Sage Vasishta looked at surprise as he saw a beautiful baby peacefully sleeping just outside his ashrama. He picked up the baby and looked around and saw that there was no one near the baby.
Puzzled Sage Vasishta looked at the child once more. The child had precious ornaments.
This is a royal child. Now why would anyone leave their prince here at my door step? Sage Vasishta wondered as he closed his eyes and meditated.
Using the powers of the his mind, Sage Vasishta "saw" what happened to the child.
The child had been kidnapped by Hunda. Hunda’s cook had saved the child.
Sage Vasishta opened his eyes and looked at the child who had now opened its eyes and looking at the sage.
Sage Vasishta picked up the baby in his arm. The baby snugly fit in his arms as Sage Vasishta looked at the child again.
His parents had named him Nahusha. Sage Vasishta smiled. The child was indeed Nahusha, which meant one who not be frightened.
That was when Sage Vasishta had another flash of insight.
The sage “saw” Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva visit Nandakannan. There Goddess Parvati had wished for a daughter from the Kalpataru tree. As a result of which she had a daughter – Ashokasundari. Goddess Parvati had blessed Ashokasundari that she would marry Nahusha. Sage Vasishta smiled as he saw this. Goddess Parvati had wanted Ashokasundari to marry this Nahusha. The Nahusha who was the prince of Praathishthana.
Sage Vasishta then brought up Nahusha as his own son in his ashrama. The boy was a quick learner with a good grasp. Nahusha also learnt how to use weapons. Learning from Vasishta and living in the forest, Nahusha soon became a brilliant and brave hunter. But that was not all. Nahusha never understood why but Sage Vasishta also taught him the art of diplomacy and the art of administration of a kingdom.
Soon Nahusha was a fine young man.
One day Nahusha saw a man come to the hermitage and talk to the Sage. Sage Vasishta invited Nahusha to come to the discussions. The man looked tired and thoroughly harassed. Nahusha wondered what was wrong.
Then the man spoke with almost tears in his eyes, "Sir! It is this Hunda, sir,” The man shuddered as he continued, "This Hunda is a menace. He terrorizes all the people in the area surrounding the forests. People are afraid to face him, because he is so powerful and strong."
Sage Vasishta looked at the man and glanced at Nahusha as he asked, "This Hunda? Has he always been like this?"
The man nodded his head, "For the past many years, he has been troubling everyone. Ever since he kidnapped the prince of Prathishthana."
Nahusha felt something deep within himself as he heard the name Prathishthana. It was as if something about the place was calling out to him. Besides the words of the man struck him as odd, "The prince of Prathishthana was kidnapped?" He asked puzzled.
"Yes sir!" The man said looking at him for the first time, "Sir, you see, King Ayus and Queen Indumathi had a son. Hunda kidnapped the child, when he was just a year old. Nobody knows what happened to the prince. Most of the people think the prince is dead. which is very possible."
The man shivered again, "However the king and the queen, they are stubborn. They are steadfast in their belief that their son will come back."
The man shook his head in admiration, "It is almost as if they are sure that their son was still alive. "
Nahusha listened as the man spoke of how Hunda was troubling the villagers. And as Nahusha heard the man, he got angry. Nahusha decided that Hunda was a menace and needed to be stopped.
Sage Vasishta spoke, "Don’t worry! Consider your problem solved."
Sage Vasishta looked at Nahusha and spoke with quiet conviction, "Hunda will never trouble anyone anymore."
The man looked at the sage and slowly nodded his head. He bowed to the sage and left.
Sage Vasishta then turned to Nahusha, "Nahusha! Before you set about fulfilling your destiny, there is a story I have to tell you."
Nahusha listened with surprise as he sat down beside the sage to listen to what the sage had to say.
Sage Vasishta told a dazzled Nahusha, all about his birth and how he came to be in the ashrama. Nahusha slowly nodded his head spellbound. Sage Vasishta gave a quick smile and said, "Well, Prince of Prathishthana," Nahusha felt stunned on hearing Sage Vasishta address him like that, "There is another story you need to know before you complete you destiny. The story of Ashokasundari."
Nahusha looked puzzled as the Sage continued, "She is the wish born daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati," The sage smiled as he continued, "Goddess Parvati blessed her that she would marry a great king by name Nahusha."
Nahusha looked surprised as the Sage continued, "Subsequently, Ashokassundari met Hunda," Nahusha was alarmed as the Sage continued, "She managed to escape from him. But that day Ashokasundari cursed Hunda, that Hunda would be killed by the her future husband.” Sage Vishwamitra saw Nahusha and smiled, nodding his head. “Hunda is destined to be killed by you." The Sage continued and looked at Nahusha who looked like a million thoughts were going around his head at the same time.
Finally Nahusha with the blessings of his Guru Vasishta, left to kill Hunda.
There was a fierce battle between Hunda and Nahusha.
Nahusha was taught by Sage Vasishta and he was a brilliant fighter. Hunda was struggling to keep up with Nahusha.
Finally after being defeated by Nahusha, Hunda was killed by Nahusha.
Everybody rejoiced at the death of the demon.
Nahusha then went to the kingdom of Prathishthana. King Ayus and Queen Indumathi were thrilled on seeing their son come back to them.
Indumathi rejoiced on seeing her son now a fine man, who was all set and ready to take the mantle of being the king of the Kingdom.
There was celebrations all over the kingdom.
There was even more cause to celebrate when Nahusha, went and met Ashokasundari. When Ashokasundari saw Nahusha, it was love at first sight. Ashokasundari had already heard a lot about Nahusha’s bravery and had waited for him to come. And ever since Sage Vasishta had told him about Ashokasundari. Nahusha had learnt everything he could about her. He heard about her beauty and intelligence and was smitten by her.
The kingdom of Prathishthana celebrated the wedding of their heir apparent - Nahusha with Ashokasundari.
After becoming the king of Prathishthana, he ruled the kingdom of Prathishthana well and he even performed a hundred Ashwamedha Yagnas. He was such a good king that the Devas themselves appointed him to be their king, in the absence of their King Indra.
-From the Padma Purana