Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C. B. Varma Introduction | Glossary | Bibliography

051 – Kandari – The Handsome Prince

Kandari and Kinnara. Kandari-Jataka, Bharhut

Kandari, a king of Varanasi was very handsome and was known for his charming personality all over the place. Each day he used one thousand caskets of perfume. His food was cooked on scented wood. His charm, fame and riches were enough to attract any woman to be contented as his wife.

He was married to a gorgeous woman named Kinnaraa and provided all that he could to please her. Further, to keep the queen in cheer he remained monogamous unlike his contemporary rulers.

One day, he went to a lake to take bath. So, he spat out the box and threw it on the shore. He then took out his woman and anointed her and bathed her in the lake. Then he dressed her in a pretty dress and let her move freely on the shore to enjoy the fresh breath and went to the lake for a dip.

One day, Kinnaraa while looking outside her palace window saw a supercilious cripple. He was ugly and dirty; steeped in mud and dust; and clad in rags. Yet, she grew a strong sensual passion for the man; and developed a strong yearning for his cuddle.

The cripple took shelter under a jambu tree. He was pining for food and water. When the king slept at night, Kinnaraa visited the cripple and offered him dainty food and made him love her. Since then, she regularly carried food for him and satisfied her carnal desires.

Thus, some weeks passed. One day, when the king was on his way to the palace accompanied by the royal chaplain Panchalachanda, he saw the cripple and wondered whether that snooty cripple could ever win the love of any woman! So, to find an answer, he looked at his chaplain. The cripple, who did not recognise the king, overheard the conversation and proudly shouted that he had won the love of the queen of the kingdom. The king was shocked. Yet, to investigate into the matter, he on suggestion of his chaplain watched the queen’s movements at night. He noticed that the queen was sneaking outside with dainty food and going to the beggar. When she reached close to the beggar the latter slapped her so hard that her pendant broke and fell on the ground. He had hit her because she was late that night; and the beggar had to wait for her longer. Still, she cuddled the cripple.

Now, to the king it was as clear as the day light that the cripple’s claim was true; and he was but a cuckold.

Next morning, he summoned her in the court and ordered her execution. Panchalachanda, the chaplain, then persuaded the king to show mercy to her as she had only followed her instincts common to most women. To prove his point, he took him to most places both within and outside the kingdom in disguise and introduced him to several women to test their virtues. Eventually, the king was convinced with what his minister had said. So, he spared the life of the queen but banished her from the kingdom with the cripple.

Finally, he ordered his men to cut off the jambu tree.

(When narrating this story the Buddha identified the chaplain as Kunala.)