Matrigupta and Praversena-ii(from Rajatarangani)
Few days back, I was going through an English book of a boy studying in Delhi Public School. A story connected with Kashmir was there. It aroused my curiosity. It was the story of King Vikramaditya and the great poet Matrigupta. But it was bowdlerized to suit the interest and attention span of children. The full story goes like this:
Long time back, a generous king named Vikramaditya ruled Ujjain.A penurious poet by the name of “Matrigupta” also lived in his kingdom. He had heard a lot about the generous king. The king was known as a lover of fine arts and many musicians, writers and poets used to visit his palace. He used to give them suitable rewards .His munificence was well-known in his state.Matrigupta also wanted to try his luck in the court of the King.
After deliberating for months ,Matrigupta went into the court of King Vikramaditya.He was received warmly in the the court of the King. A day came, when he stood in front of the King and recited his poems. He was highly praised by the King. But the king didn’t bestow him with any reward. Matrigupta did not lose his heart and used to recite poems and get appreciated by the king. But the reward was still a dream.
Many days and months passed by, Matrigupta felt disheartened at times, but he didn’t give up. The King was testing the integrity of the poet. The courtiers tried to poison his ears against the King, but he rebuked them for speaking against the King.
During those times, Kashmir was a part of King Vikramaditya, who at that time was considered as the sole sovereign of the world(India).
During those days in Kashmir, Praversena-ii- was born to the Anjana(daughter of vajendra from iksvaku’s race) and yuvraj (prince)toramana. Toramana was sent to prison by his brother king Hiranya as the former had enraged the latter by putting in circulation coins(dinnarah) struck in his own name.
Anjana at that time was pregnant. She went to a Potter’s hut and gave birth to a son(PRAVERSENA-II).The potters wife and Anjana kept it a secret that he was the son of prince Toramana.Praversena-ii showed extraordinary skills right from his childhood in terms of knowledge, marital skills or courage. He was also an ardent devotee of lord shiva. Later on he came to know about his royal lineage.
Toramana died after having been set free from prison by his brother. soon after the death of his father, Praversena-ii left for the tirthas(holy places).He did severe austerities and lived as an ascetic doing yoga. Finally lord shiva granted him Boon(s).He was granted the boon of becoming the king of world(india) as well as attain Moksha(liberation) at the end.Later on, he became the king of Kashmir and world(india).
Meawhile king Vikramaditya was highly pleased with the sincerity of Matrigupta.One night he called his trusted informers and aides and told them that he is making Matrigupta the king of Kashmir.He told them to leave for Kashmir and arrange for the Poet’s coronation. Next morning he called Matrigupta into his court and told him to go to Kashmir with a royal decree. He didn’t told the poet about his plans. The poet left at once. During his travel, he thought ,”though the king didn’t reward me materialistically, but at least by sending me to Kashmir,I will benefit spiritually(showing the spiritual value of Kashmir even in those times).
Once upon reaching Kashmir, Matrigupta handed over the royal decree, to his surprise he was announced as the king of Kashmir. His joys knew no bounds. At the same time he became indebted to the magnanimity of King Vikramaditya. He ruled Kashmir till the death of King Vikramaditya.
Praversena-ii wanted to become the king of Kashmir at the earliest. He wanted to defeat King Vikramaditya in a war, but destiny had other plans. The news of King vikramaditya’s death reached Praversena too. He also heard that Matrigupta had deserted his crown. Apprehending that Matrigupta has been forced to flee, he came to the rescue of the Poet King with a small escort.
He saluted and bowed before Matrigupta and gently asked him the reason for leaving Kashmir.The poet king answered with a sigh,”that benefactor king has gone through whom I enjoyed the rule of the land” and that morally he felt that as a Brahmin he should spent the rest of his life as an ascetic in Varanasi. Praversena-ii was highly impressed by Matrigupta and offered him to become the King of Kashmir once again. Matrigupta declined the offer, arguing that will be an insult to the generosity of King vikramaditya.
Matrigupta went to Varanasi and lived as an ascetic for the rest of his life(10 years).King praversena-ii too kept firm on his resolve and sent the whole revenue of Kashmir to Matrigupta. The ascetic-poet living on alms handed over the wealth which he received against his will, to all who applied to him and lived until next ten years.
Atrigupta and Kashmir Shaivism(From Kashmir Shaivism-the secret supreme)
The King Lalitaditya traveled to India from Kashmir where in Antarvedi ,a track of land in Madhya Pradesh/U.P.(some opine it was Kannauj) which lies between the Yamuna and ganga rivers, he discovered the great saiva teacher Atrigupta. Lalitaditya was deeply impressed by the scholarship and practical way of Atrigupta and requested him to accompany him to the Kashmir valley. Atrigupta agreed and upon reaching Kashmir was given the old palace of Praversena to live in as this place was very near to the palace of the king Lalitaditya. After some centuries in the house of Atrigupta, Varahagupta was born. He is the father of Narsimhagupta and Narsimhagupta is the father of The Great –Abhinavgupta. Although Abhhinavgupta had many disciples, both men and women, His chief disciple was Kshemraja ,and the chief disciple of Kshemraja was Yogaraja. After many centuries in the Kashmir valley Swami Ram came into this physical body. His chief disciple was Swami Mahatabkak and Swami Lakshamjoo was the disciple was Swami Mahtabkak.