Samudra Guptha the scholar king
Once upon a time near the present day Ujjain lived a brahmin called Samudra Guptha. Right from the time he started learning, he was thirsty for knowledge. He went to places like Benares, Nalanda , Kanchi which were having great colleges . But still he wanted to learn more. One great sage told him, that only a Brhama Rakshas sitting on the tallest banyan tree of Dandaka forest had more knowledge than him.
Samudra Guptha started wandering all over Dandaka forest to meet this Brahma Rakshas, One day he located the tallest banyan tree. He also saw the Brahma Rakshas sitting on the top of the tree. He went near him and saluted him, Then he asked him, “Sir, I have spent all my life learning. But a sage told that you know more than me. Can you please teach, what all you know to me.”
The Brahma Rakshas which was horrible to look at laughed loudly and told him, “Whatever you have learnt will not be even a small part of what I know. It will take 12 years , day and night to teach , all that I know to you. But I have a condition. You should neither eat food nor sleep during those 12 years.”
Samudra Guptha told the Brahma Rakshas, “Sir, I am willing to do it. But suppose I do not take food nor sleep I will die.” Then the Brahma Rakshas told Samudra Guptha, “ I will give you a boon so that for the next twelve years you will neither be hungry nor get sleep. But on the day, you complete your studies, the hunger of all the twelve years and the sleep of all the 12 years will come to you. Possibly you may die because of that.”
Samudhra Guptha agreed to that condition. The Brahma Rakshas used to write a lesson on a banyan leaf and drop it down. Once he understood the lesson, Samudra Guptha will shake his head. The next lesson will follow. Twelve long years passed. Brahma Rakshas told Samudhra Guptha, “Now you can go .You have learned everything I know. But as soon as you cross the near by river, the hunger and sleep of the twelve years will come back to you.”
Samudhra Guptha, bundled up all the lessons of the twelve years, saluted the Brahma Rakshas and crossed the river. As soon as he reached the other shore, all the flesh in his body disappeared. He became a bundle of bones. A lady who was the daughter of a rich merchant was taking bath in the river. She saw Samudra Guptha. So she took him home and sent word to a great doctor. After examining the great doctor told her to keep on constantly massaging him with cooked rice for a month. This treatment worked and Samudra Guptha regained consciousness. He thanked the lady and started to go his way. The lady took him to the king and complained, ‘Sir, this great scholar would have died but for me. I would like to marry him.” The king then heard from Samudra Guptha his story. Then he ordered Samudra Guptha not only to marry the lady who saved her but also his daughter, his teacher’s daughter and his minister’s daughter. He also gave Samudra Guptha his kingdom as he did not have sons.