Whose Bride is She?

Whose Bride is She? :

Long ago, the kingdom of Gaya was ruled by King Srikanth. He had a daughter called Chandra. One day when Chandra was walking down the royal garden, she saw a young man lying asleep in the cool shade of a tree. He was very good looking and she fell in love with him. However, she woke him up and questioned him, “Who are you? What are you doing in the royal garden? Don’t you know that trespassing can lead to severe punishment?”

The young man introduced himself. “My name is Ramesh. I was passing by and I was very tired. So, I decided to take a short nap under this tree. Please forgive me for trespassing.”

Despite the words exchanged by them, there was no hiding the love in the princess’s eyes. Ramesh also took a great liking for her. But since he knew that she was unreachable, he quietly left the garden.

As he was walking, he met two Brahmins who had just been successful in studying the art of magic. One of them was called Hardev and the other was called Vishwarup. When they saw his sad face, they asked him, “Why are you so sad?”

Ramesh told them his secret sorrow. Then Harden gave him a ring to wear. As long as he wore the ring, he would turn into a young maiden. When he took the ring off, he would become his normal self. Then Hardev took Ramesh who was now in the form of a woman to the king. He said to the king, “O king, I am going on a long pilgrimage. I have no place to leave my young daughter. I request you to take care of her till I return.”

The king was glad to help a holy man and agreed. He asked Ramesh who was the young girl to go to Princess Chandra’s chamber to serve her. When he was alone with Princess Chandra, he removed his ring and became his true self again. The princess was delighted and for many months they lived together as lovers.

Then one day the minister’s son saw Ramesh in the form of a young maiden and wanted to marry her. Ramesh went back stealthily to Hardev and Vishwarup. When they heard of his trouble, they asked him to wait there and both went to meet the king. Hardev was in his own shape as a hermit, while Vishwarup had changed his appearance to look like a young man. Hardev went to the king and thanked him for taking care of his daughter and said, “I have brought back a worthy young man who is to marry her.”

The king sent for the young maiden. But she was nowhere to be seen. At this Hardev pretended to be angry.

“You have lost my daughter. Now unless you marry your daughter to this young man, a curse awaits your kingdom.”

The poor king had no other option than to accept. Princess Chandra was accordingly married to the young man who was actually Vishwarup.

When Hardev and Vishwarup went back to Ramesh with the princess, he was overjoyed. But when he heard the whole story, he said, “I can no longer accept Princess Chandra and walked away.”

Betal stopped his story at this point and asked King Vikram, “What do you think of Ramesh’s attitude? Do you think he was justified in rejecting the princess when Hardev and Vishwarup had brought her to him after so much of effort?”

King Vikram answered, “Ramesh was absolutely right. Even though they had lived as lovers for many months, Ramesh and Princess Chandra had no legal or sanctified relationship. As humans, we live by certain laws and precepts. Among these marriage is the most important. So when he heard that Vishwarup had married Chandra to bring her away from the palace, he rightly left her and walked away, for she was now another man’s wife.”

Betal said, “O King that was a flawless judgement. I must say that this time I leave you regretfully.” Betal flew back to the banyan tree followed by a still determined King Vikram.

Whose Bride is She?

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