Udra Desh, never had such a period of glory as it was during the reign of the king Shri Krishna Chandra Dev,who was a much erudite in ancient shastras as he was versatile in the subtle nuances of the duties of a ruler.
The king used to spend many afternoons in the royal garden where he would be to himself,reminiscing, analising issues that concerned state craft.
One day while the king was returning to his palace when the Sun had set, he was thinking about the dense forests of the Meghasana range of mountain in his kingdom.It had been a land where clouds played with the huge canopy of trees and the mountain peaks kissed the clouds.
After he reached the palace he had a quiet dinner – he retired to the bed.
In the wee hours the king woke up.”Was it a dream !! A pair of swans whispered about Lord Vishnu whom the tribe Chieftan worshipped in a cave”
His heart was running fast.He clapped once. An aid entered and poured water from a siver jug into the silver glass and offered to His Majesty with both his hands.He took two gulps of water and gestured the aid to leave.
The Maharani Sulochana Devi came from the other end of the royal bedroom to attend her husband.She sat near him.”Aren’t you well dear?Is it a bad dream that makes you look so disturbed and agitated?”
“Yes Sulochana, I saw clearrly the pair of swans told me that Lord Vishnu is woshipped inside the dense forest in a cave near the Meghasana Range of hills by the Sabara Chieftan without my knowledge.”
To calm down her husband the cleaver Queen poured some soothing words.”Maharaja,now you must rest. Let us discuss about it in the morning.”
Queen Sulochana was the princess of the neibhouring State Magadh.She had been well groomed by her father.She was conversant with diplomatic niceties.She knew how big was her husband’s ego.She had to do something.The Sabaras were the oldest tribe of the kingdom.They were hunters and warriors,though innocent by character,they were prone to be aggressive.She must have a secret meeting with the wise Chief Minister of her husband before he called him in the morning for advice.
After the royal breakfast,the king entered the royal court.The council of minister along with the Raj guru,all were present .The king composed himself on the throne.He explained to all what he had seen in his dream.
“Mahamantri, we must find out the tribal Chieftan and his God.Our army should proceed to their domain.”
With folded hands ,the Chief Minister started speaking in a humble way.”O Almighty king of Udra Desh,the Sabaras are a strong and powerful tribe.Before invading their territory, we must send an emissary to asses the situation.Everybody in the durbar approved the proposal.
Udras were peace loving by nature.They were cultured too.So they never wanted war.
“Then whom do you want to send?,”asked the king.
“There is a learned and wise Brahmin youth.His name is Birabhadra.He is well versed in all the scripture and is also apt in using weapons.We will send two more wise persons with him.”
The following day the Brahmin boy and his two companions were presented before the king and he was happy with the selection of the Chief Minister.
Arrangements were made for their journey.One elephant and three fine horses were made ready for the journey.Food and clothes were loaded on the elephant.On an auspicious day the journey towards the distant hills began.
They crossed rivers,forests,hill and many villages on their way.It was end of winter.The picturescque landscapes made them very happy.At the fall of the day,they took rest sometimes under the tall saal trees, or in tiny habitas.The villagers treated them with good food and offered a proper place to sleep.They knew that they were the king’s men.
On the fouteenth day of their journey,they reached their destination.They found the forests and hills enchanting.
Their arrival was reported to the area chief Bhimsen.He came to welcome them with flowers and fruits.
The inhabitants,all Sabaras were giving curious look to the civilised men from the plains.After initial pleasaneries,Birabhadra said how the king of Udra Desh had sent them to look after the well bieng of his Sabara subjects.
The king’s men were made comfortable in a aspacious,well ventillated mud-house.The elephant and horses were also taken care of by the local people.
Bhimsen asked his daughter Tara to take care of the food for the king’s men.
Tara tried her best to appease the guests and she took extra care on Birabhadra.
In due course she fell in love with the handsome young man.
The bonds between her and Birabhadra became intense and passonate.
The Sabara Chief came to know about their love affair.He was happy as he himself liked Birabhadra very much.He wanted to solemnise their wedding soon.
