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HARISCHANDRA

"Give Me your kingdom"

That was just what the sage wanted. Burning with indignation, he came to the king. His arrival was so unexpected that it was hard for the king to recognize him. Was it a plait of hair or fire that he was wearing? Was it the holy ash that he was wearing on his forehead or it thunder? Was he putting on was the doer-skin or the wildlife? It was not clear to the king if the burning 'third eye' of Ishwara had taken the form of a sage! Vishwamitra presented a contrast in every respect to the peaceful, gentle, graceful, scholarly Vasishta. For a minute the king stood perplexed. But he had the strength of truth to support him and he welcomed the wrathful sage courteously, apologized to him for any remiss of duty. He told him that he was at his service and would do his bidding. But the sage had failed in his sagacity. His anger mounted unabated. "Look, Harischandra! What have you done? You have slain my animals, ruined my hermitage and you have mercilessly manhandled my girls!"

The king was amazed. "O, my lord! I am blameless. Was it wrong to have come to greet you?" he asked. Vishwamitra spoke with cunning deliberately on: "The girls entertained you with song and dance and you roughed them up. I shall pardon you if you marry them." The king refused. Vishwamitra grew more resentful. At last the king emphatically said, " I would rather part with my kingdom than marry those women."

"Very well, then surrender to me your entire kingdom, " the sage asked.

Harischandra made over his whole kingdom without batting an eyelid. But the sage was still obstinate: "You had better go back to your capital and summon all your people. I want you to hand over to me the kingdom in their presence,' he argued.

The king agreed and seated the sage in his chariot and led him in a procession. He himself followed on foot following the chariot all the way to the palace. And in the presence of his principal ministers he handed over to him the charge of all the four wings of the armed forces, the state treasury, the capital, and the royal seal everything.

In spite of all this, was the sage content and happy? No ! "Take off all the jewels you are wearing and your clothes too. Give me an inventory of the jewels of your wife and children. You had better wear these garnments."So saying, he gave them cheap, hempen clothes.

Harischandra told his wife and son to put on those clothes; he too wore them and asked the sage if they could go. The sage, still resentful, gave his half-consent. Harischandra was unable to understand his behavior. He left the palace and stepped into the street where he was surrounded by huge crowds of citizens. They were utterly confused on seeing thepredicament of the ruler. The king consoled them, told them that thereafter Vishwamitra was their king, and he left the capital city

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Harischandra demanded the prescribed fee from Chandramati, even if she were to sell her cherished mangala-sutra
About Harischandra
Introduction
"The Child Shall Be Sacrificed"
Rohitashwa
The Scales From The Eyes Fell
The Feud In Heaven
The First Test
Back To The Sage's Hermitage
The Magic Damsels
hand.gif (968 bytes) "Give Me Your Kingdom"
"Where Is My Fees?"
Nakshatraka
Wife And Son For Sale
The Watchman Of The Cremation Ground
The Son's Dead Body In The Mother's Arms
The Reunion Of The Family - How ?
Death Penalty For Chandramati
"This Is My Wish And You May Strike The Blow"
The Ever Truthful Harischandra
A Secred Story
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