Long time ago in the city of Kshitipratisthit, there was a king named Ritumardan. His wife, Madanarekha, was a very devoted and religious queen. She gave birth to a baby girl and named her Mairavati. The princess was beautiful and bright. As she grew older, the king arranged for her general education, while the queen took care of her spiritual teachings.
One day, when the court was in session the queen asked Mairavati to attend the court. She was dressed in her finest robe and jewelry. Her father, Ritumardan, had her sit on the throne with him. The king asked his courtiers, "Does anyone in this world have as much wealth as I do?"
The courtiers answered, "Your Majesty, we can not even think of that much wealth, even in a dream, let alone having it. Nobody else in this world has as much wealth as you do."
The princess disagreed and said, "There may be many other kings who have in their possession equal or more treasures. We should not brag about what we have.” The king overlooked this comment.
He asked another question, "With whose grace are you all happy?
The courtiers replied, "By your grace, Your Majesty. There is no doubt about it."
The princess again disagreed. She said, "What is wrong with you all? You do not have to flatter him. You know, what we receive is due to our own karmas. Father, if you think you can make everyone happy, then why don't you make everybody happy on the same level as yours? That is impossible and what is happening is nothing but the result of everybody's own karmas."
The king became outraged and shouted, "Crazy girl! Why are you talking to me like this? Who taught you such things? You know that I can make a poor man rich or the rich man a poor man. If you agree with me, I will have you marry a prince, but if you disagree I will marry you to a poor guy and you will see how your karmas work."
The princess replied calmly to her father, "You are mistaken.” She continued, "If I do not have good karmas in my favor, then even the best of the grooms chosen for me can turn into a beggar. We should not brag as if we can do anything and everything."
The king was very upset. He ordered his guards, "Go and find the poorest, the meanest, and the ugliest man, and I will have her marry him. I want to see how her karmas save her."
The princess stayed calm. The king's men found a leper and brought him to the court. His ears were rotten, nose flat, and his fingers were oozing pus all over the place. The king was very happy with their choice. He told the princess, "Defiant girl! It is my order that you marry him."
The princess married him without any hesitation. She slowly got down and accepted this man as her husband. Everybody in the court was stunned. The king was satisfied with his actions. The princess was asked to remove her precious clothes and jewelry and was ordered to leave the city. Princess and her husband left the city.
The princess was as happy as ever before. She never regretted what she had told her father. She had full faith in her religious belief. They walked the whole day and later in the evening, they took shelter in a temple. The leper was very moved by her. He told her, "I know what your father did was not right and it is not easy for a royal girl to marry a leper. You should disregard our marriage and marry another man of your choice.”
The princess told him, "Why are you talking to me like this? I have accepted you as my husband and I am happy with my choice.” She continued, "Wealth, health, beauty and comfort or discomfort are all the results of our karmas. We should not feel happy or unhappy by that. The karmas change and their results change. So, let us not worry about that."
The leper was very impressed by her reply and started to admire the princess. He thought, "What a noble woman! How strong her religious beliefs are! " As the sun set, the leper fell asleep.
The princess was still awake doing prayer. She noticed an old woman with a young man approaching them. The old woman told the princess, "I know what happened to you. I did not like your father's behavior, and I have come to help you. I have brought with me a young man who is handsome and you should leave that leper and marry this young man. You will be happy with him."
The princess told the old woman, "Madam, I am married to this man with my own wish and with the consent of my father and I am not backing out. A woman marries only once. He may be a leper but for me he is the king of the kings, my king."
The old woman became angry and said, "If you take my advice, you will be happy, otherwise I will kill you.” The princess started uttering the Namokar Mantra. At once, a miracle happened. There was neither the leper nor the old woman. Instead, a divine person stood in front of her. The Leper had turned into Manikchand, and he said "I am Manikchand, the king of the city named Manipur on the Vaitadhya hill. Once I heard someone say,
"Crows are black everywhere,
Parrots are always green,
Happy are happy everywhere,
Misery, the wretched are in!"
So, I decided to test this. Therefore, I changed myself into a leper to find this out. The king's men picked me up. You proved that real happy person could be happy in any situation. You are truly honorable and praiseworthy. How lucky I am to have you as my wife and my queen."
The princess did not know if this was a dream or if it was for real. She still stood confidant in her belief that purity always shines. The princess showed her gratefulness to the divine person, her husband and accepted that this also happened because of her karmas. They lived happily ever after.
There are a number of key themes implied in this story. First is that happiness or misery is a state of mind regardless of the situation that one is in. If you think you are miserable, then you will be miserable. So many people in life are unhappy today even though they have so many luxuries, love, health, and freedom that many less fortunate souls only dream of. This is why many people with less material wealth enjoy more happiness and lead more meaningful lives than do the well to do. Full faith in the theory of karma is essential to a state of contentment and happiness. Second, key message is that of faithfulness to one’s spouse. The princess’s belief and commitment to the institution of marriage is admirable. The message is that we as human beings should respect our spouses and stay committed to them until we move to another life.