CHANDANBALA

There was once a princess named Vasumati. She was the daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharinee of Champa. She was a very beautiful princess.

One day, war broke out between the king of Champa and the nearby state called Kausambi. It was a sad war. Vasumatiís father could not win the war, so he had to run away in despair. When Vasumati and her mother came to know that they had lost the war, they also decided to escape to save their own lives. While they were running away through the woods, a soldier from the enemyís army spotted them. The soldier captured both of them. Both Vasumati and her mother were scared. They didnít know what he would do to them. He told the older lady (mother) that he would marry her, and that he would sell Vasumati. After hearing that, the queen went into shock and died. After a few minutes, the soldier turned around and found the old woman dead. He immediately felt sorry for his remark, and decided not to make anymore comments. He took Vasumati to Kausambi to sell her.

When Vasumatiís turn came to be sold as a slave, the merchant Dhanavah happened to be passing by. He saw Vasumati being sold, and felt that she wasnít an ordinary girl. He thought she might have been separated from her parents, and felt if she was sold like a slave, what would be her fate? So, out of compassion for her, he bought her and took her home and freed her from slavery. On the way home, he asked her, "Who are you, and what happened to your parents? Please donít be afraid of me. I will treat you as my daughter." Vasumati didnít reply.

When they got home, the merchant told his wife, Moola, about Vasumati. "My dear," he said, "I have brought this girl home. She is not speaking anything about her past. Please, treat her like our daughter." Vasumati was relieved. She thanked the merchant and his wife with respect. The merchantís family was very happy with her. They named her Chandana, since she wouldnít tell anyone her real name.

While staying at the merchantís house, Chandanaís attitude was like that of a daughter. This made the merchant very happy. Moola, on the other hand, was wondering what her husband would do with Chandana. She thought that he would marry her because of her beauty. Therefore, Moola was never comfortable with Chandana around. One sunny day, when the merchant came from the shop, the servant who usually washed his feet was not there. Chandana noticed this, and felt delighted to get a chance to wash his feet for all the good things he had done for her. While she was busy washing the merchantís feet, her hair slipped out of the buckle. The merchant saw this and felt that her hair might get dirty. He lifted her hair and clipped it on the back of her head. Moola saw all this and was outraged. She felt that her doubts about Chandana were true. Moola decided to get rid of her as soon as she got a chance. After a little while, the merchant went to his shop. After realizing that the merchant was gone, the merchantís wife took the chance to get rid of Chandana. Right away, she called the barber to cut off all her beautiful hair. Then she tied Chandanaís legs with heavy chains, and then locked her into one of her rooms, away from the main area. She told all the other servants not to tell the merchant where Chandana was, or she would do the same to them. Then, Moola left to go to her parentís house.

In the evening, when the merchant came back, he didnít see either Moola or Chandana around. He became worried about Chandana and Moola. Anxiously, he asked the other servants about both of them. The servants told him that Moola was at her parentís house. But they didnít tell him where Chandana was because of the fear of Moola.

The merchant thought that Chandana might be working or playing around in her room. So, he didnít inquire. By night time, he still didnít see her anywhere. Once again he asked the servants where Chandana was. They still didnít reply. He thought that maybe she was sleeping. The next day, he did not see her anywhere. On the third day, he still didnít see her around. Now, he was getting really worried and anxious. He, then asked the servants in a worried tone, "Where is my daughter, Chandana? You better speak up now, or if I come to know about this, then you will be fired." Still nobody replied. He was very upset and didnít know what to do. After a few minutes, an older servant, thought, "I am an old woman and will die anyway because of age. What worse could Moola do anyway." So out of compassion for Chandana and the sympathy for the merchant, she told him all about what Moola did to Chandana.

She took the merchant to the room where Chandana was locked in. He unlocked the door and saw Chandana. He was shocked when he saw her. He told Chandana, "My daughter, I will get you out of here. You must be hungry, let me find some food for you." He went to the kitchen to find food for her. He found that there was no food left, but only some dry lentils in a pan. The merchant decided to feed her that for the time being. So, he took them to Chandana. He told her that he was going to get a blacksmith to cut off the heavy chains and he left.

Chandana was amazed at how things were going. She started wondering that once she was a princess and could get anything she wanted to, and now she had to settle with whatever she was getting. Chandana then thought of offering lentils to someone else before she started. She got up, and walked to the door, and stood there with one foot out and the other in.

To her surprise she found this young monk (Mahavir) coming near her room. She said, "Oh, respected monk please, accept this food which is suitable for you and please oblige me." Lord Mahavir looked at her and noticed that one of his pre-decided conditions was still missing. So, without accepting food, he kept on going. [His conditions were, 1) The person who would be offering should be a princess, 2) she should be bald headed, 3) she should be in chains, 4) while offering uncooked lentils, her one foot should be inside the house and other one out side the house, 5) and she should be in tears.] So, you might have realized that she met all conditions except tears in her eyes, and therefore, Lord Mahavir went on. Chandana felt very sad and tears started running down her face. She started thinking that how unfortunate she was that even though she had a chance to offer food to the monk, he would not accept it. She, in her crying voice, once again, requested a monk to accept the food. Lord Mahavir turned back and saw tears in her eyes. Mahavir came back to accept the food knowing that all his conditions were met. She put the lentils in Lord Mahavirís hand and felt satisfied.

Lord Mahavir was looking for pre-conditioned food, and meanwhile, he fasted for five months and twenty-five days. The heavenly angels celebrated the end of the fasting by Lord Mahavir. By the angels power, Chandanaís chains were broken, her hair grew back to normal, and she was dressed as a princess. Loud music and a celebration drew the attention of King Shatanikand. He came to this place with his family, his ministers and other people. Sampul an old servant recognized Chandana. He walked toward her, bowed, and broke out in tears. King Shatanikand asked, "Why are you crying?" Sampul replied, "My King, this is Vasumati the princess of Champa, daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharinee." The King and queen now recognized her, and invited her to live with them. Everybody was delighted at the outcome.


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