20 May 2022

#05. Udaya

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Cave No. 9

(No photo.) Identification: Schlingloff 1995.—

A prince named Udaya was reborn as a yakṣa (a class of semi-divine being marked by genius). To keep his promise to his wife, he visited her in the palace and asked for some favours. The princess, not recognising him, wondered how he had entered the well-guarded palace. Udaya told her that he was a yakṣa and offered a pot full of gold. The princess refused the gift, saying that she only longed for her husband, and entreated him to leave and never return. However, the yakṣa came again, this time with a pot full of silver. Surprised, the princess asked him why he had downgraded the value of gift from gold to silver. The yakṣa explained that as the span of her life decreased with time, so did the value of his object of love; and that celestial beings alone are exempted from ageing. Revealing his identity as her former husband, he told her that only a virtuous life could promise rebirth in heaven and can free the humans from the fear of ageing and death; and that earthly pleasures are short-lived. After his departure, the princess decided to leave the palace and become an ascetic.—Prince Udaya was none other than the Buddha in his former existence.

—Source: Singh 2019, 31-33; Schlingloff 2013, I, 28-29

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