Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

064 – The Story of Sudasa

The lioness sneaking inside the palace, Ajanta

Once, Sudasa a king of Varanasi went on a hunting expedition in a dense forest; and lost his way. Tired and separated from his men he dismounted from his horse and slept under a tree. Charmed by his physical beauty and masculinity a lioness started licking his face and his horse watched her in horror. When the king woke up and saw the lioness in a seductive gesture, he accepted her invitation and married her. In course of time she bore him a son, who was called Kalmasapadasa. (The story of Kalmasapasada is narrated in the Sutasoma Jataka). Since then he enjoyed living in the forest with his lioness espouse.

One day, he thought of returning to his kingdom. So, he looked for the way, back to his city and eventually succeeded. He came to the fringe of the forest near Varanasi and asked the lioness to wait for him; and himself went to his kingdom and announced his return. When his return was being celebrated he engineered a plot to let the lioness sneak inside the palace. Thus he brought his family back home safely.