King Siddhi Narsingh Malla and his vow of asceticism

Siddhi Narshingh Malla stands as one of the most remembered kings from the Malla dynasty. He is best recalled as a monarch who lived his life as a spiritual aspirant having little interest in worldly affairs. Historians claim that he had thrice renounced the world; the third being the final time when he bequeathed everything to his son Srinivasa and went on a never returning voyage of spiritual pursuit. For all these idiosyncrasies, he was known as a rajarsi, meaning a sage king.

 While Siddhi Narsingh’s life was mostly spent in spiritual pursuit, it was not the only thing that he valued. The king greatly appreciated art and music and even employed them to express his devotional and ascetic philosophies. He was a prolific poet and composer and is credited for composing numerous songs and theatrical works. The famous Kartik dance of Patan might be regarded as an example of his creative genius.

It is said that Siddhi Narsingh was an ardent follower of Krishna and Tajeju, and was so devoted to his spiritual journey that he had vowed never to indulge in any kind of luxuries. He used to perform hard austerities that are unimaginable in the current world. In the summer, he used to meditate under the scorching sun surrounded by bonfires. In the winter, he used to sleep on a cold stone bed.  Siddhi Narsingh was so committed to his ascetic-like life that he even restricted his queen from wearing any kind of jewellery. But unlike him, the queen was an ordinary woman and in her heart had worldly desires just like everyone else. One day, while spending time with her friend she unknowingly eyed upon her friend’s beautiful ornaments. The friend realized this and asked her why she was not wearing any despite having all the wealth and resources to buy even the most exquisite ones. The queen replied that her ascetic husband did not allow her to touch save even buy jewelry and so she had no option but to forsake her desires. The queen’s friend felt sorry for her and was overwhelmed by her willingness to help her. She then came up with a smart idea. She told the queen that she might have been prohibited to buy jewelry but that does not mean that she could not borrow from one of her friends. The queen understood the notion at once and was delighted with the prospect. Her friend took off the ornaments and gave them to the queen.

Meanwhile, Siddhi Narsingh went to his palace garden to pluck some lotus flowers from the pond. His unnatural devotion to gods had granted him a supernatural ability to walk on the surface of the water. Just like every other day, Siddhi Narsingh went to the pond and took a step on the water surface. But that day something unprecedented happened as the King fell unto the cold water and was completely drenched in it. He was surprised by the sudden change of event and went to his room to recount this to his wife. Upon entering his room, he opened his mouth to speak then suddenly saw the queen idly caressing jewelry on her body. The king instantly understood the reason behind the morning incident. The queen also saw her husband, soaked and shivering, and asked him if something was wrong. Siddhi Narsing told her everything and the queen reacted with surprise. She asked him if he had done something to make the gods angry. The king then gestured towards her jewelry and said that it was not me but perhaps someone from our family had forgotten their vows and indulged in worldly pleasures. The queen comprehended her mistake and hung her head. She asked for his forgiveness promising that she would not touch jewelry ever again.