King of Avanti in the time of the
Buddha. His name was Pajjota, the sobriquet being added on account of his
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. (The elephant could travel fifty yojanas in one day, and
Kāka, sixty). 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 (Vin.i.276ff; AA.i.216).
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, Celakanthī 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 rays. (This may be another
explanation of the nickname Canda). His last wish was that he should partake of
the Truth realised by the Pacceka Buddha (DhA.i.196ff).
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. But the Buddha sent Kaccāna and his companions,
now become arahants, to preach to the king and establish the 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 (Thag.vs.496-501; ThagA.i.483ff; AA.i.116f).
According to the Dulva (Rockhill, op.
cit., 17), 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 (Rockhill, op. cit., 32, n.1). He had a minister called
Bharata, a clever mechanic (Rockhill, op. cit., 70, n.1).
It would appear from the Samantapāsādikā
(Sp.i.214) 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
The Sarabhanga Jātaka (J.v.133) mentions
a king Canndapajjota, in whose dominion was Lambacūlaka, where lived the ascetic
Sālissara. This either refers to another king of the same name or, more
probably, it is an attempt to identify Lambacūlaka with some place in the
country over which Pajjota ruled in the time of the Buddha.