, being to him what the moonlight is to the moon, the receptacle of nectar. The king lived happily there with that queen, and passed his days like Indra with Śacī in heaven.

At this point of my tale Indra, for some cause or other, had a great feast in heaven. All the Apsarases assembled there to dance, except one beautiful Apsaras named Surabhidattā, who was not to be seen there. Then Indra, by his divine power of insight, perceived her associating in secret with a certain Vidyādhara in Nandana.

When Indra saw it wrath arose in his bosom, and he thought:

“Ah! these two, blinded with love, are both wicked: the Apsaras because, forgetting us, she acts in a wilful manner; the Vidyādhara because he enters the domain of the gods and commits improprieties. Or rather, what fault is that miserable Vidyādhara guilty of? For she has enticed him here, ensnaring him with her beauty. A lovely one will sweep away with the sea of her beauty, flowing between the lofty banks of her breasts, even one who can restrain his passions. Was not even Śiva disturbed long ago when he beheld Tilottamā, whom the Creator made by taking an atom from all the noblest beings?”[10]

And did not Viśvāmitra leave his asceticism when he beheld Menakā? And did not Yayāti come to old age for love of Śarmiṣṭhā? So this young Vidyādhara has committed no crime in allowing himself to be allured by an Apsaras with her beauty, which is able to bewilder the three worlds.[11] But this heavenly nymph is in fault, wicked creature, void of virtue, who has deserted the gods and introduced this fellow into Nandana.”

Thus reflecting, the lover of Ahalyā[12] spared the Vidyādhara youth, but cursed that Apsaras in the following words:—

“Wicked one, take upon thyself a mortal nature; but after thou hast obtained a daughter not sprung from the womb, and hast accomplished the object of the gods, thou shalt return to this heaven.”

In the meanwhile Tārādattā, the consort of that king in the city of Takṣaśilā, reached the period favourable for procreation. And Surabhidattā, the Apsaras who had been degraded from heaven by the curse of Indra, was conceived in her, giving beauty to her whole body.

Then Tārādattā beheld in a dream a flame descending from heaven and entering into her womb: and in the morning she described with astonishment her dream to her husband, the King Kaliṅgadatta; and he, being pleased, said to her:

“Queen, heavenly beings owing to a curse fall into human births, so I am persuaded that this is some divine being conceived in you. For beings, bound by various works, good and evil, are ever revolving in the state of mundane existence in these three worlds, to receive fruits blessed and miserable.”

When the queen was thus addressed by the king, she took the opportunity of saying to him:

“It is true, actions, good and bad, have a wonderful power, producing the perception of joy and sorrow,[13] and in proof of it I will give you this illustration. Listen to me.


30. Story of King Dharmadatta and his Wife Nāgaśrī

There once lived a king named Dharmadatta, the lord of Kośala; he had a queen named Nāgaśrī, who was devoted to her husband and was called Arundhatī on the earth, as, like her, she was the chief of virtuous women. And in course of time, O slayer of your enemies, I was born as the daughter of that king by that queen; then, while I was a mere child, that mother of mine suddenly remembered her former birth, and said to her husband:

“O King, I have suddenly to-day remembered my former birth; it is disagreeable to me not to tell it, but if I do tell it it will cause my death, because they say that if a person suddenly remembers his or her former birth, and tells it, it surely brings death. Therefore, King, I feel excessively despondent.”

When his queen said this to him, the king answered her:

“My beloved, I, like you, have suddenly remembered my former birth; therefore tell me yours, and I will tell you mine; let what will be, be; for who can alter the decree of fate?”

When thus urged by her husband, the queen said to him:

“If you press the matter, King, then I will tell you. Listen.

“In my former birth I was a well-conducted female slave in this very land, in the house of a certain Brāhman named Mādhava. And in that birth I had a husband named Devadāsa, an excellent hired servant in the house of a certain merchant. And so we two dwelled there, having built a house that suited us, living on the cooked rice brought from the houses of our respective masters. A water vessel and a pitcher, a broom and a brazier, and I and my husband formed three couples. We lived happy and contented in our house, into which the demon of quarrelling never entered, eating the little food that remained over after we had made offerings to the gods, the manes and guests. And any clothes which either of us had we gave to some poor person or other. Then there arose a grievous famine in our country, and owing to that the allowance of food, which we had to receive every day, began to come to us in small quantities. Then our bodies became attenuated by hunger, and we began to despond in mind, when once on a time at mealtime there arrived a weary Brāhman guest. To him we both gave all our own food, as much as we had, though we were in danger of our lives. When the Brāhman had eaten and departed, my husband’s breath left him, as if angry that he respected a guest more than it. And then I heaped up in honour of my husband a suitable pyre, and ascended it, and so laid down the load of my own calamity. Then I was born in a royal family, and I became your queen; for the tree of good deeds produces to the righteous inconceivably glorious fruit.”

