Ja 193 Cullapadumajātaka See Pañcatantra iv. 5 (Benfey, ii. p. 305); Thibetan Tales, no. xxi. “How a Woman requites Love.”
The Shorter Story about (King) Paduma (2s)
Alternative Title: Cūḷapadumajātaka (Cst)
In the present a young monk, being driven by his desire for a young woman, is on the verge of quitting. The Buddha tells a story of how, when he was a young prince, he had saved and helped his wife in every circumstance, only to be betrayed and almost killed by her. When later she comes begging to his kingdom, he condemns her but lets her go free.
The Bodhisatta = king Paduma (Padumarājā),
Ānanda = the iguana king (godharājā),
Devadatta = the handicapped (thief) (kuṇṭha),
Ciñcamāṇavikā = the (Bodhisatta’s) wife (bhariyā),
the elder monks = the six brothers (cha bhātaro).
Present Source: Ja 527 Ummadantī,
Quoted at: Ja 61 Asātamanta, Ja 193 Cullapaduma.
Keywords: Lust, Betrayal, Women, Devas.
“ ’Tis I – no other.”
The story tells that one day, as he was going his rounds in Sāvatthi for alms, he saw a woman of surpassing beauty, magnificently attired, and fell in love with her, and on returning home to his monastery he was unable to divert his thoughts from her. From that time, as it were, pierced with love’s shafts and sick with desire he became as lean as a wild deer, with his veins standing out on his body, and as sallow as sallow could be. He no longer took delight in any one of the Four Postures, or found pleasure in his own thoughts, but giving up all the services due to a teacher he abandoned the use of instruction, inquiry and meditation.
His fellow-monks said: “Sir, once you were calm in mind and serene of countenance, but now it is not so. What can be the cause?” they asked. “Sirs,” he answered, “I have no pleasure in anything.” Then they bade him be happy, saying: “To be born [in the time of] a Buddha is a hard matter: so also is the hearing of the True Dhamma, and the attaining to birth as a human being. But you have attained to this, and, yearning to put an end to sorrow, you left your weeping kinsfolk and becoming a believer adopted the ascetic life. Why then do you now fall under the sway of passion? These evil passions are common to all ignorant creatures, from live worms upwards, and such of these passions as are material in their origin, they too are insipid. Desires are full of sorrow and despair: misery in this case ever increases more and more. Desire is like a skeleton or a piece of meat. Desire is like a torch made of a wisp of hay or a light from embers. Desire vanishes like a dream or a loan, or the fruit of a tree. Desire is as biting as a sharp-pointed spear, or as a serpent’s head. But you, verily, after embracing such a Buddha’s dispensation as this and becoming an ascetic, have now fallen under the sway of such harmful passions.” When by their admonitions they failed to make him grasp their teaching, they brought him before the Teacher in the Dhamma Hall. And when he said: “Why, monks, have you brought this monk here against his will?” they answered, “They tell us, he is discontent.”
When this monk was asked by the Teacher whether he were really discontent, he replied that he was. “Who,” said the Teacher, “has caused you to fall back?” He replied that he had seen a woman dressed up in finery, and overcome by passion he had fallen back. Then the Teacher said: “Monk, womankind are all ungrateful and treacherous; wise men of old were even so stupid as to give the blood from their own right knee for them to drink, and made them presents all their life long, and yet did not win their hearts.” And he told a story of the past.
In the past, when king Brahmadatta reigned over Benares, the Bodhisatta was born as his chief queen’s son. On his name-day, they called him prince Paduma, the Lotus prince. After him came six younger brothers. One after another these seven came of age and married and settled down, living as the king’s companions.
One day the king looked out into the palace courts, and as he looked he saw these men with a great following on their way to wait upon himself. He conceived the suspicion that they meant to slay him, and seize his kingdom. So he sent for them, and after this fashion bespake them.
“My sons, you may not dwell in this town. So go elsewhere, and when I die you shall return and take the kingdom which belongs to our family.”
They agreed to their father’s words; and went home weeping and wailing. “It matters not where we go!” they cried; and taking their wives with them, they left the city, and journeyed along the road. By and by they came to a wood, where they could get no food or drink. And being unable to bear the pangs of hunger, they determined to save their lives at the women’s cost. They seized the youngest brother’s wife, and slew her; they cut up her body into thirteen parts, and ate it. But the Bodhisatta and his wife set aside one portion, and ate the other between them.
Thus they did six days, and slew and ate six of the women; and each day the Bodhisatta set one portion aside, so that he had six portions saved.
On the seventh day the others would have taken the Bodhisatta’s wife to kill her; but instead he gave them the six portions which he had kept. “Eat these,” said he, “tomorrow I will manage.” They all did eat the flesh; and when the time came that they fell asleep, the Bodhisatta and his wife made off together.
When they had gone a little space, the woman said: “Husband, I can go no further.” So the Bodhisatta took her upon his shoulders, and at sunrise he came out of the wood. When the sun was risen, said she, “Husband, I am thirsty!”
“There is no water, dear wife!” said he. But she begged him again and again, until he struck his right knee with his sword,
By and by they came to the mighty Ganges. They drank, they bathed, they ate all manner of fruits, and rested in a pleasant spot. And there by a bend of the river they made an ascetic’s hut and took up their abode in it.
