The stories of Vikram and Betal are well known. But what about the Simhasana Dwatrimshikha?
Have you read the stories of King Vikram and Betal? Captivating, aren't they? But, really, who was this king? Was he real? When and where did he rule from?
Don't ask me. . . I don't know. I am only a teller of tales!
Well, for that matter, no one is sure. There have been a number of kings with the same name from different dynasties, who ruled in different centuries from different regions! Even historians cannot tell who this wise and extraordinary king was, about whom two series of stories were written.
Everyone has listened with rapt attention to the stories narrated by Betal. The 25 tales of “Betal Pachisi” have been told and retold through centuries. But have you read or heard of “Simhasana Dwatrimshikha”?
The 32 tales in this collection are all about the wisdom and greatness of the king. The prologue to the collection goes like this.
Many centuries after Vikramaditya's death, his throne was found by a king named Bhoja. The new owner was delighted with his find. The golden throne had 32 exquisitely carved statuettes of young women on it. King Bhoja wished to sit on it. But the statuettes would not allow him to do so. For each time he tried to, a statuette stopped him and bid him to listen to her story. It happened 32 times. At the end of each glorious tale about the legendary king, every statuette asked Bhoja the same question — “Are you worthy enough to sit on the throne of the great King Vikramaditya?”
Each time the humble king shook his head sadly and said no. His humility pleased the guardians of the throne. They blessed King Bhoja and allowed him to sit on the exalted simhasan.