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Sugata SaurabhaAn Epic Poem from Nepal on the Life of the Buddha by Chittadhar Hridaya$
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Todd T. Lewis and Subarna Man Tuladhar

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341829.001.0001

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(p.68) 4 Mother
Sugata Saurabha

Todd Lewis (Contributor Webpage)

Subarna Tuladhar

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the death of Queen Māyā a week after the birth. The mourning of the royal court contrasts vividly with the happiness that ended the previous chapter. The last rites for the queen are described in accordance with Newar custom. The poet narrates how the king solicited the prophecy of an elderly sage, Asita, who upon examining the boy concluded that the child would either be a universal emperor or a great religious sage. The boy is given the name Siddhārtha. An extended description of a drought that withers crops, kills insects, and leaves everyone parched plunges the reader into the emotion of the grief that lingers in the kingdom. As planting season approaches and monsoon rain clouds gather, the royal ploughing ceremony is described, one in which the canonical texts describe Siddhārtha off to the side seeming to meditate, the first of many wondrous signs of the boy's extraordinary nature.

Keywords:   Queen Māyā, palace, Asita, prophecy, drought, Siddhārtha, death, meditate

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