The story of the Dharma-seeker

(Avadanacataka No. 38; I p. 213222)

When the virtuous prince Subhasitagave~in ascended the throne after his father's death, his chief desire was to acquire the tme faith. He therefore ordered his ministers to seek out a man who could teach him the Law and they offered a great reward through the whole of India. But no one appeared. Then Cakra, king of the gods, decided to test the integrity of the king's desire. He assumed the form of a yaksa, appeared before the king and delivered a first gatha. The king asked for more and the yaksa replied he would only continue on condition that the king would do what he required of him. This was that for seven days and seven nights he should keep a fire burning and at the end of that time should throw himself into it; then the yaks. a would continue his lectures. The king agreed to this and preparations were made. On the day fixed all kinds of earthly and heavenly beings assembled to witness the deed; the yaksa rose into the air and encouraged the king to fulfil his promise. After crowning his son as his successor and taking leave of those belonging to him, the king sprang into the fire, which at the same moment turned into a lotus-pool. Whereupon :akra resumed his own form and uttered another gatha that the king caused to be written down and distributed through the whole of his kingdom.

58. The king offers a reward

On the right the king sits on the cushions of his throne under a canopy supported by columns; he wears a halo and has a women beside him, under the seat are a couple of dishes. The rest of the relief up to the edge on the left, is occupied by strange-looking men, who all wear a flat headdress with a round brim, only one with a somewhat hillier crown; they leave earrings rolled up flat and most of them pointed beards, drooping moustache and a visible row of teeth. All except three are seated; the one nearest the king has both hands on the ground in front of him. The first of the three standing ones turns towards the king with a jug (partly disappeared) in his hand while the two others are bringing a heavy shut-up box. This box we imagine contains the valuable reward offered by the king for a teacher of the true doctrine. On the background are the royal insignia and a tree.