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
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.