Kathāmṛta - 108 - Pañca-lambaka - The Story of Naravāhanadatta and Mānasavega

This article is part 108 of 109 in the series Kathāmṛta

One night sleep eluded him, he was thinking, “I’ve been deeply interested in her, I’ve neglected others, where are my other wives? Where are my ministers?” he heard a female voice, “Alas! Such difficulty!” he turned towards the direction of the voice where he saw only the face of the woman through the window, resulting in a delusion that it might be the moon. As he kept staring bewildered, she extended her hand and signalled through her fingers, “Come to me!” Having seen Gandharvadattā asleep he went without fear. As he approached her she said, “Alas Madanamañcukā, you are ruined!” As soon as he heard that he asked, “Who are you? Where did you see Madanamañcukā? Why did you come here?” She took him somewhere nearby and said, “I’m Prabhāvatī, the daughter of the vidyādhara chief named Piṅgalagāndhāra; I’d been to Āṣāḍhapura to visit my friend Vegavatī; she was not there; she had gone away to perform tapas; from her mother I came to know that Madanamañcukā was your beloved and went to her place to see her; she has forsaken food and water, has become thin and is in distress; by the powers I’ve, I came to know about your whereabouts and came here, only to see you with some other woman, that led to my exclamation which you heard.” he requested her, “Take me to Madanamañcukā.” she held him and flew. When they got down somewhere to drink water he tried to act more friendly towards her, she snubbed him saying, “While my friend is to be pacified it’s unbecoming of you to act like this with me!” He was both surprised and happy. “Destiny is indeed a connoisseur; springs up newer and newer surprises every time.” he thought. When they reached Āṣāḍhapura and saw Madanamañcukā, her heart grew in happiness as though the torrential rains filled a dry lake. She narrated her story starting from the friendship between Vegavatī and Prabhāvatī, the affection shown by Pṛthivīdevī, the villainy of Mānasavega, and how finally she escaped only due to the grace of Bhairava. After some time when Prabhāvatī was out of the city some of the attendants who saw him complained to Mānasavega that some outsider had entered. When he stormed the place with his troops, his mother Pṛthivīdevī came forward and said “O Mānasavega! Know that he’s none other than Naravāhanadatta. He is but with his own wife. He is a descendent of the lunar dynasty too. We must treat him with respect!”. Mānasavega cried “I see him as my sworn enemy!”. His mother replied: “Listen child! In the vidyādhara world, we have never seen unrighteousness come to pass. Have him face the assembly of dharma. If he is found guilty there, then by all means let him be punished. Only if you adhere to this will your actions be considered worthy, not otherwise!”. Mānasavega agreed to this and tried to have Naravāhanadatta arrested before presenting him to the assembly. The latter couldn’t take this lying down. He snapped a festoon-pole and began to give the guards a sound thrashing. He then grabbed a sword from the hand of a guard he had felled and swiftly despatched many warriors to their death. Mānasavega had no choice but to resort to his secret knowledge of sorcery, using which he managed to bind both husband and wife and had brought them to the assembly of dharma. With king Vāyupatha perched on the throne, Mānasavega complained “This mortal has violated my sister and is now defiling the inner chambers of our palace. He is fit to be put to death!”. When Naravāhanadatta was asked to answer to the charges, he replied gravely:

“सा सभा यत्र सभ्योऽस्ति स सभ्यो धर्ममाह यः |
स धर्मो यत्र सत्यं स्यात् तत्सत्यं यत्र नच्छलम् ||

An assembly is one where there are speakers.
A speaker is one who speaks righteously.
Righteousness is one which has truth for its core.
Truth is that where there is no deception.

I have been held in bondage through sorcery. My accuser sits peacefully on a throne. How, then, can our debate take place on an equal footing?”. Agreeing to this, Vāyupatha had Mānasavega sit on the floor and had Naravāhanadatta unbound. Naravāhanadatta then continued to speak: “I only got back my wife Madana-mañcukā whom Mānasavega had abducted. How then does it tantamount to defiling the inner chambers of the palace? If his sister Vegavatī tricked me into marrying her by visiting me in the guise of Madana-mañcukā, how is it my fault?”. Listening to this, Vāyupatha said “What this righteous man has said is correct. Mānasavega! Don’t resort to unrighteousness!”. However, Mānasavega, maddened with rage, didn’t agree. Vāyupatha was angered. The hall was filled with commotion. Naravāhanadatta roared: “O Mānasavega! If you agree to fight me fair without resorting to sorcery, I will kill you with one blow!”. The entire assembly of vidyādharas was split down the middle and eager to fight. Right then, one of the pillars of the hall shattered with a loud boom and from there emerged a terrible looking Bhairava. He stood with this dark form spanning heaven and earth, causing darkness to descend all around, sending forth flames from his eyes like bolts of lightning. He thundered like an apocalyptic cloud at Mānasavega: “You lowly creature! How dare you insult the future vidyādhara emperor!”. Mānasavega lowered his head. Bhairava then lifted Naravāhanadatta in his arms, flew to mount Ṛṣyamūka and leaving him there, he vanished. The commotion in the hall gave way to an eerie calm. Mānasavega, filled with mixed feelings of joy and sadness, with Madana-mañcukā ahead of him, went to Āṣāḍhapura.

