Who was Madhavi – Bride of Forest ?

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Madhavi, daughter of the great king Yayati and an Apsara was extremely beautiful, graceful, anyone who sees her becomes fascinated by her beauty. But she got the punishment of having a divine womb and that too in a way that cannot be believed. We blame today’s times, we curse today’s times for the painful and helpless condition of women, but in every era, women have been equally abused, sometimes presented in some form and sometimes in some other way.

The daughter of Apsara

Being the daughter of an Apsara, Madhavi had the divine power to remain a virgin throughout her life. Not only this, she was also blessed with the boon that she would give birth to four brave sons who would not only be adept at ruling but would also be called excellent warriors. This boon had left Madhavi’s life in such a state of darkness and loneliness where neither her four husbands were with her nor the four brave sons to whom she gave birth. The value was not of her but of her womb. Because of which in the end she left everything and agreed to live in a forest and she became the “Bride of the Forest”.

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The story starts from Vishwamitra’s ashram

One of his disciples, Galav, was about to leave the Gurukul after receiving his initiation, but he wanted to gift something to Vishwamitra as Guru Dakshina. Even after Vishwamitra refused, he did not agree and started insisting on taking Gurudakshina from him. To teach his disciple a lesson, Vishwamitra asked him for 800 Divyalakshmi horses – pearl colored, white, and with black ears. Galav asked many people but he could not find 800 Divyalakshmi horses anywhere. Finally, he reached his friend and Chandravanshi king Yayati and told him about his dilemma.

Father sacrifice his daughter

Yayati could not give so many horses but put his daughter ahead in this bet. There was talk of transaction like a thing. Yayati told Galava about the divine power present within his daughter and sent her to the then-king of Ayodhya, Haryascha. From the union of Madhavi and Haryascha, a brave king named Vasumana was born. Birth took place and in return, Haryascha gave 200 divine power horses to Galava. To complete the number of 800, Galav took Madhavi to Bhoj and the king of Kashi, from whom Madhavi gave birth to sons named Pratardana and Shibi. After the birth of each child, Madhavi had to leave her child with its father and Galav would take it to another king. Galav got 600 horses out of 800, with which he went to Vishwamitra’s ashram.

Madhavi took Sanyas

When Vishwamitra came to know about Madhavi, he agreed with those 200 horses in exchange for the birth of a son from Madhavi. From the union of Madhavi and Vishwamitra, a son named Ashtak was born who later became a great king. After the birth of Ashtak, Madhavi was sent back to her father. Madhavi’s virginity was still not broken. Yayati started preparations for her marriage… but now Madhavi neither wanted to give birth to a child nor wanted to live with any man… she took Sannyasa and went towards the forest.

There is an old saying, that history remembers only the heroes. perhaps it forgets or suppresses the story of those brave women whose sacrifice made a common man a warrior. Perhaps history remembers the role of those women. It ignores those who themselves suffered wounds and cherished those stories on which we are proud today, which we call our pride.

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