Devdutt Pattanaik, Marriage – 100 Stories, (Rupa, 2021) has stories on – I. Origin, II. Singledom, III. Wooing, IV. Fidelity, V. Multiplicity, VI. Children, VII. Property, VIII. Barriers, IX. Heartbreak and X. Coupledom. The following is extracted from ‘III. Wooing’.
Agastya Finds a Source of Income
Rishi Agastya had to repay his debt to Ancestors and so went to the King of Vidarbha and asked for a Wife. He was given Lopamudra. Lopamudra agreed to be a Wife, if he behaved like a Husband and gave her a house that was worthy of her, and bathed and dressed as a Husband should, and secured an income by which they could feed their Children. Agastya went to the Asura-King Atapi seeking gold. ‘First, you must have a meal.’ Agastya knew what the King was up to. Atapi would tell his Brother, Vatapi to turn into a goat, who would be slaughtered and whose meat would be cooked and served. After the meat was eaten, Atapi would call out to Vatapi and Vatapi would tear his way out. Unfortunately for Atapi, Agatya had wonderful digestive powers. He digested Vatapi before Atapi could call him out. Atapi had no choice but to give the promised gold to Agastya. Later, Agastya drank waters of a lake to reveal to the Devas that Asuras could be killed. In gratitude, the Devas gave him gold too. With this gold, Agastya could build a house for Lopamudra and get an income for their Children.
The Passion of Poramannan
Draupadi, Wife of the Five Pandava Brothers, who had been publicly humiliated by Duryodhana, the Kaurava, vowed not to tie her hair until she could use Duryodhana’s thigh bone as her comb. She was told that the defeat of Duryodhana would be possible only if her Husbands obtained a sacred whip, sword, drum, casket and lamp belonging to a Warlord called Gurulingam. To get these artifacts, Arjuna, Draupadi’s favourite Husband, approached Gurulingam’s Son, Poramannan disguised as beautiful Vijayampal and enticed him with her charms. Poramannan agreed to kill his own Father, Gurulingam and give Vijayampal the sacred objects of worship if she became his Wife. But then when the deed was done and the gifts given, Poramannan was shocked to find that his beloved Vijayampal was a man. He was furious and demanded the Pandavas give him a Wife, as Arjuna had aroused his passions but left him unsatiated. Pandavas gave him their Younger Sister, Shankuvati.