Once upon a time, there was a devoted soul, who was, before, very rich, but had fallen on evil days and lost all. His name was Udyogi. His wealth was reduced to only a meager piece of land. He was worrying how to meet even the simple demands of himself, his wife, Karmini, and his five-year-old-son, Sampath. The boy had yet to be educated and helped to stand upon his own legs.
As Udyogi was worrying thus, sitting on a long and turning his spade in his hands, and singing "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram." a strange-looking, red-bearded man came behind him. As the shadow of the wizard fell in front of Udyogi, he looked up and saw behind him the silently standing form. The stranger encouragingly smiled at the dejected man, and suddenly said, "Don't worry any more. You shall have all the gold you need. But you must promise to meet me here exactly after ten years and give me what now will first touch you as you enter your house today."
Udyogi thought, "What can touch me? Only my dog. Let it. And, after the years I have to give that old dog to this man. What s the harm? Sampath can get his full educaion, and grow to be a healthy young man if I can get rich quick now.- So thinking Udyogi accepted the terms, wrote and sealed; a contract and gave the paper solemnly signed to the red-bearded wizard.
When Udogi, after a day's full labour, returned home and sat down, his son Sampath came running and wanted as usual to it on his lap. Immediately it did not strike him. It was only after some time it suddenly dawned on Udyogi but he was helpless. He felt cheated. He felt miserable at the thought that he would have to give away Sampath at the end of ten-years! The old father cried within himself: ‘Jaya Sita Kam, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram:'
By then Karmini ran in to the room all excited, talking loudly, -Ha! what is this miracle? How did it all happen? I was wais mg for- your return! Do you know what happened to-day here?
"Come on Karmini, tell us what it is.”
Daddy, I will tell you” said Sampath, and started narrating how -a snail crossed the courtyard and crawled and crawled to reach--' His sound was drowned by the exploding words from his mother, "You shut up you child. You keep quiet when Mummy is talking to Papa.—Now listen, what happened was this. I had the wash to-day, and when I came back with the bucket full of the washed-clothes, and was crossing to the hall I saw our wall-shelf open and you know how Sampath—."
"No, daddy, I never opened the shelf to-day. Ask her—Mummy never scolded me to-day—and so, it never was opened by me to-day."
Again, Sampath was silenced, "And what do you think I saw?" stopped Karmini to breathe. Udyogi sighed, "It is useless. When your Mummy is excited she can never express anything. By tomorrow only I can perhaps hear what it is." "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram.""
"From the shelf something was hanging out! That attracted rrr~e I placed the bucket down, and ran to it, and opened it!—and what do you think I saw there?" Karmini paused.
"How can I tell you? I was in the land working. I came tired. And you give me a story—-why not go in and give me something to eat?" asked Udyogi. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram. "
"When you hear what I have to say you will not feel like eating at all till tomorrow," declared Karmini.
"Now come out with it. What was it, darling, inside the wardrobe? "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram”
Karmini shuddered and cried, "Gold! ornaments, coins, bars, everywhere! I ran to open the table to get the key to lock the shelf—there in the table also every inch was full of gold coins! Thus. . . . . in every box, every tin., every pot in the house, everywhere gold and gold only. How did it happen? Why to us? When? Who? What is the meaning? How can we keep it. What will we do?"
Karmini became suddenly silent—because she noticed the confused pale face of Udyogi. But he soon brought himself under his own control and told all about his meeting the wizard, and the contract. He silently sang, "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram"
Time rolled on. Gold can make man forget his bitterest sorrows sometimes Rv
industry and constant effort, slowly, as a family, they came out of their poverty. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram." In happiness time flies. Days slipped by to become weeks. And weeks added together to become months. And months marched in to years. And years rolled on. Sampath grew to be a young, well-built, well-educated, young man of sixteen years. He also learnt to sing "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" His roundered shoulders and strong muscles had still the suppleness of a child and the shapeless-shape of early youth.
He noticed at first, that his father was getting very very moody, and after a few days even very nervous. Again, as time passed on, Sampath found his father often drying his tears, between his incessant chant of "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" For the last fortnight Udyogi had taken very ill, and was in bed. There too Udyogi kept on chanting: "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram"
One day Sampath noticed that his mother also was weeping. Naturally, he approached his mother, and tenderly asked, "What is the matter Ma? You and Dad are both unhappy and very miserable. Why? Can't I help you both? Ma, please tell me. Why are you both so unhappy?" The poor mother could not speak. Karmini kept silent, stunned with her sorrow, and tears streamed down her eyes. At last she said, "Go, ask your Daddy. He will tell you."
So Sampath approached his father who was in bed. From the father the son heard of the contract with the red-bearded wizard. The son said, "Don't worry at all Daddy. He can't take me. Even if he takes me, I shall come back. Lord is great: "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram." Let us go and redeem our pledge." The father had no other escape. On the appointed day, when the tenth year had just been over, father, Udyogi, and son, Sampath, both reached the land. The son drew a circle around him with his prayer "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram." A few minutes later the red-bearded wizard also reached.
