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VIṢṆUDATTA(विष्णुदत्त)

  • Son of the Brahmin named Vasudatta. The story of Viṣṇudatta is quoted to prove that bad omens at the beginning of a journey is a warning that the journey would not be fruitful and that it would be rather dangerous. When Viṣṇudatta became sixteen years old he decided to go to the city of Valabhī for his education. Seven Brahmin boys of his age gathered together and joined him. Deciding not to separate from each other, they started for Valabhī, without the knowledge of their parents. When they proceeded a little further they saw a bad omen. Viṣṇudatta stood undecided, but the others pressed him on and they continued their journey. Next day by evening they reached a village of forest tribes. After walking through the village they reached the house of a woman. They got her permission to stay there for the night. They all lay in a corner. Immediately all slept. Viṣṇudatta alone lay awake. When the night advanced, a man entered the house. The woman and the man talked for a while and carried on sexual sports, and they lay together and slept. A light was burning in the room. Viṣṇudatta saw everything through the cleavage of the shutters, and thought. “I am sorry that we have come to this house. He is not her husband. Sure! she is a harlot.” As he was thinking thus, foot-steps were heard in the courtyard. A young man fixed his servants in their places. Then he entered the house and saw Viṣṇudatta and his friends. The new-comer was also a forest-man. He had a sword in his hand. He was the owner of the house. Viṣṇudatta said that they were travellers. When he heard it, without saying anything he got inside and saw his wife sleeping with her lover. With the sword in his hand, he cut off the head of the lover. He did not kill the woman, who did not know that her lover was killed. The forester laid the sword down and lay in the same bed and slept. The light was burning. After a while the woman woke up, and saw her husband who had cut her lover into two. She stood up quickly and took the trunk of her lover and placed it on her shoulder and taking the head in one hand, went out and hid them in the pile of ashes. Then she returned and lay down. Viṣṇudatta had followed her stealthily and seen what she had done. He also returned and sat in the midst of his friends. She rose up and took the sword of her husband and killed him with it. Then coming out she cried aloud. “Oh dear! These travellers have killed my husband.” The servants woke up and came to the house and saw their master lying dead. They tried to attack Viṣṇudatta and his friends. Viṣṇudatta told them everything that he had seen, and showed them the head and the trunk of her lover, hidden in the ashes. When they saw this they understood everything. They tried the woman. At last she admitted the crime. They expelled her and drove her away. After this the travellers returned to their homes. [Kathāsaritsāgara, Madanamañcukālambaka, Taraṅga 6]. 
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Category : Hindu - Traditions
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