Thursday, May 26, 2011

The story of Dasi Aparanji and the Neethi Vakya parrot as told by eighth doll soundara valli.

The story of Dasi Aparanji and the Neethi Vakya parrot as told by eighth doll soundara valli.

Retold by
P.R.Ramachander
On the eighth day Bhoja raja after his morning duties again started climbing on to the throne of Vikramadhithya. He was stopped on the eighth step by Soundara valli doll. It told him that he does not have great qualities of the king Vikramadhithya and is not fit to occupy the throne. Then king Bhoja asked that doll, “Doll please tell me about the greatness of Vikramadhithya. The doll started telling the following story:-
Once during the reign of Vikramadhithya when the time came for the six month forest sojourn, Vikrama and Bhatti along with Vetala started towards the forest after entrusting the kingdom to Viyoga the son of Bhatti. On their way after crossing the Vindhya Mountain, they reached a town called Rajapuri. In that town there was a very pretty prostitute called Aparanji. She fell in love with a very wise and handsome Brahmin called Abbasi. She was always with the Brahmin and enjoyed her life. But once suddenly due to heart attack the Brahmin died. Being terribly attached to him Aparanji did not bury or cremate the corpse of the Brahmin but preserved it and took it along with her to the local Durga temple. The Goddess who took pity on her, told her “After some time king Vikramadhithya and Bhatti will visit this town dressing themselves as merchants. Suppose you make Vikramadhithya happy, there will be a chance to make this Brahmin live again. Please obey all they say. When they ask you to jump in the fire, you please do it. They would give you back your life. Then you request from them my sacred water. Once you get it sprinkle on the Brahmin. Then he would live again.” Aparanji gladly agreed to the words of the mother and saluted her.
As soon as Vikrama and Bhatti reached that town, they dressed themselves like jewel merchants and started selling gems in the market. Vikrama called himself as Big Kanthayar and Bhatti called himself as small Kanthayar. One day Vikrama took a walk alone and happened to the red light street populated by prostitutes. There he saw the palace like home of Dasi Aparanji. Attracted by it, he entered the house. Seeing him, Aparanji understood that he is King Vikramadhithya. She received him well and served him in a great manner. Vikrama was wondering why a prostitute who normally is interested only in only was doing all these. She looked after Vikramadhithya for the entire night. Vikrama who normally used to leave the houses of ladies whom he visits early morning before dawn stayed with her till around 10 Am. When he returned back, Bhatti wanted to know why he was returning so late because, if he returns with yellow and saffron marks from a ladies house, people will jeer at him. Then Vikrama told, “I have seen various ladies in my life but I have never seen a prostitute who is so virtuous and loving like Aparanji.” Bhatti replied, “King, no prostitute is virtuous. They would either be interested in your money or on the favours that you only can do.” When Vikrama protested Bhatti told him, “If that is so ask her for her curly hair while coming back tomorrow.”
Next day Vikrama returned with her curly hair but then Bhatti told, “Still I am not convinced. Please ask for cutting her nose and giving a piece to you, while coming back tomorrow.” Aparanji, when asked by Vikrama gave him a tip of her nose. That day Vikrama returned with a piece of her nose. Still Bhatti was not convinced and told Vikrama, “I am still not convinced. Today ask her for a piece of her breast.” Vikrama did that and Aparanji gave him a piece of her bread without hesitation. That day Vikrama got very angry with Bhatti but Bhatti told, King, there must be a reason for this. I would prove to you that I am right within another 8 days. Bhatti asked Vikrama not to visit Aparanji’s house from then onwards and hid him in a forest nearby. He went back to the town, raised a big fire and started crying. When people asked him why he told that his elder brother is no more and he wanted to cremate his body. He requested them to pass on this news to Aparanji. As soon as she heard this Aparanji came running and jumped in to the fire and died. When Vikrama got upset and angry, Bhatti requested him to get the sacred water from Goddess Durga and bring back Aparanji to life. As soon as Aparanji woke up, she took the sacred water from Vikrama and ran home. She sprinkled that water on the Brahmin’s body and started loving him nonstop. That night when Vikrama went to Aparanji’s house he was not allowed inside and driven out. Then only Vikrama was convinced that no prostitute is virtuous like one’s own wife. When they were talking about this, Goddess earth took the form of a snake and laughed loudly at Vikramadhithya. Though they did not understand why the snake laughed, they walked further and Vikrama fell fast asleep due to tiredness. When Bhatti went to Goddess Durga and asked her, she told him , “ That snake was mother earth. She was laughing at Vikramadhithya because one of his favourite wives Elola Rambha is keeping her secret lover in the shape of a parrot during day time and making him take his normal form at night and enjoy with him.
