Narad – “What will you do if it’s proven that Harishchandra is best ever King?”

Vishwamitra says if I fail to prove, I will give half of my tapah power to Harishchandra. He sets a condition ‘I’ll test him but he must not be aware of it’.

The test for Virtuousness of  Harishchandra begins:

After the discussion concludes, all the sages go back to their Ashrams in Bhu Loka. Harishchandra welcomes his Guru Vasishtha and takes his blessings. Vasishtha blesses him without uttering a word, feeling very anxious about what’s coming in the future.

Vishwamitra prepares himself and his strategies. He asks his people to meet Harishchandra and announce that they would be doing Yagna. He also instructs them to convince Harischandra to pay for the offerings and gifts for the yagna.  In those days, Yagnas were considered to be auspicious and those who attended should not be sent empty-handed. Suppose the Brahmins were unable to arrange things, King has to arrange them. Thinking of all this Vishwamitra announces Yagna.

Harishchandra’s first test starts…

Everyone who attends asks for wealthier things and Harishchandra fulfils every wish. Yagna approaches its end and that’s when angered Vishwamitra arrives. He says I am also part of this and I have my wishes as well. Harishchandra welcomes him and says you are the best and I would love to fulfil your wishes.

Vishwamitra says ‘I am going to sit on an elephant and toss a coin,  to whatever height the coin goes; I want you to give me that much wealth’. Harishchandra obliges with no hesitation. King arranges for items like clothes, food grains and Jewellery. Successfully he fills the wealth asked by Vishwamitra in front of him. Vishwamitra gets furious and thinks that I should have asked him for more Jewellery. With that feeling, he asks Harishchandra to keep the offerings with him and give him later.

Vasishtha watches all this and gives a gentle smile at Vishwamitra. Anger shoots up to the next level, but helpless Vishwamitra leaves the place with nothing left to do. He blames his anger for this loss. Vishwamitra goes into contemplation. He promises himself to come back stronger and defeat Vasishtha.

Round 1 is won by Vasishtha, Round 2 starts…

After the yagna, Harishchandra received huge applause from all spheres. Kingdoms across the Sapt Sindhu and farther sing praises for Harishchandra. A lot of prosperity, name and fame gets added. On the other side, Vishwamitra is unhappy and scripting a plan to bring down the empire of Harishchandra. But ironically even he gets the feeling that ‘Harishchandra is the best’. He quickly comes out of that thought and gets ready with the 2nd test.

Vishwamitra is a Maharishi now and has acquired powerful energy through Tapasya. He creates wild animals with his “tapah” power and orders them to create havoc and destruction in Harishchandra’s Kingdom. Wild animals attack people, eat away children and sabotage the houses & farmlands. King Harishchandra is informed about this horrifying attack by Wild Animals on the people. He decides to kill the animals. Along with his wife, child and a huge army, he goes on the search for wild animals into the forest.

On his way to the forest, he meets Vasishtha in his Ashram. Vasishtha says you should take care of yourself as I will not be available for the next few weeks. Harishchandra for a moment thinks why is Guruji specific about being careful. When asked, Vasishtha says I felt like telling. He takes his blessings and continues his hunt for animals. After walking for a long time, they feel tired and decide to rest under a tree. Harishchandra suddenly wakes up after a bad dream. He then directs his wife and Kid to move from that place. They restart their journey and as they move, they meet two women.

Two Imaginary Women make their way into the forest to distract Harishchandra…

These are the imaginary women created by Vishwamitra. Both ladies start dancing and entertain Harishchandra, he appreciates them and starts moving ahead. But the ladies stop Harishchandra and say you got entertained by us, so you are supposed to marry us.

Harishchandra gets irritated. He says ‘Are you mad, I am already married and I can’t marry you’. The story is from Satya Yuga and most of the Kings those days were married only to one woman. This was true in the case of 80% Kings.  Both Women start to force him for marriage. Harishchandra gets angry and pushes them aside. They run to Vishwamitra and explain the story. Vishwamitra arrives with those ladies and says these are my Ashram Kanyas and they want to marry a truthful king and how can you refuse their wish?

Harishchandra salutes Guru Vishwamitra. He says ‘Guruji I am married to Taramati and I’m very happy. I do understand these ladies are from your ashram, I respect them. Give me the time I will find a suitable groom for them but I can’t marry’.

‘Okay!! You don’t have to marry them but on one condition. Are you willing to accept the condition?’ says Vishwamitra.

Without any second thought, Harishchandra agrees and says you ask me anything you want, but I can’t leave my wife and my son. Nor I can get married again. That’s what Vishwamitra wanted.

Vishwamitra says ‘Give me the wealth you acquired all through, your kingdom and with your own hands you should do Rajyabhishekam to me’. Harishchandra obliges, he respectfully accepts the wishes and fulfils them.

Vishwamitra isn’t done. As Harishchandra gets ready to leave the palace, Vishwamitra stops him and asks ‘Where is the wealth that you donated me during Yagna?’

On Saturday, in the next part of the post, we will see what happens to Harishchandra and his struggle to fulfil Vishwamitra’s wishes.