3. When Naravāhanadatta was wandering around on Ṛṣyamūka, Prabhāvatī visited him and felt sad that he had suffered so much when she was away. Even as she was there, her friend Dhanavatī came and gave her daughter Ajināvatī in marriage to Naravāhanadatta and brought the couple to Kauśāṃbī. Seeing him back home, Vatsarāja, Vāsavadattā and Yaugandharāyaṇa were elated. Several gandharva leaders including Caṇḍasiṃha, Amitagati (Prabhāvatī's father), Piṅgalagāndhāra, Vāyupatha, Hemaprabha, Vajraprabha, Sāgaradatta and Citrāṅgada arrived there. After having received the best kind of hospitality from Vatsa-rāja, Piṅgalagāndhāra said to Naravāhanadatta – “It has been divinely ordained that you should be our emperor. Still, please pay attention to what I tell you now. The vidyādharas have two regions in the Himalaya mountains – Uttaravedi and Dakṣiṇavedi. Uttaravedi is ruled by Mandaradeva and the Dakṣiṇavedi is ruled by Gaurimuṇḍa. Among the two, Dakṣiṇavedi is evil natured and is hard to be conquered. You will need to master different vidyās at the earliest and win over him”. With these words, they escorted Naravāhanadatta along with his ministers and wives to the Siddhakṣetra-parvata and protected him there. There, he performed an intense tapas. Five vidyādhara women who spotted him there, came to him and pleaded with him to marry them together. They also said that if he were to marry only one or a few among them, leaving the others behind, they would end their lives by entering fire. In the meantime, portents were sensed. Mānasavega and Gaurimuṇḍa came to attack him along with their vidyādhara army. A fierce battle ensued between the two parties. With his magical skills, Gaurimuṇḍa caused the enemy faction to faint and captivated Naravāhanadatta in the Agniparvata. Mānasavega abducted Gomukha and other ministers and threw them in different directions. Mānasavega and Gaurimuṇḍa were happy thinking that they had won and went their way.

Naravāhanadatta who had fallen on the Agniparvata was picked up by a divine being and dropped off on the banks of the river Ganga. He said that he was a messenger of Śiva and the mountain which was in front of them was Kailāsa. Naravāhanadatta then started a tapas dedicated to Śiva. The lord was impressed and declared – “You will be the emperor of the vidyādharas. You will master more vidyās than everyone else. With my blessings, you will be unassailable – by your enemies can never conquer you. You will win over your enemies. All their vidyās will vanish as they appear before you.  Pārvatī will also bless you with Gaurī-vidyā.” Next moment, padma-vimāna created by Brahmā appeared there. All vidyās appeared in their divine forms and said – “Please command us!”. Naravāhanadatta saluted Pārvatī and Parameśvara, climbed on to the vimāna and landed in Vakrapura, where Amitagati lived.

4. There, the servant of an emperor named Paurarucideva came to serve him. Vidyādharas such as Piṅgalagāndhāra and wives such as Dhanavatī came to serve him. Naravāhanadatta turned to Dhanavatī and asked – “Where are my ministers?” Dhanavatī had protected the ministers with her vidyā, when they were thrown in different directions by Mānasavega. They appeared there, and saluted Naravāhanadatta. He asked them – “Where were you all these days? How did you spend time?”
Gomukha started recounting his tale first –

To be continued...

The current article is a translation of Prof. A R Krishnasastri’s Kannada classic Kathāmṛta along with additional segments added from the original Kathā-sarit-sāgara (of Soma-deva). Bṛhat-kathā-mañjarī (of Kṣemendra) and Bṛhat-kathā-śloka-saṃgraha (of Budha-svāmin) have also been referred to. The translation has been rendered by Raghavendra G S, Arjun Bharadwaj, Srishan Thirumalai, and Hari Ravikumar.

The original Kannada version of Kathāmṛta is available for free online reading. So are the other works of Prof. Krishna Shastri

Author(s)

About:

Prof. A R Krishna Sastri was a journalist, scholar, polyglot, and a pioneer of the modern Kannada renaissance, who founded the literary journal Prabuddha Karnāṭaka. His Vacana-bhārata and Kathāmṛta are classics of Kannada literature while his Saṃskṛta-nāṭaka and Bankimacandra are of unrivalled scholarship.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...

Yaugandharam

इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...

Vanitakavitotsavah

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...