Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Candrasvami 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 Candrasvāmī

A brahmin, who got back his life by worshipping Sūrya. He stayed with his wife, Devamatī in Kamalapura ruled by King Kamalavarman. A son called Mahīpāla was born to him, and at the time of the birth of the child a celestial voice declared that Mahīpāla would become King. A few years later a daughter called Candramatī also was born to Candrasvāmī. During this period, rains having failed, very severe famine stalked Kamalapura. Even the king unmindful of justice and righteousness began extracting from the people whatever they possessed. Finding the situation deteriorated so much Candrasvāmī set out for his fatherin-law’s house with Mahīpāla and Candramatī, and on the way they had to cross what was once a wild forest, but which had by then been denuded of green trees or other foliage due to the failure of the rains. The children were severely afflicted by thirst, and so the father, after leaving them at the foot of a tree went in search of water when he was caught by the people of the forest king and taken before him. When he knew that he was about to be given in sacrifice to Devī the brahmin folded his hands and prayed to Sūryadeva, who appeared before him and assured him that not only will death not visit him, but also he would be united with his wife and children.

The children left under the tree began crying, their father having not returned to them, and a Vaiśya called Sārthadhāra who came that way felt pity for the crying children and took them to his house. One day Anantasvāmī, a brahmin and a minister of King Tārānātha of Tārāpura happened to visit Sārthadhāra. Anantasvāmī, who had no children of his own took away with him the children from Sārthadhāra.

One day Sūryadeva appeared to the forest king in his sleep and asked him not to kill the brahmin (Candrasvāmi) held captive by him. The very next morning Candrasvāmī was released from captivity. Roaming about in quest of his children, Candrasvāmī reached the city called Jalapura where he was put up as the guest of a house-holder. One day the host told Candrasvāmī that a vaiśya called Kanakavarman had, a few days back, told him that he (Kanakavarman) had got two children, one male and the other female from the forest, and taken them to the Nālikera island. The very next day Candrasvāmī, along with a vaiśya called Viṣṇuvarman arrived at the Nālikera island, and on enquiry they were told that Kanakavarman, with the children had left for Kaṭāha island. They then went to Kaṭāha island only to be told that Kanakavarman had gone to Karpūra island. With another Vaiśya Candrasvāmi landed on the Karpūra island to no purpose. After thus going to the Suvarṇa and Siṃhala islands too Candrasvāmi met Kanakavarman at Citrakūṭapura. Kanakavarman showed the children to Candrasvāmi, but they were not his. He burst into tears, and returned from Citrakūṭapura. He passed on his way back many a temple and city and at dusk reached a big forest. He satisfied his hunger by eating some roots and fruits, and got upon a tree and sat on the top of it. It was mid-night, yet sleep did not oblige him. Then he saw a mātṛsaṅgha (a group of women) consisting of Nārāyaṇī and others come and dance at the foot of the tree. Nārāyaṇī saw Candrasvāmī and after the dance was over and her companions had left the place Nārāyaṇī called him down from the tree and gave him a flower. And, according to the advice of Nārāyaṇī the next day morning Candrasvāmī went to Tārāpura where, accidentally he got into the house of Anantasvāmī, minister of the kingdom, and, for food, repeated vedic hymns. The minister invited him for meals, and there he saw Mahīpāla and Candrāvatī. He placed the flower presented by Nārāyaṇī on Mahīpāla’s nose whereupon the children recognised him, their father. The people celebrated it as a happy day. King Tārāvarman gave his daughter, Vasumatī, in marriage to Mahīpāla along with half his kingdom. They went to Kamalapura and returned with their mother. All of them spent their days very happily at Tārāpura. (Kathāsaritsāgara, Alaṅkāravatī Laṃbaka, Taraṅga 6).

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