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Vaitaal Stories-2

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8-Use and Misuse of the Magic Pills

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Vikram and Vaitaal Stories-2 - Story 8 (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]

8-Use and Misuse of the Magic Pills

Vaitaal again started speaking - "There was a king named Suvichaar who had a very beautiful daughter named Chandrprabhaa. Once she went to her father's garden for a stroll in spring season. The fair troop wandered around and enjoyed themselves. It so happened that there roamed around a youth, un-noticed by king's men, named Manaswee. He got tired wandering around so he lay down under a tree and slept. Chandraprabhaa was also got tired so she proceeded towards her summer house. Aroused by the footsteps of the Princess, Manaswee woke up and sat up. The princess seeing a stranger in her garden got startled. Both saw at each other and feel in love instantly."

Vaitaal further said - "Now listen to the word of wise. In the olden times, one of the great philosophers invented a fluid mixed with all matter, strongly self-repulsive like the steam of a brass pot and widely spreading like the breath of the scandal. Repulsiveness is greatly modified by its second property, namely an energetic attraction to all material bodies. Thus every substance contains a part, more or less, of this fluid, pervading it throughout and strongly bound to each component atom. He called it "Ambericity" as it had no connection to Amber, and it could not be weighed.

He said that whenever two bodies containing that unweighable substance in unequal proportions happen to meet, a current passes from one to the other producing a kind of attraction This operation takes place instantaneously when the force is strong and much condensed. Thus the vulgar call this phenomenon as "love at first sight" and the wise call it "phenomenon of Ambericity".

So the effect of this Ambericity was that the boy just lay where he was sitting like a dead, and the girl's feet trembled and she got unconscious. Her friends came and took her home. Just then Maldev and Shashi named Pandit stumbled upon the body. Maldev said to Shashi - "How this boy is lying here unconscious?" Shashi said smilingly - "Surely he must have seen some girl." Maldev rushed to a nearby pond, brought some water and sprinkled it over him. When he had gained his senses, the old men asked him the reason of his unconsciousness. He said - "What is the use of telling one's own grief to those who cannot help." Those Pandit pushed him hard to tell what had happened to him. He told them that since he saw the princess, his condition was like that. If he would get her, he would live, otherwise not. 

Maldev assured him that he would do everything to get her, and if he could not get her, he would make him very wealthy. Manaswee said - "God has created many jewels but the pearl, woman, is the chief of all. What value of riches for whom who has abandoned his wife? Wealth is the fruit of virtue, ease of wealth, a wife of ease. And where there is no wife, there is no happiness." Maldev said - By God's grace whatever you want, you will get the same."

He took him to his own house and made him seated comfortably. Then he left him there, went inside, and when he came back, he held two pills in his hands. He showed them to Manaswee and told their virtues like this - "We have a boon to our family, by which I try to do good of the people, but my success wholly depends of the purity of the person who seeks my help. If you take this pill in your mouth, you will be changed into a 12-year old girl, and when you have taken it out, you will return to your original form. But you have to take care that you will have to use only for good cause, otherwise some great calamity may fall on you. That is why you must think twice before using it." The boy assured him that he was the most innocent, earnest and well-intentioned man. So the Braahman's son made no delay in doing so. Maldev warned him not to swallow it and took the other one into his own mouth. This changed the boy into a girl and Maldev into an 80-year old graceful man. 

Manaswee Goes to the King
Both went to the palace of Suvichaar, then passing through seven courts came to the royal court. Seeing a Braahman entering the court, the King rose from his seat and made them sit on Aasan. Maldev blessed him. The king asked him - "From where have you come here?" The old Braahman said - "I live on the northern side of Gangaa River. I traveled to a far place and found my daughter-in-law in this girl, so I came back home. Meanwhile a flood has destroyed our village and my wife and son have to flee somewhere, now I cannot wander with this girl everywhere. Hearing your name I came here to leave this girl with you till I come back. Please take care of this girl."

The king got in a flux, because first, the girl was so beautiful; second, the Braahman might curse him. So he agreed to keep her with him and sent her to his daughter's palace instructing her to take every care of her and not to separate her even for a moment. The Braahman went away. The princess took her to her own apartments. The apartment was not decorated at all except for a flower vase with withered flowers. Seetaa (as Manaswee liked to be called) found that the princess was very sad, so when everybody went from there, she asked her the reason of her sadness. The princess told her the incident occurred in the garden and said - "Since then I have no desire to eat or enjoy anything. The beginning of the next month, I will end up my life."

