Shishu Sansaar | Vikram-Vaitaal Stories-2

Vaitaal Stories-2

Home | Shishu Sansaar | Stories | Vaitaal

9-Wife Belongs Not to One's Body...

Previous | Next


Vikram and Vaitaal Stories-2 - Story 9 (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]

9-Wife Belongs Not to One's Body But to His Head

Vaitaal started a new story - "There lived a Braahman Haridaas who had a beautiful daughter Unmaadinee. Many poets described her beauty in numberless poems. But all the poets failed to win Unmaadinee's love. One day Unmaadinee told to her father who loved her very much, that her husband should be such a man who has never written any poetry. Of course she stressed on moderate mind and an adorer of talent.

At last some time elapsed. Then one day four suitors appeared from four different countries - all of them equal in youth, beauty, strength and understanding. On coming there. they paid respects to Haridaas and Haridaas asked them to come next morning for an intellectual conversation.

So they came next day. The young Mahasaanee poet said - "Foolish is the man, who seeks permanence in this world, frail as the stem of the plantain tree, and transient as the ocean foam. All that is high, shall presently fall, and all that is low must perish. Pitar taste the tears of their descendents unwillingly, that is why do not shed tears, but perform their last rites diligently." Unmaadinee said - "What an ill-omened fellow is this. There is little chance for this suitor."

The second suitor spoke - "She is called a good woman and a woman of pure descent who serves him to whom her father and mother have given her, and it is written in the scriptures that if she becomes in her life time of her husband a devotee, engaging in fasting shortens his days and hereafter falls in fire, because it is said - "A woman's bliss is found not in the smile of father, mother, friend or herself; her husband is only her share both here and hereafter." The word "serve" might mean "to obey" was particularly disagreeable to Unmaadinee, and she did not like check on devotion either, or the language and the manner of the youth, so she had resolved not to see him again.

The third suitor, Gunaakar a Kshatriya, said - "A mother protects her son in babyhood, and father when he is growing up, but a Kshatriya defends his brothers at all times. This is the custom of the world and this is my state. I live on the heads of strong."

The fourth suitor, Dev Sharmaa, contented himself with listening to others. He thought others were more clever than him. So when his turn came, he said "Silence is better than speech. A wise man will never proclaim his age, nor he would deceive anybody, nor his riches, nor the loss of riches, nor family faults, nor incantations, nor conjugal love, nor medical prescriptions, nor gifts, nor reproach, nor infidelity of his wife."

Thus ended the first trial. Haridaas dismissed the first two suitors with many polite expressions and some gifts. He asked the two latter speakers to come next day morning. They came next day. Haridaas said to them, now you manifest your mental qualities so that I can judge you." Gunaakar said - "I have made a four-wheel carriage which can carry you in a moment wherever you want to go." Dev Sharmaa said - "I have such power on the angel of Death that I can at all times raise a corpse and enable my friends to do the same."

After telling so far, Vaitaal asked Vikram - "Now tell me which suitor is fit for the girl?" Either the King could not answer, or he did not answer with the fear to break the spell of talking, so Vaitaal continued with his story. "Beautiful Unmaadinee was brought out, she did not speak and she hung her head but she made a sign with her eyes towards Dev Sharmaa.

Unmaadinee is Abducted
Haridaas said "pearls go with pearls" and betrothed his daughter to Dev Sharmaa. The soldier Gunaakar got angry at this, but since he was a man of noble birth, he did not show it. Mahasaanee, the poet, began to rage and quote proverbs in the court in a loud voice. He said that in this world women are the mine of grief, poisonous root, destroyers of resolutions etc etc. Then he started abusing the daughter's father, Dev Sharmaa, other priests and Braahman etc too. Haridaas got terrified with his abuses. Seeing this he took an oath that he would commit suicide and haunt the house if Unmaadinee didn't marry him.

Gunaakar, the soldier, got ready to slay him at once but Haridaas halted him to do such a thing. Then Mahasaanee nerved  by love, rage and perversity, got up from his place, took out a noose from his bosom and hanged himself from a tree. And true enough at midnight he arose as a gigantic Raakshas and frightened Haridaas' family. He took away Unmaadinee and left a word that she would be found at the topmost peak of the Himaalaya mountain.

