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The mother then proceeded to question him on the scriptures, the Vedas, Upanishads, and even matters of the past, and matters of the future, and she received satisfactory responses for all her questions. Impressed by his vast knowledge, she promised her daughter’s hand in marriage to him, and told him that the marriage will be conducted on the seventh day from then.
अन्येद्युश् चागतः सो ऽत्र हरिस्वामी यथा कृतम् ।
पत्न्यैः पुत्राय चाचख्यौ तं कन्यादाननिश्चयम् ॥ १२,१२.२६ ॥
तौ च तं स्वकृतं तस्मै भिन्नं भिन्नम् अवोचताम् ।
सो ऽपि तेनाकुलो जज्ञे वरत्रयनिमन्त्रणात् ॥ १२,१२.२७ ॥
अथोद्वाहदिने तस्मिन् हरिस्वामिगृहे वराः ।
आययुर् ज्ञानिविज्ञानिशूरास् तत्र त्रयो ऽपि ते ॥ १२,१२.२८ ॥
तत्कालं चात्र सा चित्रं कन्या सोमप्रभा वधुः ।
अशङ्कितं गता क्वापि न विचित्याप्य् अलभ्यत ॥ १२,१२.२९ ॥
ततो ऽब्रवीद् धरिस्वामी ज्ञानिनं तं ससंभ्रमः ।
ज्ञानिन्न् इदानीं ब्रूह्य् आशु दुहिता मे क्व सा गता ॥ १२,१२.३० ॥
तच् छ्रुत्वा सो ऽवदज् ज्ञानी राक्षसेनापहृत्य सा ।
नीता विन्ध्याटवीं धूमशिखेन वसतिं निजाम् ॥ १२,१२.३१ ॥
इत्य् उक्तो ज्ञानिना भीतो हरिस्वामी जगाद सः ।
हा धिक् कथं सा प्रप्येत विवाहश् चापि हा कथम् ॥ १२,१२.३२ ॥
The next day Harisvāmin returned home, and told his wife and son of the bridegroom that he had searched for Somaprabhā. The whole family was surprised when they learnt from each other, the promises that they had individually made to the three youth. Not knowing what to do, they decided to wait for the appointed day, hoping that the impending problem would sort itself out in some way.
On the wedding day, the three youth arrived at Harisvāmin’s house – Gyānendra – the one who possessed knowledge, Veerendra – the man who was brave, and Gunendra – the man who possessed talent. Before anything could happen, everyone suddenly realised that the would-be-bride Somaprabhā, was missing. She was nowhere to be found!
A worried Harisvāmin addressed Gyānendra “My son, can you please tell me where my daughter is? Is there any way you can find out?”
Gyānendra closed his eyes, and in a few moments, replied ” She has been abducted by Rākṣasa Dhūmraśikha (the one with smoke-like hair) and carried away to his fort deep in the Vindhya mountains.”
“Oh no! What are we to do now? How will we get her back!” exclaimed Harisvāmin.
श्रुत्वैतत् प्राह विज्ञानी धीरो भव नयामि वः ।
तत्राधुनैव यत्रैषो ज्ञानी वदति तां स्थिताम् ॥ १२,१२.३३ ॥
इत्य् उक्त्वा तत्क्षणं कृत्वा रथं सर्वास्त्रसंयुतम् ।
तत्रारोप्य हरिस्वामिज्ञानिशूरान् खगामिनि ॥ १२,१२.३४ ॥
तान् स संप्रापयामास क्षणाद् विन्ध्याटवीभुवि ।
ज्ञानिना तां समाख्यातां वसतिं तत्र रक्षसः ॥ १२,१२.३५ ॥
तत्र तं राक्षसं क्रुद्धं ज्ञातवृत्तान्तनिर्गतम् ।
शूरो ऽथ योधयामास हरिस्वामिपुरस्कृतः ॥ १२,१२.३६ ॥
तदाश्चर्यम् अभूद् युद्धं तयोर् मानुषरक्षसोः ।
चित्रास्त्रयोधिनोः स्त्र्यर्थं रामरावणयोर् इव ॥ १२,१२.३७ ॥
क्षणेन च स सङ्ग्रामदुर्मदस्यापि रक्षसः ।
अर्धचन्द्रेण बाणेन शूरस् तस्याच्छिनच् छिरः ॥ १२,१२.३८ ॥
हते रक्षसि तां सोमप्रभाम् आप्तां तदास्पदात् ।
आदाय विज्ञानिरथेनाजग्मुस् ते ततो ऽखिलाः ॥ १२,१२.३९ ॥
हरिस्वामिगृहं प्राप्य तेषां लग्ने ऽप्य् उपस्थिते ।
ज्ञानिविज्ञानिशूराणां विवाद उदभून् महान् ॥ १२,१२.४० ॥
Gunendra tried to calm him down and said ” Don’t worry. I will take you all to the Vindhyas in a minute. I have the talent to prepare such a chariot!”
