Amarpali

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King Bimbisar of the Sisunaga dynasty has been considered to be good looking, well polished, elegant, graceful and a great statesman. It is stated that he had a thing with the great dancer of Vaishali (the tribal unification of the Lichhavis; where Buddha conveyed his last address) called Amarpali (Amrapali). Not much is known about her. She is however stated in Pali and several Buddhist manuscripts portrayed as one that was found under a mango tree with unknown ancestry. She was thought to have first come into view close to a mango tree hence her name (Amra-mango; Pali-leaves). Several tales of Amarpali exists although most seems like remixes, misinterpretations, delusions, misunderstandings and fairy tales of events. Even a Bollywood movie has been made referring to this exact character of Amarpali.

She grew up in the royal house of the Lichhavis in the companionship of other dancers and entertainers. She outshined everyone in relation to beauty and magnificence hence earned herself the status of the main courtesan of Vaishali. Her fame traveled near, far and wide. Some say that it was Ajatsatru after killing of his father and brothers and becoming the monarch of Magadh, had an affair with Amarpali clandestinely without the knowledge of royals of Vaishali. The Lichhavis were a ruthless and merciless lot that never acknowledged the domination of the Magadhan Empire. Their soldiers from time to time used to cross the river Ganges and create nuisances for the people of Magadh.
Although the exact date of Amarpali cannot be traced, it seems to be during the time of either Bimbisar or his son Ajatsatru. Bimbisar the king of Magadha (Ancient Bihar) vowed to defeat the tribals hence tried many tricks to bring them to book. It is considered that during a secret incursion of Vaishali he met her and forcibly brought her back to Rajgir, the capital of Magadh and married her. Some Buddhist and ancient text books mention that she stayed in Vaishali all her life where she meet the Buddha and converted to Buddhism.
Some mention that it was actually Ajatsatru that was mesmerized by her. Ajatsatru was the ruthless son on Bimbisar. However the story goes that Ajatsatru periodically cheated on his wife Khema. Horrified by the increasing ruthless activities of the Licchavi soldiers he disguised himself as a Licchavi soldier and spied on their war methods and modus operandi where he met Amarpali at the courts of Vaishali. Traveling to the Vaishali district in Bihar today, there exists a village called "Amvara" and not astonishingly numerous mango orchards are to be seen. Vaishali can be approcahed by road or air via Patna approximately 56 kms.

Story of this dancer is very interesting. She was so beautiful, talented, and could make the rulers dance to her wish. She had all luxuries. Yet. she was unhappy.When she was attracted by Buddha's teachings and wanted to become his deciple by taking sanyasa, Many others opposed buddha for making her a sanyasin (Theri). Later she ,leaving all her luxuries and past life, lived that life as a better yogini.

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