This is a very praachiina-gaadha, told by Parama Shiva to Shri Paarvatii Devi. Satyaketa used to rule the Raajyam of Kaikaya. He was a Dharmaatma, Tejaswi, Balashaali, Susheela. He had two putras: Prataapabhaanu was the jyeshtha putra. Arimardana was his younger brother. Both of them also were great Yoddhas and had many Sadgunams. Also their Aikamatyam is apuurvam. They never had any quarrels between themselves. After making Prataapabhaanu the King, Satyaketa took Vaanaprastham.
Prataapabhaanu’s matri was Dharmaruchi. He was equal to Shukraacharya in Raajaneeti. With the help of Arimardana, Dharmaruchi and the Chaturanga-bala-sainyam, Prataapabhaanu used to do Dharmapaalanam of the Sapta-dviipams. All the other Kings used to pay him taxes. All this praja were happy. Dharmaruchi was a great Shri Hari Bhakta. Because of Dharmaruchi, Prataapabhaanu did many Satkaaryas, Daanams, Tiirthams, Devata-archana and Yagnyas with Bhakti. Prataapabhaanu was a viveka and hence did “Bhagavat-arpanam” of all his Karma.
One day Prataapabhaanu went for Mrugayaa-vihaaram. He did vadha of only those animals which were Vadhaarham according to the Shaastras. Vidhivashah he saw a wild-pig and tried to kill it using his Dhanurbaanam. But he could not; everytime he missed it. Prataapabhaanu, who fought many fierce Yuddhams, was not able to catch a mere wild-pig. The wild-pig ran into deep forest and Prataapabhaanu followed it. Because he was a Dhiira, he followed it into the very dangerous deep jungle too. The wild-pig then ran into a cave and Prataapabhaanu could no more follow it. Prataapabhaanu got separated from his army and got lost in the jungle. He was very thirsty and exhausted. He became unconscious and gained consciousness after sometime. He then found an aashramam in the jungle.
Vidhivashah, it was the place where a Kapata Raaja, who was once defeated by Prataapabhaanu, was living. He had antah-krodham, antah-shatrutvam on Prataapabhaanu. He immediatelty identified that the one who came is Prataapabhaanu. However Prataapabhaanu didnt recognise the Kapata Sanyaasi (the enemy King). Seeing the Sanyaasi, Prataapabhaanu did Yathaavidhi namaskaaram. The Kapata Sanyaasi welcomed Prataapabhaanu and asked to take snaanam in the near by pushkarani. After snaanam he gave cool water to Prataapabhaanu.
The Kuhana-sanyaasi (Kapata-sanyaasi) then took Prataapabhaanu into his aashramam and with Mrudu-vachanas asked kushala-prashnas to Prataapabhaanu. Prataapabhaanu, following Raaja Neeti, told “I am Prataapabhaanu’s mantri. I came for Mrugayaa and got lost. It is my adrushtam that I found you here”. The Kuhana-sanyaasi replied “Your Raajyam is 10 yojanas from here! So please take rest for tonight and leave tomorrow”. Prataapabhaanu is a Nishkapati, whereas the Sanyaasi was a Kapati. Sanyaasi replied “I am a Bhikaari. Nirdhana. I took Sanyaasam and came to this forest to do Daiva-dhyaanam”. Prataapabhaanu did seva to the Sanyaasi and said “you are a great Sanyaasi. You are a dhanya”. Seeing that Prataapabhaanu believed his Kapata-vesham, Sanyaasi continued “I have been here for a long time. No one came here other than you”.
A peacock looks beautiful, but its aahaaram is a snake. Even a viveka like Prataapabhaanu could not see who actually the Kapata-sanyaasi was.
The Kapata-sanyaasi started telling Dharma, Hita-vaakyams. He said “Shri Hari is Paramaatma. There is nothing greater than Him”. Prataapabhaanu was impressed listening to the words of the Sanyaasi. The Kuhana-sanyaasi continued “Sodara! I am Ekatanu”. Prataapabhaanu asked the meaning of Ekatanu. The Baka-dhyaani continued “I was there since the start of this Shrushti. I have never left this shariiram. Hence people know me as Ekatanu. Dont be surprised, nothing is impossible through Tapasshakti”. Prataapabhaanu’s anuraagam on the Kapata increased with these words. The Kapata Sanyaasi then told Prataapabhaanu many Puraanams, Itihaasams, did Vyaakhyaanam about Gnyaanam, Vairaagyam. He also told many many ashtonishing stories about Shrushti-sthiti-laya in detail. Prataapabhaanu then completely came into the control of the Kapata-sanyaasi.
Prataapabhaanu said “I am Prataapabhaanu”. Sanyaasi then said “you did a correct thing by not disclosing your name previously. You know Raaja-neeti. Giving your identity to strangers may lead to the destruction of your Raajyam and praja. I am happy with you”. Prataapabhaanu was also happy with the Kapata-sanyaasi’s reply. The Baka-dhyaani continued “your father is Satyaketa. You came for Mrugayaa and got lost due to the wild-pig. I know all this due to my Guru-krupa. Please ask me a Varam, I will grant it to you”.
