Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

094 – Janapada Kalyani Nanda

Janapada Kalyani Nanda was the prettiest maiden of the janapada (the kingdom). She was engaged in marriage to Nanda, the half brother of Gotama Buddha. Hence, she earned the sobriquet of Janapada Kalyani, which means the “Grace of the Kingdom”. She belonged to a noble family.

Engaged to the prince of the kingdom she was in deep love with her prospective groom and was over-thrilled with the prospect of her marriage with him.

Just on the day before her marriage when all preparations for the ceremony were being made the Buddha arrived at the palace and sent for Nanda, the groom. Further, she saw him walking out with the Buddha and thought that he would be back soon. But to her disappointment the groom did not return because the Buddha had taken him to his monastery to teach him to renounce the house-hold life and become a monk.

When all preparations for her marriage were taking place; she decked out in her finest dress and sat in the mandap decorated with flowers and with the banana stems raised on its four corners, the news of Nanda’s renunciation was announced all of a sudden. The news came as a blow on the bride-in-waiting. Shocked and terribly hurt, she swooned.

Shocked with the news of her groom’s renunciation
the princess swoons. The erection of the
banana leaves in the background as a part of the
Mandapa-decoration for the marriage of Nanda and
Janapada Kalyani, Ajanta
Janapada Kalyani (close up), Ajanta

See Samyutta Nikaya iv.341; Udana Commentary 170; Jataka 1.394; Majjhima Nikaya i.387; Dhammapada Atthakatha i.105; Theragatha Atthakatha i.318.