The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Manibhadra Cheats a Brahmana Named Pushpa which is chapter 156 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the one hundred fifty-sixth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 156 - Maṇibhadra Cheats a Brāhmaṇa Named Puṣpa

Sūta said:

1-4a. On being addressed thus by him in a secluded spot, the wife evinced her keenness for the offer of the virgin (daughter). Then he washed the feet of Maṇibhadra at once and offered water along with raw rice grain in his hand as a prelude to the offer of the virgin.

As soon as the water was offered in the hand, he insisted to the Kṣatriya: “Perform the rite of marriage with the virgin today itself. For, I wish to set up my household. Hence I have come to your house.”

The Kṣatriya said:

4b. The star is not favourable now. It is not Pūrvā Phalgunī.

5-6. There is no auspicious time for marriage when Viṣṇu is asleep (i.e. between Āṣāḍha and Kārttika). The girl who is married during this period will certainly become a widow within a year. I have heard prominent astrologers say thus.

7. Hence, after the advent of the auspicious constellation of Pūrvā Phalgunī, when Lord Viṣṇu gets up from his sleep, do marry my daughter. She. will then bring welfare unto you and will be blessed with sons and grandsons.

Maṇibhadra said:

8. The constellation is Kṛttikā and Viṣṇu is asleep.

9. Now it will take a year to celebrate the marriage, but the fire of love has risen up and torments me.

10. Hence, do me the favour of giving the girl in marriage. I will give you ample wealth and you will be happy and comfortable.

Sūta said:

11. So, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the Kṣatriya got the marriage celebrated at that very time due to his avariciousness for the money.

12. He gave the daughter in marriage, although her eyes were filled with tears and she was very unhappy. In the presence of the Brāhmaṇas and the holy fire, she was taken by him as his wife.

13. Later, he took her to his house and engaged her in loveplay. Though she did not like it, he indulged in it unfettered.

14. After the lust got subsided, he began to rebuke her repeatedly. He used many threatening words and made the maiden sad and distressed.

15. When it was about the daybreak, she was pacified a little. All the servants were then dismissed by him from the house.

16. It was a case of sheer jealousy, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. Only a single servant, an eunuch, was retained as the gatekeeper.

17. He told him: “You must not let into my house any servant or beggar, even an old man observing Vratas.”

18. After making all these arrangements, he began his daily business activities with thousands and hundred thousands in cash.

19. Nothing was given by that wicked fellow even to his father-in-law, and to his own wife nothing except white clothes.

20. When two Yāmas (six hours) of the day time passed off (after twelve noon) he came home. He then used to give her some measured quantity of foodstuff to eat.

21. She was given only enough for eating and while she took her food, he used to take his own food along with a single Brāhmaṇa. After taking food, he used to go out for his business activity.

22. Then he used to return home at dusk. That wife of this wicked fellow remained throughout within the house.

23. She was invariably dejected and overcome with sorrow and misery. She was as miserable as a fish that had slipped onto the ground from the water.

24. She could be compared to a female Cakravākī that is separated from her mate when the day comes to a close, or to a female swan separated from her mate and to a hind taken away from her deer.

25. O Brāhmaṇas, he used to give food to a single Brāhmaṇa everyday, but invariably, he stipulated in a conciliatory tone the following pre-condition beforehand:

26. “O Brāhmaṇa, you must always keep your face down when you take your food. If you dare to look at my wife you will meet with mortification.”

27. Thus many who dared to look up and stare had been subjected to mortification by him. Others who were quite frightened never came to his house.

28. Once thereafter an excellent Brāhmaṇa named Puṣpa came to that city in the course of his pilgrimage.

29-30. He was in the prime of his youth and was very handsome to look at. But on this occasion at midday, he was extremely hungry and weary. He wandered among the house of the people around. Someone told him that Maṇibhadra would give him food.

31. O Brāhmaṇas, he (Puṣpa) went to him and begged for food. The Brāhmaṇa was told thus:

32-33. “You must eat your food with the face kept down. My beloved should not be stared at by you. Otherwise, O Brāhmaṇa, you will undoubtedly meet with unpleasant vexation. Keeping this in mind, O highly esteemed one, do what is conducive to your welfare.”

Puṣpa said:

34. I am now hungry, emaciated with hunger. What do I gain by staring at other men’s wives? I am a student of the Vedas and am now engaged in pilgrimage.

Maṇibhadra said:

35. Then come to my abode along with me now. I shall serve unto you a special food with a monetary gift.

36. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, they made this settlement and proceeded homewards along the market path. They came to the place where the eunuch was standing guard.

37. Asking the Brāhmaṇa to wait by his side (i.e. that of the eunuch) he entered the house. A measured quantity of cereal (was given to his wife and) she was asked to cook it.

38-40. At the close of the worship of the deity and Vaiśvadeva Yajña, Puṣpa was summoned and his feet were washed. He was made to sit and was duly honoured. Well-cooked food was served then, O Brāhmaṇas, Puṣpa sat down for his meal and (in front of him) he saw the lotus-like feet of the woman. The more the Brāhmaṇa in his youth gazed at the feet, the more out of curiosity he looked at her face.

41. This enraged Maṇibhadra. He immediately called the eunuch and said: “Punish this wretched adulterer.”

42. Thereupon, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Puṣpa was hit on his head by him.

43. He fell down on the ground stained and smeared with blood. The servant caught hold of his feet, dragged him away and left him on the highway.

44. When he was brought thus to the main thoroughfare where people moved up and down, there arose a long hue and cry in the excellent city.

45. On seeing him in that plight, all the citizens made a lot of noise. Some people compassionately sprinkled cold water over him.

46. The crowd was made to stand aside and there was open air. He was enabled to regain consciousness. After coming to consciousness with very great difficulty by the use of water, he spoke to them:

47-49. “No theft, no adultery has been committed by me. See ye men, how Maṇibhadra has tortured me.

I am a Brāhmaṇa engaged in pilgrimage. I am under the vow of celibacy. I was invited for food but reduced to this plight.

O men, is there no king here? How is this bad treatment with an innocent Brāhmaṇa allowed to happen?”

The people said:

50. Many Brāhmaṇas have been tormented by him earlier. He is blessed with the favour of the king. He is always jealous of other embodied beings (persons).

51. In view of his favour at the king’s place, no one says anything directly to him. Now get up. We shall give you food.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: