Vikram Betal Stories - The Young Sorcerer

 The Young Sorcerer

The vampire went on: In the Vidyachala hills there lived a yogi who was also a Tantrik. He lived in a quiet way and did not wish to be widely known. Nevertheless, seekers came from far and wide and prayed to him to teach them something or the other. The yogi generally obliged them. A young man named Suvak who had lived with the yogi for a few years knew that the yogi had far greater powers than he ever showed. He could make possible what seemed to be impossible. One day Suvak bowed to the yogi and said, "O Master, teach me all you know. Let your mysterious powers come down to me. I will remain ever faithful to you." "My dear boy, since you have lived with me for some years, you know that I have indeed mastered much power through the practice of tantra. But I am not eager to impart those powers to anybody. You can rest assured that they will do no real good to you," said the yogi. Suvak was not convinced. He continued to live there. He served the yogi even more intently. The yogi taught him a few secrets by which he could do certain miracles. But he desired to learn much more and to master greater powers. Two years passed. Suvak told the yogi once again, "My Master, be kind to me and teach me how I can be a great Tantrik." The yogi kept quiet for a moment and then said, "You can have great powers if you marry the princess of the kingdom of Ujjal." Suvak immediately left the forest and headed towards Ujjal. He took lodge in the house of a nobleman and began to show his miraculous powers. The king heard of him and summoned him to the palace and said, "Gentleman, I hear that you can perform wonderful feats. Why not give a performance in the inner apartment of our palace? My daughter is very keen to witness such feats."

"My lord!" said Suvak. "I'm no magician in the ordinary sense, but a Tantrik. I shall be happy to perform before the princess. But I have one prayer to submit to you. I desire to meet the princess privately after the show." The king consented to this. Suvak performed his miracles inside the palace. Out of the clouds he created a dragon. The princess and her maids were amazed. "How did you like my feats, Your Highness?" Suvak asked the princess. "I had never seen anything so very thrilling and awe-inspiring!" commented the princess. "Thank you. I could show far more wondrous feats, only if you were kind to me!" said Suvak. The princess looked a bit surprised. "Well, if I can help you in any way to make you more gifted, I should be happy to do so!" she said. Suvak got over the hesitation and said, "My guru has assured me that I could become the greatest Tantrik only if..." "What's the condition?" asked the princess.

"Only if I could marry you!" The princess looked extremely grave. "Gentleman!" she said. "That is out of the question. I am betrothed to Kumarendra, the young King of Vijayapuri. In fact, he should be here tomorrow to finalize the date of our wedding." "I see!" said Suvak waving his hand impatiently. "But please think again, O princess. If you marry Kumarendra, you'll become the queen of Vijayapuri. But if you marry me, you'll be the queen of the whole world. Yes, I can then have the power to become the monarch of the world!" "I am sorry. I'm not destined to hold that lofty position. Let us forget about it." The princess indicated that she was not willing to talk any longer. "Very well. Let Kumarendra arrive. I'll have a talk with him. In the meanwhile please give a second thought to my proposal," said Suvak while taking leave of the princess. Kumarendra arrived there the next day. Suvak met him at the earliest opportunity and requested him to refrain from marrying the princess. Kumarendra proved a very kind-hearted man. He heard Suvak with patience and sympathy, but said politely, "The princess and myself love each other. We decided to marry two years ago. Hope, you'll understand me." Suvak suddenly flared up and said, "I'll see to it that you can't marry the princess." He then chanted a spell and brought out a pinch of ash from his pocket and sprinkled it on Kumarendra's face. The young king felt some change in his face. To his horror, he found that he had grown disfigured! 

He sighed and collapsed on the bed and said, "You've proved very wicked. Indeed, I cannot marry the princess with such a face!" Suvak laughed. In the meanwhile, the maid of the princess who heard and saw everything through a window ran to the princess and reported to her what had happened. The princess came rushing to the scene and told Suvak tearfully, "Do you think that I was in love with King Kumarendra's mere appearance? Our love is deeper and purer. I'll never, never, hesitate to marry him." She ordered Suvak to be thrown into jail. At the insistence of the princess, their marriage took place the very next day. To everybody's surprise, Kumarendra got back his lost appearance the moment the marriage ritual was performed. "Let's release the chap. He was working under uncontrolled ambition and passion," Kumarendra told the princess. Suvak was set free. Suvak returned to Vidyachal and told the Yogi in an agitated manner, "Master, I think you knew pretty well that I'll not succeed in marrying the princess of Ujjal. Why did you ask me to try it?" "My boy," said the yogi. "Try to find the answer yourself. If you can, you'll make some progress. Now, go away." 

The vampire paused and demanded the King Vikram in a challenging tone, "O King, what is the answer to the question which the Yogi wanted Suvak to find out himself? In what way was the answer likely to help Suvak in making any progress? If the yogi was not to teach him secrets of greater power, why did he give him some powers at all? Answer me if you can, O King. Should you keep mum despite your knowledge of the answers, your head would roll off your neck!" Forthwith answered King Vikram, "One who should wield great power ought to be a noble-hearted and selfless person. Otherwise one might play havoc with one's power. The yogi sent Suvak to Ujjal to show to him where he stood. That is to say, if Suvak had some wisdom in him, he can see that he misused whatever little power he had in order to gain his own selfish end. How can the yogi teach him secrets of greater power? If Suvak realise this much, he will try to rise above his selfishness. That will mean progress for him. "It is true that the yogi had given him some powers. But the effects of such powers were temporary. For example, he disfigured Kumarendra's face, but the magic did not last long, under the beneficent influence of true love the evil magic was washed away." No sooner had King Vikram concluded his answer than the vampire, along with the corpse, gave him the slip.