Duty

Duty is higher than faithfulness.

Vikram again pulled Vaitaal from the tree, put him on his shoulder and continued his journey. Vaitaal said – “Vikram, You don’t feel bored, that is why I tell you a story, listen–

The king of Malaya Desh Samarjeet was very brave and learned. There lived a rich man, named Chandramani. One day a courtier asked king’s permission to say something to the king. The king permitted him. He said – “Mahaaraaj, We have a rich man, named Chandramani in our kingdom. His daughter Manimaalaa is very beautiful. There is nobody else as beautiful as her. She is now of marriageable age, if you like her, you may marry her.”

Hearing this the king Samarjeet told that if she would be really beautiful, he will surely marry her. The courtier went away. After the courtier had left, the king called his trusted maid and said to her – “You are my most trusted maid, find out something for me.” “Command me please.” King said – “Our Chandramani’s daughter is very beautiful. Find out if she is worthy of becoming my wife.” She replied – “I have also heard it, but I have never seen her.” Saying this the maid went away.

Vikram, When the maid saw Manimaalaa, she just got stunned to see her beauty. She was much more beautiful than what she heard. All wives of Samarjeet were nothing in comparison to her beauty. She came back from there and decided that she will observe her duty. If she will tell him the truth, then he will make her his wife and will be lost in her beauty and will lose his control on his kingdom. He will not be able to leave her even for a moment.

So she told Samarjeet that his many wives were more beautiful than Manimaalaa. So the king changed his mind. In the meantime, Chandramani also came to know about this that the king had sent his trusted maid to see Manimaalaa. He immediately went to the king and was happily ready to give his daughter to the king. But the king refused his proposal and he came back disappointed. He then married her to the king’s courtier Krishnaanand. They started living happily.

After some time the king went to see his kingdom. As he was passing by the palace of Krishnaanand, he saw a woman standing at the window of its second floor. The king just stood seeing her. He could not believe his eyes that she could be a human being. She seemed to him an Apsaraa. He got restless and came back to his palace. He asked his soldiers to find out about the identity of that woman. They told him that she was the wife of Krishnaanand.

When Krishnaanand came to know that the king has made an inquiry about his wife, he straightway came to the king. Samarjeet asked him – “Is she your wife?” “Yes, Sir.” Krishnaanand further said – “She is the daughter of Chandramani.” The king got shocked, “What?” He said – “Yes Sir, When you refused to marry her, I married her.” The king dismissed him and called his maid whom he sent to find out about Manimaalaa. He asked her – “Why did you lie to me?” The maid said politely – “If I had told you the truth, you would lose your kingdom. I put my duty in front of my faithfulness, Sir.”

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The king got very angry at this. He ordered to kill her. Krishnaanand was hearing all this, he said – “I am ready to give Manimaalaa to you, but please, don’t kill this maid.” The king said – “I don’t touch other people’s wives.” When the maid requested him for some leniency, he expelled her instead of killing her. Now tell Vikram, Was the maid really at fault?”

Vikram said – “Duty is higher than the faithfulness. The maid was certainly at fault by not being faithful to her master, but this crime was committed at the cost of duty. That is why, in fact, Samarjeet had committed crime by expelling her, not that she was at fault.”

Vaitaal laughed heartily hearing Vikram and said – “You are right, Vikram.” He jumped away from his shoulder, ran away and hung from the same tree. Vikram was very angry. If he did not have to take Vaitaal to that Yogee, he would have killed him. He again pulled Vaitaal from the tree, put him on his shoulder and started walking. Vaitaal again started his story–

“O Vikram, Once the king of Chitrakoot went for hunting alone. He lost his way that he saw a large pond around which many tall trees were standing. The day was very warm, so the king got down from his horse and lay down under the shade of a tree. At the same time a Rishi’s daughter came there. The king fell in love with her instantly. Her father also followed her. King greeted him, the Rishi asked him – “Why are you here?” The king told that he came there for hunting. Rishi got very happy with the king, he asked him to ask for anything he desired for. King said to him – “Please give me your daughter.” Rishi married his daughter to him.

Both rode on the horse and started their journey. The Sun was shining very hard, so the king and his wife slept under the shade of a tree. In the meantime, a Raakshas came there and said to the king, “I will eat your wife.” The king asked -“What do you want?” The Raakshas said – “Either you give me a 7-year old Braahman boy, or your wife?” The king said – “If you come to my kingdom after four days, I will give you a 7-year old Braahman boy.” Raakshas agreed and both went their own way.

After four days Raakshas came to the king. The king called the 7-year old Braahman boy and got ready to sacrifice him taking a sword in his hand, that the boy first laughed and then wept. The king hit the sword and cut his head. After telling this story, Vaitaal said – “King, Now tell that why that boy wept at the time of his death?”

Vikram said – “The boy thought – mother brings up the child in childhood, father takes care of the child when he is grown up, but when the same mother and father have sold their child for a few chips, then to whom to complain?”

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Vaitaal laughed, jumped and ran away to hang from the tree. Vikram again went there, put him on his shoulder and walked towards the cremation ground.

Duty – Vikram Betal Stories