The Weaver Who Loved a Princess

Once upon a time, there lived in a certain city, two friends, a weaver and a carpenter. They both grew up together from childhood, became thick friends, always moved about together and thus spent their time happily.

One day there was a great festival, an occasion when the entire population came from far flung places to pay their respects to the deity. The weaver and the carpenter, like the rest, put on their best clothes to visit the town. And they caught a glimpse of a princess of great beauty seated at the window of a stucco palace. The Princess was very beautiful like Apsaras. Her long dark hair flew in the wind, while her lotus-shaped eyes took in all the happenings around her. Everyone seemed to be enraptured by her beauty, but the weaver fell in love with her the moment he set eyes on her. He could not take his eyes off her all day long, it was only when she left, that he turned to go back home.

He went to bed with burning sighs and could not sleep. He thought of nothing but her, just as he had seen her, and there he lay all through the night. On the next day, the carpenter, came as usual to the weaver’s house and found the weaver lamenting and weeping. Finding him in this condition, carpenter asked the reason. For, truly it is said: “In this macro-cosmic world there is no remedy beyond the reach of medicine, wealth, prayers and the intellect of great men.” But the poor weaver, though questioned repeatedly, was too embarrassed to say a word. The carpenter said: “A friend is a true friend only if you trust him as if he were your mother.” Then the doctors were summoned. After testing the doctor said, “Friend! If my diagnosis is correct, your condition is not the result of fever, but of love.”

Now when the doctor introduced the subject, the weaver sat up in bed and said: “In difficult times, you find peace in confiding to a supportive master, an honest servant, a gentle friend or a loving spouse.” Then he related his whole experience from the moment he laid eyes on the princess. And the carpenter, after some reflection, said: “The king belongs to the warrior caste, while you are a business man. Have you no reverence for the holy law?”

But the weaver replied: “When one is blinded by love then only the heart decides about right and wrong”. Thereupon the carpenter, perceiving his determined purpose, said: “Friend, what is to be done next?” And the weaver answered: “I don’t know. I told you because you are my friend.”

At last the carpenter said: “Rise, bathe, eat. Say farewell to despondency. We may be ordinary men, but we are devout, and intelligent. If we use our intelligence, the Lord will surely help us achieve our goals. I will invent something such that you will enjoy with her the delights of love without loss of time.”

Heartened by his friend’s assurance, the weaver got to work. Meanwhile, the carpenter was busy at work too. He skilfully fashioned out of wood of the Arjuna tree, a vehicle that could fly, in the form of Garuda, the divine eagle, and also replicas of the conch, discus, lotus, crown, Kaustubha gem and all those divine symbols that adorn the Lord Vishnu.

Thereafter, he made the weaver sit in the vehicle, disguised him and decorated him with the replicas of the divine symbols, so that he looked like the Lord Vishnu Himself. After teaching him the mechanism of making the Garuda fly, the carpenter said “Now, friend, go forth in this form of Vishnu and fly through the air into the princess’ balcony on the seventh floor of the palace, where she sleeps alone.”

That night, the princess lay in her bed alone on the palace balcony bathed in moonbeams. She gazed at the moon, her mind idly dallying with the thought of love. All at once she saw the weaver, disguised as Vishnu and mounted on his heavenly bird. At sight of him she asked him the reasons of his visit to earth. For that weaver in Vishnu’s clothes said that he wants to marry her and only for that he came to earth. Princess believed it and he married her by the Gandharva ceremony.  Everynight the weaver would come to his bride but would mount his mechanical Garuda & leave before dawn and would always reach his house undetected.

Meanwhile, the princess’ attendants suspected that the princess was meeting a man. However, since they did not see any man near the palace, they were confused. At last, one of them went to the king and voiced his suspicions.

The king was very angry when he learnt of the intruder, and he and his wife questioned the princess in detail. Unable to lie to her parents, she blurted out the truth – “My dear parents, you have no cause to worry, but instead, you should rejoice, for it is no common man who has chosen your daughter as his life partner. It is the Lord Vishnu himself, who comes to me every night. If you do not believe me, you can hide in my apartment and see Him for yourself tonight!”

When night came, the king and queen stood hidden in the window niche and waited. The king saw a man coming from heaven, mounted on Garuda, grasping the conch-shell, discus, mace, marked with the familiar symbols. The king was very happy and said to the queen: “Lord Vishnu is our son-in-law! All the desires nearest our hearts are granted. Now, through the power of our son-in-law, I shall reduce the whole world to subjection.”

At this juncture envoys arrived to collect the yearly tribute for King Chakravarti, monarch of the south. But the king, proud of his new relationship with Vishnu, did not show them the customary honour and refused to pay them any tribute, so that they grew indignant. And they returned to their own country, exaggerated the matter a hundred thousand fold, and stirred the wrath of King Chakravarti. Then King Chakravarti with his troops marched against the king.

On the following day the forces of King Chakravarti arrived and invested the city, and the matter was reported to the King. The King said to the public: “Don’t panic. Tomorrow morning you will see how I am going to destroy that army.” After this address, he told them to provide adequate defence for the walls and gates of city.

Then he summoned the princess and with respectful coaxing tone asked her to get the help of her husband Vishnu to destroy the enemy. So princess delivered to the weaver at night her father’s message, complete in every particular. On hearing it, the weaver laughed and said: “Dear love! It is little matter for me. Don’t you know I have destroyed so many demons and asuras. Go, then, and say to the king: ‘Dismiss anxiety. In the morning Vishnu will slay the host of your enemies with his discus.’” So she went to the king and proudly told him all.

The weaver meanwhile was in a fix. He did not know what to do. In a moment of recklessness, he had assured the princess that he would appear and slay the enemies. But what if the army recognized him as a simple weaver, and not Lord Vishnu? What if he was killed? On the other hand, if he did not appear on the battlefield, or just disappeared from the land, the attackers would surely kill the king and take the princess captive. He could not allow that! Even if she was safe, he could never see her again, and that was unbearable! So he decides to get on to the battlefield and do the best job he can. For the proverb says: The gods will become friends to a man who climbs the heights of Determination. He would fly over the battlefield in his disguise. If he was killed, so be it. But there was just a chance that the army might mistake him for the genuine Lord and flee at once. He would give it a try, and trust the Lord to help him out of the mess.

By this time, Garuda (the real one, not the mechanical one) has tipped off Lord Vishnu (the real one) about what’s going on, and warned Him that His reputation for Omnipotence is at stake. If the fake Vishnu doesn’t win the battle, the people of the kingdom will lose all faith in Him. Vishnu doesn’t want to see this happen, so decides that next day His spirit should enter the weaver to support him in the battlefield.

Accordingly, the next morning, when the weaver got himself ready for battle, he found himself infused with a new strength. Even his vehicle flew more like a real bird than ever, and he confidently entered the battleground. When the war started the weaver threw the Sudarshan Chakra (Lord Vishnu’s discus) and killed King Chakravarti. The rest of the survivors prostrated at the feet of the weaver who bore the form of Vishnu: “O Lord, spare our lives. Command us. What are we to do?”

The Weaver Ordered, “Whatever commands you receive from the local king, my father-in-law, you must on all occasions unhesitatingly perform.” And all the kings humbly received his instructions, saying: “Let it be as our Lord commands.”

Thereupon the weaver thus became a prince, and in time, the King. He ruled wisely and well, and always had complete faith in the Lord.