Sadesatti of King Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya’s story in relation to Shani is often presented in Yakshagana in Karnataka state. The story is also narrated in the Shri Shani Mahatmiya. According to the story, Vikrama was grandly celebrating Navaratri and having debates on the Grahas (planetary gods), one for every day. Lots of Brahmin came for the debates. The final day it was about Shani.
The Brahmin explained Shani’s greatness including his powers, his role in maintaining Dharma on earth. The Brahmin at the ceremony also added that according to Vikrama’s horoscope, he has Shani’s entrance at the 12th stage, which is the worst one to have (also known as Sade Sati – seven and a half years). However, Vikrama was not bothered; he saw Shani as mere trouble maker who troubled his own father, the (Sun) god and guru (Brihaspati). Hence Vikrama said he is not ready to accept Shani’s worthiness or offer his prayers. Vikrama was very proud of his powers, especially of the complete blessings of Sri Devi. When he rejected Shani in front of the gathering at the Navarathri celebration, Shani got angry. He challenged Vikrama that he will make Vikrama to worship him. As Shani disappeared in sky, Vikrama said it is a fluke and he has all the blessings to withstand any challenge. Vikrama concluded that what the Brahmin has told about his horoscope was probably true; nevertheless, he denies to accept Shani’s greatness. “Whatever is to happen, will happen and whatever not to happen, will not happen” Vikrama declares and accepts Shani’s challenge.
One day a horse trader came to his palace and said there is no one in Vikrama’s kingdom who would be able to buy his horse. The horse was said to possess mystical powers – it flies at one stroke and descends to earth on the second one. Like this, one can both fly and ride on earth. Vikrama would not believe it and hence said he wants to try before paying for the horse. The seller agrees and Vikrama sits on the horse and beats the horse. As promised by the seller, the horse took off with him to the sky. When Vikrama hit the horse a second time, it should have landed back to earth, but it did not. Instead, it carried Vikrama to a far distant land and threw him into a jungle.
Vikrama was injured and he tried to find his way back. He thought, all this is his fate and could not be anything else; he fails to recognize Shani in the form of horse trader. While he was trying to find a way in the jungle, he was attacked by a group of dacoits (bandits). They robbed him of all his jewels and beat him up badly. Vikrama still not worried too much about the situation sees that the robbers managed to take only his crown and jewels but not his head. As he walks down and reaches for water in the nearby river he slipped on the mud and the water current dragged him along for a long distance.
Vikrama manages to reach the shore and approaches a town where he took shelter under a tree, starving. A shopkeeper of the town, highly conscious of his money, had his shop opposite to the tree where Vikrama was sitting. Since the day Vikrama sat under the tree, the sales in the shop went up significantly. The shopkeeper’s greed made him to think, having this person sitting outside makes him so much money, and he decides to invite Vikrama to his home and offer him food. In the hope of a long-term sales increase, he tells his daughter to marry Vikrama. After the meal, Vikrama was given a room where he went and fell asleep.Shortly after, the shopkeepers daughter enters. She waits beside the bed for Vikrama to wake up. But slowly, she felt sleepy too. She took off her jewels and hung them on a wooden wall coat rack carved and painted like a duck head. She went to sleep next to Vikrama. When Vikrama wakes up, he notices the duck shaped coat rack was swallowing up the girl’s jewels. As he was recollecting what he saw as if in a dream, the shopkeeper’s daughter also wakes up and notices missing jewels. She alarms her father and says that Vikrama is a thief.
Vikrama is taken to the local king of the realm. The kings verdict was to cut off Vikrama’s legs and arms, and leave him in the desert to die. While struggling to move and bleeding in the desert, a lady traveling to her husband’s home after returning from Ujjain, where her paternal home was, noticed the dying Vikrama and she recognized him. She told him that people were much worried in Ujjain about his disappearance after riding on that flying horse. She requested her in-laws to allow her to take Vikrama to her new home and tend to his injuries. As her family were from the labourers class, Vikrama asked for some work to repay their kindness. He said he could sit in the field and shout, that way, making the bulls go round, separating the grains from the husks. He was not prepared to live as a freeloader forever.
One evening while Vikrama was at his new work, the candle went out due to a sudden breeze. He sang Raag Deepaka to light up the candle again. But in fact, this action lit up all the candles in the town! The town’s princess had taken a vow to marry anyone who lights candles with Deepaka Raaga singing. She was astonished to see this disabled man as the source of the music but despite his appearance she decides to marry him. The king, when he saw it was Vikrama, got very angry remembering him from the theft charges previously and now being about to marry his own daughter. He drew his sword to cut off Vikrama’s head. At that time, Vikrama realizes that all this is happening to him because of Shani’s power. When he was about to die, he offered prayers to Shani. He accepts his mistakes and agrees that he was too proud of his status. Shani appears and gives him his jewels, legs, arms, and everything back. Vikrama requests Shani not to give to ordinary people like what he has gone through. He said, a strong person like him was able to endure it but no ordinary person will be able to. Shani agrees and promises that he will not. Recognizing both Shani and Vikrama, the local King surrenders to his Lord and agrees to marry off his daughter to him. At the same time, the shopkeeper visits the palace, saying the wooden duck rack had released the jewels from its mouth. He offers his daughter to Vikrama. Vikrama returns to Ujjain and lived with Shani’s blessings as a great emperor