34. The king drinks the holy-water of pregnancy(?)

It is very difficult to explain what this relief represents by Ksemcndra's text. This may not be of such importance in itself, for the poet may of course have modified the information from the source he made use of, and it is possible that what we see on the monument may be nearer the original, yet in this case the difference seems rather too much. The whole relief is taken up by forest scenery, trees, rocks with birds, deer, monkeys etc. In the midst of all this some space is left open on the right and left for the actors, but we must leave it an open question if the right hand scene is simultaneous or previous to that on the left. On the right we see on an eminence of stone, beneath which birds are nestling, a ve~y-pIainly dressed person, adorned only with a flower on his forehead; he is talking to a brahman standing on the left with an umbrella over his head, who evidently gives some information. The plain-looking style of the person sitting makes it seem unlikely that this is the king; this scene can then only be either something that is unknown to the text or a conversation between some of the hermits without any other intention than to depict the king's present surroundings. In neither case is it much good to us, asin the first we cannot tell how it must be explained, and in the second it has no importance for the text and could merely illustrate the sculptor's style of work. We will turn to the lefthand scene; here sits on the extreme left a man with a moustache: though the king does not wear this elsewhere and this person/s dress is not ceremonial and besides the hairdressing incorrectóbrushed back smooth on both sides of the head and then hanging down in locks adorned with flowersóhe looks far more worldly and elegant than the figure sitting on the right, discussed above. We might, with an effort, accept him as the king. A maiden approaches him from the right, her hair hanging in plaits being adorned with flowers, evidently a hermitage-maiden such as we are familiar with in works like the akuntala. In her hands she has a large waterjug with a spout that she appears to offer him. It is quite possible that this is the important jug of holy-water; though not at all in agreement with the tale that says he saw it standing and drank it all up before any one could prevent him. Here the water is brought to him. This deviation added to the different appearance of this figure to the lying seen elsewhere, makes it impossible to say anything more about this scene than that it is not quite unlikely the king is here strewn drinking the holy-water, but if this is really depicted, the sculptor must have followed some other version of the tale than Ksemendra in the Bodhisattvavadanakalpalata. We can now turn back to the clearer source of the Divyavadana.