2: Giving Away the Elephant
Prince Vessantara becomes an adult, with a royal wife, Maddi, and two children, named Jali and Kanhajina. In this scene, Prince Vessantara commits the most consequential act, setting in motion the rest of this story. He gives away the Sivi Kingdom’s prized white elephant simply because Brahmin priests from the Kalingas Kingdom ask for it. The people of Sivi are infuriated that Prince Vessantara would give away their lucky rain producing elephant and ask the King Sanjaya to banish his son.