#41. Kalyāṇakārin

Ajanta Cave 1

The narrative was identified by Schlingloff (1976, 5–16).

Two princes, Kalyāṇakārin (‘Doing Good’) and Pāpakārin (‘Doing Evil’), bore the characteristics of their names. Once, Kalyāṇakārin, accompanied by Pāpakārin, embarked on a sea voyage in search of wealth as endless charity had emptied out the royal coffers. During their voyage, Kalyāṇakārin found a blue wishing-stone in a jewel island. On the return leg, the ship, overloaded with precious stones, drowned along with its passengers who were then also attacked by sea monsters. Kalyāṇakārin managed to save himself and his brother with the help of the wishing-stone, and gave half of rescued jewels to Pāpakārin. However, to acquire the kingdom and his brother’s power and resources, Pāpakārin gauged Kalyāṇakārin’s eyes out as he slept, and ran away with the jewels.

Some cowherds found the blind and abandoned Kalyāṇakārin and looked after him. They gave him a flute to earn alms as a musician. The head gardener of a royal residence, impressed by his flute playing, hired him as a garden hand. One day the princess saw him and instantly fell in love with him. She asked her father for permission to marry this blind musician, something which her father granted her, albeit unwillingly. They lived in the princess’ palace together. By and by Kalyāṇakārin suspected his wife’s fidelity and asked her to heal one of his eyes by a spell of truth and thus prove her sanctity, which she did. When Kalyāṇakārin gained sight in one eye, he told his wife his back story, including the misdeeds of his evil brother. After that, he gained vision in his other eye as well. The princess invited her father to behold the miracle. The king recognised his son-in-law as Prince Kalyāṇakārin because he had heard about him, and he accepted him happily. Later, Kalyāṇakārin returned to his father’s kingdom with his wife.—Prince Kalyāṇakārin was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

— Source: Singh 2019, 26-27; cf. Schlingloff 2013, I, 189-194 .

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