The story of Kamandha
from Ganesha purana by Dr. Akila Sivaraman
There is a city called Kollam near the Vindhya Hills.Chidroopa, a merchant and his wife,Sulochana lived there happily, following the dictates of the righteous way of life.In due course, they were blessed with a son , Kamandha.
As and when Kamandha grew up to be a handsome young man, Kutumbini married him. The couple lived happily and twelve children [seven sons and five daughters] were born to them.
When Chidroopa and Sulochana passed away after attaining old age, Kamandha was a free bird to take to ignoble ways of his choice. From an honest and hardworking merchant’s life, he drifted to a care-free, pleasure – seeking way of living, in which he lost all his wealth and also family –life.
Kutumbini tried to persuade him to become a responsible father of twelve children, but in vain. So, she moved to her mother’s house to save children.
Kamandha happily continued his evil ways and indulged in gambling, looting, robbery and torturing the villagers and travellers to a great extent. One day, he happened to meet a young Brahmin who had recently been married. Despite his begging for mercy, Kamandha murdered him ruthlessly and looted all his money.
The sin of killing a Brahmin had its toll on Kamandha who became afflicted with the worst disease on earth. His sufferings grew day by day and even his wife would not return to nurse him back to health.
at this stage , a poor Brahmin approached him for money. Kamandha, who had reformed his life to an extent and repented for the misdeeds of his past, happily helped the Brahmin and offered to give more donations to needy. But the villagers who knew his past and the story of his ill-gotten wealth abused him profusely and refused to take any help from him.
Kamandha beseeched them to forgive him, as he whole-heartedly repented for his shameful behaviour in the past, due to his greed for money. The villagers suggested that he could use all his money to renovate Lord Vinayaka’s temple in the forest. He readily agreed to their request to atone for his past sins.
With a huge effort, Lord Vinayaka’s temple was rebuilt in a grand-style. Ever since the renovation work started, Kamandha had become a new man of noble virtues. The consecration of the temple was duly conducted grandly.
In due course, Kamandha passed away and Yamadharmaraja was given an account of his lazy sinful life and the only good deed of building a temple for Lord Vinayaka.
Pronouncing the verdict, Dharmaraja told Kamandha that he had to suffer for his sins and also get the benefits for his single noble task of building a temple.
Kamandha chose to have the benefits first and took rebirth as the son of King of Sowrashtra with name – Somakantha, in the city of Devanagara.