Today, the story that I am going to tell you is from Indian Mythology. It belongs to an era hundreds of years before the birth of Lord Rama. I have divided this biography, or you would say, story of Raja Harishchandra into chapters. Hence, ensure the efficient use of the content chart given below.
Pledge of Vishwamitra
At that time, Harishchandra was the king of Ayodhya.
People recognized him as the most justiciable (fair) and veracious king throughout the world. Narad Muni was always on excursion and used to take the name of Hari (Krishna: the supreme personality of Godhead).
At the end, Narad Muni was also fully impressed after seeing the Raja Harishchandra. After completion of guest hospitality, Narad Muni went towards Swarglok. When he arrived in Swarglok, the durbar of heaven king Indra was began.
In court, along with Gods, Demigods, Sages were present. From the earth, brave kings, artists, prominent scholars were also present to the durbar of heaven.
Narad Muni entered the court while chanting the name of Hari (Synonym to Lord Vishnu/Krishna: Supreme Godhead) and playing the Vina with his hand.
After watching the jubilant face of Narad Muni and hearing the sweet musical note, each courtier gets enthralled.
In the heart of every courtier, there was so much respect for Devarshi (Shaman) Narad Muni. So everybody bowed in front of Narad.
King of God himself, Indra also stood up from his throne and bowed to sage Narad.
Then, Durbar began, Devadhiraj (King of God) Indra asked Narad Muni, “Devarshi (Shaman) please tell us how did you come? Everything is fine, isn’t it? If you have some special talks from Bhulok (Earth), then tell me.”
Narad Muni said, “By the will of the Lord, all is well.” But there is one special thing which is really worth mentioning.”
Indra asked, “What special thing is there in the earth which is not here even in heaven?”
Narad Muni said, “Devadhiraj, There is a city named Ayodhya in Bhuloka. Till today I have never seen a city like Ayodhya anywhere else. At a present time, King Harishchandra is ruling there.“
“Devadhiraj, I must have traveled many times in all three worlds. But I have never seen a truthful, dutiful king like Raja Harishchandra.”
Indra asked, “Devarshi, is such a king not there in all three worlds?”
Narada Muni said, “No, not Devadhiraj! I have never seen a king like him anywhere. Along with him, his son Rohidas and his wife, Taramati, are equally virtuous.
Narad Muni further said, “I travel with him to many cities every day. But I have seen nowhere else, even a fascinating city like the city of Ayodhya.
King Harishchandra was a disciple of Vasishtha Rishi (One of the great sages in Indian Mythology). Vasistha Rishi was also included in many sages sitting in the court. Vasishtha Rishi became happy after hearing the praise of King Harishchandra from Devarshi Narad.
Then Vasishtha could not stop himself and said, “You are telling the truth, Devarshi! He is a true sattva king.”
Sage Vishwamitra was also present with the other sages. He was the great, but angry sage in Indian Mythology. His anger was always on his nose.
Sage Vishwamitra got furious after hearing the praise of King Harishchandra, the disciple of Rishi Vashistha. From immemorial time, sage Vishwamitra has had jealousy with sage Vasishtha.
“Anyone will praise to his own disciple. On the other hand, there is Narad Muni who is being praised for the Harishchandra. Despite that, I do not agree with both of you. So why not should I take the test of his Sattva and see?”
Hearing this, the sage Vasishtha said, “Vishwamitra, whatever test you take, but I have full faith in my disciple. Whatever happens, but Harishchandra will never deviate from his duty. Why do you want to prove yourself wrong by taking the test?
Upon seeing the confidence of Sage Vasishtha in his disciple, the anger of Vishwamitra skyrocketed.
Now, Vishwamitra could not stop himself and said, “If this is all you are saying, then I will take his Sattva Pariksha.
If I am proved wrong, then I will donate my thousand years of spiritual practice. The Sadhana (practice) that I did for the creation of the new world.
On the contrary, if I am successful in Sattva Haran of Harishchandra, then in return for sending me back without hospitality, Harishchandra will become a partner of grave sin, and this is my promise.”
Hearing the promise of Vishwamitra, all the courtiers were astonished. Anyway, everyone was familiar with the promise and valor of Vishwamitra.
