Ja 341 Kaṇḍarijātaka
The Story about (King) Kaṇḍari (4s)
Alternative Title: Kaṇḍarījātaka (Cst)
There is no story of the present or conclusion. Queen Kinnarā is married to Kaṇḍari, the king of Benares, but makes love with a handicapped man who lives in a tree. When she is caught the king wants to kill her, but his priest Pañcālacaṇḍa explains that this is just the way of women, and shows him this is how even young women are in the world behave.
The Bodhisatta = the family priest Pañcālacaṇḍa.
Present Source: Ja 523 Kuṇālajātaka,
Quoted at: Ja 341 Kaṇḍari.
Keywords: Adultery, Ficklemindness.
The story of this Jātaka will be set forth in full in the Kuṇālajātaka [Ja 523].
In the past at Benares was a king named Kaṇḍari who was a very handsome man, and to him daily his counsellors would bring a thousand boxes of perfume, and with this perfume they would make the house trim and neat, and then splitting up the boxes they would make scented firewood and cook the food therewith. Now his wife was a lovely woman named Kinnarā, and his family priest Pañcālacaṇḍa was the same age as himself and full of wisdom. And in the wall near the king’s palace grew a Jambu plum tree and its branches hung down upon the wall, and in the shade of it dwelt a loathsome, misshapen handicapped man.
Now one day queen Kinnarā looking out of her window saw him and conceived a passion for him. And at night after winning the king’s favour by her charms, as soon as he had fallen asleep, she would get up softly and putting all manner of dainty food in a golden vessel and taking it on her hips, she would let herself down through the window by means of a rope of cloth, and climbing up the Jambu plum tree drop down by a branch of it and give her dainty food to the handicapped man and take her pleasure with him, and then ascend to the palace the same way that she had come down, and after shampooing herself all over with perfumes lie down by the king’s side. In this way she would constantly misconduct herself with this handicapped man and the king knew nothing of it.
One day the king after a solemn procession round the city was entering his palace when he saw this handicapped man, a pitiable object, lying in the shade of the Jambu plum, and he said to his family priest, “Just look at this ghost of a man.” “Yes, sire?” “Is it possible, my friend, that any woman moved by lust would come nigh such a loathsome creature?” Hearing what he said the handicapped man, swelling with pride, thought: “What is it this king said? I think he knows nothing of his queen’s coming to visit me.” And stretching out his folded hands towards the Jambu plum tree he cried, “O my lord, you guardian spirit of this tree, excepting you no one knows about this.” The family priest noticing his action thought: “Of a truth the king’s chief consort by the help of this tree comes and misconducts herself with him.” So he said to the king, “Sire, at night what is it like when you come into contact with the queen’s person?” “I notice nothing else,” he said, “but that at the middle watch her body is cold.” “Well, sire, whatever may be the case with other women, your queen Kinnarā misconducts herself with him.” “What is this you say, my friend? Would such a charming lady take her pleasure with this disgusting creature?” “Well then, sire, put it to the proof.” “Agreed,” said the king, and after supper he lay down with her, to put it to the test.
At the usual time for falling asleep, he pretended to drop off, and she acted as before. The king following in her steps took his stand in the shade of the Jambu plum tree. The handicapped man was in a rage with the queen and said: “You are very late in coming,” and struck with his hand the chain in her ear. So she said: “Be not angry, my lord; I was watching for the king to fall asleep,” and so saying she acted as it were a wife’s part in his house. But when he struck her, the ear-ornament, which was like a lion’s head, falling from her ear dropped at the king’s feet. The king thought: “Just this will be the best thing for me,” and he took it away with him. And after misconducting herself with her lover she returned just as before and proceeded to lie down by the side of the king.
The king rejected her advances and next day he gave an order, saying: “Let queen Kinnarā come, wearing every ornament I have given her.” She said: “My lion’s head jewel is with the goldsmith,” and refused to come. When a second message was sent, she came with only a single ear-ornament. The king asked, “Where is your earring?” “With the goldsmith.” He sent for the goldsmith and said: “Why do you not let the lady have her earring?” “I have it not, sire.” The king was enraged and said: “You wicked, vile woman, your goldsmith must be a man just like me,” and so saying he threw the earring down before her and said to the family priest, “Friend, you spoke the truth; go and have her head chopped off.” So he secured her in a certain quarter of the palace and came and said to the king, “Sire, be not angry with the queen Kinnarā: all women are just the same. If you are anxious to see how immoral women are, I will show you their wickedness and deceitfulness. Come, let us disguise ourselves and go into the country.”
The king readily agreed and, handing over his kingdom to his mother, he set out on his travels with his family priest. When they had gone a league’s journey and were seated by the high road, a certain gentleman of property, who was holding a marriage festival for his son, had seated the bride in a close carriage and was accompanying her with a large escort. On seeing this the family priest said: “If you like, you can make this girl misconduct herself with you.” “What say you, my friend? With this great escort the thing is impossible.” “Well then see this, my lord?” And going forward he set up a tent-shaped screen not far from the high road and, placing the king inside the screen, himself sat down by the side of the road, weeping.
Then the gentleman on seeing it asked, “Why, friend, are you weeping?” “My wife,” he said, “was heavy with child and I set out on a journey to take her to her own home, and while still on the way her pangs overtook her and she is in trouble within the screen, and she has no woman with her and I cannot go to her there. I do not know what will happen.” “She ought to have a woman with her: do not weep, there are numbers of women here; one of them shall go to her.” “Well then let this maiden come; it will be a happy omen for the girl.” He thought: “What he says is true: it will be an auspicious thing for my daughter-in-law. She will be blessed with numerous sons and daughters,” and he brought her there.
Passing inside the screen she fell in love at first sight with the king and committed adultery with him, and the king gave her his signet ring. So when the deed was done and she came out of the tent they asked her, “What has she given birth to?” “A boy the colour of gold?” So the gentleman took her and went off. The family priest came to the king and said: “You have seen, sire, even a young girl is thus wicked. How much more will other women be so? Pray, sir, did you give her anything?” “Yes, I gave her my signet ring.” “I will not allow her to keep it.” And he followed in haste and caught up the carriage, and when they said: “What is the meaning of this?” he said: “This girl has gone off with a ring my brahmin wife had laid on her pillow: give up the ring, lady.” In giving it she scratched the brahmin’s hand, saying: “Take it, you rogue.” Thus did the brahmin in a variety of ways show the king that many other women are guilty of misconduct, and said: “Let this suffice here; we will now go elsewhere, sire.” The king traversed all Jambudīpa, and they said: “All women will be just the same. What are they to us? Let us turn back.” So they went straight home to Benares. The family priest said: “It is thus, sire, with all women; so wicked is their nature. Forgive queen Kinnarā.” At the prayer of his family priest he pardoned her, but had her thrust out from the palace. And when he had ejected her from the place, he chose another queen-consort, and he had the handicapped man driven forth and ordered the Jambu plum branch to be lopped off. At that time Kuṇāla was Pañcālacaṇḍa. So in telling the story of what he had seen with his own eyes, in illustration he spoke this verse:
1-2. “This much from tale of Kaṇḍari and Kinnarā is shown;
All women fail to find delight in homes that are their own.
3-4. Thus does a wife forsake her lord, though lusty he and strong,
And will with any other man, e’en handicapped, go wrong.”
last updated: November 2021