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Chapter 35 - Kach-Devayani & Chandrangad - Simantini

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The young wife asked Shri Guru, `What is our future? How should I live hereafter? Please favor me with a mantra'

Shri Guru said, `A wife should serve her husband devotedly. She needs no other advice or mantra. If a mantra is given to a woman some calamity falls. This is evident from the tale of Kach-Devayani.

`In olden days the gods and demons were often at war. Shukracharya, the Guru of the demons, would recite Mrityunjaya mantra and the dead demons would be made alive. Therefore it was rather difficult for the gods to win the war. Indra, the king of the gods went to Shri Shankar and told him this fact. Shri Shankar was very angry and he asked to call Shukra. Nandi, Shri Shiva's bull, went to Shukra, who was in meditation at that time. Nandi therefore held him in his mouth and brought him to Shri Shankar. Shri Shankar at once devoured him. After some days, Shukra came out of the body of shri shankar through his urine. He again started reciting Mrityunjaya mantra and brought the demons to life.

Indra told brihaspati, Guru of Gods, about amrit Sanjivani mantra of Shukracharya and said, `The guru of the demons makes them alive with the help of this mantra. You being the Guru of the gods why should you not protect the gods?'

Brihaspati said, `If Sanjivani mantra is heard by six ears, it will lose its importance. So it would be better to send someone as a pupil to learn the mantra from Shukracharya. Let my son Kacha be sent to him. He will learn the mantra and return.'

Kacha took leave of the gods and came to Shukracharya. He bowed to him and stood before him. Shukracharya inquired who he wasp and why he had come to him. Kacha replied `I am a Brahmin- Kumar. Hearing your fame, I have come to learn at your feet. shukracharya's only daughter Devayani was standing by her father. She liked the Brahmin youth and requested her father, Shukracharya to accept him as his pupil. Shukracharya agreed and Kacha started staying with him.

The demons did not approve of this as they suspected that the gods would learn the Sanjivani mantra from Shukracharya and then it would be impossible for them to win a victory over them. Therefore, when Kacha had been to the forests for bringing darba (a kind of grass), the demons killed him. In the evening, when Kacha did not return home, Devayani requested her father to bring him home soon.

Shukra, by intuition knew that was dead so he recited Sanjivani mantra and brought him to life. Kacha then came home. Once again when Kacha had been to the forest, the demons killed him and the pieces of his body were thrown in all directions. Devayani gain showed anxiety for Kacha. Shukra again recited Sanjivani mantra and brought him to life, as Devayani was his only daughter and Shukracharya had great affection for her.

The demons now contrived to kill Kacha on Ekadashi fast day. They then mixed his flesh in wine and offered it to Shukracharya for drinking. For the third time when Kacha was missing, Devayani wept and requested him to bring him to life. Shukracharya realized that Kacha was not seen anywhere but he was in his belly. He told Davayani that Kacha was in his belly and if he is taken out, he himself would die.

Devayani said, `You are bringing to life all people and saying that you would die. How is this? Kacha is my soul. If he does not come back, I will give up my life.'

Shukracharya: `Besides myself none else knows Sanjivani mantra. There is a condition that this mantra should not be divulged to anyone. If it is heard by six ears (three persons) it will loose its effect. This is a problem with me.'

Devayani said, `Teach me the mantra. I shall recite it and make you alive.' Shukracharya: `The Shastras prohibit telling a mantra to a woman.

Devayani who was greatly dejected said, `Then you may live with your mantra happily. I will give up my life.' Saying so she fell on the ground senseless. Shukracharya brought her to consciousness and gave her the Sanjivani mantra. While he was reciting the mantra, Kacha, who was in Shukra's belly, also heard it. Shukra recited the mantra and Kacha came out of his body tearing his belly. Consequently Shukracharya fell dead. Then Devayani recited the mantra third time and Shukra became alive. Thus Kacha heard the mantra thrice and made it by heart.

Now Kacha folded his hands and said to Shukracharya, 'I have studied at your house so far. The demons do not allow me to live here peacefully. Kindly therefore allow me to go home now.'

Devayani interrupted, 'I have made you alive thrice. I love you You should marry me.'

Kacha : 'Being the daughter of my guru, you are my sister. You made me alive from time to time and so you are like my mother. If I marry you people will blame me.'

Hearing this, Devayani felt sorry and at the same time she was enraged. She cursed him, 'Your learning will be futile. You will forget all that you have learnt.'

Kacha said, 'You have cursed me in vain. You will marry a person other than a Brahmin. Your father has taught you Sanjivani mantra against the rules of Shastras. Hence it will not work now.' Saying this Kacha went away.

Seeing that Kacha had returned, Indra and other gods were delighted, Shri Guru said, 'For a woman, service of her husband is the principal mantra. She should obey him and observe vrat, etc. with his consent only.'

