The story of Vikramadiyta’s throne is the story of how the marvelous throne belonging to Raja Vikramaditya was destined to be discovered centuries later by Raja Bhoja; and how Raja Bhoja was instrumental in releasing from a curse the 32 apsaras turned statues that supported the throne, by listening patiently to each of the 32 stories on the life and adventures of the magnanimous Vikramaditya that they narrated.
The frame story of the 32 stories narrated by each of the statues and the 25 stories told by the vettala to Vikramaditya in one of his adventures are all in the original Sanskrit work Vikrama Charitra, written some where between 11th century and the 13th century.
Raja Bhoja placed the throne in a shrine inlaid with bright gold and the nine precious gems.Upon it he placed the images of Shiva and Parvati and worshipped both,the throne and the deities.Then mounting the throne he ruled wisely and well till the end of his days.
Indra’the king of the gods, had pleased Lord Shiva ,as a reward the Lord gave him an exquisite throne.Indra treasured the throne.
Meanwhile shiva’s wife, Parvati had for her close companions,32 apsaras from Indra’s court.One day as they saw Lord Shiva they were perplexed with Shiva’s looks as well as Shiva was admiring the 32 apsaras beauty,Parvathy saw Shiva’s admiring looks and was full of anger.She curse that each of the apsaras become a life less statues and adorn in the throne of Indra.For there they will get all the admiration that they crave for.
The apsaras were aghast.They pleaded Parvathy to have mercy with them.Parvathy relented.Then she showed the thrown of Vikramaditya and said that the throne will reach earth and later be found by Raja Bhoja.When he tries to mount it they have to tell him the stories from the life of King Vikramaditya.If he is magnanimous enough to hear all of them , then the curse will be lifted.
Meanwhile on earth, in the city of Ujjaini, there reigned a king called Bhartrihari, who loved his wife Anangasena,dearly.So blind was his love that he took a vow that he will not outlive his wife.
In the same city there lived a learned but poor Brahman , a devotee of Parvati.She was pleased with the Brahman that she granted him a boon .He asked for everlasting youth and immortality.The goddess gave him a fruit .Full of joy,the Brahman took the fruit but did not eat it.He felt that immortality would be wasted on him as he was a pauper, the king would benefit more than him! He gave the fruit to Bhartrihari and told him of its greatness.The king then gave the fruit to his beloved wife.But his wife loved another,a stable boy.She sent for the youth and gave the fruit to him.The fruit than switch hand from there to his lover , the maid.The maid gave it to her lover a cowherd.The cowherd gave it to the girl who carried the cow-dung , his love.She was overjoyed and decided to have it after her bathe.She threw the fruit on her basket of dung and walked merrily down the road.Just then Bhartrihari, out on a hunt ,passed that way.
He saw the fruit and took the fruit from her.After confirming that it was the same fruit , he sent for his queen,Anangasena.
When Bhartrihari learnt the truth he was utterly disgusted with the world.He felt that there is no greater enemy than attachment and no greater happiness than renunciation.
He became an ascetic and gave Vikramaditya,his brother the throne.
Vikramaditya became King,he ruled his kingdom well,pleasing his subjects and attending to every small request of theirs.One night, a sorcerer came to him and asked him to assist him in the cemetery as he was planning some sacrifice.He was asked to catch a betaal/vettala .The episode follows on how the king tries to capture the vettala 24 times and how the vettala narrates 24 stories to him and escapes.When the 25th story was told Vikramaditya did not know the answer and thus the vettala was captured.The vettala then warned him of the sorcerer and how he intends to kill the king.The king followed as per the vettala’s advice and slain the sorcerer.As soon as the sorcerer was slain the vettala became a Brahman and made offering .The Brahman granted the king a boon.The king wished for the sorcerer’s life back and the Brahman must promise to come to the king when in time of need. The Brahman agreed.
Soon the kings fame spread far and wide and his subjects loved and respected him.
In heaven ,Indra was worried because the austerities of Sage Vishwamitra was becoming intense.He sent for Rambha and Urvashi,two of the best apsara and dances of the court.He told them that he wanted to choose one of them to disturb the sage’s penance.Both of them argued as who should go.Then it was decided that they dance at the assembly of gods and let them judge who is suitable for the task.But after the dance wven the gods couldn’t decide then finally Indra sent Matali his charioteer to King Vikramaditya.Indra decided that Vikramaditya would decide on his behalf.