When his queen said this to him, the King Dharmadatta said:

“Come, my beloved, I am that husband of thine in a former birth; I was that very Devadāsa, the merchant’s servant, for I have remembered this moment this former existence of mine.”

Having said this, and mentioned the tokens of his own identity, the king, despondent and yet glad, suddenly went with his queen to heaven.

In this way my parents went to another world, and my mother’s sister brought me to her own house to rear me, and while I was unmarried there came a certain Brāhman guest, and my mother’s sister ordered me to wait on him. And I diligently strove to please him as Kuntī[14] to please Durvāsas, and owing to a boon conferred by him I obtained you, a virtuous husband. Thus good fortune is the result of virtue, owing to which my parents were both born at the same time in royal families, and also remembered their former birth.


[M] (Main story line continued) Having heard this speech of the Queen Tārādattā, the King Kaliṅgadatta, who was exclusively devoted to righteousness, answered her:

“It is true, a trifling act of righteousness duly performed will bring much fruit, and in proof of this, O Queen, hear the ancient tale of the seven Brāhmans.


31. Story of the Seven Brāhmans who devoured a Cow in time of Famine [15]

Long ago, in a city called Kuṇḍina, a certain Brāhman teacher had for pupils seven sons of Brāhmans. Then that teacher, under pressure of famine, sent those pupils to ask his father-in-law, who was rich in cows, to give him one. And those pupils of his went, with their bellies pinched by hunger, to his father-in-law, who dwelt in another land, and asked him, as their teacher had ordered them, for a cow. He gave them one cow to support them, but the miserly fellow did not give them food, though they were hungry. Then they took the cow, and as they were returning and had accomplished half the journey, being excessively pained by hunger, they fell exhausted on the earth.

They said:

“Our teacher’s house is far off, and we are afflicted by calamity far from home, and food is hard to obtain everywhere, so it is all over with our lives. And in the same way this cow is certain to die in this wilderness without water, wood, or human beings, and our teacher will not derive even the smallest advantage from it. So let us support our lives with its flesh, and quickly restore our teacher and his family with what remains over, for it is a time of sore distress.”

Having thus deliberated, those seven students treated that cow as a victim, and sacrificed it on the spot according to the system prescribed in the sacred treatises.[16] After sacrificing to the gods and manes, and eating its flesh according to the prescribed method, they went and took what remained of it to their teacher. They bowed before him and told him all that they had done, to the letter, and he was pleased with them because they told the truth, though they had committed a fault. And after seven days they died of famine, but because they told the truth on that occasion they were born again with the power of remembering their former birth.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Thus even a small germ of merit, watered with the water of holy aspiration, bears fruit to men in general, as a seed to cultivators, but the same corrupted by the water of impure aspiration bears fruit in the form of misfortune, and à propos of this I will tell you another tale. Listen.


32. Story of the Two Ascetics, one a Brāhman, the other a Caṇḍāla

Once on a time two men remained for the same length of time fasting on the banks of the Ganges, one a Brāhman and the other a Caṇḍāla. Of those two, the Brāhman being overpowered with hunger, and seeing some Niṣādas[17] come that way bringing fish and eating them, thus reflected in his folly:

“O happy in the world are these fishermen, sons of female slaves though they be, for they eat to their fill of the fresh meat of fish!”

But the other, who was a Caṇḍāla, thought, the moment he saw those fishermen:

“Out on these destroyers of life, and devourers of raw flesh! So why should I stand here and behold their faces?”

Saying this to himself, he closed his eyes and remained buried in his own thoughts. And in course of time those two, the Brāhman and the Caṇḍāla, died of starvation; the Brāhman was eaten by dogs on the bank, the Caṇḍāla rotted in the water of the Ganges. So that Brāhman, not having disciplined his spirit, was born in the family of a fisherman, but owing to the virtue of the holy place he remembered his former existence. As for that Caṇḍāla, who possessed self-control, and whose mind was not marred by passion, he was born as a king in a palace on that very bank of the Ganges, and recollected his former birth. And of those two, who were born with a remembrance of their former existence, the one suffered misery, being a fisherman, the other being a king enjoyed happiness.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Such is the root of the tree of virtue; according to the purity or impurity of a man’s heart is without doubt the fruit which he receives.”