Therefore, now everyone thought that now the Sattva Haran of King Harishchandra will happen.
After the pledge, Devadhiraj dismissed the ongoing court. All the courtiers started worrying about King Harishchandra.
Rishi Vasishtha Advised Harishchandra to be cautious
After the meeting held in Indrapuri, now the concern of his beloved disciple, Rishi Vasishtha, was drawn to Ayodhya.
King Harishchandra was sitting on the throne in his durbar. On seeing his Guru, he rose from the throne and went to the Guru and took his blessings.
After placing him on the seat with respect, and he washed his feet. Then, Harishchandra asked, “Gurudev! You seem in a hurry today. Any special purpose of coming here?”
Rishi Vasishtha was eager to tell Harishchandra about the incident in the court of heaven.
He told the whole incident in Indra durbar and said, “Vatts! From now onward, you need to be more careful and alert.”
He told, “The Rishi Vishwamitra is currently living in the forest towards the south of the Ayodhya city. So, whatever it is, you don’t go in that direction at all.”
“Because Vishwamitra is wise and capable. He can do you great harm by engaging you in his talk. So, it is better to stay away from him.”
Rishi Vasishtha, after giving this gesture, he went to Prayagraj.
Where he started accumulating holy virtues by doing penance for his beloved disciple. Because the Rishi Vasishtha was well aware of the trouble that would befall on his disciple.
Rishi Vasishtha also left no stone unturned to make his disciple dutiful and capable. But the crisis that was about to come was huge.
Even after having a wish, Rishi Vasishtha could not help his disciple. But he had full faith in ability and dutifulness of his disciple.
Friends, that time was when the disciples were completely devoted to the Guru. And the Guru used to live in Gurukul, most probably in Jungle. All his disciples also have to live in that Gurukul.
Rishi Vishwamitra closed the Borders of Ayodhya
There Vishwamitra also came out of Indra Sabha and came near the forest of Ayodhya. Where he started doing severe penance by lighting a continuous Yagya to please Goddess Durga.
It was not so easy to please. Therefore, sage Vishwamitra started offering the flesh of his body.
After sacrificing every part of the body, a time came when all the flesh of his body was exhausted and only bones were left.
Still, Rishi Vishwamitra was not at all sorry for his actions. Due to such fierce penance, Goddess Durga was pleased.
Mother Durga appeared and looked at Vishwamitra. Body of Vishwamitra became normal again after seen by Mother Durga.
Mother Durga said to Vishwamitra, “Vatts open your eyes, your penance has been successful. Ask for whatever you want according to your will.”
Vishwamitra said, “I want nothing. I just have one wish that all the boundaries of the city of Ayodhya should be closed.”
Mother Durga said, “Tathasthu!”
In the meantime, many fierce tigers emerged from the Yajna vat. Seeing the ferocious wild animals, all the creatures and human beings started running away with their lives in their fists.
Those tigers surrounded Ayodhya from all sides, defeating and finishing whatever human or animal they saw on the way. The tigers occupied all the gates that needs to enter Ayodhya.
Due to which no human could come in and the people of Ayodhya could not go out. All the people of Ayodhya were astonished by the arrival of tigers at all the entrances.
The Residents of Ayodhya are free from Tigers
All tigers closed the borders and trade, movement of people out completely stopped. Therefore, some people reached to the court of King Harishchandra of Ayodhya and told about tigers.
“Maharaj! Due to the tigers encircling the entire Ayodhya, the traffic of the people of Ayodhya is completely stopped. Tigers have created their terror on all roads, even inside Ayodhya.
Hence, people cannot leave his/her home. I request you on behalf of all Ayodhya residents to do something about those tigers.
After hearing the complaint from his subjects, Raja Harishchandra immediately asked the Chief Satvakirti to prepare four units of the army to treat the tigers.
King Harishchandra had mastery in archery. He himself killed all the tigers one by one while chasing the tigers in front of the army.
Killing of the violent tigers made people free from fear. The king was also happy after making his kingdom free of trouble.
Shortly after killing the tigers, they saw some deer in the forest near the southern border.
