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Ummadantī

The daughter of the banker Tirīṭavaccha of Ariṭṭhapura. When she came of age, she was so beautiful that all who saw her lost control of themselves. At her father’s request, Sivi, the king of the country (who was the Bodhisatta) sent fortune-tellers to examine her, with a view to making her his wife, but the brahmins, on seeing her, were so intoxicated with passion that Ummadantī had them driven out of the house. They returned and told the king that she was a witch, and she was, therefore, given in marriage to Ahipāraka, son of the commander-in-chief. Ummadantī bore the king a grudge for having refused her hand, and one feast day, when the king passed under her window, she threw flowers at him to attract his attention. From the moment that the king saw Ummadantī, he was beside himself with longing for her and lay on his couch raving about her. When Ahipāraka heard what had happened he offered his wife to the king, but Sivi was too righteous to hear of accepting the gift, and by a supreme effort of will he overcame his infatuation.

In a former birth Ummadantī was born in a poor family of Bārāṇasī, and on a certain festal day having seen some holy women clad in robes dyed scarlet with safflower she asked her parents for a similar robe. Realising that they were too poor to afford the gift, she worked for a long time for another family, and they finally gave her a robe. When she was about to don it, after a bath in the river, she saw a disciple of Kassapa Buddha standing without any proper clothes, his robes having been stolen from the river bank. She first gave him half her garment, then, seeing how radiant he looked in it, she gave him also the other half and uttered a prayer that in a further existence she should surpass all other women in looks and be of maddening beauty.

She is identified with the Therī Uppalavaṇṇā. See also ThigA.192, v.28, quoted from the Apadāna.

The story is related in the Ummadantī Jātaka. J.v.209 ff.

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