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King of Avanti in the time of the Buddha. His name was Pajjota, the sobriquet (caṇḍa) being added on account of his violent temper.

Once, when ill with jaundice, he asked Bimbisāra to lend him the services of Jīvaka, as no other doctor could cure him. The cure for the malady was ghee, for which Pajjota had a strong aversion. Jīvaka, therefore, decided to administer it disguised in an astringent decoction, and obtained the king’s permission to use any of the royal animals or to leave the city at any time he wished, on the plea that he must go in search of various medicines. When all preparations were complete, Jīvaka gave the king the medicine and escaped on Bhaddavatikā, the king’s she-elephant, before the truth was discovered.¹ The king sent Kāka in pursuit, but Jīvaka gave Kāka a purgative and so delayed his return until the medicine had taken effect on the king. Later, when Pajjota was cured, he sent Jīvaka many costly presents, including a garment of Siveyyaka cloth

King Udena was Pajjota’s rival in splendour, and Pajjota decided to take him captive by taking advantage of his fondness for elephants. The plan succeeded and Udena was taken prisoner, but in the end Udena eloped with Pajjota’s daughter, Vāsuladattā, and made her his queen consort. Besides the she-elephant and the slave Kāka, already mentioned, Pajjota had three other fleet-footed conveyances: two mares, Celakaṇṭhī and Muñjakesī, both capable of travelling one hundred leagues a day, and an elephant, Nālāgiri, able to go one hundred and twenty leagues a day.

In a past birth Pajjota had been the servitor of a certain chief. One day, when the chief was returning from the bath, he saw a Pacceka Buddha leaving the city, where he had begged for alms without receiving anything. The chief hurried home and, finding that his meal was ready, sent it to the Pacceka Buddha by the hand of his fleet-footed servant. The servant travelled with all possible haste and, having given the meal to the Pacceka Buddha, expressed certain wishes, as the result of which in this birth he gained possession of the five conveyances. He had authority equal to the power of the sun’s raysHis last wish was that he should partake of the Truth realised by the Pacceka Buddha.⁴

Mahā-Kaccāna was the son of Pajjota’s chaplain and later succeeded to his father’s post. When the king heard of the Buddha’s appearance in the world, he sent Kaccāna with seven others to the Buddha, to bring him to Ujjeni. However, the Buddha sent Kaccāna and his companions, now become Arahants, to teach the king and establish the Buddhist religion (sāsana) in Avanti. The mission was successful. The Theragāthā contains stanzas uttered by the Thera in admonition to the king. It is said that the king had faith in the brahmins and held sacrifices involving the slaughter of animals; he was wicked in his deeds. One night he had a dream which frightened him and went to the Thera to have it explained. The Thera told him of the necessity for leading a virtuous life. We are told that from that day the king abandoned his evil ways and lived righteously.⁵

According to the Dulva,⁶ Pajjota was the son of Anantanemi and was born on the same day as the Buddha. He was called Pajjota (Pradyota), because at the time of his birth the world was illumined as if by a lamp. He became king of Ujjeni at the time of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.⁷ He had a minister called Bharata, a clever mechanic.⁸

It would appear from the Samantapāsādikā ⁹ that Pajjota was born as the result of an ascetic, or some other holy person, having touched the navel of his mother.

Pajjota was the friend of Bimbisāra, and when the latter was put to death by Ajātasattu, Pajjota seems to have made preparations to wage war on Ajātasattu. The defences of Rājagaha were strengthened to meet the threatened attack, but nothing further happened.¹⁰

The Sarabhaṅga Jātaka  ¹¹ mentions a king Caṇḍapajjota, in whose dominion was Lambacūḷaka,¹² where lived the ascetic Sālissara.¹³ This either refers to another king of the same name or, more probably, it is an attempt to identify Lambacūḷaka with some place in the country over which Pajjota ruled in the time of the Buddha.

¹ The elephant could travel fifty leagues in one day, and Kāka, sixty

² Vin.i.276 ff; AA.i.216.

³ This may be another explanation of the nickname Caṇḍa.

DhA.i.196 ff. Thag.vs.496‑501; ThagA.i.483 ff; AA.i.116 f.

Rockhill, op.cit., 17. Rockhill, op.cit., 32, n.1.

Rockhill, op.cit., 70, n.1. Sp.i.214. ¹⁰ M.iii.7. ¹¹ J.v.125‑51 ¹² J.v.133.

¹³ I could find no mention of either Lambacūḷaka or Caṇḍapajotta at the reference cited. I found there only a reference to the ascetic Sālissara. (ed.)