Folk Tales of Gujarat (and Jhaverchand Meghani)

by Vandana P. Soni | 2014 | 98,532 words

This study represents an English translation of the Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947). Meghani was born in Chotila and left an important landmark on the history of Saurashtra and Gujarat folklore, Indian poetry, journalism and other literary sciences....

Chapter 36 - Vikram and Prabhat Chavdo

King Vikram of Ujjain was a saviour, always helping the sufferers. One day he started to traverse in foreign country. Finally he reached

Jal unda thal chichira, Kaman lambe kesh,
Nar patadhar nipje, Ayo mardhar desh.

The water form is deep and the level of water is shallow.
Man born in the land of Marwar is brave and women have long attractive hair.
This is the Mardhar (Marwar) country.

Where water in well is extremely deep, land is narrow, women have heel touching long hair and men are born heroic, on such region of Marwad Vikram rode his horse. There was one well at the border of Marwad and Malwa. On the well a big leather bag for drawing water was working.

As the thirsty horse of King Vikram reached near the well to quench his thirst; soon the master of the well shouted:

Tara Ghoda ne gud de, ai to dhol re dhamke Pani Pani he.

Kill your horse . Here water is very deep.

Vikram went near the well and saw that alike the moon water glittered in the well.

‘Are they suffering from any type of problem? Is there any mysterious matter?’

After saying so, King Vikram ordered to bring treasure through donkey. He got the well filled up with treasure and placed the flame of a lamp, on top.

The keeper of the well told king Vikram, ‘Oh King! I have warned you because beyond this place there is one scarcity hit region. You just go back; otherwise you will loose your power of chastity.’ How could brave Vikram retreat without solving the matter? He started riding his horse and went ahead.

He saw Mewad and Udaipur

Adiapar soyamnu ne manas dhanmula:
Padmaniyu Pani Bhare, Rang ho pichhola.

Adiapar (Udaipur) is beautiful; people are virtuous
Beautiful women fetch water, hats off to Picchola.

Moreover, how are the women of Udaipur?

Kon deval Ni putli? Kone tane ghadi sonar?
Kiya raja Ni kuwnri? Kon purush dharnar?

Who is this woman as delicate as an idol of a temple?
Ah! Golden woman: who have created you?
Whose princess are you? Who is your husband?

Like the idol of a chapel, whose woman she could be? Then he says:

Jeni tarware Tran fumka, jeni kediye katara
Ashuro revat khelve, soi purush dharnar.

One who has three tassel on his sword
One who keeps new sharp edged dagger around his waist.
One who rides horse till late night?

Only this type of brave man could have such a beautiful wife.

On the way came the land of Gujarat—

Banti chino ne bajro, jav kodar ann jat,
Nar kadhangi nipje, e dhara Gujarat.

Banti, chino and bajro, jav, kodar are species of grain
Like these coarse grain, women turn out clumsy this is the land of Gujarat.

Then King Vikram went to Halar. How is the city of Halar?

Juni jar no dhebro, mathe kalthiro vaghar,
Ubho ubho dhar de, hude desh halar.

Dhebro of old jar,
It was just a coarse type of sizzling, on dhebra.
Men always sharpen the edge of weapon by standing; this is the city of Halar

Then he went Navenagar—

Nagar hindi nariyu, gokhe kadhe gatra
Devalura mann dage, (to) manaviya kun matra

Women of this Navanagar city have curved eyelashes and possess a very attractive physique.
They are so beautiful that deities also get tempted then what, about common person?

As he went ahead, he saw Nili Nagher (Nili Nagher was a attractive farm).

Vaja thakar ane am van, ghar ghar padmana gher
Ret khatuke vadiya, bhoy nili nagher

Where there is the rule of Rajput of Vaja, one may find groves of mangoes, comely and gracious woman in each house.
One even find a ret running with sound of khatuk, khatuk and the land is thoroughly lush green.

In such a lush green zone of Patan; the brave king Vikram reached where the King Prabhat Chavdo ruled.

Khamma!, Jaji khamma

‘It is very remarkable moment that the King of Ujjain has arrived at my palace!’ He extended a warm welcome to the King Vikram.

Vikram noticed that the body of Prabhat Chavda became feeble. ‘Oh! Dear brother Prabhat Chavda what happened to you? You seem very anaemic; your whole body appears bloodless!’

‘Brother! Nothing has happened to me, structure of my physique is like this.’

‘There is something that you conceal from me. There must be some secret.’

Prabhat Chavda did not disclose anything.‘To unveil the mystery, one day Vikram secretly followed Prabhat Chavda. It was midnight. It was pitching dark. While walking, they reached to one hill on the west side. There was one cellar. Prabhat Chavda went inside the cellar. Vikram followed him.

