Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Candrahasa included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Candrahāsa

Son of King Sudhārmika of Kerala. The following story about him is told in Jaimini Aśvamedha Parva.

Candrahāsa, born under the star Mūlam had a sixth finger on the left foot indicative of poverty and of all other evils. And, therefore, on his birth enemies killed Sudhārmika and his wife followed him soon to the other world. The child thus left an orphan was taken to Kauṇḍalakapurī by a female inmate of the palace. But unfortunately the woman died within three years of the above incident. The child, just for very existence, took to begging. After sometime some women jointly took up charge of the boy. Once he went to the house of Dhṛṣṭabuddhi, minister of Kauṇḍala where a feast was in progress. The munis present there were impressed by Candrahāsa and prophesied that he would become a King. To Dhṛṣṭabuddhi, the munis said that the child would guard his wealth. Angry and suspicious at the prophesy of the munis Dhṛṣṭabuddhi asked his men to kill the boy. They led him to the forest. On the way Candrahāsa got a Śālagrāma (a small sacred stone which represented some upadevatā) which he applied very devotedly to his face. They did not in fact kill the boy, but cut off his sixth finger on the left foot and showed it to their master.

Thus left alive in the forest by the murderers the boy was roaming about when the King af Kalinda on a hunting expedition saw the destitute boy, and taking pity on him took him back with him to the palace. The boy was put under the care of Medhāvatī, the King’s consort. The king named him Candrahāsa. Since the King took a special interest in the education of the child he became adept in all arts and sciences. At the age of twelve Candrahāsa, with the permission of the king, set out on a triumphal tour, and the king welcomed Candrahāsa on his return after his glorious victory that brought him wealth.

At the instance of the Kalinda king, Candrahāsa, sent by his messengers tribute to the Kauṇḍala king, who, understanding from them that so much of wealth had been brought to the Kalinda king by Candrahāsa started at once for the Kalinda palace. On being told the whole story about Candrahāsa, Dhṛṣṭabuddhi, the minister of the King of Kauṇḍala made up his mind to do away with him somehow or other for which he despatched a letter to his son, Madana, through Candrahāsa.

Candrahāsa on his way to Kauṇḍala slept on the banks of a river. Campakamālinī, the daughter of the King of Kauṇḍala and Viṣayā, daughter of Dhṛṣṭabuddhi happened to go to the river bank where Candrahāsa was sleeping. Campakamālinī, who became subject to great love for Candrahāsa removed the anklets on her feet and approached him slowly, and when she took up and read a letter she found lying beside him, she felt awe and sorrow to find therein a suggestion to poison him to death. Without wasting much time in thought she changed the word 'viṣamasmai' (give him poison) to 'Viṣayāsmai' (give him Viṣayā) and put it in its former place. After some time when Candrahāsa awoke from sleep and reached Kauṇḍala city and delivered the letter to Madana its content pleased him very much. As for Viṣayā, she was spending her days in constant prayer that Candrahāsa should marry her. In the circumstances the marriage of Candrahāsa and Viṣayā was solemnised on the earliest auspicious day.

In due course Dhṛṣṭabuddhi returned to Kauṇḍala with all the wealth he could lay his hands upon after capturing Kalinda. He seethed with grief and rage at the news that Viṣayā had been married to Candrahāsa. All the explanations offered by Madana did not satisfy him. He persisted in his determination to kill Candrahāsa.

The evil-minded Dhṛṣṭabuddhi one day asked Candrahāsa to go and worship at the Devī temple after having made arrangements for his murder there. But, as fate would have it, it was Madana who, instead of Candrahāsa, was killed. Even before the above incident had happened the Kauṇdala King had married his daughter Candramālinī to Candrahāsa, and after relinquishing the kingdom also in his favour the King took to the forest to lead a hermit’s life.

The above developments added fuel to the fire of anger in respect of Dhṛṣṭabuddhi, and when he saw in the temple precincts, his son’s corpse he became well-nigh mad. Crying out that all this was the result of his having troubled the Vaiṣṇava Candrahāsa he dashed his head against the pillars of the temple and died.

Candrahāsa was grieved over the death of Dhṛṣṭabuddhi. He worshipped Devī offering his flesh in the sacrificial fire. Devī appeared and granted him two boons which helped him to bring Dhṛṣṭabuddhi and Madana back to life. And, when the Kalinda king and his wife, fearing the wicked Dhṛṣṭabuddhi were about to end their lives in flaming fire, Dhṛṣṭabuddhi went to them and imparted to them the secrets about the life of Candrahāsa. The Kalinda king and his wife dropped their former decision to end their life, and Candrahāsa took up the reins of government at the behest of the King. Candrahāsa, who won repute as a very powerful and effective ruler, during the Aśvamedha sacrifice of Yudhiṣṭhira captured the sacrificial horse, and Arjuna, at the instance of Kṛṣṇa had to enter into a pact with Candrahāsa, who promised him help for the success of the sacrifice. Candrahāsa had a son called Makarākṣa by Viṣayā and another son, Padmākṣa by Campakamālinī.

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