Seetaa asked her - "What will you give me if I will show you your beloved at this very moment?" "I will be your lowest grade servant." Manaswee took out the pill from his mouth and he changed into his original form. He kept the pill safely in a pouch hung from his neck. Chandraprabhaa got amazed to see this change. Then Manaswee described eight types of marriage briefly - (1) Brahm Vivaah - When a girl is given to a Braahman or to a higher caste boy without any reward; (2) Daiv Vivaah - In which the girl is presented as a gift or a fee to an officiating priest at the close of a sacrifice; (3) Aarsh Vivaah - When a girl is married by giving two cows to the groom; (4) Praajaapatya Vivaah - When a girl is married on the request of a Braahman, and father says to his daughter, "Go and fulfill the duties of religion"; (5) Asur Vivaah - When money is received by the father in exchange of the bride; (6) Raakshas Vivaah - When the girl is captured in a war, or when the bridegroom overcomes his rival to get the girl; (7) Paishaach Vivaah - When the girl is taken away from her father's house by craft; and (8) Gandharv Vivaah - Marriage that takes place by mutual consent. 

Manaswee preferred the latter one that the girl should call upon her father to organize a Swayamvar for her and allow her to choose her own husband, but it was not possible. They never went out for five months. Manaswee stayed there as a woman in the daytime, and as a man in the nighttime. Now he was going to become a father. But soon both got tired living like this, because both wanted to appear as husband and wife before the world and they could not do this because they were not husband and wife in the eyes of the world.

One day Chandraprabhaa told a young woman an old nursery tale in which a girl unconsciously married a friend who became a handsome boy in the night and an utterly ugly boy in the daytime." Vikram further said - "Now you can think of the concluding story. Once Chandraprabhaa and Seeta asked the permission of the King to go out and he readily gave it. They began a new life.

Treasurer's Son is Attracted to Manaswee
It so happened one day that the whole family went to attend a marriage ceremony at King's treasurer's place. There his son saw Seetaa and fell in love with her. This was the third case of "love at first sight". He said to his friend - "I will have to marry her, otherwise I will die." As the King's family came back to their house the treasurer's son's situation got worse. He left eating and drinking. His friend then told all this to his father. The treasurer went to the King and presented his case - "Because of the love of the Braahman's daughter-in-law my son's condition is very bad, if you give her to my son, my son will be saved."

The King got very angry and said to him - "O Fool, When somebody takes charge of someone, he has to protect him by all possible means." Now the treasurer knew that the King wouldn't be able to manage his kingdom without him, so he said to himself, "Without she, he will not be able to live." and he started moving towards the door. While passing through it he said - "It will cost me 10 days of fasting, Sir."

He came home and went to his son's room along with his several servants and said to him - "Sorry Son, I could not do anything for you, but to perish with you." The servants went out of the room and spread this news around and came back to see if their master kept his word. When the treasurer did not eat or drink anything for three days, the cabinet members decided that they would resign if the King did not agree with them. Next morning they all went to the King and said that the treasurer's son was at the point of death and the treasurer had also not eaten anything because of his son. If he dies who will take care of the accounts? It will be in your favor if you agree for what we say to you. Please, do not lose your temper." 

Then the ministers gathered their courage and told him to marry the Braahman's daughter-in-law to the treasurer's son, because the Braahman had not returned for so many months, maybe he was not even alive. And even if he returns he might bestow him with wealth, villages etc. and if he is not satisfied with it, he might give him any other beautiful wife for his son. A person should be sacrificed for the sake of a family, a family for the city, a city for the country, and a country for the king.

He told the ministers to go and that he would reply them the next day. Ministers understood that the king would ask his wives. They were sure that the king would agree with their proposal and the girl also would not sacrifice her present for the future. That evening the treasurer and his son ate food together.

