Legend of Chandrahasa
There is a legend about his life. King Sudharmika was doomed to the severest adversity. Chandrahasa was born at an auspicious period but after his birth his father was slain in battle and his mother perished in the funeral pile. The nurse fled away with the infant Chandrahasa to Kutuwal. But, the nurse died within 3 years without informing anyone the secret of the child’s birth.
After the death of the nurse, the child became quite poor and suffered much. But one day, he went somehow to the house of the prime minister. The astrologers present there declared that the boy’s face had all the signs of royalty. On hearing this, the minister declared that the boy should be assassinated. He sent his man to kill the child, but the men employed for the purpose took sympathy on him and decided not to kill him. He was later found in the jungle and adopted by a certain dependant of the Minister. The person named the boy ‘Chandrahasa’ because when he laughed it was said his face resembled the moon.
When Chandrahasa grew up, he became renowned for his skill and courage and his achievements came to the ears of the Raja. The Minister became jealous and was determined to visit the Zamindar who had adopted Chandrahasa. There he discovered that the young man was the very boy he had sent into the jungle to be murdered. The minister was quite determined to kill Chandrahasa so he wrote a letter to his son Madan and requested Chandrahasa to carry it to the city.
The letter wrote that the Minister's son should not look to his youth or comeliness as Chandrahasa is his enemy so he should give him poison. As Chandrahasa approached the city he entered the pleasant garden belonging to the Minister, and being very weary, he tied his horse to a tree and laid down in the shade and fell asleep.
That very morning the Minister’s daughter Bikya with the Princess and her maids had come to amuse themselves in the garden. Bikya wandered away from the others and saw a young man asleep with such a charming face that she fell in love with him. She saw a letter lying beside the sleeping Chandrahasa. She read the letter and could recognize the writing of her father.
Having compassion on the youth Chandrahasa, she determined to alter the letter. She just removed one word ‘enemy’ and replaced it with the word ‘friend’. The word signifying poison was ‘Bika’. As the young man was very good-looking, she altered into her own name of Bikya and re-sealed the letter. Then she and placed it again on the Chandrahasa’s bosom and returned to her companions.
Soon after, Chandrahasa woke up from his sleep and went to the house of the Minister. He gave the letter to the son of the Minister. Madan read the letter with great surprise but saw that the orders were very positive and that he must obey them without delay. Chandrahasa was more amazed than any one. He was presented with a bridegroom’s dress and directed to prepare himself to be married that evening to the beautiful daughter of the Minister. There was the usual distribution of presents and great rejoicing throughout the city.
When the Minister came back to his home, he was congratulated by everyone he met. He became almost mad on hearing what had happened. He was then shown his own letter he could not discover the alterations that had been made. He had left with no other way but only wonder at the greatness of his own blunder.
Early next morning, he hired some assassins to secrete themselves in the temple of the Goddess Durga which was outside the city. They were ordered to murder the man who should come at evening time to present a golden-pot of incense to the Goddess. He then told Chandrahasa it was the fixed rule for every man who married into his family to offer a golden-cup of incense at the temple of Durga. Chandrahasa readily promised to comply with the custom in the same evening.
But on that particular day, the Raja had a dream and determined to resign his kingly authority. Without knowing that the Minister had returned to the country, he sent for Madan and informed him that he wanted Chandrahasa to make his successor as ‘Raja’. He desired Madan to bring his new brother-in-law to the palace as soon as possible. Madan gladly went out to search for Chandrahasa and found him in the road to the temple of Durga with the golden-cup in his hand. Madan explained him briefly the urgent necessity for his immediate presence at the palace. Thus, he took the cup from Chandrahasa’s hand and promised to present it himself to the goddess. Madan thus sent back Chandrahasa to the palace of the Raja and proceeded alone with the golden-cup to the temple of Durga. On entering it he was cut down by the swords of the assassins and killed on the spot. When Chandrahasa arrived at the palace, he was crowned by the Raja himself. The minister on hearing how his plot had been again defeated and his own son killed, destroyed himself in the same temple.