And he did, and within a few minutes, Harisvāmin and the three youth were flying through the clouds towards the Vindhyas, under the guidance of Gyānendra, who was able to direct them to the Rākṣasa’s fort.
Dhūmraśikha saw them approaching, and in a fit of anger, rushed out to fight them.
The chariot landed and Veerendra jumped out of it, eager to meet the Rākṣasa in battle. And what a battle that was! the skies thundered, the earth shook, and the two warriors fought toe-t0-toe. Witnesses recalled the great battle between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, such was the ferocity of the two fighters. After a few hours, the Rākṣasa felt tired, and started to crouch under the incessant blows rained upon him by Veerendra.
This was the moment that he was waiting for. Raising his sword that had a crescent-like edge, Veerendra sliced off the Rākṣasa’s head in one swift stroke, thus killing him on the spot.
He then ran into the fort, fetched Somaprabhā and they all set out towards the house in the same chariot.
They reached close to the muhurata, or auspicious moment for the marriage. But who would marry Somaprabhā? A dispute arose.
ज्ञानी जगाद नाहं चेज् जानीयां तद् इयं कथम् ।
प्राप्येत कन्या गूढस्था देया मह्यम् असाव् इतः ॥ १२,१२.४१ ॥
विज्ञानी त्व् अवदन् नाहं कुर्यां चेद् व्योमगं रथम् ।
गमागमौ कथं स्यातां देवानाम् इव वः क्षणात् ॥ १२,१२.४२ ॥
कथं स्याच् चारथं युद्धं रथिना रक्षसा सह ।
तस्मान् मह्यम् इयं देया लग्नो ह्य् एष मयाजितः ॥ १२,१२.४३ ॥
शूरो ऽप्य् उवाच हन्यां चेन् नाहं तं राक्षसं रणे ।
तद् युवाभ्यां कृते यत्ने ऽप्य् एतां कन्यां क आनयेत् ॥ १२,१२.४४ ॥
तन् मह्यम् एषा दातव्येत्य् एवं तेषु विवादिषु ।
हरिस्वामी क्षणं तूष्णीम् आसीद् उद्भ्रान्तमानसः ॥ १२,१२.४५ ॥
“If I had not known where she was, how could anyone even find her? And so, she belongs to me.”
“If I had not built the chariot that could fly through the air and reach the Vindhyas in minutes, how could you reach her in time? And so, she belongs to me.”
“If I had not fought and killed the Rākṣasa, how would you have brought her back unharmed? And so, she belongs to me.”
They started to argue, and Harisvāmin stood silent, wondering how to solve this matter.
तत् कस्मै सात्र देयेति राजन् वदतु मे भवान् ।
न वदिष्यसि जानंश् चेत् तत् ते मूर्धा स्फुटिष्यति ॥ १२,१२.४६ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
Now I have a question for you. Who deserves to marry Somaprabhā ? Who does she belong to? Tell me, o wise king. Remember, if you know the answer, and don’t tell me the truth, your head will burst into a hundred pieces!
King Vikram replied…
to be continued…