Even as the last date for
the repayment was drawing closer, Harischandra began to grow panicky and was ready to sell
him. He placed a straw on his head and went out in the street crying. "I am a king of
Ikshwaku dynasty. I am offering my self for sale." Thus he wandered from morning to
evening in the streets of Varanasi.
At last a buyer turned up. He was Veerabahu, an outcast in charge of the
burning-ground. He bloated with wine and his body was reeling with intoxication. He
offered to buy Harischandra who was for a minute disturbed by a doubt as to whether it was
right for a highborn Ikshwaku King like him to sell himself to a lowbornperson. But the
thought of the heavy burden of the debts he owed to Vishwamitra tormented him and he had
already committed himself to the bargain. The die was cast.
Now, Harischandra was no longer unbusinesslike. He cautiously stipulated his price
" I want as much gold as would, if piled up, reach the height of a coin tossed up by
a man standing on an elephant's back. That is my price."
"If I give you as much gold as would cover an elephant, what would be the quantum
of work you do?" Veerabahu asked.
Harischandra, said: "Well, after all I am your servant. I shall do every thing you
order me to do." Then Veerabahu threw before him a huge heap of money and employed
the king of Ayodhya as his servant. He told him that his work was to be the watchman of
the cremation ground.
The heap of gold dazzled the eyes and Harischandra handed over the entire sum to
Nakshatraka. Nakshatraka felt ashamed. He reflected on the meanness of his 'Guru' and the
nobility of the king. I am fortunate in having been in such close proximity to the king,'
he mused. He went to his master to hand over the money.
Vishwarnitra was greatly agitated. Here was a man who remained undefeated in any
ordeal. He made up his mind to try again - he thought of more horrifying trials for the