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Kaṇhājinā

Daughter of Vessantara and Maddī. She was so called because, at birth, she was laid on a black skin (J.vi.487). When Vessantara retired to the forest, his wife and children accompanied him to Vaṅkagiri. Later, both Kaṇhājinā and her brother Jāli were given to Jūjaka as slaves and were ill-treated by him. For sixty leagues they travelled with him, led and guarded by the gods, until they came to the court of their grandfather Sañjaya, king of Sivi, and there they were released, Kaṇhājinā’s price being one hundred elephants, one hundred male and female slaves, etc. The children afterwards rejoined their parents and lived happily at the court (J.vi.513 ff).

Kaṇhājinā is identified with Uppalavaṇṇā (J.vi.593). In the verses she is sometimes called Kaṇhā (e.g., 546, 548, 553).

Vessantara’s gift of his children is considered the greatest of his gifts. e.g., Milindapañha, 117, 275, 284; Cyp.p.80; DhA.i.406; AA.i.64.

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