Vikramaditya , a lover of the arts ,naturally accepted the invitation and returned with Matali.He then choosed Urvashi and explained his reason which pleased Indra. He felt that Vikramaditya was fit to occupant Shiva’s throne.Indra the gave presents to Vikramaditya,among them was the shiva’s throne.
Taking leave of Indra, Vikramaditya returned to Ujjani with all his gifts.There he set up the throne and on an auspicious day and mounted it.From the day he mounted the throne,his rule was glorious in every way.He was the overlord of all the Kings on earth.He vanquished all evil men.Poverty was unknown ,famine and grief unheard of Savants and scholars prospered under his patronage.
Then , suddenly, day after day ,a number of evil omens struck Ujjani.Vikramaditya sent for the court astrologers.he was informed that his life is in danger and creates ill.Only then did Vikramaditya remember an incident which had occurred years ago.He had pleased Shiva with his penance that The lord had granted him a boon.The boon the king asked was his death be at the hands of none but the son of a two and a half year old girl.He told the astrologer about it.He said that he thought his life would be immortal since its impossible that a two and a half year old girl could ever bear a son.
The king thought whose help he could seek .Then he remembered the vettala and summoned him .He asked the vettala to locate such a son around the world.The vetala did as he was told.At last he came to Pratishthana to the house of a potter.There he saw a girl with a boy .He came to know is was her son,Shalivahana..Th astounded vetala swiftly returned to Vikramaditya.Vikramaditya then set out to the potter’s place and took his sword out.As soon as he reached there, Shalivahana hit the king with his toy staff .The pain was so great that Vikramaditya fled from Pratishthana to Ujjani.A few hours later,unable to bear the pain,he died.As the people felt there was no king worth enough to sit on the shiva’s throne,it was buried deep down the earth.
Hundreds of years passed and the throne was completely forgotten,even in legends.
The city of Dhara replaced Ujjani as the capital city,it was ruled by Raja Bhoja,a just, capable and beloved king.Very near Dhara was a field,which belonged to a Brahman.
One day, Raja Bhoja ,out on a hunting expedition,passed by the field.He thought how juicy the canes must be .And told this to his friends.The Brahman who was watching them from the platform heard them.He invited them to taste his sugarcane to quench their thirst.
Then he came down from his platform to level ground, then suddenly he started to accuse that the king is wicked.How can he destroy a poor Brahman’s crops he accused! The king and his retinue ,puzzled by his strange behavior ,began to leave the field.By then the Brahman had mounted the platform again.And suddenly his manner changed to a king man .He asked the king why the king is refusing his hospitality. Raja Bhoja was convinced that there was something unusual about the platform.He felt that the Brahman was kind when he was on the platform and he becomes mean when he is down from the platform.Thus the King climb the platform. Suddenly he felt noble,charitable and good thoughts in his mind.He came down from the platform and told of his wish of wanting to buy the Brahman’s field. Raja Bhoja gave the Brahman money,grains and other riches and sent him away happy.
He summoned his man to dig the place where the platform was.There they found Vikramaditya’s throne.But when they tried to move it, they could not shift the throne.Raja Bhoja under his ministers advice performed scared rituals and offerings to have good luck.The throne was then shifted with ease.
Raja Bhoja had it carried to Dhara where it was placed in a specially built hall.On an auspicious day when he was ready to ascend it, a voice(from one of the 32 statues) summoned him.It said that only the one possessing all the magnanimity and the rare virtues of the owner(Vikramaditya) of the throne may mount it.Raja Bhoja felt that he had all the virtues needed to ascend the throne.The voice then said that an upright man does not boost about his own virtues,His vanity disqualifies him.Raja Bhoja was astonished and ashamed.Then he ask the voice to tell him more about the owner of the throne.In this manner Raja Bhoja made thirty-two attempts to mount the throne.Each time a statue told him a story describing the magnanimity of Raja Vikramaditya.He had to honestly admit to himself that he was nowhere near the Great Vikramaditya as far as kingly virtues went.
At last after the thirty second statue had told its story about the king Vikramaditya’s greatness and Raja Bhoja had patiently heard, the statue than said that the king(Raja Bhoja) is also a great ,glorious ,generous King.As he had heard patiently all their stories.He also had magnanimity which finally had released them from a curse.They told them all about Parvati’s curse and how she had relented.Finally they gave Raja Bhoja a wish.For that the King asked that the adventures of Vikramaditya become immortal upon earth.And those who hear of the stories be safe from danger.After granting the wishes the apsaras vanished.