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Vaitaal Stories-2

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Vikram and Vaitaal Stories-2 - Introduction-1  (Keral Version)

"Captain Sir Richard R Burton's Vikram and the Vampire: classic Hindu tales of adventure, magic and romance" / edited by his wife Isabel Burton. [etext Conversion Project, Nalanda Digital Library, NIT Calicut, Kerala State, India]

The first edition of this book was published in 1870. This book lists 11 stories including the last story which puzzled the King Vikramaaditya. He has given a good introduction to the stories of Vikram and Vaitaal. A short version of that book is given here, as the book is very long and all the descriptions are very elaborative - 450 pages.

1. Who was King Vikramaaditya
2. Bharatrahari's Rule
3. Vikramaaditya Returns
4. Vikramaaditya Meets Vaitaal

Who was King Vikramaaditya

Maurya Dynasty ruled in India for 318 years. The last ruler of Maurya Dynasty was Raajpaal who reigned for 25 years. His country was then invaded by Shakaaditya, a king from the highlands of Kumaaoon.

Vikramaaditya, in the 14th year of his reign, attacked and destroyed Shakaaditya and ascended the throne of Dehlee, but his capital was Avantee (Ujjayinee, or modern Ujjain). It was 13 Kos (26 miles) long and 9 Kos (18 miles) wide - an area of 468 square miles. He got the title of "Shakaaree" (foe of Shak) after the victory over the Shak race.

In the Kali Yug (Iron Age), he stands highest amongst the Hindu kings as the patron of learning. Nine people under his patronage, popularly known as "Nine Gems of Science", held in India the honorable positions of the "Seven Wise Men of Greece". These learned people wrote works in 18 original dialects from which, say the Hindu, all the languages of the earth have been derived. (Notes 10)

Vikramaaditya's Nine Gems

(1) Dhanavantari enlightened the world upon the subjects of medicines and incantations. (2) Kshapanak treated the primary elements. (3) Amar Sinh compiled a Sanskrit dictionary and a philosophical treatise. (4) Vaitaal Bhatt was a Braahman. He wrote a 16-stanza "Neeti Pradeep" for Vikramaaditya. (5) Varaahmihir produced two works on astrology and one on Arithmetic. He predicted the death of Vikramaaditya's son's death. (6) Vararuchi introduced certain improvements in grammar, commented upon the incantations, and wrote a poem in praise of King Maadhav. (7) Shanku Bhatt (8) Ghatakarpar (9) But the most celebrated of all the patronized one was Kaalidaas. His two dramas - "Abhigyaan Shaakuntalam" and "Vikram and Urvashee" have descended to this date. Besides which he produced a poem on the seasons, a work on astronomy, a poetical history of the gods, and many other books. (Notes 13)

Vikramaaditya set the "Vikram Samvat" era dating from 56 AD. He died in a war with the Shaalivaahan, king of Pratishthaanpur (Mahaaraashtra). This king also left behind him an era called "Shak Sanvat" beginning with 78 AD. It is employed even now by the Hindu in recording their birth, death, marriages etc occasions.

King Vikramaaditya was succeeded, by his infant son Vikramsen, and father and son reigned over a period of 93 years. Vikramsen was succeeded by a devotee named Samudrapaal who entered into his body by miraculous means. He reigned for 24 years and 2 months. Thus the throne of Dehlee continued in the hands of 16 successors who reigned for 641 years and 3 months. Vikrampaal, the last one was slain in a battle by Tilak Chandra - the king of Vaharannaah. (Notes 14)

Vikram and Vaitaal-Introduction

Sage Bhavabhooti has written these tales. Through these tales he teaches as how Vikramaaditya became the king of Ujjain. Some 20 centuries ago, a prince was born in Ujjayinee - named Vikramaaditya, or in short Vikram, or even in shorter form Vik. He was the second son of an old king - Gandharvsen. Gandharvsen had married four queens and had six sons by them - each of whom was more learned and powerful than the other one.

Once, it so happened, that in course of time, their father died and the eldest son Shank succeeded the throne but was instantly killed by Vikramaaditya - the hero of these stories. (Notes 15) Thus he got the title of "Veer" (brave) because of this heroic act. He began to rule well. His borders extended and at length he became the ruler of India.

The old king called his two grand sons - Bharatrahari and Vikramaaditya and counseled them for their good future. They were told to master everything - grammar, the Scriptures, all religious sciences, military tactics, international law, music, horse riding, elephants, all kinds of games, to separate the different sides of questions, to distinguish between innocent and guilty, perfect justice etc etc.

The two brothers often talked on the duties of the king. Once Vikramaaditya gave the great Bharatrahari the valuable advice - "As Indra, the god of rains, during the four rainy months , fills the earth with water, so a king should replenish his treasury with money. As Soorya, the Sun, in warming the earth for eight months, does not scorch, so a king in drawing revenues from people ought not to oppress them. As Vaayu, the wind, surrounds and fills everything, so the king by his officers spies should become acquainted with the affairs and circumstances of his whole people. As Yam judges the people without partiality or prejudice and punishes the guilty, so should a king chastise, without favor, all offenders. As Varun, the regent of water, binds with his Paash (divine noose) his enemies, so let a king bind every malefactor safely in prison. As Chandra, the Moon, by his cheering light gives pleasure to all, thus should a king, by gifts and generosity, make his people. And as Prithvi, the Earth, sustains all alike, so should a king feel an equal affection and forbearance towards everyone."

Routine of Vikramaaditya

When Vikram became the king, he followed all the rules of a king. He was awakened by a servant before dawn. He did his daily chores and Braahman sang his praise. He gave alms to poor and then he checked his accounts. He sat in his court and he was always armed when he received strangers. He searched even women for concealed weapons. He was surrounded by so many spies, that among a thousand spies, no two ever told the same tale. He made the cook taste every dish before he ate of it.

Before the second Sandhyaa, noon, he recited gods' names, bathed and broke his fast, then he was amused by singers and dancers. After eating in the evening, he again repeating the names of gods, visited the temples, proceeded to receive and distribute presents. Then he discussed political problems with counselors. When it was 6th watch, about 2-3 PM, he took care of personal matters. After taking some rest, he reviewed his troops and military. At sunset he bathed the third time, performed five sacraments (listening to Ved, oblations to Pitar, sacrificing for deities in fire, giving rice to dumb creatures, and receiving guests with due ceremonies), and spent the evening with learned people.

His night was distributed with equal care - in the first part, he listened to the reports of his spies and envoys. He used the five arts of politics (dividing the kingdom, bribery, mischief making, negotiations, and fighting) against the enemies especially the first two and the last. He regarded all his nearest neighbors and their allies as hostile. He considered them his friends who were the enemies of his enemies. After this he took food and then slept at the end of the 3rd watch. His sleep did not last beyond three hours.

In the 6th watch, he arose, did his daily chores. His 7th watch was devoted to consultation with and instructions to his ministers. The 8th, or last watch was spent with Purohit, Braahman and hailing the dawn. He then bathed and prayed near pure water.

What benefited him most was his attention to his nine gems. His country was difficult to access. Lavanaa River flowed from there. Many tamarind and Bo trees were there. Once Vikram planted 100,000 trees in a single orchard at one place and gave them to his spiritual advisors. After reigning for some years, at the age of 30, he had several sons by his several wives. He loved all his sons except the eldest one, because he was his successor.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/27/12