On seeing the deer, he wished like to go hunting.
After sending back the army, he, along with his son, wife and chief, ran after the deer.
Everyone rode on their horses and went after the deer. While pursuing, he forgot the advice of his Gurudev.
The four now reached near the huts of Vishwamitra in the dense forest. All the deer went to huts of Vishwamitra and became invisible.
King Harishchandra could not understand where all the deers disappeared suddenly. Within a few moments, Vishwamitra came out of the one of huts.
Raja Harishchandra bowed on seeing them, but Vishwamitra looked at the Maharaj angrily and said, “O wicked, do not you feel ashamed of killing these sinless creatures?”
While listening to the words of sage Vishwamitra, Raja Harishchandra understood nothing. But such a great ascetic that it would not be right to oppose, so he remained calm.
Then Queen Taramati came forward and said, “Gurudev, you all know. It is natural to make mistakes with a trivial person like us. I request you to kindly forgive our mistake.
Both Sattvakirti the chieftain and Rohidas, the son of Harishchandra, also apologized to the Rishi Vishwamitra. But Vishwamitra was angry. Hence, he looked at Harishchandra angrily, and went inside the hut.
Strange Dream of Raja Harishchandra
Raja Harishchandra did not understand such behavior of Rishi Vishwamitra. Then, He, along with his wife, son and chief walked together for some time.
After some time, everyone got to see the panoramic view of the pond. In which royal swans were roaming freely. Many lotus flowers bloomed in the pond which was making the pond more attractive.
There were many birds on the bank of that pond. Which were making the view of the pond more beautiful. With that amazing natural beauty, he forgot what Rishi Vishwamitra said to him.
Raja Harishchandra had a desire to take a bath in that pond. After Maharaj, one by one, everyone took a bath.
In no time, the sun was about to set, and it was getting dark.
So, Maharaj Harishchandra spent the night on the banks of the same pond.
Forgetting the advice of his guru, Raja Harishchandra was in great trouble, about which he was not even aware of.
Rishi Vishwamitra trapped them in his snare. Because of which he could not go far away from the ashram. The beautiful view of the pond was also a web of illusion laid by Rishi Vishwamitra.
The stay of Raja Harishchandra near the Siddhashram of Rishi Vishwamitra gave the Vishwamitra a chance to make his move.
At night, the royal family went to sleep. The chief had the responsibility of protecting the royal family. Because of which he was working as an armed guard nearby.
In the morning, the king had a terrible dream.
In which the king saw, “He donated all his kingdom to a Brahmin. At the same time, he sacrificed all his pious credits as well.
Seeing such a dream broke the sleep of the king. The king saw that the time was early morning. Now the king started wondering why he had such a dream. Soon it was morning.
Donation of King Harishchandra
When the wife and son got up in the morning, the king called the Chief and told everyone his dream. Hearing the dream of the king, the Chief asked him to be patient.
The chief said, “Your Majesty! You are so virtuous and your conduct is already so clean. So do not pay attention to such bad dreams. Trust in God, he will make everything right.”
Hearing the words of the Chief Sattvakirti, the stress in the mind of the king was reduced. Then, all four went to take a bath one by one.
Raja Harishchandra, after worshiping the Sun God in the morning, did not return empty-handed if any person came to ask him for charity.
Taking advantage of this, Rishi Vishwamitra took the form of a Brahmin.
After bathing one by one, the king offered water to the Sun God. Immediately after worshiping the Sun God, he saw a Brahmin standing beside him.
The Brahmin went nearby and said, “O king! To whom you donated all your kingdom yesterday in your dream, I am that Brahmin only. I am happy with what you gave me yesterday. But even today, I have come here to ask you for three and half loads of more gold. I hope you won’t disappoint me.”
It surprised the king to hear the words of the Brahmin.
Before the king thought anything, the brahmin further said, “Sir, if you have changed your mind, then it doesn’t matter. I will go back. Anyway, I am not attached to the kingdom and gold.”
The king was in a dilemma. If the Brahmin would return without getting the donation, then he would have to give up the virtue.
The king said, “No sir, not such a thing! If you come to Ayodhya with me, I will give your Dakshina to you.”
