When King Samudra Gupta died, he left two sons: Rama Gupta and Chandra Gupta. Rama Gupta was supposed to become King, since he was the eldest. But everybody spoke ill of him because of all his undivine qualities. Some said that the King would have really wanted Chandra Gupta to succeed him. The subjects also wished that Chandra Gupta could take the throne but, according to law, Rama Gupta was meant to become King.
There was an evil minister in the royal court. Rama Gupta took this evil minister into his confidence: “Immediately I have to become King, before it is too late. Otherwise, I fear that my brother will somehow win the throne.”
The minister said, “You will become King without fail, but why don’t we wait a few days. People are still mourning your father’s death.”
In his heart of hearts, the minister was very happy that Rama Gupta was anxious to take the throne. “The sooner the better for him,” he said to himself. But outwardly he did not want to appear disrespectful to the King.
A few days later Rama Gupta came to the minister and gave him a very large amount of money as a bribe. The minister said, “Money I need, and also I am one with you. I don’t like Chandra Gupta either. Everybody always appreciates him, whereas nobody even cares for my own son. When I think of the way you are treated, I am reminded of my own son. Let me make you King.”
The minister called in the priest and told him to perform the ceremony making Rama Gupta King. Chandra Gupta did not feel sorry because, after all, he was the younger brother and was not supposed to be King. He was sincerely happy that his brother was becoming King, and he participated in the ceremony, giving everybody joy.
In a few years’ time Rama Gupta married a most beautiful girl named Dhruva Devi. They had an intimate friend named Madhavi, who used to tell the Queen that Chandra Gupta was so great whereas her husband was not so great. Dhruva Devi all the time heard stories about Chandra Gupta’s goodness and her husband’s undivine qualities.
One day Dhruva Devi said to her husband, “I have heard so much about your younger brother’s greatness. Is it all true?”
Rama Gupta became furious: “Everything you have heard from that Madhavi. I shall kill her! You shouldn’t believe that stupid woman. What she says is not true. It is I who am great, greater, greatest. That’s why I have become the King. I will banish Chandra Gupta from my kingdom.”
The Queen said, “No, don’t do that. I will not speak of him anymore. And even if you wanted to throw him out of the kingdom, do you really think you would be able to? The whole kingdom likes and admires him. Wait and see. You can’t throw him out.”
When Madhavi heard about this, she said to the Queen “Without Chandra Gupta, would there even be a kingdom? Rama Gupta is only King by name. The strength and power of the kingdom come from Chandra Gupta.”
Rama Gupta was furious when he heard what Madhavi had said. “I need some rest,” he said. “I am tired of always arguing with these rogues. They stay in my kingdom, eat my food and then speak ill of me. I don’t need this kind of subject. I am going away for some time. O Queen if you want to come and enjoy some rest with me, you are most welcome. We shall take a few soldiers with us in case anything happens.”
So with a small army, the King and Queen set out for a short vacation, wandering here and there. Alas, one day they came near the border of King Shaka’s kingdom. Shaka’s soldiers thought that they were coming to do battle. Since they knew the area so well, they circled around Rama Gupta’s soldiers and caught them by surprise. Then they drove them across the border into Shaka’s territory proper. As soon as they crossed the border, another army of Shaka attacked them from the front. Rama Gupta’s men, caught off guard, were defeated and the King and Queen were held captive.
GIM 47. 14 January 1979↩