The young wife then requested Shri Guru to suggest some vrat.

Shri Guru: 'I will tell you a vrat by which you `soubhagya' will be perpetual and your husband will get prosperity. This vrat was told by Soot to Rishis in former days. In this vrat you have to worship Shri Shiva every Monday, observe fast on that day and keep control over your senses. This vrat can be observed by the married women (having husband). Kumaries (unmarried girls), widows, young and old persons of both sexes.

'Chaitravarma was a pious king in former times. He had a daughter named Simantini, who was beautiful and good-natured. One astrologer had said that all the stars in her horoscope were good, but she would be a widow at the age of 14. The king and others were extremely pained to hear this.

'Once Maitrayani, wife of Yadnyavalkya, came to the king. Simantini requested her `kindly tell me a means, by which my soubhagya will be perpetual.' Maitrayani then told her to observe Monday vrat and said, `by observance of this vrat. Your desires will be fulfilled and you will get all prosperity. Simantini therefore began to observe this vrat devotedly.

'Simantini was married to Chandrangad, son of Indrasen of the famous `Nal' family, with due festivities. Chandrangad stayed at Chitrayarma for some days. Once he went to Kalindi (Yamuna) river with some friends. They were traveling in a ferryboat. All of a sudden the boat sank in the river. Even after diligent search no trace of Chandrangad was fund.

Simantini and her parents were greatly shocked to know this. Indrasen and his wife were deeply grieved.

He lost interest in the affairs of his kingdom. Talking this opportunity, his enemies usurped the throne and put Indrasen and his wife in jail.

Simantini resolved to observe `sat' as per the religious rule of a devoted wife. But as the dead body of her husband was not found, she could not observe the sati-rite as per Shastras. So she was prevented from the observance of sati.

Simantini continued her Monday fast and worship of Shri Shiva.

When Chandrangad was drowned, he was taken by the Nagkanyas to Vasuki in Patal, in a beautiful city with buildings glittering with precious stones. The gate of the city was golden and all persons in it were like serpents. Takshak the king with 1000 hoods, was sitting on a bright throne. Chandrangad was brought before him. Takshak inquired about him with affection and assured him about his safety and asked him to live there happily.

After some days Chandrangad requested Takshak, 'I am the only son of my parents. I am recently married and my wife simantini is only 14 years of age. My parents, wife and mother and father-in-law must be mourning deeply for me. So kindly arrange to send me to them very soon.'

Takshak gave him nectar to drink and offered him costly clothes, ornaments and precious stones. He also gave him a swift horse and a Nagkumar to accompany him. They instantly appear on the bank of Kalindi, where accidentally, it being Monday, Simantini also had come with her female attendants for bath. It was the very place where Chandrangad had drowned.

Looking at him, Simantini said to her attendants, 'Who is this celestial person coming out the water? I remember to have seen him before. Please inquire.'

Chandrangad looked at Simantini and began to think, `she appears like my dear wife. But how is it that she has to mangalsutra around her neck and kumkum on her forehead'?

He descended from the horse, came near Simantini and inquired about her with affection.

Simantini was ashamed to see him come near. She told her attendants to narrate her account. The attendants told him, `Three years before, her husband was drowned here in this river. She is continuing her Monday vrat in grief and today being Monday, she has come here for bath. Her husband's kingdom has been usurped by his enemies and they have put her mother and father-in-law in jail.

Simantini then asked, `May I know who you are? God or gandharva? Why are you inquiring about me? ' She recollected the face of her husband and began to mourn. Seeing her dejected, Chandrangad held her hand in affection and told in her ears in a low voice, `you need not mourn. Your husband will meet you on the third day. But do not disclose this to anybody.'

He rode the horse and went away with the Nagkumar to see his parents. When he reached the outskirts of the city, and Nagkumar entered the city and told the then ruler, `Chandrangad has returned from patal with an assurance of assistance from Takshak. Re-instal Indrasen on the throne with honor, otherwise you are doomed.'

The ruler was alarmed. He released Indrasen from jail and seated him on the throne with honor

Indersen embraced Chandrangad with affection. A message of joy was sent to Chitravarma, who with Simantini and others, was greatly rejoiced to hear the news. Indrasen started with his paraphernalia to meet Chitravarma ceremoniously. Again a ceremony like wedding was celebrated and Chandrangad and Simantini met each other.

Chandrangad offered the ornaments, precious stones, fruits of Kalpataru, etc. brought from takshak to Simantini. She attained all this glory due to observing the Monday vrat with great devotion.

As advised by Shri Guru the young couple started observing Mondary vrat. Their parents also came there, bowed to Shri Guru and were glad to see the good health of the couple by the grace of Shri Guru. They gave much in charity. Then all returned to their place. The couple later on had some issues. They used to come to see Shri Guru every year and had all prosperity.

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