Read the previous part here…
Not knowing what do to, and how to handle such a situation, he blamed himself for spoiling his sister’s life, and in a fit of depression, picked up the same sword and cut off his own head.
सो ऽपि यावच् च नायाति तावद् उद्भ्रान्तमानसा ।
तद्देवीभवनं सापि ययौ मदनसुन्दरी ॥ १२,१३.३४ ॥
प्रविश्य दृष्ट्वैव पतिं भ्रातरं च तथागतौ ।
हा किम् एतद् धतास्मीति विलपन्त्य् अपतद् भुवि ॥ १२,१३.३५ ॥
क्षणाच् चोत्थाय शोचन्ती ताव् अकाण्डहताव् उभौ ।
किं ममाप्य् अधुनानेन जीवितेनेत्य् अचिन्तयत् ॥ १२,१३.३६ ॥
व्यजिज्ञपच् च देवीं तां देहत्यागोन्मुखी सती ।
देवि सौभाग्यचारित्रविधानैकाधिदेवते ॥ १२,१३.३७ ॥
अध्यासितशरीरार्धे भर्तुर् माररिपोर् अपि ।
अशेषललनालोकशरण्ये दुःखहारिणि ॥ १२,१३.३८ ॥
हृताव् एकपदे कस्माद् भर्ता भ्राता च मे त्वया ।
न युक्तम् एतन् मयि ते नित्यभक्ता ह्य् अहं त्वयि ॥ १२,१३.३९ ॥
तन् मे श्रितायाः शरणं शृण्व् एकं कृपणं वचः ।
एतां तावत् त्यजाम्य् अत्र दौर्भाग्योपहतां तनुम् ॥ १२,१३.४० ॥
जनिष्ये देवि भूयस् तु यत्र कुत्रापि जन्मनि ।
तत्रैताव् एव भूयास्तां द्वौ भर्तृभ्रातरौ मम ॥ १२,१३.४१ ॥
इति संस्तुत्य विज्ञप्य देवीं नत्वा च तां पुनः ।
पाशं विरचयामास लतयाशोकपादपे ॥ १२,१३.४२ ॥
And when her brother too failed to return, Madanasundarī got even more worried. Finally, she decided to find out what happened, and so entered the temple.
She screamed when she saw what had happened. Her husband and brother lay dead, their heads separated from their bodies.
“I am ruined! I am ruined!” she wailed. “Of what use is my life now, when the ones who are dearest to me lie dead in front of me!”
She looked up to the Devi, tears streaming from her eyes, and said “Oh Devi! Everyone’s fortunes depend on you, and they say that you take care of good people. You are so powerful that you took over half the body of Lord Śiva. You are the protector of all women, and the remover of suffering. Then how did this happen under your watch? How is this fair to me, one who has worshipped you with all my heart since I was born! I am now in your refuge, and I am about to give up this pitiful body of mine, that cannot bear this suffering.
“But I have just one request from you. Whenever I am born again, how many ever times I am born again, may these two men be my husband and brother. That is all I want…”
With these words, she bowed to the Devi, and then fetched a creeper from the nearby bushes. She made a noose of it, and fastened it to the aśoka tree. As she was about to put it around her neck, she heard a loud voice.
तत्रार्पयति यावच् च पाशे कण्ठं वितत्य सा ।
तावत् तत्रोच्चचारैवं भारती गगनाङ्गणात् ॥ १२,१३.४३ ॥
मा कृथाः साहसं पुत्रि बालाया अपि ते ऽमुना ।
सत्त्वोत्कर्षेण तुष्टास्मि पाशम् एतं परित्यज ॥ १२,१३.४४ ॥
संश्लेषय शिरः स्वं स्वं भर्तृभ्रातृकबन्धयोः ।
उत्तिष्ठतां ते जीवन्ताव् एतौ द्वाव् अपि मद्वरात् ॥ १२,१३.४५ ॥
एतच् छ्रुत्वैव संत्यज्य पाशं हर्षाद् उपेत्य सा ।
अविभाव्यातिरभसाद् भ्रान्ता मदनसुन्दरी ॥ १२,१३.४६ ॥
बाला भर्तृशिरो भ्रातृदेहेन समयोजयत् ।
भर्तृदेहेन च भ्रातृशिरो विधिनियोगतः ॥ १२,१३.४७ ॥
ततो ऽक्षताङ्गौ जीवन्ताव् उभाव् उत्तस्थतुश् च तौ ।
शिरोविनिमयाज् जातसंकरौ काययोर् मिथः ॥ १२,१३.४८ ॥
प्रणम्य देवीं शर्वानीं यथेष्टं ते ययुस् त्रयः ॥ १२,१३.४९ ॥
यान्ती च दृष्ट्वा स्वकृतं शिरोविनिमयं तयोः ।
विग्ना किंकार्यतामूढा साभून् मदनसुन्दरी ॥ १२,१३.५० ॥
“Don’t act rashly, my dear! I am pleased with your courage and devotion. Let the noose be. Join the heads of your husband and your brother, and they will rise from the dead, as alive as they were before this happened!”
Madanasundarī could not believe her ears…she threw away the noose and rushed to the two bodies excitedly. In her over eagerness to make them alive again, she fixed her husband’s head to her brother’s body, and her brother’s head to her husband’s body.
They both rose up, alive and well, with no traces of their wounds, but Madanasundarī realized…their heads had been exchanged!
They both told each other what had happened, and they were happy to be alive again. They performed a puja of the Devi Durgā, and then the three continued on their journey.
The husband and the brother kept speaking throughout…only Madanasundarī, who was walking two steps behind them, kept wondering on how to solve the dilemma.
तद् ब्रूहि राजन् को भर्ता तस्याः संकीर्णयोस् तयोः ।
पुर्वोक्तः स्यात् स शापस् ते जानानो न ब्रवीषि चेत् ॥ १२,१३.५१ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
Now I have a question for you. Which of the two people, mixed in such a manner, was Madanasundarī’s husband ? Who should she spend her life with ? 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…