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Story of Madhavi in the Mahabharata

Madhavi is the daughter of King Yayati in the Mahabharata. Her story narrates the importance of forgiveness. Sage Galava once asked King Yayati for 800 white horses each with a black ear. The Sage wanted to present the horses to Sage Vishwamitra.

King Yayati was unable to fulfill the demand, as he did not have these types of horses.

The King did not want to turn away the sage empty-handed therefore, he offered Sage Galava his daughter, Madhavi.

Madhavi was destined to give birth to four kings. Therefore, King Yayati asked Sage Galava to present her to four men who wish to father kings and ask for two hundred horses in exchange.

Sage Galava found three kings who accepted his offer. He thus got 600 hundred horses.

The Sage was unable to find another king, so he presented 600 hundred horses to Sage Vishwamitra and asked him to accept Madhavi as the equivalent of the remaining two hundred horses.

Vishwamitra had a son by Madhavi. Having given birth to four sons, she returned to her father.

Yayati now wanted to conduct her marriage but she refused and chose to become an ascetic.

Several years later, Yayati died and his son Puru became the king.

Yayati went to heaven but his time there was very limited and soon he was thrown out.

Yayati wandered in the forests on earth and one day he spotted Madhavi.

Yayati told Madhavi that he had exhausted his merits, and therefore he was thrown out of heaven.

Seeing her father’s sorry state, Madhavi went to her sons who were now great kings.

She requested them to part with a quarter of their merits and give them to their grandfather.

The four sons vehemently opposed their mother’s suggestion. They were not ready to forgive their grandfather who had bartered her without any remorse.

Madhavi who had now attained self-realization explained to her sons the futility of anger and clinging to the past. She expounded the importance of forgiveness.

The four kings gave a portion of their merits to their grandfather.

Yayati blessed his daughter and grandson and returned to heaven.