Kraustuki says- ‘O lord! Now tell me about the Auttam Manavantar.’

Markandeya replied- ‘Uttanpada and Suruchi had a son named Uttam. Uttam was married to Bahula. Bahula did not love Uttam and always showed disrespect towards him. One day, while both of them were sitting in the court, watching the proceedings, Uttam offered a betel leaf to Bahula which she refused, King Uttam felt dishonored. He ordered his attendant to abandon the queen in the forest. Bahula too was very happy, thinking that now she will not have to be in the company of Uttam. This way, Bahula was taken to the forest.

One day, a sad Brahmin came to Uttam and said- ‘O king! Somebody has abducted my wife. I need your help in finding out my lost wife. Uttam asked the Brahmin about the nature, physical construction and about the age of his wife. The Brahmin revealed all the facts related with his wife. The king was not impressed. The facts, which the Brahmin had furnished, went to prove that his wife was not a chaste lady. The king expressed his view about his wife in so many words. He said- ‘What is the use of having such a wicked wife? Forget about her. I will give you another one with all the good qualities.’ The Brahmin replied- ‘O king! It is one’s duty to protect one’s wife no matter how wicked she may be. By protecting your wife, your children also get protected. A man who does not protect his wife, has a son of hybrid class. His ancestors are degraded from the heaven because of such type of sons. I am not able to perform my religious obligations because of the absence of my wife. O king! Please help me.’

While searching the Brahmin’s wife, King Uttam saw a sage at a secluded place. When the sage saw King Uttam, he wanted to offer some Ardhya (some type of offering) to him, which his disciples prohibited him from doing. Then, the sage changed his mind and offered his seat to the king. The king asked about the reason why he changed his mind of offering the Ardhya. The sage  replied-  ‘Though  you  are  the  descendant  of  Swayambhu  Manu,  but  since  you  have committed a grave sin by abandoning your wife, I decided that you are not fit to be offered the Ardhya. No matter how mean your wife is, it is your duty to protect her at all costs.’ King Uttam was very ashamed of himself. He asked the sage about the whereabouts of the Brahmin’s wife. The sage replied- ‘His wife has been abducted by the demon, Balak- the son of Adri. He has kept her in the forest called Utpalavat. Go and help the Brahmin to meet his wife so that he doesn’t commit a grave sin like you.

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