Proposal of Vishnuvardhan

A decorated seat on a high pedestal was arranged for the King and the host (Kusumasreshti) was sitting beside him. Gifts and honours were showered on him. As a teenage girl Vasavi was curious to know as to what was happening around when a great King was being honoured. Her Father took care by not inviting her to such functions. when very important personalites of other sects were entertained. Even she would not venture to attend uninvited. Kusumasreshti was seated beside the King Vishnuvardhan conversing on topics like trade and security of the nation.

As destiny would have it Vasavi dashed into the quadrangle where her father was holding the court. She was elegantly clad in fine silks of the east with floral motifs of zari. The tingling bells of her leg chain and theclash of bangles galore created a.sound of music when she swiftly crossed the floor to reach her father. The golden hip chains drew arcs downword on her yellow attire exhibiting her feminine charm .The shining navaratina kachitha Oddyanam(waistbelt set with nine gems) on her, only cajoled her slender waist to stand firm. The bajipanthulu (ornaments at the arm) added charm, by tightly catching her blouse at the fore arms. The rings and Mola vanki (vanki rings) glittered on her thin fingers. The vajra vaidoorva addigai and the marakatha manikya hara threw soft lights, when her bosom heaved due to her moving anxiously and fast. The mani pravalla mala (strings of pearls and corals) flowing from her neck at times twisted and tangled, appeared like twinning of snakes.

The vajra bulocku and nathu with an emerald drop on her nose shined like a star. The precious stone studded karnapatra and champasara (ear rings and a chain like ornament touching the earlobes) clinging to her ears added charm and dimension to her tranquil face.

Vasavi, the Princes did not wear any royal symbol on her head. The Kuruvindamani srenni (strings of rubies) wound round a flawless diamond studded head gear (jada bilk) on her sweet smelling black locks looked like twinkling stars in the firmament.

Her dark plaited hair was bedecked with Punnaga, Ashoka and Sampangi flowers of different hues and affable smell. The thilak on her broad forehead looked like the full moon on a clear sky. Every move of hers was charmingly femine. Courtiers particularly the elders were aghast when she appeared suddenly. The Princess was a paragon of beauty and a flame like personality. When such a bewitching beauty bedecked with jewels and dressed for the occasion entered the quadrangle uninvited, it looked as if a lightning flashed through the hall of reception for boding thunder into their lives. The atmosphere was surcharged with a thousand bolts from the blue. The Vysya elders at the congregation were mentally disturbed and a hushed silence prevailed Looking at the sudden change in the atmosphere, she bowed her head and tried to hide behind her father,

The Kings hawkish eyes again and again sought for the enchanting figure of the girl, standing behind his host. His enquiry with the elite around about the girl did not produce any result.When the King in his delirium of ecstasy went on describing the princess as a fairy coming down to earth, the Vysya elders bowed their heads in shame. Kusumarya hurriedly arranged the harathi to the King by beautiful courtesans- (in hindu etiquette harathi is the final part of any celebration) Not interested in these he again asked the courtiers standing nearby as to who this girl was. They told him that she was the daughter of Kusumasreshti and her name was Vasavi. Vishnuvardhan also presented some gifts to the officials and left the place abruptly to his camp. There he conferred with his senior minister Vijayasimha. He conveyed to him his desire to marry Vasavi, As a minister and a wellwisher, Vijayasimha told him that the laws and the social customs of the people of Penugonda do not allow their community girl to be given away in marriage to a Kshatria. He also told him that the girl will not be suitable for marriage since she comes from a community of Traders which is one step lower in the caste system. The Minister told the King that there existed a gulf between the King and the daughter of a chieftain, in power and status.

Vishnuvardhan told him that he had lost his heart to the Vysya princess and ordered him to ask for her hand by granting treasure chests of gold and jewellery and extra territorial rights to the chief, If he fails to convince Kusumarya he can use force and abduct the girl. Having no other go Vijayasimha approached Kusumashreshti with (great) tact He picked up a conversation about Vasavi, her prowess in playing veena, her gaiety and grace. The Minister suggested that such talented girl is destined to be a queen, that too not an ordinary queen, but to be the queen of Vishnuvardhan.

Kusumarya was pained to hear such a suggestion. The Ministers further talks only revolved around Vasavi Without even waiting for Sreshti's reply, he sought the hand of Vasavi for his King- He promised that the alliance will bring goodluck to Penugonda and it will become a prosperous city in the near future.

Kusumarya could not show any anger or disturbed mind and told him that Vysya community has certain norms to follow regarding the marriage of its daughter. He even told him that the daughter of the family is to be given in marriage only to her maternal uncle or uncle's son (cousin). The girl will be given in marriage to other suitable person outside the family structure only when no cousin existed or both the families were not in good terms, The Kings representative could not be convinced by the laws of Vvsya community nor of Kusumarya's rea-sons. He emphatically told him that the King wanted to marry Vasavi and that should take place.

