Sumati says- O father! Now listen to the tale of a Brahmin named Alarka. Long ago, there lived a king named Shatrujit who had a meritorious son, Ritudhwaj. Prince Ritudhwaj had many friends with whom he used to play with. In course of time, two sons of Ashwatar, the king of Nagas became his friends in the guise of Brahmin boys. Both of them were young and good-looking. Both of them used to pass the entire day in the company of Ritudhwaj. They would return to their abode in Patal loka only at night. On being enquired by their father, they revealed the reason about their late arrival at home. They said- ‘O father! Up there on the land, there is a prince named Ritudhwaj. He is the son of King Shatrujit. He is very handsome, gentle, brave, truthful, knowledgeous and meritorious. We enjoy his company.’ Ashwatar said- ‘Prince Ritudhwaj is really blessed for even the meritorious people like you praise him. But have you done anything to make him happy?’ His sons asked- ‘What can we do for his pleasure? We find ourselves  incapable  of  pleasing  such  a  person  whose  riches  are  even  rare  for  Patal  loka.’ Ashwatar said- ‘Even then, I wish to hear about the characteristics of your new friend.’

The sons said- O father! Once the prince narrated us a tale, we are going to relate it now. A Brahmin named Galav lived in King Shatrujits kingdom. One day, he arrived in the court of the king riding on a horse and said- ‘O king! For the past many months, a wretched demon has been tormenting me and causing severe disturbances in my daily rituals. He is capable of taking any guise at will. Disguising as an elephant, lion, tiger, wolf and many other wild animals, he terrorises  me.  It  has  become  very  difficult  for  me  to  do  my  meditation.  One  day  in  my frustration, I let out a deep sigh. As soon as I did so, this divine horse descended from the sky. I heard a heavenly voice, which said- ‘O Brahmin! This horse is capable of circumambulating the entire earth without getting tired. It can climb lofty mountains effortlessly and can also run in all the three worlds with the same speed. Hence, this horse shall be renowned as Kuvalaya. Riding it, the son of King Shatrujit will kill the demon that torments you day and night. ‘O king! That is the reason that I have arrived in your court with this horse. Kindly accept it and instruct your son to ride it and kill the demon.’ King Shatrujit saw his son Ritudhwaj off with the Brahmin riding that divine horse.

Kuvalaya goes to Patal Loka, killing of demon Patal Ketu and marriage with Madalasa Prince Ritudhwaj stayed in the hermitage of sage Galav and helped him to perform his Yagyas without any problem by clearing all the minor obstacles. The demons were not aware of his arrival in the hermitage. One day, a demon arrived in the hermitage disguised as a wild boar and began to rub his bushy head against the body of sage Galav. Seeing this, his disciples began to scream. Prince Ritudhwaj at once rode the horse and wielding a weapon dashed after the boar. The prince injured the boar with an arrow, which was sickle-shaped. The demons fled from the scene. Prince Ritudhwaj followed the boar everywhere it went on the mountains, in the forests and on the riverbank. He was determined to slay the demon that had been disturbing the sage for long. Ultimately, the boar jumped into a pit. Ritudhwaj also followed it but could not see the boar anywhere in the pit. Instead he saw a beautiful town which could have matched even the abode of Indra. He entered the town where he saw an extremely pretty girl who was walking briskly. Ritudhwaj tried to know about her destination but she ignored him and climbed the stairs of a palace. Ritudhwaj also followed her and in the palace, he saw a beautiful girl sitting on a bedstead. As soon as the girl saw him, she fainted. Her beauty attracted even Ritudhwaj. He assured her that there was nothing to be afraid about. Then the same girl whom Ritudhwaj had sighted earlier came there and began to fan the fainted lady. The prince enquired about the reason  of  her  unconsciousness.  But  the  girl  did  not  say  anything.  Instead  she  whispered something in the ears of her friend who then said- ‘O stranger! This is the daughter of Vishwavasu, the king of Gandharvas. Her name is Madalasa. One day, while she was playing in her garden, a demon Patalketu abducted her. Since then she stays here in his captivity. On the coming thirteenth day of this month that demon will marry her. But he doesn’t deserve to be her husband. Yesterday, she was ready to commit suicide but the cow Surabhi, assured her that a man from the earth would come and kill the demon. Only he would be suitable for my friend. I am her friend. My name is Kundala. I am the daughter of Vindhyavan and wife of Pushkarmali. My husband had been killed by the demon Shumbh. Since then I have been touring various places of pilgrimage in order to receive salvation. That wretched Patalketu had taken the guise of a boar but a brave man has injured him with his arrow. I have arrived here only to investigate who is that man. Do not worry about my friend’s unconsciousness. She has fainted because of your infatuating handsomeness. She has begun to love you but her problem is that only that man

can marry her who has injured the boar. This thought has caused her to lose her consciousness. Now reveal your identity.’

Ritudhwaj said- ‘I am the son of King Shatrujit. I have been staying in the hermitage of sage Galav to protect the sages. Just a few days back, a boar arrived in the hermitage and began to torment the sages. I have injured that boar with my arrow. Now I have arrived here following that boar and happened to see you.’

Hearing the words of Ritudhwaj, Madalasa felt shy as well as extreme joy. Kundala then said to her friend- ‘The prince speaks the truth. Words of Surabhi cannot go wrong.’ She then said to Ritudhwaj-  ‘O  brave  man!  Doubtlessly  you  have  killed  the  demon,  Patalketu.  My  friend Madalasa is blessed now. Now its your duty to marry my friend and take her home as your bride.’ Ritudhwaj said- ‘How can I marry your friend without the permission of my father. I am still not fully independent.’ Kundala said- ‘Please do not say this. My friend is a divine beauty. Marry her right now.’ Prince Ritudhwaj then agreed to marry Madalasa then and there. Madalasa happily remembered  their  family priest  Tumbaru  who  arrived  there  instantaneously.  In  the presence of sacred fire, Tumbaru carried out the rituals of marriage and tied them in nuptial knot. Thereafter blessing the newly wed couple, Tumbaru and Kundala took to their respective paths.

On  the  other  hand,  when  Ritudhwaj  and  Madalasa  started  off  riding  the  horse,  Kuvalaya, demons’ army surrounded them. A fierce battle followed. In no time, prince Ritudhwaj slayed the entire  army  and  reached  his  kingdom.  There  he  narrated  the  whole  incident  to  his  father Shatrujit. King Shatrujit felt very much pleased by the prowess of his son and blessed them heartily. Thereafter, Ritudhwaj came to his palace with his wife Madalasa. They then began to live happily.


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