(Last Updated on : 16-02-2009)
Mitrasaha was a prince and son of Saudasa. There is a mythical story relating to the life of Mitrasaha. Mitrasaha had gone in the forest to hunt; there he fell in with two tigers. The prince slays one of these tigers with an arrow. After the death of the tiger it changed its form and became a fearful figure. The other tiger threatening the prince with its vengeance disappeared.
After some interval Saudasa celebrated a sacrifice which was conducted by Vasistha, one of the Saptarishis. At the end of the ceremony Vasistha went out; when the Rakshasa or demon, the fellow of the one that had been killed in the figure of a tiger, assumed the semblance of Vasistha came in front of Mitrasaha.
He said that after the rite is completed Mitrasaha must give flesh to eat which must be cooked. Having said this, the demon or Rakshasa departed, and transformed himself into the shape of the cook. He then dressed some human flesh which he brought to the king, who, receiving it on a plate of gold, awaited the re-appearance of Vasistha. As soon as the real Vasistha returned the king offered to him the dish. Vasistha knowing it to be human flesh was surprised at such an insult, and in his anger denounced a curse upon the Mitrasaha, transforming him into a cannibal.
Mitrasaha was surprised at what has happened and told Vasistha that it was he who had ordered to do so. Vasistha, having recourse to meditation then detected the whole truth. But he could not with draw the curse wholly. Mitrasaha became a cannibal every sixth watch of the day for twelve years, and in that state wandered through the forests and gulp down large number of men.
One day Mitrasaha met with a Brahman and his wife. He seized the husband, and regardless of the wife's repeated request, he ate the Brahman as a tiger devours a deer. He returned to his wife Madayanti at the expiration of the period of his curse, but suffered from the imprecation of the Brahman's wife.