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Story of Prince Dharmagupta, Lion and Bear

Dharmagupta was a prince in the lunar dynasty and the story of the prince, lion and bear is found in the Skanda Purana. One day during a hunting expedition, the prince lost count of time and it soon became dark. He decided to stay atop a tree during the night.

Soon a bear who was chased by a lion took refuge in the tree. The lion rested below the tree and waited for the bear to come down.

The bear then told the lion that they both could spend the night on the tree safely if they took turns to keep vigil.

The prince accepted the offer, he went to sleep, and the bear kept vigil until midnight. When the prince was asleep, the lion suggested to the bear to push the prince down. Bear replied that he would never cheat a friend and it was a great sin.

After midnight, the bear slept and the prince kept vigil. The lion made the same offer he had made to the bear to prince. Thinking that he would be saved if the bear is sacrificed he accept the offer of the lion and pushed the bear down.

However, the bear escaped and cursed the prince with mental illness.

The bear then told the prince that he was Sage Dyanakastha and he can take any form.

The lion told the prince that he was a minister of Kubera and was cursed by Sage Gautama to become a lion. The sage had had told the minister that he will be relieved of the curse when he had a conversation with Sage Dyanakastha. Thus the minister got back his original form and left the forest.

Father of Prince Dharmagupta was saddened by the plight of his son and approached Sage Jaimini. The sage told the king that the prince would get relief if the prince took holy dip in Pushkarini Tirtha.

The king did as told by Sage Jaimini and the prince was relieved  of his mental illness.