Chief queen of Pasenadi, king of Kosala.
Mallika’s knowledge of the Dhamma made her wiser than Pasenadi would have desired, and he once, in a moment of great affection, asked if anyone were dearer to her than her own “self.” “No, Sire,” was the answer; the king was evidently greatly disappointed, for he sought the Buddha, who explained to him that Mallikā, in making that answer, had uttered a great truth.SN.i.75 Ud.v.1 It is said AN.iii.57 that Pasenadi was on a visit to the Buddha when a man came with the whispered message that the queen was dead. It was a terrible shock, “his shoulders drooped, his mouth fell, and he sat brooding, unable to speak.”
Mallikā had a daughter by Pasenadi; no mention is made of a son. Probably it is Vajirī, who is spoken of as the king’s only daughter. MN.ii.110 He is said to have been disappointed on hearing that the child was a girl; but the Buddha assured him that women were sometimes wiser than men. SN.i.86f.
Only one instance is on record of Mallikā asking a question of the Buddha. She wished to know why some women are plain, others beautiful, some rich, and others poor. And the Buddha explained to her the reasons for these discrepancies.
In the Piyajātika Sutta. MN.ii.106ff. Pasenadi is said to have taunted her because “her recluse Gotama” had said that dear ones bring sorrow and tribulation. “If the Lord says so, it must be so,” she replies; but secretly sends Nāḷijaṅgha to find out from the Buddha himself if he had said so and why. Having learnt the facts, she faces Pasenadi again, and convinced him too that the Buddha is right.
Mallikā had a garden, called the Mallikārāma, in which was a Hall among the Deispyros trees set apart for religious discussions between members of various sects. MN.ii.22 DN.i.178
Mallikā is included in a list of eminent upāsikās. AN.iv.348