STORIES of VIKRAM and BETAAL – Story 2 ( Mandaravati )

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King Vikram did not fear. He marched on to the gnarled old tree and untied the rope that bound the

corpse to the branch. He threw the corpse across his shoulder and began walking back. Belata spoke.

“Oh king Vikram! You are really annoyed. I shall tell you one more story for your enjoyment. Long ago there lived a Brahmin, Agniswamy in the town Brahmasthala situated on the bank of the river kalindi. He was loyal to his religion. He had one daughter Mandaravati. She was extremely beautiful. She was yet to be married. Agniswamy desired to perform her marriage. He was in seach of a bridegroom, educated, beautiful and man of good qualities.

In a few days three Brahmins who were young arrived at Brahmasthala. They had come from Kanyakubja. They were all known to each other. They were looking beautiful. They were intelligent. All of them once saw Mandaravati. They were all fascinated be her beauty. Each one of them desired to marry her. Each one decided not to allow any other to marry Mandaravati.

One day all of them approached Agniswamy and requested him to get mandaravati married to them. Agniswamy was in a fix. He and his family members were unable to take any decision. Finally they decided that Mandarvati should select the bridegroom out of the three Brahmins. But the Brahmins were worried. Everyday they used to see Mandaravati’s beautiful face.

One sacred day Agniswamy summoned the three Brahmins to his house. Each one thought that Mandaravati would marry them. They arrived at her house. Mandaravati saw all the three. She was now in a fix. Whom should she select? She was upset. While she was sitting in her room, to her misfortune a cobra entered the room and poisoned her. She died. The Brahmins were sorry to note it. They were not in a position to leave her. Mandaravati was cremated.

One of the three Brahmins collected her bones and went to the river Ganga. The second one built a house at the place of the cremation and lived in it. The last one remembered Mandaravatri very much and went on pilgrimage. During his travel he resided in a Brahmins’s house in a village. The Brahmins’s wife was wicked. One day her child behaved mischievously. She got angry and threw the child into fire. The child was burnt into ashes. The young Brahmin felt that it is no good to stay in that house and therefore he just started to quit. At the moment the owner of the house consoled him and he took a pinch of mud and put it on the ash reciting ‘mrita sanjeevini’ hymn. The child got life. Then the Brahmin kept the book containing mrita sanjeevini hymn on a table. He asked his wife to serve food to the young Brahmin.

The young Brahmin ate well. Everybody slept in the night. In the midnight the young Brahmin took the book and rushed towards Brahmasthala. He wanted to reach as early as possible the place were Mandaravati was cremated. By the time he reached the cremation ground the Brahmin who had been to the river Ganga also returned. Another young Brahmin was there in the hut. All of them again assembled at one point.

The young Brahmin who had brought the book containing the hymn took a pinch of mud and put it on the ash reciting the hymn. Immediately Madaravati became alive. She was looking still more beautiful. All three were immensely joyous. But they started quarrelling to marry her.

“I recited the hymn. That’s why she got life” one of them said.

“But I had been to the river Ganga and dipped her bones in the river that is the reason Mandaravati got back her life” another Brahmin said.

How is it possible? All these days I have protected the ash. Therefore Mandaravati is my wife” the third youth said.

Betaal asked king Vikram: “oh king Vikram! Now tell me. How was the quarrel resolved> who could be the husband of Mandaravati? Knowing the answer if you remain silent, your head will spit into a thousand pieces!”

“The Brahmin who gave life to Mandaravati becomes her father. The person who took her bones to the river Ganges for dipping is supposed to be her son. The youth who made her ash as bed and slept on it has really loved her. Therefore he is the appropriate husband of Mandaravati” Vikram replied.

Vikram broke his silence by replying Betaal. Betaal glided back to the tree.

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