“Being ordinary, he yet went to extraordinary lengths to save an innocent life, and offer himself even though he faced death in return. He was truly praiseworthy!”
As the king uttered these words, the Vetāla flew off his shoulder, laughing. And King Vikram once more started to walk towards the banyan tree, determined to fetch him.
The seventeenth story
The story of the beautiful Unmādinī
ततो गत्वा पुनस् तस्मात् स राजा शिंशपातरोः ।
तं त्रिविक्रमसेनो ऽंसे वीरो वेतालम् अग्रहीत् ॥ १२,२४.१ ॥
प्रस्थितं च ततस् तं स वेतालः स्कन्धतो ऽब्रवीत् ।
राजञ् श्रमविनोदाय शृण्व् एतां वच्मि ते कथाम् ॥ १२,२४.२ ॥
King Vikram went back to the tree, and bringing down the Vetāla, placed him across his shoulders and started to walk back.
The Vetāla said to the king “You work very hard to take me back again and again…Here, let me tell you another story to help you relax.”
अखण्डधर्ममर्यादं गङ्गाकूले कृतास्पदम् ।
कलेर् अगम्यं कनकपुरं नाम्नाभवत् पुरम् ॥ १२,२४.३ ॥
तस्मिन् यशोधनाख्यो ऽभूद् अन्वर्थो वसुधाधिपः ।
ररक्ष विप्लवाम्भोधेर् यो वेलाद्रिर् इव क्षितिम् ॥ १२,२४.४ ॥
जगादाह्लादकश् चण्डप्रतापो ऽखण्डमण्डलः ।
विधिना यश् च चन्द्रार्काव् एकीकृत्येव निर्ममे ॥ १२,२४.५ ॥
मौर्ख्यं परपरीवादे न शास्त्रार्थे दरिद्रता ।
दोषे न कोषदण्डाभ्यां यस्यासीच् च महीपतेः ॥ १२,२४.६ ॥
पापभीरुर् यशोलुब्धः षण्ढः परपुरंध्रिषु ।
यः शौर्यौदार्यशृङ्गारमयो जनतया जगे ॥ १२,२४.७ ॥
तस्य राज्ञः पुरे तस्मिन्न् अभूद् एको महावणिक् ।
उन्मादिनीति ख्याता च कन्या तस्याभवत् सुता ॥ १२,२४.८ ॥
यो यस् तां हि ददर्शात्र स स तद्रूपसंपदा ।
उन्माद्यति स्म मदनस्यापि मोहनशक्तया ॥ १२,२४.९ ॥
तस्यां च यौवनस्थायां स गत्वा तत्पिता वणिक् ।
यशोधनं तं राजानं नीतिवेदी व्यजिज्ञपत् ॥ १२,२४.१० ॥
There was once a city named Kanakapura, situated on the banks of the Ganga. It is said that everyone in the city was so pious and virtuous that no crime existed in this city, and Devi Kāli had never visited this city even once (to punish the wicked).
The city was ruled by a king named Yaśodhana, who was known all over the earth for his courage, Like a rocky coast, he protected his subjects against the seas of calamity, such was his valor.
It seemed that the Devas had brought the sun and the moon together at the time of creating him, such was his stature.
He was known to be unskilled in only one aspect- that of speaking ill of anyone, he was poor, but only when it came to desire for sin, and he only coveted glory, not other’s wives.
Yaśodhana was the epitome of valor, generosity and love.
In this same city lived a prosperous merchant named Unmada, and he had an unmarried daughter named Unmādinī. Whoever had seen her, had fallen in love with her beauty, and rumor has it that Kāmadevā himself had fallen in love with her.
One day, Unmada approached king Yaśodhana and said…
त्रैलोक्यरत्नभूता मे प्रदेयास्ति सुता प्रभो ।
ताम् अनावेद्य देवस्य नान्यस्मै दातुम् उत्सहे ॥ १२,२४.११ ॥
देवो ऽपि सर्वरत्नानां प्रभुः कृत्स्ने ऽपि भूतले ।
तत्स्वीकृत्यानुगृह्णातु देवस् तां प्रतिमुच्य वा ॥ १२,२४.१२ ॥
इत्य् आकर्ण्य वणिग्वाक्यं स राजा ब्राह्मणान् निजान् ।
सादरं व्यसृजत् तस्याः सौलक्षण्यम् अवेक्षितुम् ॥ १२,२४.१३ ॥
ते गत्वा ब्राह्मणा दृष्ट्वा तां त्रैलोक्यैकसुन्दरीम् ।
सद्यः क्षोभं ययुः क्षिप्राल् लब्ध्वा धैर्यम् अचिन्तयन् ॥ १२,२४.१४ ॥
इमां प्राप्नोति चेद् राजा तद् राष्ट्रम् अवसीदति ।
एतन्मोहितचित्तो हि किं स राज्यम् अवेक्षते ॥ १२,२४.१५ ॥
तस्मात् सुलक्षणेत्य् एषा नाख्येया क्षितिपाय नः ।
इत्य् एव मन्त्रं संमन्त्र्य राज्ञस् ते जग्मुर् अन्तिकम् ॥ १२,२४.१६ ॥
कुलक्षणा सा देवेति तम् ऊचुश् चात्र ते मृषा ।
तेन राजा स नैवैतां स्वीचकार वणिक्सुताम् ॥ १२,२४.१७ ॥
“My dear king, I have a daughter of marriageable age, and she is unique in the three lokās. I don’t feel it prudent to give her away to anyone else, and so I have approached you to do me the honor of offering her hand in marriage to you…”
King Yaśodhana then sent for his ministers, and asked them to check if the girl had all the qualities it takes to become his queen.
When the ministers saw her, they were deeply disturbed and thought to themselves…
“If the king marries this beauty, he will be besotted by her and neglect the affairs of the kingdom. This will not be good for our people, and even for the king…”
“And so we must tell the king that she does not have the requisite qualities.”
The ministers decided this, and told the king that the girl was unfit to be his queen.
In turn, Yaśodhana politely declined Unmada’s offer to told him that he would not be able to marry his daughter.
“But, there is an alternative”, said Yaśodhana…
to be continued…