Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Satyasandha was a king of handsome visage, long limbs, muscular body, fertile mind and popinjay persona. His subjects loved him. His wife the queen adored him.  He had a daughter by name Karotpalā. She was so beautiful that a noon blossom of sunflower drooped its head as in the stance of the evening flower. As she walked along the sunflower field, the flowers hung their heads in shame. From that day on, she said to herself not to walk near the sunflower field ever again. The lotus flowers in the pond opened their eyes wide to imbibe her beauty.

The king had many sons and only one daughter. She spent an enchanted life in the palace. Soon she became a young woman. She was the cynosure of the entire kingdom.  

King Satyasandha wanted to marry her to a suitable young prince. Is there a person fit to marry her on earth, heaven…? He consulted the four-headed Brahma in heavens. He with his daughter reached Brahmaloka (the world of Brahma) and found him in deep meditation.  The king did not want to interrupt his meditation. Satyasandha sat at a certain distance from him because he was afraid even the faint sound of his breath may awaken Prapitāmaha (Brahma as the great grandfather). In the meantime, Brahma was sinking into deep meditation, oblivious of his surroundings. Brahma saw a lotus in his heart inside which he saw his own soul within the Great Soul.  The king saw tears flowing from the eyes of Brahma. His hair was standing on end in an exhilaration of horripilation. The king assumed this was the end of Brahma’s meditation.

The king washed Brahma’s feet and took a ceremonial sip of water (Ācamana) in the presence of Brahmaloka Vāsins (Residents of Brahmaloka). Soon after this ritual greetings, the king addressed Brahma in respectful manner.

The king:  O Lord, Greetings to you. I am king Satyasandha of Ānarta, a kingdom on earth. I am here with my daughter Karotpalā. I could not find a suitable husband for my daughter on earth. Please choose a husband for her.

Brahma: Greetings to you. I have a reason to believe that she should not marry right now. Karotpalā should marry a man of equal status, belonging to the same caste. Since you came to see me, three Yugas (432,000 X 3 years on earth) went fleeting by. Your girl attained great seniority (euphemism for ‘Old age’) in the mortal world.  Things have changed a great deal on earth. The Devas (gods) do not marry mortal women (like your daughter) because mortal women are a repository of feces, urine, phlegm… You may stay here in heaven. What you left on earth (elephants, horses, sons, grandsons, relatives, people…) are all dead. It is a different place now.

The king: Your word is my command. I will stay in Brahmaloka.

Hearing this from her father, Karotpalā cried.

Karotpalā: I would rather be with my mother, friends, and family. I cannot remain a spinster all my life.

When the king heard these words of grief from his daughter, he yielded to her wishes and accompanied her to his kingdom on earth.

He saw ponds where there was parched land and vice versa. People appeared different from the subjects he left behind. (Blame it on new immigrants!) He talked to them and no one recognized his name.

They were youthful and did not age in Brahmaloka. When the winds of the mortal world touched them, they saw sudden changes: the hair was grey, the skin was wrinkled, the teeth fell off… Karotpalā’s breasts were no longer turgid but drooped far below her navel. Her lotus eyes, which put the sunflowers to shame long time ago, were flat. She was an ugly mess.

The king asked the people about the present king, the country, the people, the land…

The people told him it was the land of Ānarta; the king was Bṛhadbala; the city Prāptipura; the river Sābramatī; the Tīrtha Gartātīrtha. The sages were very proficient in Vedas and follow injunctions to the letter.

Hearing this the old man, the former king and the long-gone visitor from heaven embraced his prune-face daughter and lamented. The people of the town felt very sorry for the old people and asked them a few questions.

One man: Hey old man, why are you miserable? Why are you crying? Who is this old lady? Did you lose someone near and dear? Did you lose your wealth? Did anyone treat you badly? Our king Bṛhadbala is a virtuous man. He punishes the bad and protects the good. He will extend his invitation to you and make any necessary amends.

Satyasandhu: I was once the king of Ānarta. People know me as Satyasandhu. This is my daughter Karotpalā. I love her very much. My daughter and I went to Brahmaloka to consult with Lord Brahma in choosing a husband for her. I stayed with him only for short period. Now I am here. I don’t recognize the place, people, buildings, landscape…

The people listening to the old man carried the incredible story to the king Bṛhadbala. The present king could not wait to see Satyasandhu. He shunned the royal entourage, pomp and pageantry and rushed on foot to meet the old man. He paid homage and addressed him.


Bṛhadbala: Welcome King Satyasandhu.  Here is the kingdom, you can take back and rule. I will serve under you.

Satyasandhu was choking with emotion, embraced him and shed rivers of tears.

Satyasandhu: I will perform penance with my daughter in attendance.

