Cave No. 17

Identification: Oldenburg (1895, narrative no. 9).—

Śyāma was the court priest’s devoted son. As the priest and his wife grew old and blind, he asked the king to institute Śyāma as the court priest so that he could retire with his wife in the forests. Śyāma refused to accept the post and went along with his parents to the forest so that he could take care of them. Once, as he was fetching water for his parents, the king, who had come with a hunting party, accidently hit him with his arrow. The king immediately recognising him as the son of court priest, asked him to pardon the curse. Śyāma asked him to calm down and take the water to his parents. Having come to know about the fatal injury to their son, the priest and his wife overcame their initial shock and requested the king to take them to their dying son. They swore on their son’s virtue, and Lord Indra descended from heaven to grant Śyāma back his life.— Śyāma was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

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

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