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Sadhvi Malaysundari

Sadhvi Malaysundari
It was love at first sight between Malaysundari and Mahabalkumar. It was so steadfast a bond between the two that they could weather many a storm before and after their marriage.

Malaysundari was the daughter of king Virdhaval and queen Champakmala of Prithvisthanpur. Mahabalkumar was the son of king Surpal. Malaysundari’s step-mother Kanakvati had tried to create a rift between the two for Mahabal had spurned her amorous advances. Mahabal with the help of some secret formula, assumed female form and frustrated Kanakvati’s designs.

Kanakvati instigated the king against Malaysundari and he, at once ordered that she should be thrown into a well. She fell into the mouth of a python. The python half swallowed her and slowly came out of the well. It was about to girdle round a huge tree, when Bahubal, chasing a demon, happened to see the python and saw a human being in its mouth. He got hold of the python and tore it from its mouth into two. A woman, in the semiconscious state, stumbled out of the python’s mouth and she uttered the word ‘Mahabalkumar’. He, then, recognised her as Malaysundari. He also saw a man menacingly advancing towards them. He took out from his hair a magic tablet, applied a tilak (dot) on her forehead and she turned into a man. He said: “You will assume your original form only when the dot is erased by me.”

The king learnt about his second wife’s design to deprive him of his daughter. He and his first queen i.e. Kanakvati’s mother, decided to end their lives. Mahabal then appeared there and informed them that Malaysundari was alive. He also asked them to organise swayamvar (assembly of prospective grooms), and prophesied that she would materialise from a wooden pillar.

King Virdhaval organised the swayamvar as bid by Mahabal. He appeared at the spot as a veena (musical instrument) player. Malaysundari appeared there and garlanded him to indicate that she had chosen him as her husband. The frustrated princes drew their swords and attacked Mahabal who showed extraordinary courage and subdued them. Then Mahahal and Malaysundari tied the nuptial knot and went to a temple to offer prayers. It was a deserted place and Mahabal, therefore, changed Malaysundari into a man. Suddenly he heard a woman crying and went to her rescue. A day passed but he did not return. Malaysundari, disguised as man, returned to Prithvisthanpur. The news about the disappearance of Mahabal had reached Prithvisthanpur and a hunt was launched to find him.

Malaysundari, in the garb of a man, was discovered and ear-rings and turban of Mahabal were found on her person. Malaysundari pleaded innocence and the king decided to find out the truth.

She was taken to a temple of a Yaksha (a celestial being) called Dhananjay. A poisonous snake was kept in a pot. She was asked to take it out with her hand. If innocent, the snake would not harm her. Malaysundari prayed and put her hand into the pot and took the three feet long black snake out. She was unscathed. The snake put round her neck a garland and wiped out the tilak from her forehead. Malaysundari soon assumed her original form. The king and the people were surprised at the turn of events. Many such miraculous events took place in the life of Malaysundari. She suffered too for having slighted a Jain muni, but then she and Mahabal decided to exercise restraint and wore white clothes.


Reference
1. Glory of Jainism by Kumarpal Desai


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