Prataapabhaanu did namaskaaram and replied “O Dayaa saagara! Your darshanam is durlabham. Make my shariiram Jaraa-marana-rahitam! No one must be able to defeat me and make me Eka-chatraadhipati of this Bhuumandalam for 100 Kalpams“. Kuhana-sanyaasi said “tathaastu. Mrutyu wont come near you. But there is one problem. Viprottamas have a lot of Tapas-shakti. It will be difficult to make them your Vasham. Except Vipra-shaapam, nothing can destroy you. Not even Yamadharmaraaja”. Seeing Prataapabhaanu’s aanandam, Kuhana-sanyaassi continued “dont tell this to anyone. Else I am not responsible for the consequences. If you tell this to anyone else, you will get many difficulties”.
Prataapabhaanu said “Muniishvara! I have one doubt. How to bring a Viprottama into my control?”. “There are many many ways. One simple thing I can tell you. But I have never stepped in anybody’s house till now. And without me it will be difficult” replied the Kapata-sanyaasi. “Greater people must show mercy on the lesser ones. How Bhuumi bears the sands, how Parvatas support the grass, similarly bear me”. Kapata-sanyaasi replied “Since you believe me 100%, I am accepting. But Mantram, Yogam, Yukti and Tapas must always be done in secret. They only one gets its phalam. So do this. Invite 1 lakh Viprottamas everyday for Anna-daanam for 1 year. If you do this, not only the Vipras who eat, but also their entire family will come under your control. Automatically Devatas will come into your control, because you do seva to Viprottamas who do Havan, Yagnyam Puuja and Daiva-seva. I will do apaharanam of your purohita with my maaya-shakti, take his form and cook food for these invited people everyday for 1 year. Dont tell this to anybody and three days from now you will have my Darshan again. Also, after you sleep tonight, I will take you to your Antahpuram with my Tapas-shakti and leave you there”. Prataapabhaanu, happy with the kapata-sanyaasi’s words, slept happily.
Then Kaalaketa rakshasa, the mitra of the Kapata-sanyaasi, who took the form of a wild-pig and made Prataapabhaanu loose his path, came. He had many maaya-shaktis. He had 100 putras and 10 Bhraatas. All of them are dushtas and ajeyas. Once they did himsa of Devatas, Sajjanas and Braahmanas — so Prataapabhaanu killed all of them. Hence both the Kapata-sanyaasi and Kaalaketa raakshasa have krodham on Prataapabhaanu and now they united to destroy him. Poor Prataapabhaanu did not know this.
Kaalaketu said “mitrama now take rest. You did as we planned. Now on the 4th day i’ll meet you after destroying Prataapabhaanu along with his family”. He with his maaya-shakti, took the form of Purohita, hid the real Purohita in a cave and moved Prataapabhaanu to his bed in his palace. Prataapabhaanu after waking up, thought everything was happening as planned. For 3 days he spent his time doing Dhyaanam of the Kapata-sanyaasi (instead of God!). He invited 1 lakh Braahmanottamas. Kaalaketu cooked tasty food with 4 curries using his maaya. However he mixed flesh of many animals and Braahmanas. Prataapabhaanu welcomed and served the aahaaram to the Viprottamas. Then an Akaashavaani created by Kaalaketu said “donot eat this aahaaram it has Vipra-maamsam”. Without thinking Viprottamas gave shaapam to Prataapabhaanu “along with your family become a Raakshasa. In one year you, along with your family will die and no one will be left to give you tarpanam too”. Prataapabhaanu became very sad. Then real Aakaashavaani said “there is no mistake of Prataapabhaanu. without thinking you gave shaapam”. Prataapabhaanu ran inside and saw that there was no food, no Purohita and everything was maaya.
The Viprottamas replied “even though it was not your mistake, Vidhi cannot be changed. Kaala-mahima is great. One must experience the result of his paapam-punyam. Our shaapam cannot be taken back”. Knowing this, the Kapata-sanyaasi, along with other Kings, attacked Prataapabhaanu. Prataapabhaanu and his family died in the fierce battle.
Prataapabhaanu took birth as Raavana and Arimardana as Kumbhakarana. Dharmaruchi became Vibheeshana, the great Bhakta of Shri Raama Chandra. Prataapabhaanu’s family became raakshas and did many paapa-karyams.
(this was the reason for Raama-avataar in one of the Kalpams. Kalpa-antara-bhedam in Raamaayana, Bhaarata Kathas are hence usual).
Morals in the story:
- “Duraasha leads to difficulties”. For a human, aasha is necessary. But “ati sarvatra varjate”. Though Prataapabhaanu had everything — he was ruler of entire Bhuumandalam, he had great aishvaryam, good brother and Mantri, used to do Dharma-paalana, had everything, still he wanted more and asked the Kapata-sanyaasi for more.
- We must be very careful and choose a Guru/teacher/Purohita. With pralobham of being ruler of earth for 100 Kalpams, Prataapabhaanu blindly believed the “unknown” Sanyaasi, leaving his own Purohita, Mantri and Guru. Especially he being a King must be more careful, since his entire Raajyam will depend on him.
- Kapata buddhi is well shown in this story through the words of the Kuhana-sanyaasi. Kapatam is a very bad durgunam. (See this story, where God punishes a Kapata)
- One must be careful about enemies (either bahih-shatru or antah-shatru like Kaamam, Krodham etc.). They can anytime cause our destruction. So we must always have a check on them.
- The importance Bhaarateeyas give to Parishubhrata is also shown in this story. Though Prataapabhaanu was exhausted, he took snaanam in the pushkarini and then had the jalam to quench his thirst.
Search Terms: Ravana, Prathapabhanu, Pratapabhanu, Vibhishana, Vibhiishana