Tuesday, March 17, 2009

King Bharthari

There is a very interesting story about King Bharthari. He was the King of Ujjaini (modern Ujjain) in the 6th century India. In his kingdom there lived a Brahman who, after years of austerities and worship, was awarded with the ‘fruit of immortality’ by the God. According to Hindu mythology there is a tree in heaven called Kalpataru under which if any desire is produced it gets fulfilled. The ‘fruit of immortality’ grows on the Kalpataru. The Brahmin thought ‘what is the use of eating the fruit. I don’t want to live forever!’ He regarded the King Bharthari as the only deserving person who should eat the fruit. He met the king and offered him the fruit. The king was madly in love with his queen. ‘My queen who is dear to me more than my life should eat the fruit’ the King thought and offered it to the queen. The queen in turn offered it to the head of the state police, Mahipala whom she loved more than her life. Mahipala was in love with a courtesan Lakha. He offered the fruit to her. Lakha who was deeply in love with the King presented it to him. The circle revealed the downside of the infidelity to the king. The King summoned the queen and killed her. The King ate the fruit and abdicated the throne to his younger brother Vikramaditya and become a religious mendicant.

Details about the lives of Bharthari and his brother Vikramaditya are from the tales of Baital Pacchisi (Twenty five tales of Baital), translated as 'Vikram and The Vampire' by Sir Richord Francis Burton, in 1870.

This is a fiction. But there is wisdom to be learnt from such stories. Like money and power cant buy you love. Never take your love for granted, you might be in for a shock. Men renounce the world when they lose power over their women. A man must find his true goal in life early. Even those whom we regard as of loose character (Lakha) can show a great strength of character, etc.

If you think that there is something more to the story, please write in. It is open to interpretations.

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