Sati Jasal Aai
The story of Veer Ladhva Kuchhadia begins when he was coming back from seeing family and friends in the village of Dangavar (near Jamnagar). Coming back, he stopped in the Padaar of Kaatvanu, just beside the Deravaav. Stopping at the Vaav (well) Ladhva’s horse became thirsty.
Shortly after, a Charan Aai came and stopped to fill some water. Ladhva asked Jasal Aai, if she could fill two water containers for Ladhva’s horse. Replying that she would fill four containers instead of two, she gave him the water. Regarding her like a sister, Ladhva gave her some money and began to get on his horse. Jasal Aai told Ladhva that now they regarded each other as brother and sister, he must go round to Jasal Aai’s house and have dinner. Ladhva replied saying that he will have dinner next time, but now he had to go to his Gaam of Kuchhadi.
Having none of it, they started walking to her house. Getting some water for Ladhva, he asks Jasal Aai where her husband, Dhana Bheda, was. Aai replied that he had gone away for a short while and he will be back soon. Feeling shy, Ladhva tells Jasal Aai that he feels it would be better if Dhana Bheda was here. Jasal Aai explains that he shouldn’t worry and that Ladhva was like a blood brother to her. Ladhva had his meal, gave some money to Jasal Aai and bowed as she was Charan; he then left.
Dhana Bheda had two wives, Poonsari and Jasal Aai. Poonsari was unable to have children and she was forty five so Dhana Bheda married Jasal Aai who was twenty. Poonsari, who lived on her own, was envious of Jasal Aai, as Dhana Bheda paid more attention to her, however, Poonsari tried to disregard her at any opportunity.
Gathering her friends, she told them what she has seen and told them to start talking about it, once they saw Dhana Bheda approaching. A short while after, they saw him coming and they started gossiping about the man they had seen coming out of Jasal Aai’s house. They told each other that Dhana must be foolish if he doesn’t do anything about it. Angrily, Dhana walked to his house, where Jasal Aai was waiting for him and slapped her.
Shocked and surprised, Jasal Aai asks Dhana Bheda why he had done this. Angrily, Dhana told her that he knew that she had a man around their house and that she had betrayed his trust in her. Jasal Aai explained that she was like a sister to Ladhva and because of that, she had made food for him. She swears on Nag Bai Maa, but that isn’t enough for Dhana, who carries on arguing with her.
Closing her eyes, keeping her thoughts and mind focused, she prays to the Divine Lord that she cannot bear the accusations anymore. She prays to the Lord to show her that she is pure and to take her up to swaarg. There, red powder (kum kum) started to come out from her and hands and she started to shout ‘Jai Mataji, Jai Naag Bai Maa.’
Dhana Bheda, Poonsari and all her friends realized that she was a sati. Ashamed, Poonsari hid however, all her friends bowed to Jasal Aai and asked for forgiveness. Forgiving them, they told them to send a message to Ladhva Kuchhadia that his sister Jasal is asking for him, as she is becoming a sati and burning away. She tells them to tell him not to waste time and to bring, incense, Abil, chandan, chundari, fruit and ghee. Hearing the message, Ladhva was heartbroken, collecting the things she had asked for, Ladhva and his wife Rupi made their way to Kaatvanu.
Arriving at Kaatvanu, they bow to Jasal Aai and Dhana Bheda and Poonsari ask for forgiveness as realise they have both made a mistake. Jasal Aai replies that it isn’t their fault and that is way destiny goes. She told them that no Charan should drink water at Deravaav and promises that there will be a birth of a boy at their house.
Now that Jasal Aai’s time had come, kum kum was falling out of her hands and diva’s burning on her fingertips. She told her brother not to worry and to come up to her where she was burning away. The flames didn’t affect him as he put the fruit and chundari on her lap. He bowed and Jasal Aai promised him that his family for generations on will always follow the path of truth-just like he did.
It is said that Veer Ladhva Kuchhadia died for Bhagat Natha Modhwadia. His Khambhi, with five other Mahers that died, are at Virdi ne Nakeh, in Porbandar. Jasal Maa’s mandir is in Kaatvanu where she became a sati. There is also a statue of Ladhva Kuchhadia and Jasal Aai at Chamunda Maa’s mandir in Kuchhadi.
Article supplied by Nisha Bhima Karavadra (UK)