Bhatti told about all this to Vikrama. That night Vikrama, Vetala and Bhatti went to the palace of Elolarambhai, caught her red handed and killer her as well as her secret lover. Since the six month’s time was not over, Vikrama went back to the forest.
This was seen by a carpenter friend of Vikrama called Vijaya. Being an expert carpenter Vijaya had made a flying doll and presented it to Vikrama. Due to this Vijaya became Vikramadhithya’s great friend. His ambition was to learn the art of transmigration of souls. Bhatti advised Vikramadhithya against teaching him this art. Having come to know that Vikramadhithya was nearby and in the forest, Vijaya went and met him in the forest. Vikrama was very happy to see this friend. As per his request Vikrama taught him the art of transmigration of souls. After that one day Vikrama was lying down, with his head on the lap of Vijaya below a banyan tree. At that time two parrots came and sat on the tree. One of them was a male and another female. Due to a stroke, the male parrot suddenly died and the female bird started crying pitiably, With a view to console the female bird, Vikrama transferred his soul from his body in to the body of the male bird. Seeing Vikrama lying motionless and also seeing the male parrot dancing, Vijaya transferred his soul to the body of Vikramadhithya. He immediately burned his own body. Seeing this Vikramadhithya was helpless and flew away from there.
Vijaya in the body of Vikramadhithya returned to his town. As soon as he reached there he sent word to Bhatti to send a palanquin for him. This was very unusual of Vikramadhithya. Besides he had returned earlier than his usual six months. Bhatti suspected that all was not well. He sent word to the queens that possibly the man who had returned was not Vikramadhithya. The first thing Vijaya wanted to do was to go to the palaces of his queens. According to the advice of Vikramadhithya, they sent word that all of them were observing penance for 6 months and because of that, they will not be able to see him. Bhatti provided Vijaya with company of lot of dancing girls and he spent all his time in their company. Bhatti meanwhile started searching for Vikramadhithya.
Vikrama the parrot mean while by his greatness became the king of 1000 parrots. One day they were all flying in search of food and all of them were caught in the net spread by the hunter. Vikrama advised all of them top act as if they are dead. Then Vikrama told them that the hunter would take them out one by one and put on the floor. The first bird to fall on the ground should start counting from two from the next bird onwards. As and when it completes 1000, it should screech and all birds should fly away together. Unfortunately before he took the last bird which was Vikramadhithya, the knife of the hunter fell on the ground. Counting it as a bird all birds flew together. The hunter caught the Vikramadhithya bird and was about to kill him. Then Vikramadhithya bird told him, “I am a talking bird. Take me to the market and ask for 1000 gold coins. Someone will purchase me and you would become rich.
The hunter obeyed Vikramadhithya. But all people thought that 1000 gold coins is too steep a price. At that time the richest businessman of that town called Manikkam Chettiar came to purchase a birthday present to the market. He was attracted by the Vikramadhithya bird. When he made3 fun of the hunter for asking too much, Vikramadhithya bird told him, “Buy and take me to your shop and hang me there in a golden cage. From that time onwards I will manage all your business.” Manikkam chettiar felt that the bird was telling the truth and bought him and hung him in a golden cage in his shop, from that time onwards, his profit went up by hundred folds by the intelligent way the bird was handling the business. The people of the town thought that the bird was very intelligent and came in search of the bird to solve their problems. The bird was called as Neethi Vakya bird.
