The charioteer and his wife – Part 2

Read the previous part here

“This is surely my husband hiding below the bed, to test me”, she thought to herself. “Let me show him today, how intelligent I am.”

As she was thinking this, DevaDutta moved closer to her to embrace her...

Seeing him come closer to her, KāmaDamini stopped Devadutta with folded hands and said “Please do not touch me. I am a devoted wife and my power lies in my chastity and faithfulness to my husband. If you dare touch me forcibly, I will curse you and you will turn to ashes!”

Devadutta was taken aback. “Then why did you call me here, if you had to act this way?”, he asked, puzzled.

KāmaDamini replied “Listen carefully, I will tell you the reason in detail. Today, early in the morning, I visited the temple of Goddess Chandika. I was deep in prayer when I heard a voice from the sky speak to me.

“Oh good one, you are like my daughter. How can I hide this from you? I will have to tell you the truth. You will become a widow within the next six months!”

I was stunned, but I managed to reply “Oh Goddess Chandika! You are all-knowing. If you know that my life is going to be ruined in six months, then you surely also know the way that I can be saved. Please tell me what I can do so that my husband lives for the next one hundred years…I beg you, please help me!”

The voice in the sky replied “My dear! There is no cure, but all lies in your hands.”

I persisted. “Tell me what I have to do. Even if I have to die, I am willing to sacrifice my life for the sake of my husband.”

The voice replied “Then listen to me. Today is the critical day. If you sleep with another man today, and let him be your husband for the night, then this untimely death that is written in your husband’s fate will be written in his, and your husband will be saved. Not only that, he will go on to live a hundred years.” Saying this, the voice from the sky became silent.

“And this is why I have invited you. You will have to sleep with me and become my husband for the night. What the Goddess herself said, cannot be wrong.”

And what else did Devadutta need? The whole night they enjoyed, with the VeeraVara lying under the same bed.

In the morning, VeeraVara finally came out, after ensuring that he gave enough time for the bad fate to be transferred. He was all smiles, and dancing with joy. “Oh my beautiful wife! I was under the bed the whole night…please forgive me. I had been misled by some wicked people and wanted to test you. That is why I made an excuse and pretended to go away for a few days. In reality I came back in the evening and hid under this bed.” He took KāmaDamini in his arms. “Come, embrace me! You are the most devoted of wives, You were in complete control of yourself even in the company of another man. And you did all this to save me from death and make me live a hundred years!”

And he embraced her tightly, and then lifted her onto his shoulders.

He then looked at Devadutta and said “You are such a noble man! It is my good fortune that you came here today and sacrificed your all, just for me. It is due to you that I now have a lifespan of a hundred years! Come, embrace me!”

VeeraVara embraced him, even though he was unwilling, and then made Devadutta climb onto his other shoulder. He then danced around, delirious in joy, with his wife and her lover on his shoulders. VeeraVara then helped them back onto the ground, caught their hands and went from house to house, dancing and singing their praises…

“That is why I say”, concluded Raktāksha,

प्रत्यक्षेऽपि कृते पापे मूर्खः साम्ना प्रशाम्यति ।
रथ-कारः स्वकां भार्यां सजारां शिरसावहत् ॥ १९३ ॥

pratyakṣe’pi kṛte pāpe mūrkhaḥ sāmnā praśāmyati |
ratha-kāraḥ svakāṃ bhāryāṃ sajārāṃ śirasāvahat || 193 ||

Even if a sin is committed in broad daylight, a fool who witnesses it can be tricked into believing otherwise. Just like the foolish charioteer was tricked into carrying his promiscuous wife and her lover on his own shoulders.

“You all have made a huge mistake”, he said again. “It is said…

मित्र-रूपा हि रिपवः सम्भाव्यन्ते विचक्षणैः ।
ये हितं वाक्यम् उत्सृज्य विपरीतोपसेविनः ॥ १९७ ॥

mitra-rūpā hi ripavaḥ sambhāvyante vicakṣaṇaiḥ |
ye hitaṃ vākyam utsṛjya viparītopasevinaḥ || 197 ||

Those friends who give the wrong advice and suggestions, leading to one’s harm, are actually enemies, so say the wise.

And also…

सन्तो ऽप्य् अर्था विनश्यन्ति देश-काल-विरोधिनः ।
अप्राज्ञान् मन्त्रिणः प्राप्य तमः सूर्योदये यथा ॥ १९८ ॥

santo ‘py arthā vinaśyanti deśa-kāla-virodhinaḥ |
aprājñān mantriṇaḥ prāpya tamaḥ sūryodaye yathā || 198 ||

The prosperity of a king vanishes like the darkness that vanishes at sunrise if he has foolish ministers who have no knowledge of what has to be done and when it has to be done.

No one heeded to his words. The owls all lifted Sthirajeevin on their shoulders and started to carry him towards their fort. As they started to walk ahead, Sthirajeevin looked up meekly and said…

to be continued…