Sunday, June 24, 2012

On leaving the city of Stravasti, the Buddha had to cross an extensive plain. From their various heavens, the gods threw him parasols to cover him from sun. In order to avoid giving offense or slighting any of his benefactors, the Buddha courteously multiplied himself, and thus each one of the gods beheld a Buddha who walked along with his own parasol. 
Moriz Winternitz, Geschichte der indischen Literatur (1920)

A version given by Sir William Jones would have it that a despondent Hindustani god, one afflicted by his celibacy, solicited of another god the loan of one of his 14,516 wives. The husband consented with these words: "Take the one you find unoccupied." The needy god went visiting each of the 14,516 palaces. In each one, the lady of the house was with her lord. 
The latter had increased himself 14,515 times and each wife thought herself the only one to enjoy his favors.
Simon Pereyra, S.J., Cuaranta aƱos en el lecho del Ganges (Goa, 1887)