Malli and Malladin were fondly raised by their parents. Malli
was dark-complexioned, but she was exceedingly charming and beautiful
and grew to be a very attractive girl. Malladin respected her
as the elder sister. Kumbha wanted to give them the best instruction
and therefore entrusted their training to highly respected teachers
who taught them all the required arts and crafts. The boy learned
all the martial arts and came out as a bold and brave youth. Malli
mastered all the fine arts and came to be known as a very talented
and accomplished girl.
was once decided to set up an art gallery in Mithilä. A marvelous
building was constructed for this purpose and all the well-known
artists were invited to draw pictures for the gallery. One of
them, who had come from Hastinäpur, had the exceptional ability
to prepare an accurate portrait of anyone by merely seeing one
limb of the person concerned. He once happened to see the toe
of Malli and on that basis, he drew the accurate portrait of Malli
on a wall. That portrait vividly displayed every detail of the
princess. It was so lifelike that when the prince Malladin came
to see the gallery and happened to look at the portrait, he felt
as if his sister was standing there and actually folded his hands
in token of his respect to her.
it was brought to his notice that it was merely a portrait, he
was curious to figure out how the artist could obtain every minute
detail of her body. Thereupon he was informed that the artist
had achieved a skill whereby he could draw the full portrait of
any one merely by looking at any one limb. It was no doubt a very
rare accomplishment. The prince could, however, make out that
knowing the secrets of one’s body could be misused for blackmailing,
and the art thus posed a serious threat to privacy of the people.
He therefore wanted to prevent the use of that art. Accordingly,
the artist was asked to give up his art in return for a suitable
prize. The artist however didn’t agree. He insisted upon
his independence to draw the pictures. In order to prevent the
misuse, therefore, the thumb of the artist was cut off and he
was allowed to go anywhere he liked.
artist naturally detested that measure and decided to take revenge.
He went to Hastinäpur, and there, he got hold of an artist
who could draw the portraits as per his instructions. By doing
this he arranged to prepare a yet more attractive portrait of
Malli and presented the same to the king of Hastinäpur, who
was a sort of rival to Mithilä. The king was much enamored
to see the picture and decided to get Malli as his wife. He therefore
sent a messenger to Mithilä with the marriage proposal.
due course, the above mentioned kings of Ayodhyä, Champä,
Käshi, Kämpilypur and Shrävasti also came to know
about the exceptional beauty of Malli and all of them sent their
proposals for getting her in marriage. Her father Kumbha was put
in an embarrassing position to get those six proposals. On considering
the said proposals, he did not find any of them as suitable for
Malli and rejected all of them. Thereupon all the six suitors
decided to attack Mithilä in order to get the hand of Malli.
Kumbha boldly faced them with all his might, but he could not
stand against the combined strength of the invading forces. He
therefore retreated to his capital and closing the city gates,
he planned to defend the city from within. The invading forces
then laid siege to Mithilä. The city could only withstand
the siege against it from the 6 kingdoms. This was indeed a problem.
When Malli came to know of the problem, she dwelt deep into the
matter. She had an enlightened mind and realized that the root
of the problem lay in her earlier life. She remembered that she
was Mahabal and those six suitors had been her close friends.
She also remembered how all of them had become the pupils of Dharmaghosh-suri
and how she had secretly observed the longer austerities because
of which she was now born a female. She realized that those friends
had brought forward their affection from the earlier life and
as such were prompted to gain her hand.
therefore decided to tackle the issue to bring the truth home
to those friends. She requested her father not to worry about
the problem and leave everything to her. She remembered that her
palace had a hall with six doors, all of them focused towards
the center of the hall. She arranged for setting up well furnished
rooms across each door. The access to each room was arranged so
that a person coming towards anyone of them could not see another
proceeding towards another room. The doors of the hall were fitted
with fine screen through which the persons sitting in the rooms
could glance at the center of the hall.
she arranged for preparing a lifelike statue of her own likeness
so that the onlooker could take the statue as Malli herself. The
inside of the statue was hollow and there was a hole at the top,
which could be tightly covered by an appropriate device. That
statue was placed in the middle of the hall and a maid servant
was asked to put a morsel of regular food twice a day within its
hollow and to immediately close its top.
she requested her father to send the invitation to all six suitors
to come to the hall for getting her hand. The invitations were
so planned that all of them would come to the hall in the evening
and wait in the room assigned to each of them. At the appropriate
time all the suitors came and occupied the seat in the respective
room. As they glanced through the screen, the beautiful doll of
Malli came to their notice. Each of them took it as Malli herself
and anxiously waited for being called inside. They could notice
that Malli was far more beautiful than they had expected and became
much enamored of her.
they were waiting, Malli entered the hall through a secret channel
and standing at the back of the statue, she opened the top. The
food that had been put inside had become rotten and gave foul
odor. It was so obnoxious that each of the suitors had to cover
his nose. Thereupon Malli presented herself and asked why they
could not face the smell of the person of whom they were so much
enamored. They had to reply that they could not bear that horrible
then explained that the very food that she used to eat was put
within the statue.. The food in her body did not stink merely
because there was soul inside which prevented the rotting. Once
that soul left, her body too would start to smell. It is the nature
of the body to degenerate, decay, and disintegrate. As such, what
is the purpose of getting attached to a body, which is going to
face that fate sooner or later? Is it not worthwhile to pursue
something that is going to stay?
the suitors stood there in amazement, she asked them to remember
what they had been in their earlier lives. Then she said that
all of them were close friends and were undertaking everything
together. As they heard those words, the curtain of memory loss
gave way and they vividly saw their previous life. That raised
the acute sense of detachment for the ephemeral worldly state
and all of them decided to renounce in order to further the spiritual
pursuit that was left in the earlier life.
elaborate arrangements were then made for the renunciation ceremony.
Malli ascended in a special palanquin made for the purpose and
went to Sahasrämravan. Then, descending from the palanquin,
she gave up everything and adopted self-initiation. She had very
little Karma left on her soul. All of them were extinguished in
very little time and she attained omniscience on that very day.
Thereafter she moved around the country for a long time to lay
down the truth. Ultimately she attained liberation on Mt. Sametshikhar.
Body is merely a temporary vehicle to carry the soul. During your
lifespan, your soul subject to the body’s capabilities and
beauty. But once you die, your soul simply goes to the next body,
unless of course you have attained liberation. Physical beauty
is very superficial and is independent of the soul or person inside
the body. Malli made this point through the statue and the spoiled