At the time of the Buddha, a daughter was born to the foreman of the guild of garland-makers in Savatthi. She was beautiful, clever and well behaved and a source of joy to her father.
One day, when she had just turned sixteen, she went to the public flower gardens with her girl-friends and took three portions of fermented rice along in her basket as the day's sustenance.
When she was just leaving by the city gate, a group of monks came along, who had come down from the monastery on the hill to obtain almsfood in town. The leader among them stood out; one whose grandeur and sublime beauty impressed her so much, that she impulsively offered him all the food in her basket.
He was the Awakened One. He let her put her offering into his alms bowl. After Mallika — without knowing to whom she had given the food — had prostrated at his feet, she walked on full of joy. The Buddha smiled. Ananda, his attendant, who knew that the fully Enlightened One does not smile without a reason, asked therefore why he was smiling. The Buddha replied that this girl would reap the benefits of her gift this very same day by becoming the Queen of Kosala.
This sounded unbelievable, because how could the Maharaja of Benares and Kosala elevate a woman of low caste to the rank of Queen? Especially in the India of those days with its very strict caste system, this seemed quite improbable.
The ruler over the United Kingdoms of Benares and Kosala in the Ganges Valley was King Pasenadi, the mightiest Maharaja of his day. At that time he was at war with his neighbor, the King of Magadha.
The latter had won a battle and King Pasenadi had been forced to retreat. He was returning to his capital on the horse that had been his battle companion. Before entering the city, he heard a girl sing in the flower gardens. It was Mallika, who was singing melodiously because of her joy in meeting the Illustrious Sage. The King was attracted by the song and rode into the gardens; Mallika did not run away from the strange warrior, but came nearer, took the horse by its reins and looked straight into the King's eyes. He asked her whether she was already married and she replied in the negative. Thereupon he dismounted, lay down with his head in her lap and let her console him about his ill-luck in battle.
After he had recovered, he let her mount his horse behind him and took her back to the house of her parents. In the evening he sent an entourage with much pomp to fetch her and made her his principal wife and Queen.
From then on she was dearly beloved by the King. She was given many loyal servants and in her beauty she resembled a goddess. It became known throughout the whole kingdom that because of her simple gift she had been elevated to the highest position in the State and this induced her subjects to be kind and generous towards their fellow men. Wherever she went, people would joyously proclaim: "That is Queen Mallika, who gave alms to the Buddha." (J 415E)
to be continued.........