In cellar, one furnace was burning. There was a big frying pan bubling with hot oil. Later on whatever Vikram had seen was indeed a very frightening. Prabhat Chavda chanted

Har! Har! Har!’, and set down into a cauldron of boiling oil. He got his body fried. Four nymphs came. All the four nymphs ate fried body of Vikram. They collected bones and sprinkled water on it. After getting life, Prabhat returned.

Oh my god, he is suffering from the throes of death! If I will not set him free out of this pain, then how can I deserve the title as a remover of others‘trouble? ‘What is the use of this physical body if it does not come in help to others?

Another turn came of Prabhat Chavda to go at west side hill. On that day, Vikram reached early. He himself sat down in boiling oil after chanting ‗ har, har, har”. Four fairies ate fried body of Vikram. Four fairies gathered bones of Vikram’ s body, sprinkled water over his body and gave life to them. After giving life to Vikram, they recognised that he was not Prabhat but someone else.

‘Who are you?’

‘I am Vikram.’

‘Why have you done this?’

‘I have done this to save Prabhat.’

‘You ask something.’

‘I demand freedom of Prabhat chavda.’

From that day onwards fairies liberated Prabhat Chavda.

Prabhat gifted Vikram seven rooms full of fortunes.

Prabhat got his daughter married and celebrated her grand marriage ceremony.

Brave Vikram went ahead.

He reached the city named Gendal. Vikram tied his horse behind the Kalika temple at the house of a flower woman. He told her, ‘Sister, I am your guest.’ Earlier florists were offering lodging to strangers. So here a Flower woman also extended warm welcome.

Ben ne gher bhai ave
Sasu ne gher jamai ave

Brother comes at sister’s home.
Son-in-law comes at mother in law’s home.

‘It is good that brother you came here.’ Though Vikram was a stranger to flower woman, she allowed Vikram to tie his horse in her open ground. She served him delicious food.

During evening, Flower woman started weeping by beating her breast.

Vikram asked her, ‘Sister what is the cause of your suffering?’

‘Please share your problem with me.’

‘Brother! The princess of this city is locked in this Kalika temple. Princess is a witch.’

‘Vikram was dumfounded on hearing that, ‗Princess is a witch!’

‘What princess is doing?’

‘Every night she swallows any one person from the town.’

‘So the King has set turn of one member to go from each family every night.

‘Today it is turn of my son.’ Once again, flower woman started to cry while explaining the matter. It was a heart-wrenching cry of disaster of which she was going to be a victim.

Vikram said ‘Sister, please you do not cry. Can’ t anyone go in place of your son?’

‘Definitely anybody can represent my son but who would go in one’ s proxy to die? Are humanbeings sold in the market that I can purchase?‘

‘Sister, I will go in place of your son.’

Bapu! It is too late and you are our guest for a short period. If I send you to die in place of my son then I will be considered as a witch. Brother, you cannot go.’

‘Sister, don’ t be silly. Please give me all the details that how the Princess who has become witch is swallowing a living person?‘

‘What do you mean by how?’ During night one person goes to the temple to sleep and in the morning the pale dead body of that person is found. Princess is found sleeping all the time. God knows what happens during night. A scavenger takes away dead body early in the morning.‘

‘Is it so, now I understand…’ he thoughtfully said.

Vikram asked the flower woman, ‘Sister, would you please give me 10 kg flower?’

‘Oh, my dear brother, my garden wallows with flowers.’ Flower woman went and brought fragrantfull flowers like champa, jasmine, mogra and dollar. Vikram collected all flowers in one basket. ‘Now sister give me one bowl full of milk.’ Vikram went with flower woman’s son at the temple of Kalika during midnight by carrying basket full of flowers and a bowl of milk. On reaching there, he asked florist’s son to wait outside the temple. He went inside the temple carrying flowers and milk.

What a terrific temple! It was so scary that one may find it terrifying if one enters during a day. In this deserted temple, there was a horrible idol of Kalika. In one corner a lamp was burning. On a bed somebody was lying. Her body was pale, hands and legs were scrawny and she had a bloated belly; that neither moved nor spoke.

Hmn … sure, whatever I thought is true.’

By thinking so, Vikram spread 10 kg flowers on the floor of the temple.

He put a bowl of milk very far in one corner of the room. He stood at one distance by holding his sword. At midnight certain type of movement started into the mouth of a sleeping princess. Something came out of her mouth.

Arrrrrr! A head of a snake! It was repeatedly pushing tongue outside the mouth. It was looking, here and there and everywhere.

