The Lahore Museum's collection of Gandhara Art is amongst the world's most extensive
In the miracle of Sravasti, the Buddha was challenged by six teachers of Rajagriha to participate in a contest of miracles before the King Prasenajit.
The Buddha walked in air, flames leaping from his shoulders and water running from his feet. He then transformed himself into many images which floated in the air reaching up to heaven while he preached the Law.
This rectangular panel relief in schist stone depicts the famous Dipankara Jataka (lower register) and adoration of the Buddha in upper register.
Jatakas are stories from the previous lives of the Buddha born as Siddhartha. The Dipankara Jataka is one of the most popular Jatakas represented in Gandhara art.
In this jataka Siddhartha was born as Sumati. According to tradition, there came 24 Buddhas before the historical Buddha and the earliest was the Dipankara.
The story tells of a young Brahman named Sumati, who was master of the Vedas and was offered five gifts by king Vasava. One was a girl bedecked with ornaments, who he did not accept. The girl went to the city of Dipavati and dedicated herself to the service of God. She gave all her ornaments to a gardener, who promised to supply her daily with blue lotuses for worship.
Knowing that Dipankara Buddha was visiting the city of Dipavati, Sumati also reached there and searched everywhere for flowers for the worship of Dipankara. He could not find any as all had been collected by the king for worship.
Sad and disappointed, he continued to search and came upon the girl, he had once rejected. She had seven lotus flowers and he beseeched her to give some to him. The girl agreed on his promising that while offering the flowers, Sumati would wish to have her as her wife in every future birth.
Both proceeded to where Dipankara was, but due to the huge crowd around him, they could not get close enough.
Dipankara by his supernatural power caused rain and in the resulting confusion, Sumati and the girl got an opportunity to approach him and threw flowers at him, which did not fall to the ground, but remained suspended in the air.
The road was muddy because of the shower, and Sumati prostrated and spread his hair on the path of Dipankara to enable him to pass. Dipankara stepped on the hair and moved on, but predicted that in time Sumati would be born as Sakyamuni for the benefit of humanity.
As the prediction was uttered the people saw Sumati soar up to heaven.
According to tradition, Hariti had five hundred sons but she used to devour the children of Rajagriha. Seeing this, the Buddha hid the best loved of her sons under his alms bowl.
When she wandered everywhere in search, the Buddha said to her, "your heart is broken because of one lost son out of five hundred; how grieved must they be who by your deeds have lost all their offsprings?"
Listening to this, she repented and was converted
In this figure, the Ushnisha (protuberance at the top of the head representing spiritual power) is missing and Urna (in the centre of forehead representing the eye of spiritual wisdom) in marked with deep circular depression.
The site from where this head comes covers a period from the 1st Century CE to at-least 6th century CE.
Sumaira Samad, Lahore Museum
Waqas Ahmad and Tariq Mehmood, Lahore Museum