Having said this to the Queen Tārādattā, King Kaliṅgadatta again said to her in the course of conversation:

“Moreover, actions which are really distinguished by great courage produce fruit, since prosperity follows on courage; and to illustrate this I will tell the following wonderful tale. Listen.


33. Story of King Vikramasiṃha and the Two Brāhmans

There is in Avanti a city named Ujjayinī, famous in the world, which is the dwelling-place of Śiva,[18] and which gleams with its white palaces as if with the peaks of Kailāsa, come thither in the ardour of their devotion to the god. This vast city, profound as the sea, having a splendid emperor for its water, had hundreds of armies entering it, as hundreds of rivers flow into the sea, and was the refuge of allied kings, as the sea is of mountains that retain their wings.[19] In that city there was a king who had the name of Vikramasiṃha,[20] a name that thoroughly expressed his character, for his enemies were like deer and never met him in fight. And he, because he could never find any enemy to face him, became disgusted with weapons and the might of his arm, and was inwardly grieved, as he never obtained the joy of battle.

Then his minister Amaragupta, who discovered his longing, said to him incidentally in the course of conversation:

“King, it is not hard for kings to incur guilt, if through pride in their strong arms, and confidence in their skill in the use of weapons, they even long for enemies; in this way Bāna, in old time, through pride in his thousand arms, propitiated Śiva and asked for an enemy that was a match for him in fight, until at last his prayer was actually granted, and Viṣṇu became his enemy, and cut off his innumerable arms in battle. So you must not show dissatisfaction because you do not obtain an opportunity of fighting, and a terrible enemy must never be desired. If you want to show here your skill in weapons and your strength, show it in the forest, an appropriate field for it, and in hunting. And since kings are not generally exposed to fatigue, hunting is approved to give them exercise and excitement, but warlike expeditions are not recommended.[21] Moreover, the malignant wild animals desire that the earth should be depopulated; for this reason the king should slay them; on this ground, too, hunting is approved. But wild animals should not be too unremittingly pursued, for it was owing to the vice of exclusive devotion to hunting that former kings, Pāṇḍu and others, met destruction.”

When the wise minister Amaragupta said this to him, the King Vikramasiṃha approved the advice, saying: “I will do so.” And the next day the king went out of the city to hunt, to a district beset with horses, footmen and dogs, and where all the quarters were filled with the pitching of various nets, and he made the heaven resound with the shouts of joyous huntsmen. And as he was going out on the back of an elephant he saw two men sitting together in private in an empty temple outside the walls. And the king, as he beheld them from afar, supposed that they were only deliberating together over something at their leisure, and passed on to the forest where his hunting was to be. There he was delighted with the drawn swords, and with the old tigers, and the roaring of lions, and the scenery, and the elephants. He strewed that ground with pearls fallen from the nails of elephant-slaying lions whom he killed, resembling the seeds of his prowess. The deer leaping sideways, being oblique-goers,[22] went obliquely across his path; his straight-flying arrows easily transfixing them first, reached afterwards the mark of delight.

And after the king had long enjoyed the sport of hunting, he returned, as his servants were weary, with slackened bowstring to the city of Ujjayinī. There he saw those two men whom he had seen as he was going out, who had remained the whole time in the temple occupied in the same way.

He thought to himself:

“Who are these, and why do they deliberate so long? Surely they must be spies, having a long talk over secrets.”

So he sent his warder and had those men captured and brought into his presence, and then thrown into prison.

And the next day he had them brought into his judgment-hall, and asked them:

“Who are you, and why did you deliberate together so long?”

When the king in person asked them this, they entreated him to spare their lives, and one of these young men began to say:

“Hear, O King; I will now tell the whole story as it happened.