It came out..... It came out. First, half of its body came out. Later on full sized snake came out…

‘Oh, my God, this is a sinduriyo nag”. Whomsoever it stings that person may die on the spot. Brave Vikram also shuddered for a moment. He felt of running away. He felt of screaming. He controlled himself. Fu! Fu! Fu! Serpent hissed. Entire temple got highly enraged.‖

Serpent started searching his daily prey but he found no one. It seemed as if he would run in the city and sting someone with a stroke. Meanwhile serpent sensed aroma of milk. He rushed to the spot. It came very close to the bowl of milk. Serpent sat on the bowl of milk and Vikram clanked sword. Did he miss the target? How could he miss? It was the question of life and death. He did not miss. Head of a serpent fell far in one corner of the temple. The serpent desperately strived for survival but it struggled in vain to save its life. Finally, it lost its life. Vikram put the head of a serpent in his shield. He focused his attention on the bed. After sometime, the princess breathed a sigh of relief as the aches and pains of her body soothed. She shook off her idleness and got up. She started to inspect her surroundings. A lamp was burning. A heap of flowers was lying. Sweet fragrance was sensed everywhere.

She experienced relief in the body. Slowly, slowly she regained more and more energy. Once again, she looked around her. She saw that one man was standing in one corner. He had a dagger around waist, he had a sword, curved body, sparkling eyes, and his face gleamed like nectar.

‘Don’t worry lady!‘after saying so Vikram encouraged her: ‘See, your Yama is lying there.’ He pointed his finger towards the corpse of a dead serpent. The woman did not dare to see it, so she closed her eyes.

After few minutes, once again she opened her eyes and made a sign for drinking water.

‘Are you thirsty?’ after asking, Vikram started to pour milk into woman’s mouth with a cup. Woman started to drink milk. She experienced rejuvenation after drinking milk. She belonged to royal hierarchy, so natural beauty and gorgeousness of a princess was apparent on her face. Slowly slowly, she asked, ‘who are you?’ ‘I am a stranger.’ ‘You are my life giver!’ ‘No, God is a life giver.’ Both had a face to face talk. Ailment of six months recovered within six hours. In the morning, a scavenger came to drag a dead body. He peeped inside the temple but returned with surprise. He went to the kingdom and declared that there not only Kalka was sitting but kalko was also there and both were talking.

The entire city came to see this marvel. Ocean of human beings over flowed. The king also came. Vikram told the king ‘Shame on you. There was a poisonous serpent in princess’ s stomach and you declared her as witch! Hundreds of young men became victim because of you.‘

Vikram was invited to stay in the kingdom. Body of princess reinvigorated. She regained her golden complexion and supple skin. Beauty of her youth bloomed fully. Princess took a vow, ‘If I have to marry then I will marry only King Vikram, to me rest of the men of the world are my brothers and father.’

After marrying the princess, Vikram started marching for his place along with the queen.

On the way, he came across one old woman who was crying while spinning cotton.

Vikram asked, ‘Old woman! Why are you crying?’

‘Oh, God, my Son…’

‘What happened to your son?’

‘He is killed.’

‘Who killed him?’

‘You killed him.’

‘Me’, Vikram startled.

‘Yes, you killed my son Sinduriyo nag”.

‗Oh I see, please take your son’ s head.‘By saying so, he gave her a serpent’s head, which he had kept in his shield.

‘May god bless you my son!’ after saying so old woman sprinkled nectar on the head of a serpent. Old woman told Vikram, ‘I am padamni nag”.

‘I will get my younger sister marry you.’ After marrying Padamni nag Vikram started to live in subterranean region of serpents.

One day in subterranean region, invitation was circulated from Vainkunth to visit Vainkuth in get-together arranged on an occasion of Dusshera. Members of subterranean region requested Vikram to accompany them. Vikram went with them. In Vainkunth a challenge was declared, ‘who, can distribute from only a handful flower among 33 crore deites?’ Vikram accepted the challenge. Vikram assigned duty of bringing flowers to fifty-two brave men, and the sixty-four goddess, he ordered, ‘Do not keep a single flower on the earth. Gather all the flowers’. Flowers were brought. Vikram took a handful flowers and started to give to each deity. Who could get an idea that from where he was taking flowers? Fifty-two brave men and sixty-four goddeses were invisibly supplying flowers to Vikram. One fourth of twenty-four inches heap of flowers lay in the assembly of deities.

‘Vikram, hats off, to your intelligence! You can ask for anything!’

‘What can I ask; if I have to ask something then definitely I will request you to give me glimpses of God?’

All deities appeared before Vikram as four-armed lord Vishnu.

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