Bṛhadbala said that eons ago, Satyasandhu’s ministers waited for Satyasandhu to return back to the kingdom, whose ministers waited for the return of Satyasandhu to no avail. His progeny inclusive of Bṛhadbala ruled the kingdom for 77 generations.

He declared he was the 77th successor in the family lineage of Satyasandhu and requested Bṛhadbala to perform penance in sacred Gartā Tīrtha.

Satyasandhu promised to offer homage to Liṅga he installed in Hāṭakeśvara Kṣetra before he left to see Brahma. The Brahmanas from Gartā Tīrtha having heard about Satyasandhu came to see him. He offered them homage and narrated the story of his visit to Svarga. The Brahmanas sat around Satyasandhu in spiral circles beginning with the senior one close to the king and the last one at the end of the spiral seating. They were all excited and had umpteen questions about activities in Svarga (heaven).

How did you go there earlier and come back from there? What kind of talks you held with Brahma?

Satyasandhu addressed Bṛhadbala, “O son, I performed many sacrifices. I went to the famous Camatkāra, a city of Brāhmaṇas. They studied Vedas, performed fire sacrifices… As I was planning to build a city like Camatkāra, I left with my daughter to Brahmaloka. I regret my decision.

Bṛhadbala donated a city to Satyasandhu who gave lands to the Brahmanas. Later he went to Hāṭakeśvara Kṣetra taking his daughter with him. He paid homage to the Liṇga and performed penance. Karotpalā, his daughter installed Gauri in the pond and performed penance. 

Bṛhadbala went to battle his enemies and died with his sons. The Brahmanas went to Satyasandhu and complained that Bṛhadbala died before he could establish sustenance for them. Satyasandhu told them he was a recluse, incapable of giving them sustenance, summoned the Vedic specialists born in the family of Upamanyu from Gartātirthā and gave them the responsibility of maintaining and protecting the Brahmanas. The latter became very rich.

Satyasandhu declared to the Brahmanas he was leaving for Svarga as soon as possible and they should worship the Liṇga.

Karotpalā was a duteous devotee of Gauri, who once spoke to her, saying, “I am pleased with you, My Daughter. Ask me what is most difficult to get.”

Karotpalā, pleased by the offer by Gauri, said, “My father and I suffered untold miseries and yet I was left a virgin at this old age.  I want my youth restored. I want the most handsome person either on earth or heaven to marry me.

Gauri acceded to her request and said, “Meditate upon youth and beauty in the month of Māgha, when Saturn and Dhaniṣthā are lined up. Take your bath in the pond. You will revert to your youth and beauty.

As said by Gauri, Karotpalā entered the pond at midnight and emerged from there a former self from eons ago, one of grace, beauty and youth.

Lord Kāma was waiting there to receive her as his wife. He said, “I was ordered by Pārvati to take you as my wife. I come to you with Prīti (Pleasure). I name you Prīti.

Karotpalā replied to Kāma, “No girl can marry without her father’s consent. Go to him and ask for his permission. I will forthwith go to my father, a short distance from here and stand by his side. He is doing penance there. You request him for my hand.

Karotpalā went to her father ahead of her future husband and said, “Dear father, I regained my youth and beauty. Gauri selected a husband for me. He is no other than Kāma. Be happy and satisfied.”

The king was pleased to see his daughter in the pink of health with beauty and grace.

Kāma stepped forward and said, “Dear king, please give me your daughter as my wife, selected for me by Goddess Gauri herself. I am Kāmadeva, the enchanter of the three worlds.”

The king gave his daughter to Kāma in the presence of Fire-god as witness. Prīti, the lotus-eyed lady, became the second wife of Kāma after the first wife Rati.

The Gauri pond where she performed penance became known as Prīti Pond. Any woman or man who takes a bath in the pond according to injunctions gets the benefit of visiting and bathing in Prayāga. She and he will ever be handsome and will never be away from the near and dear.  

New York Times dated April 23, 2009 Op-Ed Columnist article titled, Islam, Virgins and Grapes. The following is the excerpt.

'One scholar at the Notre Dame conference, who uses the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg for safety, has raised eyebrows and hackles by suggesting that the “houri” promised to martyrs when they reach Heaven doesn’t actually mean “virgin” after all. He argues that instead it means “grapes,” and since conceptions of paradise involved bounteous fruit, that might make sense. But suicide bombers presumably would be in for a disappointment if they reached the pearly gates and were presented 72 grapes.' End of NYT article.

Houri: Houri in Islam means several things: chaste females restraining their glances; modest gaze; wide eyes; beautiful eyes; eyes like pearls; VIRGINS with bodies not affected by pregnancy or breast-feeding; companions of equal age; non-menstruating, non-urinating, non-defecating and childfree females; transparent to the marrow of their bones; eternally young; hairless except the eyebrows and the head; pure; beautiful; splendid; and much more besides.--- Wikipedia.