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Chapter 33 - A Devoted Concubine

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Next day the young Brahmin couple bowed to Shree Guru and sat before him. The wife asked Shri Guru,

`when I was mourning, a Sanyasi advised me, gave me 4 Rudra beads and asked me to tie 2 breads in the ears of my husband and to put 2 beads round my neck. He also told me that when I go to see Shri Guru, I should sprinkle the Teerth of rudrabhishek on my Husband's body and mine. Who was that Sanyasi?'

Shri Guru smiled and said, `seeing your devotion, I myself gave you the Rudra beads. Sins do not touch them who wear Rudraksh. The significance of Rudraksh is very great. One should wear a wreath of 1000 Rudrakshas. If this is not possible then have a wreath of 108 beads round the neck, 40 on the head, 12 in both ears. The wreath should contain silver, gold and precious stones as diamond, emerald, pearl, coral, etc. One who bathes with Rudra beads on his body gets the credit of Ganga bath. If Rudraksh is worshipped, it is like worshipping shri Shiva linga. The Rudrakshas have 1, 5, 11 or 14 holes. I shall now tell you a tale in this respect.

There lived a king bhadrasen in Kashmere and his son's name was `Sudharma'. The name of his minister's son was `Tarak'. Both were fast friends. They were of the same age. Both of them had studied together. They were devotees of Shiva. They were wreaths of Rudraksh and applied Bhasma to their bodies. They did not like rich clothes and ornaments of gold and gems.

Once Parashar Rishi came there. The king greeted and worshipped him. The king said to the Rishi, `my son was `Tarak'. Both were fast friends. They were of the same age. Both of them had studied together. They were devotees of Shiva. They wore wreaths of Rudraksh and applied bhasma to their bodies. They did not like rich clothes and ornaments of gold and gems.

Once Parashar Rishi came there. The king greeted and worshipped him. The king said to the Rishi, `my son is fond of Rudraksh and has no liking for good clothes and ornaments befitting a Royal family. Please advise, him properly.'

Parashar said, `the account of the previous birth of your son and that of your Mantri, is wonderful. There lived a concubine in Nandigram She was very beautiful. She wore golden sandals. Her ornaments, and her bedsted was webbed with precious stone. She had constructed a high class dancing hall, where she sang, and danced daily. She had many attendants. She tied Rudraksh round their necks and taught them to dance. She was a great devotee of Shiva and gave alms to the Brahmins and others profusely.

One day a rich Vaishya, wearing a Rudraksha wreath, came to her. He had in his hand a Shiva Linga of precious stones, which was a bright as the Sun. The concubine longed to have that Shiva Linga. She asked her maid servant to ask the Vaishya if he would sell the Shiva Linga, or he would give it to her if she accepted to serve him as a devoted wife for three days.

When the maid servant told this to the Vaishya, he laughed and said, `I would gladly give this Linga to your mistress, if she agrees to serve me as a devoted wife for three days.' The Vaishya then said to the concubine, `you are a prostitute by profession and caste. How can I believe that you would be honest with me for three days? Take an oath for this.'

The concubine took the oath. `I shall serve you devotedly for three days.' He then gave the Linga to her hand said, `I love and regard this Linga even more than my life. If it is lost or destroyed, I shall give up my life. It should not be with you at sex-play. Keep it safe.'

She agreed and kept the Linga tied to a pillar in the dancing hall. Both then entered the inner apartment. While they were enjoying, the dancing hall caught fire and was burnt in no time. Efforts to extinguish the fire were made, but the Linga was burnt! Seeing that the precious Linga was burnt, the Vaishya arranged a pyre and burnt himself.

The concubine was much grieved. She decided to observe `sati' as she had agreed to be a devoted wife of the Vaishya. Her relatives tried to persuade her from giving up her life, but she was firm in her resolution. She called the Brahmins and gave money in charity. She arranged the pyre, took three rounds around it and leapt in the fire of the pyre.

Instantly Shri Shiva with five heads and locks of hair on his head, caught her in his ten hands and took her out of the fire and said, `I am pleased with your devotion. You are really a `sati. You can ask for a boon. I myself had come to you as the Vaishya to test you I myself set the dancing hall on fire and entered the pyre and got burnt.'

The concubine said, `Kindly take me with all my relatives and servants to your place.' Shri Shankar seated them all in his divine plane and took them to Kailas.

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