Kusumarsreshti said that he has to consult the elders of 714 gothra to get their views. He was the law maker and that he should not break it. Any person however high he may be will be punished if he disobeys the community rules. He as the chief custodian of Penugonda could not do so.

Kusumasreshti said that he will have to send for his (subordinate chieftains) council of ministers far away frompenugonda to come over to the city to find a solution to the problem. Having understood the situation Kusumarya despatched his scouts with messages to all his 18 council members to congregate at Penugonda urgently; notifying the urgency of the problem.

The minister Vijayasimha who was deputed for the purpose of marital alliance, even without taking the permission of sreshti sent out his messengers calling for the conference of Vysya elders and appointed (nominated) Kusumasreshti himself to preside over the congregation. A brief note was also sent about the alliance to take place.

Kusumarya as a chieftain by birth.and president of the conference by accident took over the job as God sent, He went out with his ministers to greet the (incoming) nobles from all the 18 units, The courtiers arranged suitable places for the Vysya nobles to stay in comfort. Theytook care for the supply of food Early in the day the Vysya elders from different parts of the country congregrated at the temple of Sri Nagareswara and commenced the conference after offering prayers to the Lord and obeisance to Sri Baskacharya and greetings to Kusumarya.The Kings intention was informed to them. They discussed in camera. They knew that they were a community of respectable traders and not warriors essentially.

Eventhough they had a band of excellent commandos, who can launch an attack and stall the enemy for a certain time they could not stand for a longer time against the well trained army of the overlord. Most of the nobles who were leading a happy and prosperous life did not choose to enter the troubled waters. The presence of Vishnuvardhans army on the outskirts of Penugonda and his fifth column in the city instilled a kind of fear in them.

Instead of exhibiting their fear, they argued as to why Vasavi should not be given in marriage to the great King Vishnuvardhan. They even went to the extent of saying that such an alliance is God sent, which will ensure unlimited treasures to Penugonda, improve trade and commerce guaranteeing an unabridged sovereignty.

The elders even suggested some puranic evidences to show that alliances between intercastes and inter religion has taken place since time immemorial.The present alliance if accepted will not only save the people of Penugonda from a blood bath, plunder and rape, but also forge unity between the kshatrias and Vysyas, Castles were planned in the air by the architects of the alliance who always wanted to live in comfort compromising their honour. A cross section of the community who not only prospered well, followed the customs and imbibed the culture of the land under the guidence of their preceptor Baskarapanthulu with religious fervour, could not accept the alliance even if it brings heaven on earth.

As they went on discussing the ways and means to thwart the evil designs of the king, the supporters of kusumastresti swelled. Thousands of families promised to stand beside their chief and challenge the evil. This instilled fear in the minds of those who advocated the alliance only out of fear. They cajoled their chief to accept their stand. They even threatened to withdraw their help if the King strikes. Then some very influential people approached the King and explained about the laws of the marital alliance among theVysya community. They said that the learned girl Vasavi will aprodigy and devoted to the service of Lord Nagareswara. A girl of such calibre, was dedicated to be a Gowra. Balika. i.e. she could not get married.

The King who was only a butterfly sucking the honey of life had a degenerated mind, and could not accept the truth. He lost the power of a balanced mind. He was intensely in love with the princess and that lust shut his eyes to see reason. The strength in him only demanded others to carryout his desire. He gave eight days time to bring the Princess to him, failing which he would abduct her. Leaving an army in Penugonda he left for his place. The army set road blocks hindering easy flow of traffic to prevent the princess being moved out of thecity.Some citizens followed the King and said that they would some how convince Kusumarya and arrange for the marriage.

Again the congregation of Vysyas belonging to 714 gothra took place atthe temple precincts. Majority of the people were for the alliance since they feared reprisal of the King. Some thought that they should not suffer if their chief acted contrary to the wishes of Vishnuvardhan.

Kusumaguptha told the assembly that he would abide by the good and noble suggestion forthcoming from them. He was ready to meet the consequences arising out of their decision. His firm voice indicated that he was not for the marriage. Arya Vysyas belonging to 102 gothra applauded his decision and raised their voice in unison. There was a thunderous applause amid the others though in majority lost their strength, since they were having selfish motives. Looking at the solid support to Kusumarya by the kith and Kin,neighbours and wellwishers, the bold and the good, the people belonging to 6l2 gothra began to melt away from the scene. Those who said that they could not sacrifice their ideals for fear of their lives were the young and the bold. The bold were the elders and the young were the Balanagars.

The real support for the fair name of the Vysya community by the chosen few made Kusumaguptha bolder and declared that he would neither obey the orders of the King nor surrender his darling daughter to the king come what may' Kusumarya received a vociferous ovation and a thunderous reception from the people belonging to 102 gothra. The other frightened Vysyas started fleeing with their families and belongings fearing the reprisal of the King.

Vinayagar Decoration