All the villagers celebrated the marriage with a grand feast and libaral dose of liquor Mahuli.After it Birabhadra went to stay in Tara’s house as the custom demanded.
Summer was going to end .The king’s men were yet to find the God worshipped by Bhimsen.
Lots of good works by the king’s men were going in the village.Many blind beliefs like witchcraft,spirits had already been eradicated by the noble teachings of the three educated youths.People there were happy being in Udra Desh kingdom.
At the house of his father-in-law,Birabhadra saw that Bhimsen was going out of his house much before dawn everyday.He asked Tara about it but she showed her ignorance about her father’s sojourn.
One afternoon while having their meals, Birabhadra mustured courage and asked his father -in-law,”Baba,where are you going every morning?”
Bhimsen kept mum for sometime.He looked at Tara who was serving food.She shook her head negatively.But the son-in-law was persistent to know.So he asked again.
“I go for worship”,said Bhimsen.
“Then take me with you.I too want to worship.”
“No, he said emphatically and got up to wash his hand.
Tara could feel the sadness of her husband.
Birabhadra wondered.He was sent to that place to know about the Chieftan’s God.How could he go back without fulfilling his mission?By any way he must sucseed.So he went on a fast.
Tara got very much worried.Her husband was not touching food.She went to her father and started crying.How could Bhimsen tolerate the tears of her daughter?He had raised the little Tara since the death of his wife.His love for the child forced him. He gave in.
“Tell your husband to be ready before dawn.I will take him with me but blindfolded.Who knows the intention of the king’s man ?He might steal my God.”
The venus star was shining in the sky.The sun was yet to come.The father-in-law led the son-in-law who was blindfolded.They reached the worship place after a long walk through the forest.Bhimsen untied Birabhadra’s eyes.Lo and behold, the beautiful blue Saligram was in front of him, sitting on the pedestal of a huge throne of black stone.He got overpowered by devotion.Tears filled his eyes.He was awestuck .Oh the aura from the Saligram!!
Bhimsen started narrating.”When Tara was five years old, Lord Vishnu came in a dream.He told me He was inside water of the nearby river as a Saligram.He asked me to take out the Saligram and worship it.Accordingly I got Him here.I love to be alone with my God.Nobody ,not even Tara know about my God.My God is so benevolent ,he has given a gem of a son-in-law to me. I am sure, you will take care of her.”
Birabhadra bowed down with reverence to the noble man .
A few days after the darshan,the return journey of the king’s men along with Tara was arranged.The Sabara Chief bid farewell to his darling daughter to her new home with lots of gifts.All there at the village bade good buy to Tara with heavy hearts.
Tara reached her husband’s house.It was a good experience for her to come from the hilly region to the plain mainland.
The following day Birabhadra with his two friends went to the King’s Court.The king along with his council of members ,all were waiting to listen to the experience of their men at the Meghasan forests.The Queen too was sitting behind the curtains .
“Did you find out the God worshipped by the Sabara Chief?”,asked the king.
“Yes your Majesty.”
Birabhadra stood with folded hands and told how he managed to go and had darshan of the majestic Saligram.
“Good. We must go there to bring God ceremoniously to our place.” said the king cheerfully.
Birabhadra humbly said,,”O large hearted king,if my head is saved,I want to tell you what is going on inside my mind.”
“Speak out”,ordered the king.
“The Sabara Chief is a simple man.He is ruling his subjects well.He is a pious man.He seems very possessive of his God.Each day ,sun or rain,he goes a long way to be with his God.He will be very much hurt if his God is taken away from him.I could have brought it myself.But it would be deceitful.We the Udras are never cheaters.We may aquire it by force.But will it be justice?”
Saying this he stood there with his head cast down.
The king started clapping .All present there followed the suit”.Well done young man .You are truely learned and wise.And you three had done good work there in the villages around Meghasana.It is a part of our kingdom.”
Later on that day the Queen rewarded the emissaries with lots of gold coins.