The discussion started. The smart boy said, "You cheat! You have deceived my father. And so, you give me that bond. And you need not look at me threatening, to do me any harm. Your magic cannot affect me, as I am standing in the "Sita Ram-Circle." I am not coming with you." The arguments
went on. Sampath was an eloquent speaker. Udyogi kept on mentally praying to the Lord, who is the protector of all the weak, every-where: "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram."
At last it was decided that Sampath did not any longer belong to Udyogi, as he had given away the son, but the wizard could not get the boy, as Sampath was not willing to serve him. Therefore, they finally arrived at a solution. Sampath should get into a boat and his father should push the boat into the middle of the stream. Udyogi had no say in the matter. With a sorrowful heart, chanting in utter surrender to the Lord: "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" he pushed the boat. As the boat floated down the stream, standing on the boat, Sampath cried out:
"Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram. Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram"
The boat floated down round a comer and disappeared from view. Only the sound came in the breeze:
"Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram. Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram"
Sampath singing joyously the Lord's name, floated down the river till evening, when suddenly it got caught up among the stones and roots on one bank of the river. He got out and roamed about, hungry but happy with his constant chant of "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya; Jaya Sita Ram". Suddenly a big palace built on the banks of the river rose to his vision. He approached it. There was none there. The gardens were full of weeds. It seemed empty. But strange! The doors were all open! So Sampath entered the house and roamed about from room to room, hall to hall, singing the mantra, "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram"
At last he reached a beautiful room, with a beautiful bed, well laid. When he saw it, he was so tired that he sat on it, and was about to lie down, and sleep—when a graceful serpent crawled from the comer and came near the bed. Sampath was still chanting "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" He looked at the serpent affectionately.
Strange! What a miracle! The serpent lay coiled there. Sampath saw it, and his surprise was the most when he heard it talking in a pleasant human voice. "\ am a Princess. I am under a charm and so I am here as a serpent. You can save me, if you have the heart."
Sampath chanting ardently, "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram." mentally prostrated to the Lord, and said, "Noble lady, I am ready to help you if you will tell me how you can be served."
The serpent said, "It is not easy. Don't promise too readily. To-night twelve terrible, though small-looking, devils will come. Seeing you they will surely pounce upon you, catch you and over-power you. They will ill treat you. They will whip and beat you, pull and roll you, kick and give you much pain. But you should not say a word. You must suffer them all. Silently endure them. Soon after mid-night they will run away as they have no power after mid-night.
"Thus, for three consecutive nights," continued the human voice from the coiled serpent, "you must face them. Remember, "not a word from you"—"you must suffer them all." The last day they will leave you completely crushed. Just remain as though you are a witness of what the twelve devils are doing. You should not in the least worry about yourself. On the third day of your silent heroic suffering I will be released from their charm. I shall get you the Flask of Life and sprinkle its ambrosia upon you, and you shall rise up all the more healthy and beautiful."
Strange story! Stranger still the experiences promised! And the Condition of the poor lady was pitiable indeed'. No decent man can allow any lady to suffer thus, without rushing to help her. So Sampath said, "I think, lady, I can help you. I hope I will have the courage to meet the devils with my Ramj’s grace. I shall be singing His name; you too learn to sing:
"Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram. Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram."
Lord Ram is great; He will protect us both."
As night gathered, the place became noisy. An evil light spread in the building. Horrid looking twelve devils came! Seeing Sampath they grinned and attacked. Chanting the Lord's name in his mind he didn't feel at all what they were doing to him. Blood streamed out of his lacerated body as the devil's whip landed on Sampath. They dragged him. They did all they could. At last
the mid-night bell knolled. And they suddenly disappeared. Tired and exhausted Sampath with "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" in his mind, fell on the bed and slept.
Three nights the hero thus suffered. On the third night when the devils went away at mid-night, the snake uncoiled, and out of it rose a beautiful young Princess, Yamini, who was the queen of that entire Hiranya Desa. She ran to a secret chamber in the palace and brought the Flask of Life and sprinkled its sacred waters on Sampath. The horribly chopped, cut-open, .smashed, crushed pieces immediately rejoined together and Sampath got up. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" They loved each other so much that Sampath married the princess Yamini, and they lived together there for seven long years in all joy, and peace ruling over that kingdom of gold— Hiranya Desa. Never did Sampath allow his mantra "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" to leave his mind.
However, at the end of seven years, Sampath felt miserable. He remembered his father and mother. He wanted to meet them and console them. They knew not even whether he was living or not. Thus, he decided to revisit his village. On the day of leaving, Yamini gave him a magic ring and said, "You can get whatever you want it you rub this ring and wish for it. But never wish that I come there!"
Wearing the miracle-ring Sampath started home. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram." He rubbed the ring and wished to reach his village. Lo! There he was, in a wink, in front of his house! His father could not at first even recognise who he was. And when he was recognised, Udyogi could not believe what he saw! They all had thought that Sampath had died in the river. The entire family started singing in joy "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Rawt.'''''