33a. The Double Elopement

There lived a Brāhman, of the name of Karabhaka, in this very city of yours. I, whom you see here, am the son of that learned student of the Vedas, born by his propitiating the God of Fire in order to obtain a heroic son. And when my father went to heaven, and his wife followed him,[23] I, being a mere boy, though I had learned the sciences, abandoned the course of life suited to my caste, because I was friendless. And I set myself to practise gaming and the use of arms. What boy does not become self-willed if he is not kept in order by some superior? And, having passed my childhood in this way, I acquired overweening confidence in my prowess, and went one day to the forest to practise archery. And while I was thus engaged a bride came out of the city in a covered palankeen,[24] surrounded by many attendants of the bridegroom. And suddenly an elephant, that had broken its chain, came from some quarter or other at that very moment and attacked that bride in its fury. And through fear of that elephant all those cowardly attendants, and her husband with them, deserted the bride, and fled in all directions.

When I saw that, I immediately said to myself in my excitement:

“What! have these miserable wretches left this unfortunate woman alone? So I must defend this unprotected lady from this elephant. For what is the use of life or courage unless employed to succour the unfortunate?”

Thus reflecting, I raised a shout and ran towards that huge elephant, and the elephant, abandoning the woman, charged down upon me. Then I, before the eyes of that terrified woman, shouted and ran, and so drew off that elephant to a distance. At last I got hold of a bough of a tree thickly covered with leaves, which had been broken off, and covering myself with it I went into the middle of the tree, and placing the bough in front of me I escaped by a dexterous oblique movement, while the elephant trampled the bough to pieces. Then I quickly went to that lady, who remained terrified there, and asked her whether she had escaped without injury.

She, when she saw me, said with afflicted and yet joyful manner:

“How can I be said to be uninjured, now that I have been bestowed on this coward, who has deserted me in such straits, and fled somewhere or other? But so far, at any rate, am I uninjured, in that I again behold you unharmed. So my husband is nothing to me; you henceforth are my husband, by whom, regardless of your life, I have been delivered from the jaws of death. And here I see my husband coming with his servants, so follow us slowly; for when we get an opportunity you and I will elope somewhere together.”

When she said this, I consented. I ought to have thought:

“Though this woman is beautiful, and flings herself at my head, yet she is the wife of another; what have I to do with her?”

But this is the course of calm self-restraint, not of ardent youth. And in a moment her husband came up and greeted her, and she proceeded to continue her journey with him and his servants. And I, without being detected, followed her through her long journey, being secretly supplied with provisions for the journey by her, though I passed for someone unconnected with her.[25] And she, throughout the journey, falsely asserted that she suffered pain in her limbs, from a strain produced by falling in her terror at the elephant, and so avoided even toucing her husband. A passionate woman, like a female snake, terrible from the condensed venom she accumulates within, will never, if injured, neglect to wreak her vengeance.

And in course of time we reached the city of Lohanagara, where was the house of the husband of that woman, who lived by trading. And we all remained during that day in a temple outside the walls. And there I met my friend, this second Brāhman. And though we had never met before, we felt a confidence in one another at first sight; the heart of creatures recognises friendships formed in a previous birth.

Then I told him all my secret. When he heard it, he said to me of his own accord:

“Keep the matter quiet; I know of a device by which you can attain the object for which you came here. I know here the sister of this lady’s husband. She is ready to fly from this place with me and take her wealth with her. So with her help I will accomplish your object for you.”

When the Brāhman had said this to me he departed, and secretly informed the merchant’s wife’s sister-in-law of the whole matter. And on the next day the sister-in-law, according to arrangement, came with her brother’s wife and introduced her into the temple. And while we were there she made my friend at that very time, which was the middle of the day,[26] put on the dress of her brother’s wife. And she took him so disguised into the city, and went into the house in which her brother lived, after arranging what we were to do. But I left the temple, and fleeing with the merchant’s wife dressed as a man, reached at last this city of Ujjayinī. And her sister-in-law at night fled with my friend from that house, in which there had been a feast, and so the people were in a drunken sleep.

And then he came with her by stealthy journeys to this city; so we met here. In this way we two have obtained our two wives in the bloom of youth, the sister-in-law and her brother’s wife, who bestowed themselves on us out of affection. Consequently, King, we are afraid to dwell anywhere; for whose mind is at ease after performing deeds of reckless temerity? So the king saw us yesterday from a distance, while we were debating about a place to dwell in, and how we should subsist. And your Majesty, seeing us, had us brought and thrown into prison on the suspicion of being thieves, and to-day we have been questioned about our history, and I have just told it; now it is for your Highness to dispose of us at pleasure.


33. Story of King Vikramasiṃha and the Two Brāhmans

When one of them had said this, the King Vikramasiṃha said to those two Brāhmans:

“I am satisfied; do not be afraid, remain in this city, and I will give you abundance of wealth.”