The king reached Ayodhya with his family, Pradhan and Brahmin in two prahars.
As soon as he reached the court, even before sitting on the throne, the king ordered to the treasurer, “Give three and a half loads of gold to the Brahmin sir.”
On the orders of King Harishchandra, the Brahmin started laughing loudly.
The king asked the brahmin and said, “Sir! You seem to be so knowledgeable. Then you must know this much, that after you have donated your kingdom, you are no longer a king to give orders.”
“Secondly, after you donated the kingdom to me, along with your kingdom, I also became the owner of the all treasury of kingdom. That means you are giving me my own gold.”
The brahmin continued, “Let me tell you an alternative. If you want to pay my Dakshina, there is a market far away, near Varanasi. Where humans are bought and sold. Go there and sell yourself and then bring my Dakshina to me.”
Raja Harishchandra was listening calmly to words of Brahmin.
Now the king said, “Sir! Please give me the relaxation for one and a half months. So that I can come back with Dakshina.”
The Brahmin said, “Okay, but if it is a day over one and a half months, then I will not accept your Dakshina.”
Renunciation of Kingdom
King Harishchandra left the kingdom with his wife and son and went for Kashi. But, as soon as the people of Ayodhya came to know about this, people tried to stop the royal family.
To save them from this calamity, all the people of Ayodhya were ready to pay Dakshina together. But, Rishi Vishwamitra did not accept this as a Brahmin.
The people of Ayodhya were in deep sorrow. Seeing the love of the Ayodhya people was also shocked the king. But the situation was opposite to him, so he had no other option but to leave Ayodhya.
After persuading all the residents of Ayodhya, he went towards Kashi. Vishwamitra was a very great ascetic. He had the ability to rotate all the constellations and planetary systems according to his own will.
He left no stone unturned to cross the limits of troubles of Raja Harishchandra. He asked the Surya Dev to increase his temperature.
Due to which the royal family who came out of Ayodhya had to face great difficulty. All the water sources, including wells, rivers, ponds, dried up between Ayodhya to Kashi.
Rishi Vishwamitra had given such instruction to the Wind God not to blow any wind on the way from Ayodhya to Kashi.
Month of Vaishakh and strong sunshine from above. Due to which, the condition of his wife and son, along with Raja Harishchandra, became pathetic.
Surya Dev and Vayu Dev also took pity on the condition of the royal family. But, it was not easy for them to cross the saying of Rishi Vishwamitra.
Because if Rishi Vishwamitra got angry, he could even curse them. His pious credits and penance had the ability to make his curse come true.
No one from the royal family drank water after leaving Ayodhya. Due to Vishwamitra asked to stop the wind flowing and on the other hand, there was scorching sun; therefore, entire royal family was drenched with sweat.
Due to the heat of sun, the ground filled with pebbles below looked like a furnace. Nevertheless, Raja Harishchandra increased the patience of his family and encouraged them to walk.
Rishi Vishwamitra was keeping an eye on him with his divine vision. Then his eyes went to his feets. Then Rishi Vishwamitra decided to make his situation more difficult. He disguised as an old pilgrim.
Rishi Vishwamitra came in front of Rishi in the guise of a pilgrim. King Harishchandra saw that an old traveler was coming in such a harsh sun.
Raja Harishchandra saw his feet were smeared with blood due to walking in the hot sun. Therefore, he stopped the traveler and asked, “Sir, how is blood coming out of your feet?”
The traveler said, “What to tell, Sir? I do not have money to get the paduka. And these embers-like earth from above, due to which I am in this condition.”
Raja Harishchandra hastily removed the shoes from his feet and gave it to the old pilgrim.
The Rishi Vishwamitra, disguised as a pilgrim, further said to the king, “Sir, you have given me your Paduka, but I have a wife and daughter in my family, whose condition is like mine?”
Then the wife and son of Raja Harishchandra came forward and happily gave their Paduka as well.
Rishi Vishwamitra took the Paduka of all three in the disguise of a traveler. Raja Harishchandra, his wife Taramati and son Rohidas started walking barefoot towards Kashi.
Securing the Royality Virtues
The heat of the sun was at its peak. In such a situation, not a single gust of wind was blowing.
