Shishu Sansaar | Vaitaal Stories-2
"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 description of that introduction is given here --
How Bhartrihari Became the Regent of Ujjayinee?
Once Vikramaaditya thought that he should go to some other places, mainly for spying. So he gave his kingdom to his younger brother Bhartrihari, and he assuming the guise of a Saadhu, took his second son Dharmdhwaj and started going city to city. The regent was in a melancholic mood because he had lost his dear wife in youth. Once he went out for hunting and came to pass a funeral pyre where a woman was becoming Satee. He told this incident to his wife Seetaa Raanee, she immediately said that "Yes, All virtuous women die with their husbands."
He also performed his kingly duties like his brother. He was distinguished by an umbrella of peacock feathers. Thus he was passing his life abstaining from what he wanted to do. He began to pride himself. He had become a quietist and a philosopher. He limited himself only to Nine Gems and Braahman. He placed a man of his own to take care of the war. His name was Maheepaal. He was very intelligent and very handsome.
His youngest wife Dangalah Raanee was extremely beautiful. He became the slave of her beauty. He loved her so much that his love started troubling her. Consequently, the queen fell to Maheepaal. All three were happy but since the foundation was wrong, this happiness soon changed into sorrow.
Bhartrihari Receives the Fruit
There lived a Braahman in Ujjayinee city (Notes 24) along with his wife, just in the vicinity of the palace. They were passing their life with great austerity. After a while they got a reward - the fruit of the Kalp Vriksh. Whosoever would eat it would become immortal. As the God disappeared, the Braahman opened his mouth to eat it, that his wife said - "What we will do of this immortality living in this poverty? Dying is a passing pain, while living in poverty is an eternal pain. Let us die instead of living in poverty for ever."
The Braahman's mouth remained open and his eyes got fixed on that fruit. When he gathered himself, he said to his wife - "You are right. You have opened my eyes. I will do what you say." She resumed - "If this fruit had restored your old age, I would not have told you this." Braahman was about to throw that fruit into the fire, that she snatched the fruit from his hand and said - "This is too precious to throw into fire. Take this fruit to the Regent, give it to him and you will get a huge sum of money which we can use for our good."
Braahman went to the court, presented the fruit to the Regent telling its qualities and said - "Take this fruit and give me some money. I will be happy to live in your long lived kingdom." Bhartrihari took him to his inner cell where stood heaps of gold. He asked him to carry as much as he could. The Braahman took as much gold as he could and went away. The Regent went to his dearest wife, Bangaalaa Raanee, and gave her that fruit to eat so that she will be young and beautiful forever. The queen said - "Eat it yourself or let both of us eat this fruit together then we can enjoy more." But the Regent went away saying that it meant only for one person.
After the Regent had gone, she called Maheepaal and gave that fruit to him. Maheepaal met Lakhaa, a maid of honor, and told her the wonderful power of that fruit, and gave it to her. She thought that that fruit was worthy for the Regent, in the absence of the king, so she presented that fruit to Bhartrihari. The Regent accepted that fruit and dismissed her with many thanks.
His eyes filled with tears as he saw the fruit. (Notes 28) He sighed and groaned with grief. He understood the delusion of wealth and love. He decided to abandon the world. But before leaving, he could not refrain seeing his queen once more. He went to the palace of his queen, and asked her, "What happened to the fruit I gave to you?" She innocently said - "I have eaten it." Then he showed that fruit to her and said - "But that fruit is here, with me." The queen stood aghast unable to speak anything.
The Regent gave the orders to kill her, washed the fruit, ate it, and quitted the throne to become a Yogee without saying a word to anyone. Some say that he is still wandering in the forests, while some say that he has been absorbed by God Himself.
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 08/09/12