(Last Updated on : 20/03/2010)
Throne of Vikramaditya has been linked to the great king Vikramaditya who was famous for his wisdom and truthfulness. Indian legend has attached great sanctity and fame of wisdom to the name of Vikramaditya, who is historically a somewhat shadowy king, generally identified with Chandragupta II but perhaps the Vikramaditya of this tale was somewhat older. Once upon a time, it so happened in the time of a much later king, that the ancient throne of Vikramaditya was discovered near what had been the old city of Ujjayini. The king ordered his servants to carry the throne to his own capital, and proposed to take his seat upon it with great state, and from there to deliver his daily judgments. The famous throne of Vikramaditya was supported by thirty-two stone angels.
The throne of Vikramaditya was brought to the kingdom of the king who found it. Every day, while the king tried to ascend the throne, one of the thirty two stone eagles addressed him and, requesting him not to take his seat on the sacred throne, and related a story of the wisdom of Vikramaditya. One of the stories told by the eighteenth statue of the stone eagle to the king was about the quality of judgment of Vikramaditya. The eighteenth statue was known as Rup-rekha or the Streak of Beauty.
There came once to the King Vikramaditya two hermits with a dispute regarding a matter of philosophy, and they both requested the king to resolve their doubt. The king asked what it was, and the first hermit told that he believed intellect to be superior to wisdom and Jiva
or Soul, since these and the senses are subject to the intellect, since all deeds are born in the mind and therefore mind rules over all. Then the second hermit told that wisdom
rules the mind, since wisdom checks the forward thoughts arising in the intellect. The senses are ruled by mind, but mind is ruled by wisdom. Thus, through wisdom an individual's senses are controlled, and a person can progress in Yoga
After hearing the argument of both the hermits, king Vikramaditya replied that the mortal body, made of fire, air, Prithvi or Earth
, and water, is ruled by the intellect. But by following the instructions of the mind alone, this body perishes untimely. It is for this reason that wisdom is greater than the mind, since Wisdom preserves us from destruction. The king also told that one perfect in wisdom never dies; and no yogi
can attain perfection while lacking wisdom. Both the ascetics were delighted with this judgment, and they gave to the king a piece of chalk, and told him that whatever the king draws with the chalk in the day will come to life at night, and they departed.
When the hermits were gone, Vikramaditya shut himself in a room and spent the whole day drawing gods and goddesses upon the wall. When night fell, all the figures came to life and cried 'hail' to the king and talked together. The next day the king drew on another part of the wall armies of men, horses, elephants, and other creatures, and at night he was delighted to find that they, too, came to life, The next day, again, he drew gandharvas
with drums and lutes and viols in their hands, and at night they came to life and played exquisitely according to the laws of music.
Thus the king spent his days in drawing and his nights in seeing living pictures, and he neglected all his queens and the duties of the state. One night the queens came to him in their splendid palanquins, weeping and lamenting. Vikramaditya asked them why they wept, they told that since their lord had neglected them for so many days, they were very much upset and were thus not in happy mind. But the king paid no attention, for he was absorbed in looking at the moving pictures on the wall. Next day, when all the figures on the wall were still once more, the queens spoke to the king again, praying him not to leave them in distress. He smiled and asked what he could do for them. Then the asked the king for the chalk and the king accepted their request and gave them the chalk. The queens then kept the chalk hidden ever after, and after that, there were no figures drawn in the walls which came to life during the night. Thus ends the tale told by the eighteenth stone eagle of the famous throne of Vikramaditya.