Post Series: 32 stories of the throne

On the eleventh day, immediately after getting up in the morning, King Bhoj’s desire to sit on the majestic throne was intensified again. Soon he made his way to the royal court but as soon as he approached the throne, the eleventh statue, Indrasena rose from the throne.

She stopped the king from moving forward, saying, “King Bhoj! You are aware that this throne belongs to our honourable King Vikramaditya, and only those who are as virtuous as him can sit on this throne. I will narrate you a story after which you can decide if you deserve this throne or not”. Indrasena started narrating the story.

It was around three in the morning. King Vikramaditya was fast asleep in his bedroom. At that time, he had a dream that he was roaming in a grand and ethereal palace. The walls of the palace were bedecked with precious stones and gems which were emitting golden, sparkling lights. Outside the palace was a beautiful garden where beautiful flowers were blooming. A sweet smelling breeze was also blowing. In this beautiful environment, he spotted a hermit busy in his worship. After carefully watching his face, the king noticed that his face resembled him completely. Amazed, the king woke in the middle of his sleep and started thinking about this dream.

When the King came to the court, his dream was persistently troubling him. Therefore, he called for a meeting of the priests and astrologers and asked them to make an interpretation of his dream.

They told him, “Majesty! The palace that you saw in your dream is not on this earth. On the other hand, it is the palace of Lord Indra which is situated in the southern direction. But entry in this palace is permitted to only those who keep chanting God’s name and worship him regularly.”

Listening to the astrologers, the king wanted to go inside that palace. But the king was always busy with the state and its affairs and never got time to worship God.

When the king shared his dilemma in front of the priests, they said, “If you take someone along with you, who keeps himself busy in God’s worship, you too can get entry into the palace”.

The king’s secretary suggested, “Majesty! Please take the Raj Purohit along with you since he is God’s greatest devotee and is very pure at heart”. Everyone seemed convinced.

The king, in the attire of an ordinary man, and the Raj Purohit headed towards the south, at the scheduled time. After many days of travelling, they came to relax in a colony. When the king was about to sleep at night, he heard the cry of an old woman. When he went near her and asked her the reason for her weeping, she told that she was very poor. Her only son had gone in the morning to the forests to collect wood but had not returned till then. She was afraid that an animal may have eaten him up.

32 stories of the throne - The story of Statue Indrasena

The king listened to her and consoled her, “I will bring your son back. Do not worry at all. Have faith in me.”

After saying this, the king went into the jungle and while searching for the old woman’s son, he heard the roar of a lion. He saw that the woman’s son had clung to the tree and the lion was waiting under it for him. The king attacked the lion without worrying about his own life. He was successful in making the lion run away by attacking it with his dagger. He got the boy down and brought him to the old woman.

Seeing her son, tears rolled down her eyes and blessing the king, she said, “May you be victorious always!”

The next morning, the king and Raj Purohit resumed their journey. Coming across a river while walking, the king saw a woman crying on the banks of the river with a small child in her lap.

On being asked the reason for her crying, she said, “I had crossed the river from my village on the other side for some work here. At that time, the water was only up to the level of my knees. Now when I am returning after the work, the water level has risen so much. How do I cross this river with my child? There is no boatman either.”

The generous king said, “You need not worry, sister. Your child won’t face any problem. I will make you cross the river.”

He made the child sit on his shoulders and holding the woman’s hand, helped her reach her village across the river. The woman happily expressed her gratitude to the king.

Once again, the king moved southwards with the Raj Purohit when a heavenly announcement was made, “O King, you are definitely worthy of praise. Without worrying for your own self, you have selflessly helped two people during your journey – first the old lady and second this woman. You truly deserve to enter Indra’s palace.” And a white horse appeared with the announcement.

The king spoke, “My Raj Purohit has also come along with me. Kindly grant him the permission too to enter the palace.”

The Raj Purohit responded, “Pardon me, My Lord. But I fear going to heaven while there is still life in me. Therefore, please allow me to go back.”

On knowing the Raj Purohit’s wish, the king respectfully bid him farewell and himself reached Indra’s palace on the white horse. There he saw the same heaven as he had seen in his dream. Seeing him entering heaven, all the Gods rose to their feet.

Lord Indra also stood up in his respect and welcoming him, said, “Kindly occupy the royal seat, Majesty!”

The king politely replied, “How can I occupy this throne? I am not that good a person. This throne is yours.”

Indra was pleased to see King Vikramadity’s courtesy. He said, “I was just taking your test and you have been successful in it too.” He gave King Vikramaditya a crown as a gift afterwards.

After receiving Indra’s hospitality for a few days, Vikramaditya returned to his state with that crown.

Concluding the story, Indrasena said, “You must have got an idea of the generosity and courtesy of King Vikramaditya through my story. Now tell me, do you feel that you can rightfully sit on this throne?”

King Bhoj couldn’t answer the question. On that day also, he was unable to prove himself equally virtuous as King Vikramaditya and returned to his palace hopelessly.

Word meanings:

  • Chanting – to recite something in a monotonous repetitive tone
  • Attire – clothes

Read this in Hindi – सिंहासन बत्तीसी – कहानी पुतली इंद्रसेना की

32 stories of the throne – The story of Statue Indrasena
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