Manthara and the Yaksha…

Read the previous part here…

He who has no sense of his own, and does not heed the advice of his friends, dies like the weaver Manthara.

TruptaKumar said “How did that happen?”

VairāgyaKumar replied…


The story of the weaver named Manthara

In a city, not too far away from here, lived a weaver named Manthara (the one who is foolish). One day, as he was weaving a sari, the central wooden spine in his loom broke, rendering it useless.

Manthara grabbed his axe, and walked to the forest, with the intent to cut some wood and make a new wooden spine, and some other accessories. He reached near the seaside, and came upon a huge Sheesham tree. “This is a very big tree, if I cut it..I can take back wood not just for my loom, but for cooking as well”, thought Manthara.

As he lifted the axe to cut the tree, he heard a voice speak to him. “Please do not cut this tree. I am a Yaksha (celestial being), and I live in this tree…this is my home. I enjoy the cool breeze of the sea, and pass my days in peace and tranquility. If this tree is cut, I will have nowhere to go…”

Manthara joined his hands and said “Oh respected Yaksha, What can I do? I need the wood of this tree to repair my loom and make clothes, without which my wife and kids will go hungry. Please go someplace else and let me cut the tree.”

The Yaksha replied “You are courteous and mindful. You listened to me and asked me permission…this shows that you are empathetic as well. I am pleased with you. Ask me anything that you desire, and I will grant you the boon, in exchange for you leaving this tree alone.”

Manthara bowed to the Yaksha and said ” In that case, please give me a day to respond. I will discuss this with my wife and friend, and come back tomorrow with an answer.”

The Yaksha promised to wait, and Manthara set out back to his village.

He rushed back to meet his friend, the barber. Manthara met him just outside his house, and excitedly narrated the whole incident. “So tell me”, he said as the story concluded, “what should I ask the Yaksha?”

The barber replied “You are in luck! Ask the Yaksha a kingdom, so that you become a king, and I will become your minister. We will enjoy the rest of our lives, and even beyond. It is said…

राजा दान-परो नित्यम् इह कीर्तिम् अवाप्य च ।
तत् प्रभावात् पुनः स्वर्गं स्पर्धते त्रिदशैः सह ॥ ५९ ॥

rājā dāna-paro nityam iha kīrtim avāpya ca |
tat prabhāvāt punaḥ svargaṃ spardhate tridaśaiḥ saha || 59 ||

The king who engages in charitable acts throughout his life, will attain fame and live prosperously on earth, and also enjoy the fruits of his good deeds in the afterlife.

Manthara said “That sounds good. Let me also go and ask my wife for her suggestion…let’s see what she has to say about this.”

The barber looked apprehensive. “My dear friend, your wife is not very intelligent. She always makes the wrong decisions. And you always get into trouble because of the decisions that she takes. It is said…

यत्र स्त्री यत्र कितवो बालो यत्र प्रशासिता ।
तद् गृहं क्षयम् आयाति भार्गवो हीदम् अब्रवीत् ॥ ६१ ॥

yatra strī yatra kitavo bālo yatra praśāsitā |
tad gṛhaṃ kṣayam āyāti bhārgavo hīdam abravīt || 61 ||

Where a woman, or a child, or a gambler is the master of the house, that house is in for ruin – so say the wise.

Manthara shrugged and replied “You may be right, but I cannot help it. I have never done anything without consulting her, and so in this case too, I will have to know what she wants me to do.”

Manthara reached home by evening. “My dear, my dear”, he called out as he walked through the door. Seeing her in the kitchen, he went to her and said “My dear, today I had the good fortune of seeing a Yaksha. He has promised to give me whatever I ask for. And so I rushed home to consult with you. I met my friend on the way, he said that I should ask for a kingdom. What do you think?

His wife replied…

to be continued…