Manasa Debi was a mind-born daughter31 of Siva. She was born of Sivaâ€™s semen left on a chikanipata32. She is known as Bisahari33 and said to have extraordinary supernatural power to bless her devotees. She can also ruin and kill those who do not believe in her existence and offer their prayer to her. There was a very rich ship merchant, named Chanrakar. He was also known to the people as Chandu Saudagar34. He was a great devotee of Siva. He had six sons and a happy family. He did not consider Manasa as a Goddess. Manasa Debi did not like this attitude of Chandu Saudagar and killed all his six sons by sending black snakes. However Chandu Saudagar did not relent. One day pleased with the devotion of Chandu Siva appeared in his dream and expressed his willingness to bless him with some great things as per the desire of Chandu. Chandu Saudagar asked him for a son. Siva agreed to bless him with a son but put a condition before him. â€œ If you want to have a son who will have long life, he would be a fool, lethargic and an idiot. Instead if you want to have an ideal, intelligent and handsome son he will die at the early age of 20â€, said Siva, â€œnow you tell me what exactly you want.â€ After a serious thought Chandu Saudagar opted for an intelligent son who would have a short life. Later, Chanduâ€™s wife gave birth to a male child whose name was Bala Lakshendra or Lakhinder. Lakhinder was bright, intelligent and a very cultured child. Everybody was happy with his behaviour. When he reached the marriageable age his father wanted to solemnise his marriage ceremony with an equally qualified and highly cultured girl. After a great search, Chandu Saudagar saw Bihula. She was very beautiful, meritorious, highly cultured and a homely girl. Chandu also came to know that according to her family tradition every woman dies as a sumangali and none of them would become a widow at any point of time. In this family tradition of Bihula, Chandu Saudagar saw a ray of hope for his dear and affectionate son Lakhinder and as a result he immediately decided to choose her as his daughter-in-law.
The marriage was solemnised in a happy atmosphere. Lakhinder was bitten by a dangerous cobra at the behest of Manasa Debi on his first night of the bridal-bed in the bridal chamber itself. Lakhinder cried in helplessness and breathed his last. The innocent but firm Bihula decided to remain with his dead body on a raft in the river Ganges. Chandu and neighbouring people made futile attempts to dissuade her. But she was determined. Finding no other alternative, Chandu gave permission to Bihula. She started her voyage on a raft along with her husbandâ€™s dead body. The current slowly carried the raft. She had to face various difficulties in her journey, but she overcame them all. Ultimately she found a washerwoman washing the clothes by the side of the river Ganges. Her small child was disturbing her. Getting irritated with the behaviour of her girl child, the washerwoman killed her baby and started washing her clothes. Once she had washed all her clothes, she sprinkled some drops of water on the face of her baby and the dead baby became alive. Bihula took no time to understand the supernatural power of this lady and took shelter at her feet and narrated her the sad story.
In accordance with the advice of washerwoman, Bihula reached the Mahadeoloka35 with her. On the instruction of the washerwoman, Bihula performed a wonderful dance to please the Lord. The Lord was very impressed by her graceful performance and was moved by the story of her tragic life on earth and heaven. He called Manasa and asked her to give the reasons of her tragedy. Manasa vehemently denied that she was responsible for the tragedy of Bihula. However, Bihula succeeded in producing definite evidence. But Manasa insisted that she was not responsible for the sad plight of Bihula, and it was Chandu Saudagar, her father-in-law, who was solely responsible, because he always abused and disrespected Manasa Debi and did not consider her to be a goddess worthy of worship. Manasa then told Bihula that if Chandu Saudagar were to worship her, she would bring Lakhinder back to life. Bihula felt the hope of restoration of life for the corpse of her husband in the statement of Manasa and agreed to her proposal. Manasa then brought Lakhinder and other six sons of Chandu Saudagar back to life by chanting spells. At the humble request of Bihula, Manasa recovered all the boats of Chandu Saudagar along with the cargo and crew that had been submerged by the wrath of Mansa Debi. She thus fulfilled the desire of Bihula. With all the seven sons and lost property of Chandu Saudagar, Bihula came down to the city in the earth where the old eyes of Chandu Saudagar and his wife were counting the days to breathe their last. All of a sudden they received all their lost sons along with the cargo and crew.
Now Chandu Saudagar realized the power of Bihula and gave his consent to worship the deity Manasa Debi. The goddess blessed him. He realized that there was none except Manasa Debi in these three worlds. Finally, he worshipped Manasa with offerings of various fruits and animals.
Thus, Chandu Saudagar, a devout follower of Siva, changed his religious ideas and became one of the staunch followers of the Manasa-cult, which was originally a tantric-cum-folk cult.
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