The Quarrel Between Uttanka and Paushya

Note: In the previous post, we read about how the queen happily gave Uttanka her earrings. The king, Paushya, requested him to stay back to perform a shraddha ceremony. When Uttanka requested food, he was served cold food with hair in it. This enraged Uttanka which resulted in a quarrel between him and the king. In this post, we will find out what happened when they quarreled.

Angry at having received unclean food, Uttanka said to the king, “You have given me unclean food, therefore, you will lose your sight.”

Hearing Uttanka’s words, Paushya also became angry and cursed him back saying, “You have falsely labeled cleaned food as unclean, therefore, you will not have any children.”

“It doesn’t befit you to curse me in return after having offered me unclean food. Here, you can see for yourself that the food is truly unclean,” Uttanla replied.

When Paushya examined the food, he realized that it was indeed unclean. It was cold and had hair in it because it was prepared by a woman with unbraided hair. Paushya tried to pacify Uttanka by saying, “Sir, the food is indeed cold and it contains hair. It has been prepared without sufficient care. I pray to you, please pardon me. Let me not become blind.”

Uttanka replied, “What I have said will happen. I cannot prevent that. However, you will regain your sight soon after losing it. Now, grant me that your curse also does not have any effect on me.”

Paushya, however, was not calm enough to take back his curse. He said, “I am unable to take back my curse because my anger has not yet calmed down. You may not be able to understand this because a brahmana’s heart is soft even though his words may be sharp. In the case of a kshatriya, it is the opposite. His words are soft but his heart is like a sharp-edged tool. I am unable to neutralize my curse because of the hardness of my heart. Therefore, you will have to go without me being able to take back what I said.”

Uttanka replied, “Even though I showed you that the food offered by you was indeed unclean, I still softened my curse when you requested me to do so. However, you cursed me when you were in the wrong. Therefore, your curse will not have any effect on me. I am certain of this.”

Having said this, Uttanka took the earrings and left Paushya’s court to return to his teacher’s house.

On the way, Uttanka noticed a naked idle beggar who was sometimes seen, and sometimes he disappeared. However, Uttanka did not pay much attention to this beggar. He put the earrings on the ground and went to clean himself with water.

In the meantime, the beggar quickly came to that spot, took the earrings, and ran away.

Note: In the next post, we will read about who the beggar was and what Uttanka did when the earrings were stolen.

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