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The stories about Bharthru Hari


Barthrhari, was a great Grammarian, philosopher and poet in one. He is believed to be lived in the first half of 7th AD. He was born as first son of Ujjain’s King Gandharvasena and become king at a young age. There is a story about him which turned his life to an ascetic. As a royal prince he was well educated and was very good natured but was very much immersed in material pleasure. Even after he reigned as a king he spent lot of time with his young wife Pingala whom he loved very passionately. One day a sage visited the place and presented a fruit with magical medicinal power to King Bhatrhari. The sage told the king that by eating the fruit he can retain his youthfulness forever and will never become old. As he loved his wife Pingala so much, he thought it will be the best present to his wife. But the wife, whom the poor Bhartrhari thought to be very loving and chaste, had a lover, a charioteer of the court. Queen secretly passed the fruit to the charioteer. The charioteer was a regular visitor of a prostitute; to her he gave the fruit in his turn. The prostitute was to her profession only because of her desperate family; she in her little wisdom thought that, by youthfulness she may spoil many more young minds, so she presented the fruit to the young king, whom the people expect a lot. As the fruit came back to the King Bhartrhari, he searched the path it followed and to his surprise realized the vanity of worldly life. Inflicted with deep pain, Bartruhari told his brother Vikramaditya to take care of the country and he left the palace to become an ascetic.

Bhartruhari practiced extreme asceticism. Another story about him express this fact. Once Bartruhari was spending his time in Nataraja temple of Chidambaram where a famous Sanyasin by name, Pattanatt Pillayar used to sit in the eastern gate, so he choose sit on the western gate of this large temple with a begging bowl. One day a beggar went to the eastern gate and asked Pattanatt Pillayar for alms. Pillayar said, "I am also a beggar like you. I have nothing in my hand to give you. But there is a man sitting in the western gate. He was rich man and he may give you something". The beggar went to Bhartrhari and asked for alms. Bhartrhari also expressed his helplessness in the matter. But then the beggar said "The man sitting at the opposite entrance told me that you were a rich man." Bhartrhari smiled. He knew then why Pattanatt Pillayar said so. A man who has renounced everything need not keep even a bowl to beg. The bowl was a luxury and a sign of wealth. Bhartrhari threw away the bowl and remained at the temple entrance till the end of his life.

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