Cave No. 2

Identification: Foucher (1919/1921, p. 60).—

There was a goldenfleeced rúru or svarṇa-mṛga (stag) who lived near a torrent. Once, he rescued a drowning man, and thereafter requested the man not to tell anyone about his whereabouts so that the humans would not come after him to get his golden fleece.

Around this time, the queen of the land saw a vision of a goldenfleeced stag on a throne, delivering a sermon to the royal family. To fulfil her dream, the king declared a grand compensation for the person who could help him find such a stag. When the rescued man heard the king’s declaration, he revealed the stag’s location in the royal court. He led the king and his staff, armed with bows and arrows, to hunt down the stag. The crew managed to locate the stag but failed to catch him. The king also saw the stag and tried to wound him with an arrow, but the stag started to narrate the incidence of betrayal to the king. The king heard out the stag’s story and was ready to punish the betrayer. The stag asked the king to forgive the culprit and even give him his reward. The king followed his instructions and led the stag to his palace; there the golden-fleeced animal delivered the sermon from a throne to the residents, advising them to practise kindness, an episode the queen had dreamt.—The stag was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

—Source: Singh 2019, 31-3 Schlingloff 2013, I, 94

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