Rishi Veda’s Wife Puts Uttanka in a Dilemma

Note: In the previous post, we read that Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya’s disciple Veda was appointed as King Janamejaya’s upadhyaya (spiritual guide). Sometime after his appointment, he had to leave home due to some work related to a sacrifice. Before leaving, he entrusted his disciple, Uttanka, to take care of his house and do everything that he (Veda) would have done.

Uttanka, stayed at his teacher Veda’s house, ever mindful of his teacher’s instructions.

One day, the women in Rishi Veda’s house approached Uttanka and said, “O Uttanka, the mistress of this house is in the season when a connection, similar to that of a couple in marriage, may be fruitful. Rishi Veda is absent, so you have to perform what needs to be done, instead of him.” 

Uttanka answered, “I cannot do this. My teacher has not instructed me to do that which is improper.”

When Veda returned from his journey and learned what had happened, he was pleased with Uttanka’s conduct. He called Uttanks and said, “Uttanka, my child, you have served me well. Your restraint has increased our friendship. Therefore, I give you permission to leave. Go where you choose and may your wishes be fulfilled.” 

Uttanka, however, insisted on giving his teacher a guru dakshina. He replied to his teacher, Veda, “The person who teaches incorrectly and one who receives teachings incorrectly, are doomed to enmity, and one of them dies. Therefore, I wish to do something for you as an honorarium.”

Instead of asking Uttanka to do some task for him, Veda simply asked him to stay at his house for some more time.

After some time had passed, Uttanka approached his teacher and said, “Please command me to bring whatever you desire.”

However, Veda did not want anything for himself, so he told Uttanka to ask his wife if she wanted anything.

Uttanka, went to his teacher’s wife and requested her to ask for something so he could leave their house without being in their debt.

Veda’s wife asked Uttanka to go to King Paushya’s kingdom and bring the queen’s earrings for her. She said, “The fourth day from today is sacred. Several brahmanas will come to dine at this house. I wish to wear those earrings when I appear before them.”

She continued, “Accomplish this task, O Uttanka, and if you succeed, you will have good fortune, but if you don’t, then it will be difficult for good fortune to come to you.”

Note: In the next post, we will find out what happens when Uttanka goes to Paushya’s kingdom.

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