After all, how could one disobey the orders of Rishi Vishwamitra? The sun-heated pebbles were pricking the bare feet from below. Because of which blood came out of feet.
Naturally, how parents could see the sorrow of their children. Mother Taramati and father Harishchandra could not see the grief of son Rohidas.
Father Harishchandra gave an Angavastra to mother Taramati. Mother Taramati made the son sit and tied that clothes on both his feet.
Hence, her son has to bear less pain while walking. Son Rohidas also did not lose courage and kept on hiding his pain.
Now all three became distraught with thirst. They were passing through the forest. All of them felt now they will get water somewhere or the other.
Then Vishwamitra was again standing in the disguise of a Brahmin with a golden bowl full of water in his hand.
The brahmin said, “It seems that you all have come after traveling a long distance. You all look thirsty and tired. Take this, take cold water.”
King Harishchandra said, “Sir, thank you very much for the water! But we all belong to the royal family of the Surya dynasty.”
We are forbidden to take water from the hands of anyone. If I drink water from your hands, then my royality will be destroyed. So sorry but I can’t take this water.
In the disguise of that Brahmin, Raja Harishchandra and his family moved forward lovingly, rejecting the proposal of Rishi Vishwamitra.
Maharani Taramati a Faithful wife
This attempt by Rishi Vishwamitra to Sattva Haran was unsuccessful. Due to which Rishi Vishwamitra became more angry. He has now decided that the next time he will do Sattva Haran of Raja Harishchandra successfully.
Rishi Vishwamitra fired the entire forest from which the royal family was going through. In the forest there were many small creatures, predatory swamps, other wild animals, and birds which started running here and there because of the fire.
Now the royal family was in great trouble due to the fire. But everyone was worried about giving Dakshina to the Brahmin. Therefore, they were still moving ahead facing the difficulties in forest.
Suddenly, due to the illusion of Rishi Vishwamitra, the entire family could see nothing on the way.
After a few hours, the fire gets extinguished, but due to its smoke, all three members of the family separated from each other.
The smoke of the fire was so much that water was coming out of his eyes.
Each of their eyes became watery because of the smoke of extinguished fire. Also, everyone was having trouble while breathing.
Rishi Vishwamitra now thought of taking the examination of Queen Taramati. He showed the dead bodies of Raja Harishchandra and son Rohidas to Queen Taramati with his magic power.
Queen Taramati lamented a lot on seeing the dead bodies of her husband and son. At that time, there was tradition where the wife go for Sati.
In a ritual, devoted women sacrificed their life sitting on the funeral pyre of her husband. Hence, as husband of Taramati died, so according to Vishwamitra, she should go for Sati.
But, the whole decision of going to Sati had to take by women herself with her will. On the contrary, she can choose to live even after husband’s death.
* As Queen Taramati, faithful wife of Raja Harishchandra, she also decided to go for sati.
Sage Vishwamitra takes the form of an ascetic and says to Queen Taramati, “If the goddess wants to be liberated from this world, then she does not keep Dakshina or the rest of anyone.”
“As far as I can see, your husband is yet to give Dakshina to a Brahmin. I can understand the sorrow of not having a husband. But still, it is your responsibility now to give Dakshina to your husband.”
Queen Taramati said, “No! My husband was my everything. Now my son is no more. What shall I do now? And the only religion of a virtuous is to be with her husband and support him in all his work. So please do not try to stop me.”
Then the Vishwamitra, who was in the disguise of a Brahmin, left without saying anything. It was now clear to a Brahmin that now Queen Taramati will go to Sati. But now Vishwamitra could not let Rani Taramati go. Because Rishi Vishwamitra still had many exams left.
Therefore, Rishi Vishwamitra immediately spread the smoke covering both the dead bodies and make bodies disappear. After the removal of the smoke from that place, the queen saw that the bodies suddenly disappeared.
Then the voice of the son and the husband came from behind the nearby bushes and trees. Looking behind the bushes, she found that the husband and son were alive.
The queen could not understand anything about the paranormal activities. But she was glad that her husband and son were alive. She forgot what had happened to Queen Taramati as a bad dream. Then all three family members started walking towards Kashi.