Sampath told them in detail all about his great adventures. Everybody was thrilled to hear the story. When he was thus talking, he wanted them all to see his noble wife Yamini and so, in a mad moment of passionate love, he rubbed the ring and wished, "Yamini dear, come and meet my parents." In a moment a sad weeping Yamini was near him. Everybody saw the brilliant beauty of this unearthly Devi, the keeper of the Flask of Life, the queen of the Hiranya Desa.
Next day Sampath explained to her how out of his love for her he called her away from her own palace to the mundane courtyards of the worldly life. She understood the simple and honest motive of her husband. But she was sad. Time had come. They must part. Sampath had disobeyed the law. They went out for a walk along the river. There, in the cool shade of the trees, Sampath suddenly felt extremely sleepy. He laid his head on Yamini's lap and slept. When he was in deep sleep, she quielty took away the ring, and slowly placing his head down, immediately went back to her kingdom.
After sometime, when Sampath woke up, "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram." he realized that Yamirn had left him. He did not want to return home any longer. But he did not know how to reach the Hiranya Desa, where Yamini was the queen. However, he started walking along the river, and crossed over forests and rocky mountains, dales and deep valleys," "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram.''''' ........ Hungry, weary, tired, fatigued, he was panting in exhaustion. Yet, he moved on singing "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram."'
All of a sudden, round a corner he reached a vast field, high up in the mountain, where three strong sturdy men were fighting among themselves. They were three members of a team of looters, and they were quarrelling over how they should divide three rare things that they had acquired. As Sampath was going along they invited him to be a judge and settle their dispute. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram" Sampath said he would try his best, and so asked them what was their dispute all about.
They said, "We have a coat—which will make the wearer invisible to all others; a sword—which upon the mere wish of the owner will kill all his enemies, and return to the owner's sheath; and a pair of wooden sandals—which can take the wearer wherever he wishes to reach. How are we to divide these among us three?
"Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" Sampath said, Without knowing the actual worth of these I can do nothing. Bring the coat, here let me wear it and see". They were afraid that this man may run away from them with the coat. They refused. Then Sampath said, "If you have not that much of faith in me, how are you going to accept my judgement? Therefore., it is useless for me to waste my time here. Here I go my way. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram."
The looters were in a fix. They could never settle it among themselves. Therefore, they called Sampath back and gave the coat to him. He wore it: he immediately became invisible to all others. He opened the coat: and said, "True; this is truely a miraculous coat—now let me see the sword", "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" They hesitated: but as he had not run away with the coat, they believed him and gave the sword. He took the sword and commanded, "Cut down these trees and come back." The sword immediately rushed out, ran through the trees, and returned. Sampath was satisfied. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" Now he said "Bring the wooden sandals."
By now they had full faith in him. They immediately took them and gave them to him. As he was putting on the sandals he lifted the sword, and wrapped the coat tightly around him. He became invisible for the thieves, and Sampath wished, 'Take me to Yamini, my Queen." Before he could finish three times in his mind —
Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram."
He had already reached the courtyard in the Yamini-Palace in the Hiranya Desa.
There was a great festival on in the Palace. There was great illumination. Nobles and rich men had all arrived in the palace. Sampath wrapped in his coat entered the Palace unseen by anyone. Nobody could see him. He moved everywhere and found that Yamini, the Queen, was preparing for another marriage. And it was the day of the great Banquet. Sampath went and sat near the Queen. When food came to her plate it would miraculously disappear under her very eyes. Sampath would each time take and eat whatever was served for her. Her glass was always empty—Sampath would drink the wine with his unseen hands!!
She was surprised; she could not explain. She became frightened. So she retired to her private chamber. But Sampath followed her there. She could only hear "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram." Suddenly came a smashing hit on her face, and the Queen bent double in pain. Yet she could see no hand! Who kicked Her? She was again kicked—and then Sampath's familiar sound came from the air in front of her, "You faithless one—you ungrateful wretch. You thought I will not return. I shall show you now."
Saying thus, Sampath walked into the Banquet Hall, threw away his coat and revealed himself. He declared, "Listen. The true King has returned. The marriage is off. You can all go and await my commands. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jay a, Jaya Sita Ram." The nobles and courtiers, the ladies and officers, the military officers and business men all who had assembled there, all chuckled, giggled, and in the end burst into insulting laughter. They thought King Sampath was helpless as Queen Yamini had all the loyalty of the people and the army.
King Sampath jumped on to a table and sternly looked around. "Jaya Sita Ram, Jaya, Jaya Sita Ram" Half of them became silent when they saw his determined, courageous face. "Those who accept me sit down," commanded the King. Some sat. The majority stood in a threatening attitude.
Sampath, the King now by his own right, took the mysterious sword and ordered, “Go and kill all those who are standing here, except me and come back.” In a wink all of them fell down and their heads rolled all over.
Sampath the King lived in that Yamini Palace ruling over the Hiranya Desa for long years. In the end he took Sanyas and retired to the Himalayas.