Page:The Stûpa of Bharhut - Alexander Cunningham.djvu/82

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"In the days of yore when Brahmadatta was Raja of Benares, the great Bodhisatta was born as a Chandana Kinnara in the Himâla forest where he lived with his wife Chandrika on the silver mountain. It happened that the Raja of Benares went out deer shooting towards the Himâla forest during the hot season when the Chandana Kinnaras leave the Silver Mountain for the banks of a river. Then anointed with Sandal wood (Chandana) and other perfumes and decked with garlands of flowers, they danced on the bank of the stream, or bathed in its waters, or seated on beds of flowers, they sang songs to the sound of the bambu flute. There danced the Kinnara Queen accompanied by song, when the Raja of Benares attracted by the sweet voice drew near and beheld the scene. Allured by her beauty the Raja thought to obtain possession of her by killing her husband, whom he instantly shot with an arrow. The Raja then tried to soothe the Queen by making her his chief wife, and the head of sixteen thousand women. But the Queen fled to the Silver Mountain cursing the Raja. 'O cruel Raja, who hast slain my husband, the pain and sorrow which thou hast caused me shall be the lot of thy wife. Thy mother shall become mad, frequenting graveyards, and thy daughter shall be childless.'

"When the Raja had gone, the Queen descended the Silver Mountain towards the body of her husband. Then carrying the corpse to the top of the hill she placed the head on her lap and invoked the Devas to restore her husband to life. The appeal was heard by Indra, who, descending to the earth in the form of an old Brahman, raised the dead Kinnara king to life. The loving couple then retired to the Silver Mountain, and lived happily ever afterwards."

If this is the same story as is represented in the Bharhut bas-relief, then the sculptured version differs from the Pali legend of Ceylon in making the pair of Kinnaras dance before the BRja of Benares while he is seated on a chair or throne.

13. Asadrisa Jâtaka.

This sculpture is unfortunately much broken, and any inscription which it may have had is lost; but the story of Prince Asadrisa, the great Archer, is too clearly told to leave any doubt as to its identification.[1] This Jataka is one of those given by Spence Hardy, from whose work the following translation is extracted:—[2]

"In this birth, Bodhisat was the son of Brahmadatta, king of Benares, and was called Asadrisa. He had a younger brother, Brahmadatta. On arriving at a proper age, he received all necessary instructions from a learned preceptor; and the king at his death commanded that the kingdom should be given to Asadrisa, and the vazirship to his brother. The nobles were willing that the royal command should be obeyed; but as Bodhisat positively refused the kingdom, it was given to his younger brother, and he became vazir, or inferior king. A certain noble afterwards insinuated to the king that Asadrisa was plotting against his life; on hearing which he became enraged,

and commanded that the traitor should be apprehended. But Bodhisat received warning of the danger in which he was placed, and fled to the City of Sâmâya. On arriving at the gate of the city, he sent to inform the king that a famous archer had arrived in his dominions. The king gave orders that he should be admitted into the royal presence, and asked what wages he would require; and when he was answered that a thousand masurans would be a reasonable salary, he gave his promise that this

  1. See Plate XXVII.
  2. Manual of Buddhism, p. 114.