All three had come here after suffering a lot. Therefore, the path they were taking now seemed less painful to them.
Now all three have reached the Triveni Sangam (confluence of three tributaries of the river) of Prayagdham.
There all three took a bath and worshiped the adorable God Shiva in the temple. After the worship was over, King Harishchandra was sitting in the courtyard of the temple.
That time, Vishwamitra came again in the disguise of the Brahmin who had the remaining Dakshina.
He said, “Sir, you promised me three-and-a-half weighs of full gold as Dakshina. The duration of which will end after sunset today.”
Hearing the words of the Brahmin, the king humbly said, “Sir! I am sorry that I could not return your Dakshina within the stipulated time. Still, give me some more time. So that I can return your Dakshina.”
Raja Harishchandra to Slave Harishchandra
King with his wife and son were wandering on the roads of Kashi. In a while, they reached a slaves market. Raja Harishchandra came forward to sell himself. There, one person was helping to sell humans.
At that time, Maharani Taramati came forward and tell, “No Maharaj! No!! If really want to sell, then sell me first.”
Hearing the words of wife, Harishchandra became emotional.
Then, Maharaj told to Maharani, “No Maharani! I can’t let you sell.”
Then the brahmin, who came to take Dakshina said to Raja Harishchandra, “Sir, when you cannot get away from your attachment, how will you pay my Dakshina?”
Seeing the three being sold in the slave market, a large crowd of people gathered there. Everyone was looking at him in amazement. Because, because of the brightness of the faces of the three, all three seemed noble.
When the crowd gathered, the brahmin jumped ahead, removing the person who helped in the sale of human beings. He tried to sell them by naming all three and telling people about them.
Then a gentleman named Kaalkaushik came forward. The one who bought Queen Taramati by giving a load of gold. Due to which Queen Taramati became a common slave from the queen. Kaalkaushik handed over the bag of money to King Harishchandra.
Now Rohidas was frightened by the idea that the mother would be away from him. So, he started crying out loud. Seeing her son going away, Taramati hugged Rohidas.
Taramati requested Kaalkaushik, “Please buy Rohidas too, my son cannot live except me. Have mercy on me and buy my son too.”
Hearing Taramati’s request, Kalkaushik bought Rohidas after paying half a full of gold. After that, Kalkaushik went to his house with both of them.
People now came to know about Harishchandra. Then people started saying bad things to Harishchandra.
Some people said, “This poor man sold his wife and son to pay his dues! What calamity has come upon this householder!”
After some time, another person came, whose name was Veerbahu. He bought Harishchandra by giving him two loads of gold. Now King Harishchandra had become a slave.
Thus, Harishchandra completed the Brahmin’s Dakshina by giving three and a half loads of gold.
Sage Vishwamitra was defeated in his test by Harishchandra because of giving Dakshina. But Vishwamitra had not given up yet. Harishchandra had to sell himself along with his wife and son to pay the Brahmin’s Dakshina. Now King Harishchandra was feeling good about giving Dakshina to the Brahmin. On the other hand, he was crying as, because of this he had to sell his wife and son.
All Three Harassed by Rishi Vishwamitra
King Harishchandra was bought by an acrobat named Veerbahu. Harishchandra went to his house as a slave. Harishchandra saw that there was dirt spread everywhere in his house. There was dust on everything in the house. But King Harishchandra had already made up his mind for all these things.
Harishchandra thought that, when the burden of the state was on the head, then I had performed my Rajdharma with complete devotion. Now, being a slave also, I should perform my duty with full faith.
Harishchandra started working with that acrobat with full devotion. Sage Vishwamitra again came in different forms and started spoiling the work of Harishchandra.
If King Harishchandra had kept the water filled, then sage Vishwamitra would have taken the form of a frog and burst the water tank. If they did the work of grinding paddy, they would have completely destroyed the form of mouse, cat, dog, etc. Because of which Veerbahu would beat up Harishchandra every time. Harishchandra would fail in that work every time, even after giving work many times. Therefore, Veerbahu got upset and gave Harishchandra the task of collecting tax in the crematorium along with the butcher.
