In the Court of Indra there were four beautiful dancers-Urvasi, Rambha, Menaka and Tilottama. One day there was a dispute between Urvasi and Rambha as to who was the better dancer. They carried the dispute to Devendra, the God of gods, and asked him to decide between them.
Indra ordered them to adorn themselves and to dance before him and the Devas and Sapta Rishis in his court. Rambha and Urvasi accordingly gave a brilliant performance of Bharata Natyam. Both of them danced so well that neither Indra nor the Devas were able to decide who was the better dancer.
The sage Narada then rose and said to Indra, "None of the Devas is able to say whether Rambha or Urvasi is the better dancer. There is only one person who can judge this matter correctly. He is king Vikramaditya, who rules over Ujjain. He is well versed in all the arts. He is wise, just and fair. Send for him and let him judge between Rambha and Urvasi."
Indra was pleased with Narada's words. He sent for his charioteer Matali and said, "Take my chariot down to the earth and seek out king Vikramaditya in Ujjain. Tell him that I desire to see him and bring him here."
Matali drove Indra's golden chariot down to the Earth, and met Vikramaditya at his palace. He gave Indra's message to the king. The king looked at Bhatti, who was standing by his side, as if to inquire, "Shall I accept the invitation?"
Bhatti at once understood the king's unspoken question and answered, "You must accept this invitation. It is clear that your fame has spread to Indraloka. It seems to me that some great good will come out of your visit to Indraloka. So prepare to start with Matali."
Vikramaditya adorned himself as befitted a great king. He then armed himself fully and went with Bhatti to the temple of Kali. They worshipped the goddess, who blessed them.
The king then went to the waiting chariot and set foot on it. Matali disliked the idea of taking a mortal to the abode of the Devas. He therefore wanted put Vikramaditya to shame and tried to start the chariot at a furious speed. The king guessed Matali's intension and pressed his foot firmly down on the chariot. The chariot could not start. Matali grew ashamed and asked pardon of the king for having thought low of him.
Soon the chariot carried Vikramaditya to Indraloka. The Lord Indra received him with great honour. Vikramaditya was treated with great courtesy during his stay in Indraloka. He used to go to Indra's Court every day and watch the dances.
One day Indra called him aside and said, "Your mastery of the arts is well known to us. We know, too, that you are a keen judge of the finer points in the art of dancing. You would be doing me a great favour by being present in the court and giving your decision as to who is the better dancer-Rambha and Urvasi."
Vikramaditya said that he would judge the performance of the dancers the next day. That evening he went to Indra's garden and gathered some beautiful flowers. He made two bouquets out of them. Inside the two bouquets he placed wasps and other insects.
The next evening the court of Indra presented a grand appearance. Rambha and Urvasi came beautifully dressed and began their performance. Both of them danced so well that it was hard to choose between them. Vikramaditya called them to his seat and presented a bouquet to each. He then said, "Your dance would appear more attractive if you hold a bouquet in the hand." They were both pleased.
The dance was continued. In the excitement of the competition, Rambha crushed the bouquet in her hand. The insects came out and stung her hand. She was forced to throw away the bouquet, and the remaining part of her dance suffered as a result of this. Urvasi, however, continued her dance, holding the bouquet lightly in her hand.
The performance came to a close and Vikramaditya declared Urvasi the winner. Indra requested the king to explain to him how he had judged the contest. Vikramaditya told Indra how he had used the bouquet to help him in deciding who was the better dancer of the two.
Indra was very pleased with Vikramaditya's wisdom. He gave orders to his servants to bring out the golden throne, which had been used for his coronation, and presented it to the king with the blessing that he would rule over his kingdom gloriously for two thousand years. He gave the king many other presents and ordered Matali to take the king and the golden throne to Ujjain.
Matali carried out Indra's orders. Vikramaditya returned to Ujjain and was warmly greeted by Bhatti and his subjects.