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Story Of Queen Madalasa In Hinduism

Madalasa was a legendary mother in Hinduism who instructed her children in the spiritual way of life. As per the story of queen madalasa, she was an ideal wife and mother, well-versed in Vedantic thought and action.

Madalasa was the daughter of an ancient gandharva – king Visvavasu. Once a powerful demon named Patalaketu kidnapped her, kept her confined in his city and was determined to marry her. Rtadhvaja, son of King Satrujit of a small state on the banks of Gomati River, in an encounter with Patalaketu, wounded him near Galavasrama and, chasing him on his extraordinary horse, reached the place where he saw Madalasa.

Madalasa was married to Rtadhvaja, who freed her from the bondage of Patalaketu after killing him. Rtadhvaja returned to his capital with Madalasa. After the death of Satrujit, Rtadvaja became the king and Madalasa, the queen.

Madalasa was a devoted wife and Rtadhvaja an ideal husband. A lovely son was born to the couple and they named him Vikranta. Madalasa laughed when the child was named Vikranta and this puzzled her husband.

Madalasa sang to her baby not ordinary lullabies but Vedantic songs which meant – You are pure Self with no name. This body is a play of five elements. Have no attachments. Worldly pleasure causes suffering ultimately. Enjoy the Bliss of the Self.

Later she taught Vedanta in detail to the growing Vikranta. The same story was repeated to her other sons, Subahu and Satrumardana. It resulted in all the three sons being indifferent to the world and choosing the spiritual path of renunciation.

When Madalasa gave birth to her fourth son, Rtadhvaja wanted her to name the baby and asked her why she had laughed earlier when her sons were named. Madalasa humbly replied that all names were meaningless for the Self and a name only fulfilled a worldly need.

She named her fourth son ‘Alarka’ which means ‘a mad dog’ or ‘a gigantic plant’. However, on the request of her husband, she instructed Alarka to be a follower of the path of action and not renunciation. She sang lullabies of bravery, righteousness and so on. Later, she instructed Alarka on the duties of a king and on dharma (righeousness), artha (wealth for righteous causes) and kama (right desire).

Alarka, in due course, got married and Rtadhvaja, retiring to the forests with Madalasa, crowned him as the king. Madalasa, before leaving, gave a golden ring to Alarka, instructing him to put it on and, when in extreme adversity or difficulty, to follow her instructions (as she had written her instructions on a very small piece of cloth and kept it within the ring).

Alarka ruled for many years, but his attachment to the world always increased with his achievements. Later, Subahu devised a plan and asked the powerful king of Kashi to invade and conquer the kingdom of Alarka. Finding himself in a very miserable potion, Alarka read the instructions kept within the ring by Madalasa. The precept was in a Sanskrit verse meaning – leave attachment completely, but if not possible, be attached to saintly persons because it is the only panacea for attachment. Leave desire completely, but if not possible, have desire for salvation because it is the only panacea for desire. The instruction aroused in Alarka a strong spiritual urge and, on the advice of Sage Dattatreya, he renounced his kingdom. Alarka retired to the forests to gain the bliss of the self. Thus the plan of queen Madalasa achieved its objective.