Now it happened that a robber in the regions of Upper Ganges had been guilty of high treason. His hands and feet, and his nose and ears had been cut off, and he was laid in a canoe, and left to drift down the great river. To this place he floated, groaning aloud with pain. The Bodhisatta heard his piteous wailing.
“While I live,” said he, “no poor creature shall perish because of me!” and to the river bank he went, and saved the man. He brought him to the hut, and with astringent lotions and ointments he tended his wounds.
But his wife said to herself, “Here is a nice lazy fellow he has fetched out of the Ganges, to look after!” and she went about spitting for disgust at the fellow.
Now when the man’s wounds were growing together, the Bodhisatta had him to dwell there in the hut along with his wife, and he brought fruits of all kinds from the forest to feed both him and the woman. And as they thus dwelt together, the woman fell in love with the fellow, and did wrong. Then she desired to kill the Bodhisatta, and said to him, “Husband, as I sat on your shoulder when I came out from the forest, I saw that hill, and I vowed that if ever you and I should be saved, and come to no harm, I would make offering to the Devatā of the hill. Now this spirit haunts me: and I desire to pay my offering!”
“Very good,” said the Bodhisatta, not knowing her guile. He prepared an offering, and delivering to her the vessel of offering, he climbed the hill-top.
Then his wife said to him, “Husband, not the hill-spirit, but you are my chief of gods! Then in your honour first of all I will offer wild flowers, and walk reverently
Now the Bodhisatta tumbled down the cliff; but he stuck fast in a clump of leaves on the top of a fig tree where there were no thorns. Yet he could not get down the hill, so there he sat among the branches, eating the figs. It happened that a huge iguana used to climb the hill from the foot of it, and would eat the fruit of this fig tree. That day he saw the Bodhisatta and took to flight. On the next day, he came and ate some fruit on one side of it. Again and again he came, till at last he struck up a friendship with the Bodhisatta. “How did you get to this place?” he asked; and the Bodhisatta told him how.
“Well, don’t be afraid,” said the iguana; and taking him on his own back, he descended the hill and brought him out of the forest. There he set him upon the high road, and showed him what way he should go, and himself returned to the forest.
The other proceeded to a certain village, and dwelt there till he heard of his father’s death. Upon this he made his way to Benares. There he inherited the kingdom which belonged to his family, and took the name of king Paduma; the ten rules of righteousness for kings he did not transgress, and he ruled uprightly. He built six alms halls, one at each of the four gates, one in the midst of the city, and one before the palace; and every day he distributed in gifts six hundred thousand pieces of money.
Now the wicked wife took her lover upon her shoulders, and came forth out of the forest; and she went begging among the people, and collected rice and gruel to support him withal.
“What a devoted wife!” said all the people. And thenceforward they gave her more food than ever. Some of them also offered advice, saying: “Do not live in this way. King Paduma is lord of Benares; he has set all Jambudīpa in a stir by his bounty. It will delight him to see you; so delighted will he be, that he will give you rich gifts. Put your husband
The wicked woman placed her lover in the basket, and taking it up she repaired to Benares, and lived on what she got at the alms halls. Now the Bodhisatta used to ride to an alms-hall upon the back of a splendid elephant richly dressed; and after giving alms to eight or ten people, he would set out again for home. Then the wicked woman placed her lover in the basket, and taking it up, she stood where the king was used to pass. The king saw her. “Who is this?” he asked. “A devoted wife,” was the answer. He sent for her, and recognised who she was. He caused the man to be put down from the basket, and asked her, “What is this man to you?” “He is the son of my father’s sister, given me by my family, my own husband,” she answered.
“Ah, what a devoted wife!” cried they all: for they knew not the ins and outs of it; and they praised the wicked woman.
“What – is the scoundrel your cousin? Did your family give him to you?” asked the king, “Your husband, is he?”
She did not recognise the king; and, “Yes, my lord!” said she, as bold as you like.
“And is this the king of Benares’ son? Are you not the wife of prince Paduma, the daughter of such and such a king, your name so and so? Did not you drink the blood from my knee? Did you not fall in love with this rascal, and throw me down a precipice? Ah, you thought that I was dead, and here you are with death written upon your own forehead – and here am I, alive!”
Then he turned to his courtiers. “Do you remember what I told you, when you questioned me? My six younger brothers slew their six wives and ate them; but I kept my wife unhurt, and brought her to Ganges’ bank, where I dwelt in an ascetic’s hut: I hauled a condemned criminal out of the river, and supported him; this woman fell in love with him, and threw me down a precipice, but I saved my life by showing kindness. This is no other than the wicked woman who threw me off the crag: this, and no other, is the condemned wretch!” And then he uttered the following verses:
1. “ ’Tis I – no other, and this queen is she;
The handless cheat, no other, there you see;
Said she – ‘This is the husband of my youth.’
Women deserve to die; they have no truth.
2. With a great club beat out the scoundrel’s life
Who lies in wait to steal his neighbour’s wife.
Then take the faithful harlot by and by,
And shear off nose and ears before she die.”
But although the Bodhisatta could not swallow his anger, and ordained this punishment for them, he did not do accordingly; but he
When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he declared the Truths and identified the Jātaka, at the conclusion of the Truths the discontented monk entered on the Fruit of the First Path, “In those days certain elders were the six brothers, the young lady Ciñcā was the wife, Devadatta was the criminal, Ānanda was the iguana, and king Paduma was I myself.”
last updated: November 2021