Here Taramati was looking after the food arrangements of the sages who came to Kalkaushik’s house. So Rohidas used to study with the Rishi Putras with minor works.
Nevertheless, all three were trying to be happy, considering their condition as luck. Due to which sage Vishwamitra got more angry. Sage Vishwamitra was determined to complicate the situation of all three. He now assumed the form of a snake.
This time Rishi Vishwamitra targeted Rohidas. Rohidas was playing with the sage sons in the courtyard of his ashram. Then Vishwamitra, taking the form of a poisonous snake, bitten Rohidas. Rohidas fell on the ground and started peeping out of his mouth. Rohidas’s whole body turned blue, slowly Rohidas’s eyes closed.
The sage’s sons immediately went to Kalkaushik’s house and told Rohidas about the snakebite. But then Taramati was busy giving food to the sages. Hearing the sad news related to her son, Taramati’s conscience cried from inside. Nevertheless, Taramati gathered courage by placing a stone on her heart and fed the sages with complete food. Taramati’s eyes were moist, but still she did not turn away from her duty because of her personal sorrow.
After the sages had their food, Taramati came out of the house to see her son. Then some people were bringing Rohidas to the place of Kaalkaushik’s house. Rohidas had given up his life. People left with Rohidas’s ghost.
Taramati started weeping bitterly due to the grief of her son’s separation. In front of this sorrow, now every sorrow in the world seemed small to him. After some time, Taramati thought of killing her beloved son.
Misfortune of Taramati in the Crematorium
At the time of his death, Rohidas had no one there except his mother. Therefore, all the responsibility of the last method was now on Taramati. So, with great difficulty, she herself brought the body of Rohidas to the cremation ground. Taramati was very knowledgeable, had read many texts when she was queen.
Because of which he knew about the method of funeral. In some time, he completed all the rituals. Now only the body was left to burn. Taramati made Rohidas lie down on the pyre, already prepared by the cremation staff. Taramati lit the torch, and now she proceeded to light the pyre.
In the meantime, Harishchandra arrived there, who used to do tax collection work there. Both looked at each other, then Taramati and Harishchandra even recognized each other. Taramati donated whatever she got after selling herself to that Brahmin. Now she was just a maidservant, so how would she pay tax for the pyre?
Harishchandra narrated his condition to his wife, Taramati. Taramati also told Harishchandra about the death of her son. Hearing the news of his son’s death, Harishchandra felt very sad.
If Harishchandra wanted, he could have allowed the death of his son and his wife’s condition and compulsion to burn the dead body even without paying taxes. But his conscientiousness was not allowing him to do so.
It has been a long time, but Harishchandra was not allowing Taramati to burn the dead body without paying the tax. When Taramati did not pay the tax, Harishchandra laid Rohidas’s dead body on the pyre, placed it on the ground below the pyre and left from there.
The destitute Taramati now started crying while sitting near the dead body of Rohidas. Due to deep sorrow, Taramati fainted while thinking. Every attempt so far to make sage Vishwamitra Sattvahran had failed. As Taramati fainted, he saw another chance. Sage Vishwamitra cut the stomach of Rohidas’s body and applied some of his blood to the mouth of Taramati. Then he took the form of an ordinary person and went to the nearest village of the crematorium.
Sage Vishwamitra told the subjects to incite against Taramati, “This woman is a dangerous vampire who prolongs her life by drinking the blood of children. Some treatment has to be done for this!”
To prove his point, sage Vishwamitra took the people to the crematorium. All the people there saw that Rohidas’ stomach was cut and Taramati was lying near him with blood on his face. Due to which all the people started feeling true about the things said by sage Vishwamitra.
Then some people tied Taramati with a rope and took her to the royal court. The king there ordered the death penalty to Taramati without finding out the real thing.
According to the instructions of the king, the guards brought Taramati to the slaughterhouse of the city to kill her. On being brought there, Taramati came out of unconscious condition. Taramati did not know how she got into such a calamity. She was held as captive with a chain. Because of which she was unable to do anything. Now he left all his future to God.