When the king had said this, he gave them as much to live on as they wished, and they lived happily in his court, accompanied by their wives.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“Thus prosperity dwells for men even in questionable deeds, if they are the outcome of great courage, and thus kings, being satisfied, take pleasure in giving to discreet men who are rich in daring. And thus this whole created world with the gods and demons will always reap various fruits, corresponding exactly to their own stock of deeds, good or bad, performed in this or in a former birth. So rest assured, Queen, that the flame which was seen by you falling from heaven in your dream, and apparently entering your womb, is some creature of divine origin that, owing to some influence of its works, has been conceived in you.”

The pregnant Queen Tārādattā, when she heard this from the mouth of her own husband Kaliṅgadatta, was exceedingly delighted.

Footnotes and references:


This is an elaborate pun in the original. Guṇa = “ string” and “virtue”; vanśa = “race” and “bamboo.”


The Taxila of the Greek writers. The Vitastā is the Hydaspes of the Greeks, now called Jhelum.


Monier Williams says that Tārā was the wife of the Buddha Amoghasiddha. Benfey (Orient u. Occident, vol. i, p. 373) says she was a well-known Buddhist saint. The passage might perhaps mean, “The Buddha adorned with most brilliant stars.” It has been suggested to me that Tārāvara may mean Śiva, and that the passage means that the Śaiva and Buddha religions were both professed in the city of Takṣaśilā.


I.e. Buddhist ascetics.


A MS. in the Sanskrit College reads sukāla for svakāla: the meaning is much the same.


A MS. in the Sanskrit College reads nigrahaḥ, “blaming one’s relations without cause.”


Cf. Ralston’s Russian Folk-Tales, p. 122, and Bartsch’s Sagen, Märchen u. Gebräuche aus Meklenburg, vol. i, p. 90.——See also Chauvin, Bibliographic des Ouvrages Arabes, viii, p. 181.—n.m.p.


Mokṣa is the soul’s final release from further transmigrations.


Gesta Romanorum, cxliii (Bohn’s edit.). This idea is found in the Telapatta-Jātaka, Fausböll, vol. i, p. 393.


A kind of Pandora.


Cf. the argument in the Eunuchus of Terence (Act III, sc. 6) which shocked St Augustine so much (Confessions, i, 16).


Et tonantem Jovem et adulterantem.——See Vol. II, pp. 45, 46, of the Ocean of Story.—n.m. p.


I separate balavad from bhogadāyi.


See Vol. II, pp. 23, 24.—n.m.p.


This appears to be found in a slightly different form in the Harivanśa (Lévêque, Mythes et Légendes de l’Inde et de la Perse, p. 220).


For a note on the sacred cow of the Hindus see Vol. II, pp. 240-242.—n.m.p.


The name of certain aboriginal tribes described as hunters, fishermen, robbers, etc.


In the original Mahākāla, an epithet of Śiva in his character as the destroying deity.


Generally only one mountain named Maināka is said to have fled into the sea, and retained its wings when Indra clipped those of the others. The passage is, of course, an elaborate pun.


I.e. lion of valour.


The last part of this sentence seems strange; the D. text differs, and means, “for kings who have not exercised themselves in the way of fighting are disapproved.” See Speyer, op. cit., p. 108.—n.m.p.


I.e. animals, horizontal-goers. The pun defies translation; the word I have translated “arrow” is literally “the not sideways-goer.”


I.e. by burning herself upon the funeral pyre.


This word is sometimes spelt palanquin, although it should always be pronounced as spelt in the present text. The origin of the word is doubtful. It came to England through the Portuguese palanquim, which was derived from the East Indian forms—Malay and Javanese palangki, Palī pallanko, Hindustani pālkī. All these words are based on the Sanskrit paryañka, “a bed,” from pari, “round,” and añka, “a hook.” The Spanish word palanca is used for a pole to carry loads on, and may have influenced the form of the word taken by the Portuguese. For fuller details see Yule’s Hobson Jobson under “Palankeen”; and Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces, vol. iii, pp. 292-294.—n.m.p.


Brockhaus reads paravat sadā, and Tawney makes the best sense he can by ignoring sadā. The D. text has paravartmanā, “by another way,” which gets rid of the difficulty.—n.m.p.


This seems rather unnecessary here. There is probably a corrupted reading. See Speyer, op. cit., pp. 108, 109.—n.m.p.

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