Mandavya (माण्डव्यः)

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Once there was a famous Brahmin named Mandavya. He did Tapas (penance) for many years standing silent in front of his Asrama, under a tree, raising his hands in prayer.
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A Short Story...

Once there was a famous Brahmin named Mandavya. He did Tapas (penance) for many years standing silent in front of his Asrama, 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 Mandavya's Asrama. The King's men seized Mandavya with the king's property. Even prolonged and repeated questionings did not bring out a single word from Mandavya. At last the thieves were caught. Mistaking him as one of the thieves, the King's men produced Mandavya 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 (Sula).


Once there was a famous Brahmin named Mandavya. He did Tapas (penance) for many years standing silent in front of his Asrama, 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 Mandavya's Asrama. The King's men seized Mandavya with the king's property. Even prolonged and repeated questionings did not bring out a single word from Mandavya. At last the thieves were caught. Mistaking him as one of the thieves, the King's men produced Mandavya 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 (Sula). The thieves died, but even after a long time Mandavya did not die. In Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Verses 46- 51 , it is said that at this stage Siva appeared and blessed him with longevity and then vanished. Several Munis in the shape of birds came near Mandavya 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 Mandavya. The attempt to pull out the trident from Mandavya's body failed. At last it was removed by cutting it off. Since the tip (Ani) of the trident was left behind in his body he was thereafter known as "Ani Mandavya". (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 107).

After going about in the world for many years with the tip of the trident in his body, Ani Mandavya 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 Papa (पापम्) that you have been pierced with the trident." Mandavya replied : "The Sastras ordain that there shall be no punishment for papas committed till the age of twelve. Therefore the punishment inflicted on me is wrong. As the murder of a Brahmin is a greater papa than any other murder, may you be born as a man in the 'Sudra Caste'." By the above curse of Mandavya, Dharma was born a son of a Sudra woman. It was this child who later on became the renowned Vidura of the Mahabharata. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 107).

When Ani Mandavya lay on the tip of the trident another event happened. Atri Muni's son Ugrasravas was the husband of Silavati. No other woman had so far surpassed Silavati in her fidelity to her husband. Once Ugrasravas 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 Silavati carried him on her own shoulders and took him to the prostitute's house. They were passing near the place where Ani Mandavya was lying on the trident. Coming to know of the matter, Mandavya pronounced a curse that UgraSravas should die before sunrise. Silavati shuddered on hearing this. Fearing that she would be widowed by the death of Ugrasravas, 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 in uced Anasuya, Atri's wife to persuade Silavati to withdraw her curse. Then the sun rose again and Ugrasravas died. (Brahmanda Purana, Chapter 42).

When the Pandavas were living in Hastinapura, Sri Krsna once paid a visit to them. On his way he met with certain munis. Among them was Ani Mandavya also. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 83).

Once the King of Videha told Mandavya that the world is transient and advised him to strive for adhyatmik peace. Ani Mandavya who was pleased with the King's advice attained moksa (salvation) at once. (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 276, Verses 3-14).

(Page 42, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

There is no other woman in the Puranas who surpasses Silavati in her fidelity to her husband. In order to enable Ugrasravas, her husband, to satisfy his passion, she once carried him on her own shoulders to a prostitute's house. On the way, Mandavya Muni pronounced a curse that UgraSravas should die before sunrise. The grief-stricken Silavati pronounced a counter-curse that the sun should not rise on the next day. As the sun failed to rise, the Trimurtis (Brahma, Visnu and Siva), accompanied by Anasuya, Atri's wife, went to Silavati. Anasuya persuaded Silavati to withdraw her curse. The Trimurtis who were happy at the success of their mission (of bringing about the Sunrise) asked Anasuya to demand any boon she wanted. Anasuya expressed her wish that the Trimurtis (Brahma, Visnu and Siva) should be born as her sons and they agreed. (Page 75, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

Silavati who was devoted to her husband once carried her husband Ugratapas who was a leper, on her shoulder to the house of a harlot one night. On the way they saw the hermit Animandavya, who had been placed on a trident by the order of the King, beating his limbs with agony. Lying on the trident he saw Ugratapas. Seeing the amorous nature of Ugratapas Animandavya cursed him that before sunrise he would die. Silavati who was a woman of great purity and loyalty hearing the curse said, "Let the Sun not rise tomorrow." (Page 105, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

