Cave No. 2

Identification: Foucher (1921, narrative no. 11).—

Vidhura, the loyal Prime Minister of the Kuru king, was famous for his wisdom even in the kingdom of the nāgas (serpents). One day, the nāga queen requested for the heart of Vidhura. Thereupon, the nāga king asked for the help of the nāga princess to fulfil the queen’s desire.

The princess decided to search for a husband who could help her in the mission. As she let everybody know her wish to marry, the Yakṣa Puṇṇaka came riding a flying horse and presented himself as a candidate for marriage. The princess took the yakṣa (genius, a class of semi-divine beings) to her father. The king agreed to the marriage on the condition that Puṇṇaka must bring the heart of Vidhura.

Puṇṇaka went to Kubera, the Lord of the yakṣas, and obtained his permission to go on the mission. Subsequently, he flew away to obtain a magical jewel, which mirrored the whole world. Finally, he flew to the Kuru land and challenged the Kuru king in a game of dice. He placed the magic jewel against Vidhura. The Kuru king lost the game, and took the yakṣa to Vidhura.

Vidhura taught the lessons of wisdom to them and followed the yakṣa. Vidhura came to know about the nāga queen’s desire for his heart, and came to the conclusion that she actually desired his words of wisdom. He flew with the yakṣa on the horse to the palace of the nāgas and gave the lessons of wisdom to the nāga king and queen. When Vidhura returned to his hometown, the king arranged a grand parade and feast in his honour.—Prime Minister Vidhura was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

—Source: Singh 2019, 31-3 Schlingloff 2013, I, 165

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