In that town there was a prostitute by the name of Roopasoundari. She was very pretty and greatly talented in the art of love. She used to charge 1000 gold coins to her clients who wanted spend a night with her. Besides the king and ministers, Manikkam Chettiar was also one I of her regular clients.
During that time two poor Brahmins called Appa Sastri and Suppa Sastri went to take bath in the river. \Appa Sastri told Suppa Sastri that he saw in his dream Roopa Soundari and made love with her. This was heard by one of the maids of Roopa Soundari. She went and told it to her mistress. Roopasoundari made a complaint u=in the court that Appa Sastri enjoyed her company in dream and was not paying her anything. When the judge could not take any decision, they all came to Neethi Vakya bird. Vikramadhithya told Roopa Soundari that what she was asking was unjust but when she insisted, he asked Manikkam Chettiar to bring one thousand gold coins and tie it on a top of a pillar. Then he asked people to get a big mirror and place it in such a way that the money’s image was reflected in the mirror. Once this was done he asked Roopasoundari to take the image of the money reflected in the mirror as charges for making love to her in the dream. All people agreed that it was the most proper judgment. They also laughed at Roopasoundari. She got enraged and told to the bird, “Within a week, I will get your head cut and cook you and eat you,” Vikramadhithya bird told her, “ Within a month , I will make you shave of your head, and with an ugly painted face , side on a donkey by the public road.”
When cage day Manikkam Chettiar went to Roopa Soundari, she told him, you can be with me today provided you bring that parrot and give it to me. “Because he was infatuated Manikkam chettiar brought the bird from his shop and gave it to her. Next day morning Roopa Soundari asked her to cook the bird and serve her after her visit to the temple. When the cook tried to take out Vikramadhithya from the caged, he slipped away from her hands and flew away. Realizing that her mistress will punish her, that maid bought a parrot from the market, cooked it and served it to Roopasoundari after she came back from the temple.
Meanwhile the Vikramadhithya bird started following Roopa Soundari wherever she went. It understood that the ambition of Roopa Soundari was to go to heaven with her physical body. For this she used to pray God daily. Next day the bird hid behind the God’s idol and told her, “Roopasoundari, we have decided to take you to heaven with this physical body. The devas are very bad people and would not allow you in side heaven when you are this pretty. So shave of your head, wear torn cloths and paint your body with red paint and coal and come to the temple riding on a donkey. I would then take you to my heaven.”He also told her to tell the king to invite all the kings of India to see her going to heaven with the physical body.
Next day Roopasoundari did all those things and came to the temple. The Vikramadhithya bird flew and sat on the top branches of a big banyan tree and told her, “Roopa Soundari, I have won.” This was witnessed by all kings and Bhatti who had come there out of curiosity. Vikramadhithya bird went to Bhatti and told about all the happenings. Bhatti returned to the town of Ujjaini with the bird.
That evening as per the words of Bhatti the queens of Vikramadhithya told Vijaya that they would discontinue their penance if the goat of the king kills their goat in a fight. In the fight, Vetala’s spirit entered the queen’s goat and killed the goat left by the king. Unable to bear defeat and due to his disappointment, Vijaya transmigrated his soul to the goat. Waiting for this Vikramadhithya left the body of the parrot and entered his body. Later the Vijaya goat was sacrificed in the Kali temple. After this Vikramadhithya lead a life of happiness.
The doll then told, “Oh king Bhoja, this is the greatness of Vikramadhithya who occupied this throne. If you think that you are equal to him, then you can definitely go up. Bhoja returned back that day without further climbing

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