Rāhula

Born 533 BC

Rāhula was the only son of Siddhārtha Gautama, and his wife and princess Yaśodharā. He is mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts, from the early period onward. Accounts about Rāhula indicate a mutual impact between Prince Siddhārtha's life and the lives of his family members. According to the Pāli tradition, Rāhula was born on the day of Prince Siddhārta's renunciation, and was therefore named Rāhula, meaning Unwanted. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition, and numerous other later sources, however, Rāhula was only conceived on the day of Prince Siddhartha's renunciation, and was born six years later, when Prince Siddhārtha became enlightened as the Buddha. This long gestation period was explained by bad karma from previous lives of both Yaśodharā and of Rāhula himself, although more naturalistic reasons are also given. As a result of the late birth, Yaśodharā needed to prove that Rāhula was really Prince Siddhārtha's son, which she eventually did successfully by an act of truth. Historian H.W.
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