Haridaas rushed to Dev Sharmaa, told him everything and requested him to do something. Dev Sharmaa sought the help of his late rival Gunaakar. Gunaakar immediately got ready to help him. Quickly he made the carriage and both set off to bring Haridaas' daughter. They asked him not to worry at all and that he would see his daughter before the evening. Gunaakar's Cabalistic words made the carriage to rise up and Dev Sharmaa's sacred Mantra made it to fly to that Raakshas.

They came back with the girl in the evening, Haridaas blessed them, and he married his daughter in a splendid way. After a while Dev Sharmaa asked his father-in-law to see his parents, Haridaas allowed him to do so. Gunaakar went with them to make sure that they safely reached their home.

Unmaadinee Jumbles Up
It so happened that their road lay through the high hills of Vindhya mountain and dangers were many. They lost the path in its forest, but still they crossed that terrible part of their journey safely. As they reached the plains, that one day Unmaadinee saw a terrible dream. She saw that she was passing through a pool of muddy water and as she was passing through it, it started cuddling and lifting up . She was carrying a sick child in her arms, he started wailing and his cry was accompanied by several other cries. It seemed that all cries were addressed to her as if she were the cause of their weeping. Her all efforts to console them failed.

In the morning, she told all this to her husband. Her husband told her and his friend that some terrible calamity is going to fall soon. He took out his traveling wallet and took out a skein of thread which he divided into three parts, one for each. He gave one each to his companion and said - "If you have any physical injury, tie this thread around it, it will heal the wound immediately. After that he taught the Mantra to restore the bodies even when they have gone to stars. It concluded with the three sacred syllables - Bhoo, Bhuvah, Swar.

As Dev Sharmaa had predicted an accident occurred. In the same evening, they were attacked by Kiraat tribe. They started showering arrows on them. Both, Gunaakar and Dev Sharmaa fell down. Kiraat cut their heads, took their jewelry and ran away from there leaving the woman unharmed. Unmaadinee sat down and wept bitterly. Then she remembered her lesson learned the very same morning so she took out the thread and tried to tie it around the necks of both bodies. But the evening was approaching fast, it became so dark that she, by mistake, put Dev Sharmaa's neck on Gunaakar's body and Gunaakar's neck on Dev Sharmaa's body. She then pronounced the prayers as she was taught.

Immediately after the prayers, they both came to life and they both stood up shaking their limbs, but something wrong appeared to them. They looked at their bodies and then looked at each other with a puzzled look. For one moment the amputation of their heads looked the only solution for their problem. She cried happily as she looked at the bosom of her husband, but he repulsed that she was mistaken and he was not her husband. Then blushing she embraced the other person who was her real husband, but to her surprise he also drew himself back from her embrace..

She moved back and perceived her fatal mistake. Dev Sharmaa's head cried - "This is your wife." Gunaakar's head cried - "No, She is your wife." But then both started claiming Unmaadinee as their wife and they began to quarrel. I do not know any other solution except cutting their once again and rejoining them to their proper places, and I am sure that you are also not able to solve this puzzle that to whom Unmaadinee choose her husband." This case when presented in the King's court, it presented a great confusion each head declaiming all the sins its body had committed. Yam himself hit his forefinger with vexation." (Notes 161)

Here the young Prince Dharmdhwaj laughed at the ridiculous idea of wrong heads. Vikram reminded him that laughing without cause degrades a man and a loud laugh indicates of a vacant mind.

Then he said to Vaitaal - "It is written in Shaastra, that mother Gangaa is the queen among the rivers, Mount Sumeru is the king among the mountains, Kalp Vriksh is the king among all the trees, and the head of the man is the best among all the parts of his body. That is why the wife belonged to the body on which Dev Sharmaa's head was fixed."

Vaitaal said - "In my opinion, the wife should belong to the body not to the mind, because the body has an immortal soul living in the pit of its stomach, whereas the head is only a  box of bones." Vikram replied - "Doesn't the soul or conscious life enter the body through the brain and then to contemplate, through the same opening, the Divine perfections?" Vataal said - "I must leave you now O Lord of Shak." and he ran away again from Vikram's bundle and Vikram could not prevent him from running away. But he did not lose time in following him and threw him on his shoulder. He was waiting for his new tale.



Home | Shishu Sansaar | Stories | Vaitaal


Previous | Next

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