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Eḷakamāra

King of Bārāṇasī. The king of Kosala invaded his father’s kingdom and, having killed the king, took away the queen, who was pregnant. When the child was born he was cast into the cemetery lest he should be slain by the Kosala king. The boy was discovered by a goatherd and brought up as his son, but from the day of the boy’s arrival in the goatherd’s home, the latter’s animals began to die off. He was therefore named Eḷakamāra (Goat’s Bane). The goatherd, thereupon, put him into a pot and cast him into the river, where he was picked up by a low-caste mender of old rubbish and adopted as his son.

When he grew up the boy went to the palace with his father, and there the princess Kuraṅgavī, of great beauty, fell in love with him. The servants discovered them guilty of illicit relations and reported them to the king. When the lad was about to be put to death for his misdemeanour, the queen; possessed by the spirit of Eḷakamāra’s dead father, who had been born as his guardian angel, confessed that he was no mere outcaste, but the son of the king of Bārāṇasī. The Kosala king restored to Eḷakamāra his father’s inheritance and married him to Kuraṅgavī. Chaḷaṅgakumāra was given to him as his teacher, and was later appointed commander-in-chief.

Kuraṅgavī misbehaved with Chaḷaṅgakumāra as well as with his servant, Dhanantevāsī (J.v.430 ff).

The story of Eḷakamāra was one of the stories mentioned by Kuṇāla in his famous discourse on the frailty of women (J.v.424).

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