Mandavya (Ani Mandavya)

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1) General.
How he got the name #Animandavya.

Once there was a famous Brahmana named Mandavya.
He did Tapas for many years standing silent in front of his Asrama, under a tree, raising his hands in prayer. At that time some thieves happened to pass by that place, with stolen property belonging to the King. Finding that the King’s men were pursuing them, the thieves fled away after leaving their stolen property in Mandavya’s Asrama.
The King’s men seized #Mandavya with the king’s property. Even prolonged and repeated questionings did not bring out a single word from Mandavya. At last the thieves were caught. Mistaking him as one of the thieves, the King’s men produced Mandavya also along with the thieves before the King. The thieves were all condemned to death. The royal executioners took all of there to the place of execution and stuck them up at the tip of a Sula. The thieves died, but even after a long time Mandavya did not die. In Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Verses 46-51, it is said that at this stage Siva appeared and blessed him with longevity and then vanished. Several Munis in the shape of birds came near Mandavya who was lying on the trident and made enquiries about him. The King came to know of all these stories. Full of repentance, he went and begged pardon of Mandavya. The attempt to pull out the trident from Mandavya’s body failed. At last it was removed by cutting it off. Since the tip (#Ani) of the trident was left behind in his body he was thereafter known as “Ani Mandavya”.
(Maha-bharata Adi Parva, Chapter 107) .


2) Curse on Dharma.
After going about in the world for many years with the tip of the trident in his body, Ani Mandavya once asked Dharma:
“Oh ! Lord, why is it that an innocent man like me is afflicted with the trident ?”.
Dharma answered: “In your boyhood you once caught small birds and pierced them with a grass reed. It is a result of that sin that you have been pierced with the trident.”
Mandavya replied : “The Sastras ordain that there shall be no punishment for sins committed till the age of twelve. Therefore the punishment inflicted on me is wrong. As the murder of a Brahmin is a greater sin than any other murder, may you be born as a man in the Sudra Caste.”
By the above curse of Mandavya, Dharma was born a son of a Sudra woman. It was this child who later on became the renowned Vidura of the Mahabharata.
(Maha-bharata Adi Parva, Chapter 107) .


3) The story of how the Sun did not rise.
When #Ani Mandavya lay on the tip of the trident another event happened.
Atri Muni’s son Ugrasravas was the husband of Silavati. No other woman had so far surpassed Silavati in her fidelity to her husband. Once Ugrasravas happened to fall ill. He expressed his desire to visit a prostitute’s house. As he was too weak he could not walk. The devoted wife #Silavati carried him on her own shoulders and took him to the prostitute’s house. They were passing near the place where Ani Mandavya was lying on the trident. Coming to know of the matter, Mandavya pronounced a curse that Ugrasravas should die before sunrise. Silavati shuddered on hearing this. Fearing that she would be widowed by the death of Ugrasravas, she, in her turn, pronounced a curse that the Sun should not rise again.
Next day the sun did not rise. All activities came to a standstill. At last the gods approached Atri Muni. They asked Anasuya, Atri’s wife, to persuade Silavati to withdraw her curse. Then the sun rose again and Ugrasravas died.
(Brahmanda Purina, Chapter 42) .


4) Other details.
When the Pandavas were living in Hastinapura, Sri Krsna once paid a visit to them. On his way he met with certain munis. Among them was Ani Mandavya also.
(Maha-bharata Udyoga Parva, Chapter 83 ).


5) Once the King of Videha told Mandavya that the world is transient and advised him to strive for spiritual peace. Ani Mandavya who was pleased with the King’s advice attained moksa (salvation) at once.
(Maha-bharata Santi Parva, Chapter 276, Verses 3-14).


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