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AṆIMĀṆḌAVYA(अणिमाण्डव्य)


  • 1) General. How he got the name Aṇimāṇḍavya.
    Once there was a famous Brahmin named Māṇḍavya. He did Tapas (penance) for many years standing silent in front of his Āśrama, under a tree, raising his hands in prayer. At that time some thieves happened to pass by that place, with stolen property belonging to the King. Finding that the King's men were pursuing them, the thieves fled away after leaving their stolen property in Māṇḍavya's Āśrama. The King's men seized Māṇḍavya with the king's property. Even prolonged and repeated questionings did not bring out a single word from Māṇḍavya. At last the thieves were caught. Mistaking him as one of the thieves, the King's men produced Māṇḍavya also along with the thieves before the King. The thieves were all condemned to death. The royal executioners took all of them to the place of execution and stuck them up at the tip of a trident (Śūla). The thieves died, but even after a long time Māṇḍavya did not die. In [Mahābhārata, Anuśāsana Parva, Verses 46- 51], it is said that at this stage Śiva appeared and blessed him with longevity and then vanished. Several Munis in the shape of birds came near Māṇḍavya who was lying on the trident and made enquiries about him. The King came to know of all these stories. Full of repentance, he went and begged pardon of Māṇḍavya. The attempt to pull out the trident from Māṇḍavya's body failed. At last it was removed by cutting it off. Since the tip (Aṇi) of the trident was left behind in his body he was thereafter known as “Aṇi Māṇḍavya”. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 107].
    2) Curse on Dharma.
    After going about in the world for many years with the tip of the trident in his body, Aṇi Māṇḍavya once asked Dharma: “Oh! Lord, why is it that an innocent man like me is afflicted with the trident?”. Dharma answered: “In your boyhood you once caught small birds and pierced them with a grass reed. It is a result of that sin that you have been pierced with the trident.” Māṇḍavya replied: “The Śāstras ordain that there shall be no punishment for sins committed till the age of twelve. Therefore the punishment inflicted on me is wrong. As the murder of a Brahmin is a greater sin than any other murder, may you be born as a man in the ‘Śūdra Caste’.” By the above curse of Māṇḍavya, Dharma was born a son of a Śūdra woman. It was this child who later on became the renowned Vidura of the Mahābhārata. [M.B., Ādi Parva, Chapter 107].
    3) The story of how the Sun did not rise.
    When Aṇi Māṇḍavya lay on the tip of the trident another event happened. Atri Muni's son Ugraśravas was the husband of Śīlavatī. No other woman had so far surpassed Śīlavatī in her fidelity to her husband. Once Ugraśravas happened to fall ill. He expressed his desire to visit a prostitute's house. As he was too weak he could not walk. The devoted wife Śīlavatī carried him on her own shoulders and took him to the prostitute's house. They were passing near the piace where Aṇi Māṇḍavya was lying on the trident. Coming to know of the matter, Māṇḍavya pronounced a curse that Ugraśravas should die before sunrise. Śīlavatī shuddered on hearing this. Fearing that she would be widowed by the death of Ugraśravas, she, in her turn, pronounced a curse that the Sun should not rise again. Next day the sun did not rise. All activities came to a standstill. At last the gods approached Atri Muni. They induced Anasūyā, Atri's wife to persuade Śīlavatī to withdraw her curse. Then the sun rose again and Ugraśravas died. [Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Chapter 42].
    4) Other details.
    When the Pāṇḍavas were living in Hastināpura, Śrī Kṛṣṇa once paid a visit to them. On his way he met with certain munis. Among them was Aṇi Māṇḍavya also. [M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 83]. 5) Once the King of Videha told Māṇḍavya that the world is transient and advised him to strive for spiritual peace. Aṇi Māṇḍavya who was pleased with the King's advice attained mokṣa (salvation) at once. [M.B., Śānti Parva, Chapter 276, Verses 3-14].
     
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