The King immediately went to Chandraprabhaa's palace and asked Seetaa to go to his treasurer's house. Although Chandraprabha and Mansawee were frank with each other, but Chandraprabhaa and Seetaa were hardly on speaking terms. Both were shocked to hear this order. They did everything to revoke his order. Seetaa said - "The virtue of a woman is destroyed through too much beauty; the religion of a Braahman is destroyed is by serving kings; a cow is spoiled by distant pastures; wealth is lost by committing injustice; and prosperity departs from the house where promises are not kept." The king admired her sentiments but was firm to send her to treasurer's house.

Seetaa again spoke - "If you are determined to send me to the treasurer's house, then take a promise from that he will do whatever I will say to him." "Speak, What he has to do?" "I am a Braahman and he is a Kshatriya, the law says that he should go to Teerth Yaatraa before we can marry me." The King got very happy to hear this; and Chandraprabhaa and Manaswee also got very happy to postpone the matter for some time. The king sent this message to treasurer but then the treasurer's son also put a condition that he would go to pilgrimage but till he returns, Seetaa would live in his house. The King had to send Seetaa to his house and Seetaa left Chandraprabhaa weeping bitterly.

Seetaa was handed over to his third and youngest wife Saubhaagya Sundaree who was about her own age. He prohibited them to go out of the palace till he comes back and he went away for pilgrimage.

Now Seetaa got tired of being Seetaa in six days. She took out the pill from her mouth, and she became Manaswee again. He met the punishment for this with which Maldev had warned him. The pill had slipped down his throat and he could not change himself to Seetaain the morning, so he had to run from Saubhaagya Sundaree's room through a window. He broke his ankle and lay down on the ground for some time.

The Braahman Returns
After leaving Manaswee at the King's palace, Maldev changed himself into his original form and told his friend Shashi what he had done. Shashi scolded him badly that he committed a grave sin by showing this kindness to him. Maldev said - "I have warned him about the calamity he might face." Shashi said - "You have put a sharp weapon in a fool's hand." "I have not." "Yes, You have, and you will suffer for it." "He will not, by Brahmaa." "He will, by Vishnu. And if within six months he does not disgrace himself, you will have my whole book case; and if he does, then philanthropic Maldev will use all his skills to procure the King's daughter as a wife for his faithful friend Shashi." And they decided not to talk about it until Fall.

One day they found out secretly that Seetaa had disappeared from Treasurer's house mysteriously and had not been heard since then. This convinced Maldev that his friend had won the bet. So he gave one pill to old Shashi who became a 20-year old young man. As he put that pill in his mouth; and he put another pill in his mouth and went to the King in the same guise in which he appeared before the King first time. The King at once recognized the priest and understood the purpose of their coming. He welcomed them. After the formal greetings the King asked him where he had been for such a long time. The old Braahman said - "I have found my son, I have come now to take my daughter-in-law. Where is she?" The King told him everything.

Maldev got very angry at this. He said - "What have you done? Why did you give his wife to another man? You have done what you wished, now accept my curse." The King immediately fell on his feet because of fear of his curse and said - "I will do whatever you will say, please, do not curse me." Maldev said - "Then give your daughter to my another son. Only on this condition I can forgive you. To me now, a necklace of pearls and a poisonous Krishn snake; the most powerful enemy and the kindest friend; the most precious gem and a clod of earth; the softest bed and the hardest stone - all are the same. All I want that now I should spend my remaining days in some holy place."

The King immediately called the astrologer and asked him to tell him the auspicious moments to marry his daughter to this Braahman's another son. He did not consult the Princess. So the Braahman took the King's daughter and his dowry and went away to his home.

Hardly Chandraprabhaa was married to Shashi, Manaswee went to Shashi and asked him to return his wife. Shashi said - "She is my wife, not yours. I have married her ceremoniously in front of several Pandit and people, therefore she is my wife." Manaswee swore that he had been legally married to her, and he was the father of her unborn child also, how could she be his spouse? He tried to look for Maldev but he had already disappeared by then. He called Chandraprabhaa, but she also put on an innocent face and denied that she had ever seen this man."

Vaitaal said - "But many people believed Manaswee's story and still think that he was legally married to the King's daughter. Nobody knew that Manaswee was the father of that unborn child. Now since Shahshi was legally married to her, she was his wife, the child was his, he would perform his last rites etc etc."

Vikram sighed - "Which justice is often unjust enough."

And Vaitaal again ran away from Vikram's bundle. When Vikram had brought him again, he started telling another story.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/05/13