Cave No. 17
Identification: Schlingloff (1973, p. 196–203).—
Once, the asuras (demons) attacked Indra, the king of gods, because they begrudged him his power and glory. So, Indra had to battle them with an army of chariots, elephants, cavalry, and infantry. The battle began on the shores of the ocean of heaven. After heavy fighting, the gods were defeated and were forced to flee while Indra alone shielded his side from the chariot, till finally his charioteer turned to follow his retreating troops. Suddenly, Indra realised that his flying chariot was fast approaching a silk cotton tree with a nest of young garuḍas. Indra immediately ordered his chariot to be turned, risking death in hands of the enemies rather than letting innocent creatures die. The sudden volte-face alarmed the asuras and the resultant confusion prompted their summary defeat. Indra’s warriors also surged forward and celebrated the victory of their king.—Indra, the king of the Gods, was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.