Final Test of Harishchandra
According to the king’s order, when it was time for the slaughter, Harishchandra came there. Both Taramati and Harishchandra recognized each other. Taramati felt good thinking that she would die at the hands of her husband. But Harishchandra was very sad to see his wife at the slaughterhouse.
Now Harishchandra got his wife who supported him throughout his life in all his work. He even sold himself to pay the Brahmin’s dakshina. Today the responsibility of killing him was on Harishchandra.
At first Harishchandra decided to leave this job in his mind. He thought of talking to his boss about it. But after thinking deeply, he realized his responsibility and duty. Harishchandra thought that if he refused to do this work, then his essence would be lost. Therefore, the orders of the owner Veerbahu have to be obeyed. Killing his wife had become fate along with duty.
Eventually Harishchandra decided that whatever happens, but not to compromise on his duty. Remembering God, he asked for forgiveness for the killing of his wife, which was going to happen at his hands. Now he took up the weapon to kill Taramati. He held the weapon tightly with both hands. He raised his hands to strike Taramati on the neck and tried to bring her down to hit harder. But the hand was not coming down to strike. So he turned back angrily and saw what was coming in the middle.
Then he was surprised to see what he saw because he saw that there were no people around him. He was not on the slaughterhouse but was standing near the southern border of Ayodhya. As far as Harishchandra could see, the divine light was spread all around.
Then Harishchandra tried to see where the divine light was coming from. Then Harishchandra could not believe in his luck. Because there were standing Lord Vishnu, Rishi Vishwamitra, Rishi Vasistha, and Devarshi Naradamuni.
Harishchandra bowed down to him on the sight of Lord Vishnu. When Taramati stood and saw, she also bowed to Lord Vishnu and everyone else. Rohidas was also standing near Vishwamitra. Harishchandra and Taramati could not believe their eyes that they had seen Lord Vishnu himself.
Thus the vow of sage Vishwamitra failed. Sage Vishwamitra’s desire to perform Sattvaharan of Harishchandra remained a dream. Rishi Vishwamitra’s vow was unsuccessful due to the jealousy of Vasishtha Rishi. King Harishchandra was victorious in the tough test conducted by sage Vishwamitra.
Therefore, sage Vishwamitra took water in his right hand and sprinkled it on Harishchandra. Then reciting mantras, sage Vishwamitra donated his sixty thousand years of austerity to Harishchandra.
Such a sattva-loving king had a desire to give something to Lord Vishnu as well.
Lord Vishnu was pleased and said, “O Harishchandra! Seeing your Sattvik nature, I also have a desire to give something to you. Accepting the truth in this mundane world and remain Sattvik is the most arduous task. You and your family have proved your authenticity by giving the test of Rishi Vishwamitra. So ask for whatever boon you want today.”
King Harishchandra said, “No God! You have done me a favor by giving darshan to an insignificant person like me. That’s a big deal for me. I do not expect any other thing or boon except your blessings.”
Lord Narayan said again, “Vats! I know that there is no greed in you. Still, I am willing to give you something or the other. Therefore, ask for a boon according to your wish.”
On being requested again, Harishchandra said, “Oh my God! If you really want to give something to me, then it is my wish that I should get the same wife like Taramati and son like Rohidas in every birth.”
Lord Vishnu said, “Tathastu!”
Lord Narayana, Devarshi Narad, Rishi Vishwamitra, Vasishtha sage disappeared from there by blessings King Harishchandra, Queen Taramati, and son Rohidas.
Soon after his departure, the form of King Harishchandra, Queen Taramati and son Rohidas became the same as before. The clothes of all three converted into royal clothes.
Sage Vishwamitra had already told the people of Ayodhya about the return of the royal family. Due to which all the people of Ayodhya stood at the Mahadwar to welcome their beloved king-queen and son.
Some women performed the Aarti of all three, then all the people welcomed the royal family by showering flowers. Showing their respect, the subjects welcomed their king, queen, and son.
The entire people of Ayodhya were very happy because their Sattvasheel, dutiful, virtuous and ideal king, was returned to them.
Moral of Story: Most of the time, the truth is bitter, but always the person who walks the path of truth will surely win.
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* The custom described here was used only as part of story. We completely oppose the practice of Sati and do not encourage or promote it.