There is a story in Brahmanda Purana how Mahavisnu came to incarnate as Dattatreya. Once there was a hermit called Animandavya (Mandavya). While the hermit was engaged in silent meditation, some robbers passed by that way. The King's men who were chasing the robbers, came to the hermit and asked him about the robbers. The hermit did not break the silence. The King's men, thinking the hermit to be the thief bound his hands and legs and took him to the palace. The King ordered Mandavya to be killed by piercing his body with a trident. Accordingly a trident was posted on a hill far away and Mandavya was seated on the tip of it. Mandavya lay there in agony. It was at this time that Silavati, famous for her conjugal fidelity, went to the house of a harlot, carrying her husband Ugrasravas on her shoulder. When they passed by that way Ugrasravas scolded Animandavya; getting angry at this Animandavya cursed Ugrasravas that he would get his head broken and die before the sun-rise. Silavati became very sorry when she heard the curse and she also cursed. "Let the sun not rise tomorrow". The sun did not rise next day. Everything in the world was in chaos. The devas were flurried. They went to Brahma. Brahma took them to Siva. They could not find a solution. So all of them approached Mahavisnu. The Trimurtis (three gods) told the devas that the problem would be solved, and the devas returned. Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara went to Silavati . Before seeing Silavati, they went to Anasuya the wife of Atri and sought her help to persuade Silavati to recall her curse. Thus Anasuya and the Trimurtis approached Silavati and spoke compassionate and consolatory words. At last Silavati recalled the curse. The Trimurtis convinced Silavati , that Ugrasravas would not die. The pleased Trimurtis asked Anasuya to ask for any boon. She replied that she did not want any boon except that the Trimurtis should take birth as her sons. Accordingly Mahavisnu took birth as Dattatreya, Siva as Durvasas and Brahma as Candra, in the womb of Anasuya. This is how Dattatreya was born. Dattatreya did penance from his childhood and became a hermit. (Brahmanda Purana, Chapters 39 to 44). (Page 206, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

DIRGHIKA - A daughter of Visvakarman. She was abnormally tall, and since there was the Sastric injunction that he who married such women would die within six months none came forward to wed her. Dirghika began a penance for a good husband. As it continued for years together symptoms of old age began to appear in her. At this juncture an old and ailing householder came there. On certain conditions he married Dirghika. After sometime, in obedience to the husband's wish Dirghika set out on a tour carrying him on her shoulders. Though Mandavya cursed her husband on their way, due to the chastity of Dirghika the curse proved to be ineffective. The similarity in the stories of Sandili and this Dlrghika leads us to think that they might have been one and the same person. (Page 244, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

Once Mandavya a great sage put many questions about Trsna (desire) to Janaka and he, the great philosopher answered the questions quite satisfactorily (Santi Parva, Chapter 276). (Page 345, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

Yama was once cursed by the sage Ani Mandavya. It was as a result of it that Yama was born as Vidura. (Page 367, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

MANDAVYA. A sage. He is known as Animandavya also. Once Ravana beat Mandavya because of his not respecting Ravana. That day Mandavya cursed him saying "You will also be beaten like this by a brave monkey". (Yuddha Kanda, Kamba Ramayana). The asrama of Mandavya is considered a holy place. Once the King of Kai went to this asrama and performed severe penance there. (Chapter 186, Udyoga Parva). (Page 475, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

During a pleasure trip of his with Mandodari Ravana cruelly manhandled Mandavyamaharsi, when the latter cursed that Ravana too would be roughly handled by a monkey. (Page 646, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

SULAKSANA. It was this king who ordered Mandavya maharsi to be pierced with a sula as a punishment for stealing a horse. (Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda, 121). (Page 762, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)

Long ago there was a hermit called Mandavya in India. As he was standing in deep meditation near his hermitage, the men of the King chased some thieves and came to the place where the hermit stood. The robbers placed the stolen property near the hermit and ran away. The king's men caught the hermit, and the thieves. The King ordered them to be placed on a trident. The thieves died on the trident. But Mandavya was not dead. The King sawed the trident and got Mandavya down. The hermit went to Dharmadeva and asked him what his blame was for suffering the punishment of the trident on him. Dharmadeva replied that the punishment was inflicted for a cruel deed he had done in his childhood. He had caught some flies and made a bunch of them by piercing them with the rib of a coconut-palm leaf. But Mandavya argued that Dharmadeva was not right in punishing him because the Sastras and rules of righteousness said that mistakes committed by boys below the age of twelve could not be considered to be papa. Further he cursed Dharmadeva that he would take birth on the earth from the womb of a Sudra. Accordingly Dharmadeva took birth from the womb of the servant of Ambika and Ambalika. (Page 848, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)