The Bride and The Bandit

The Bride and The Bandit :

“Long ago in the kingdom of Magadha, there was a wealthy young man called Sanjaya. One day Sanjaya saw a beautiful young woman and instantly fell in love with her. He soon found out that her name was Nirmala and that she was the daughter of a merchant by the name of Niraj. But when he asked her father for Nirmala’s hand in marriage, her father regretfully informed Sanjaya that her marriage had just been fixed with another young man named Suresh.

Sanjaya was quite heart broken to hear this. But decided that he must accept what ever fate had in store for him. With a heavy heart, he decided to forget about his love for the beautiful Nirmala. But Nirmala was determined to live with Sanjaya. She had also fallen madly in love. Nirmala decided that she would not bring a bad name to her father by refusing to marry the man to whom he had made a commitment. So on the appointed day Suresh and Nirmala were married. But when the bride and bride-groom were together, she opened her heart and spoke to Suresh of her love for Sanjaya.

Suresh was a just man and therefore realised that since she had given her heart away to another man, he could never win her affection. He let her go. Nirmala was joyful. She immediately started off to meet her beloved Sanjaya. But on the way, a bandit waylaid her and demanded her to hand over all the jewels on her person. She begged him fearfully to let her go for the moment.

“I will come back the same way in a while. On my way back from my beloved’s house, I will give you all my jewels,” she pleaded.

The bandit trusted her and let her go. But when she reached Sanjaya’s house, she was in for a rude shock. He said to her, “It is sin to desire another man’s wife. As much as I love you, I will not commit this sin against you and your husband. Please go back to him.” Nirmala was heart broken.

But she realised the truth of his words and decided to go back to Suresh and live as his loyal wife. On the way she met the bandit. When he was taking her jewels from her, he saw her tear stained face and asked her what happened. When he heard her story, he was full of sadness and remorse. He said, “You have suffered enough for being truthful. I will not take any of your jewels.” The bandit then escorted her safely to her husband’s house.

But there, more shocks awaited her. Her husband Suresh refused to take her back saying, “You have no place in this house or in my heart. You left this place on your own and there is no way you can come back here.” Turned out of her beloved’s house and again rejected by her husband, Nirmala took her life that very night.”

Betal stopped narrating the story and said to King Vikram, “Tell me O king, who made the biggest sacrifice among the four people?”

King Vikram thought for a while and answered, “Giving up some thing with a motive is not a sacrifice. When Suresh gave up his wife, he did so because she was never his in the first place. She had already given her heart away. Sanjaya gave up his beloved because she had been pledged and married to somebody else. So his love for her would not be pure any more. Nirmala gave up her life because she had got her self into a shameful predicament. But the bandit made a pure and motive less sacrifice. He could just have gone about robbing Nirmala. But on hearing her story, he acted nobly by refusing to add more pain and loss in her life by relieving her of all the costly bridal jewels on her person. The bandit’s sacrifice was indeed the biggest of them all.”

“You have answered well O King Vikram. I respect your sense of justice. But you spoke, and so I am leaving you once again.”

So saying Betal slipped away to the banyan tree. But King Vikram still did not give up. He was more determined than ever to complete his task. He followed Betal back to the banyan tree.

The Bride and The Bandit

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