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Before the unfolding of tale, to know the background is necessary. The first six discourses glorify the Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana. It begins with a dialogue between sage Narada and Bhakti. An embodiment of truth and consciousness, Krishna is the lord of the creation, the preservation and the destruction, who ends the sufferings of mind, sufferings other people cause and suffering from natural calamities. Saunaka requests Suta, a recluse (son of Sage Vedvyasa) merged with the Universal Spirit and enjoying divine bliss, who knows hearts of the created beings, to tell how one attains detachment and perfect intellect through devotion and spiritual light, and dispels delusions ensnaring life. Suta tells that the lord is happy if a man of devotion surrenders.
In an assembly of sages, Narada speaks of devotion and later on, reveals that in Kaliyuga righteousness and truth suffer.
The devotion in body form tells, ‘One attains everything if one lives among the holy souls because it is through devotion, Prahalada conquered delusion and Dhruva attained Vaikuntha (the Abode of lord Vishnu).’
Sage Narada says, O Kumaras, spiritual illumination and insouciance grant salvation and in the age of Kali, a man merges with the Supreme lord through Bhakti.’
Kumaras feel that the Srimad Bhagavata has origin in Vedas and is the essence of holy books. Suta talks of deliverance from a life of sins, and tale of Gokarna tells how he attained divinity. To follow certain rules is necessary during the hearing of slokas of the great book Kumaras advise, and elucidate the procedure.
Saunaka and the sages ask Suta, many questions relating to the Transcendental Reality, the Supreme Lord and on a discourse on the three-fold creation born of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas qualities, and three-fold agonies born of mind, natural calamities and sufferings others inflict. Later on, a penetrative disquisition on the world of matter begins and the reasons of
Vedvyasa despondence are clear, and one learns about Narada’s earlier life.
Narration poignantly speaks about the assassination of Draupadi’s sons as Arjuna curbs ego and pride. Later, Bhisma praises Krishna and dies. The going away of Krishna to Dwarka, the birth of Pariksit, the departure of Dhritrastra and the queen to the forest in remorse, form part of the discourse. Krishna’s going to Dwarka does not give joy to Pandavas and they hand over the kingdom to Pariksita and relinquish mortal frames. Pariksita expands territorial limits and conquers the world. After a while, King Pariksita learns about the entry of Kali (Kaliyuga) in the kingdom and so he begins another journey of conquest.
People not only praise but revere him and in the course of expedition, he hears about his deliverance and many divine acts of Sri Krishna. He follows the principles of truth and righteousness and, then, hears about an extraordinary incident that takes place far off from the limits of empire. Dharma (the bull) with one foot/leg and the mother Earth in the sad figure of a cow with tearful eyes present a heartrending scenario. Dharma asks in many words the cause of agony from mother earth Cow, who in deep anguish looks quite frail and emaciated.
Precisely at that time, King Pariksita while wandering around the kingdom, arrived at the riverbank Sarswati, and then, at the sacred source from where it flowed eastward. He saw a man of sudra caste bearing the emblem of royalty with a long and sturdy stick in hand, beating mercilessly a cow and a bull as if the animals were without a lord. The bull, like a white lotus stalked, stood still on one leg, trembled and out of fear appeared to urinate as sudra thrashed it brutally.
A cow yields milk, ghee, curd and valued produce for the health of human beings. Human beings also utilize the products
in prayers, worship and yajnas and religious ceremonies. At that time, the animals looked pathetic and wretched as sudra kicked cruelly. It was a miserable sight and the sudra did not allow even the cow to stay with the calf. The cow was frail, thin, lean and hungry as tears filled eyes and, then, continued to roll down.
Mounting a gold-plated chariot, Pariksit (a king-a royal sage) took bow and arrow, pulled up the strings and challenged callous sudra in thundering drawl, “O man, who are you? You are strong and … you beat up weak animals of my kingdom. Why it is so? Like an actor of a stage, putting on the dress of a king, you act well but appear a sudra. Your karma is against appearance. You thrash and beat up innocent creatures at a time when Krishna and Arjuna have left for heavenly abode. It proves you are an offender of law. Therefore, you deserve reprimand, and so, you ought to get death sentence.”
Pariksit did not relent. He turned to the bull and asked, “O noble soul, you are white, pure and untainted like a lotus stalk. You do not have three legs and so, stand on one leg only. It gives pain. O soul, are you a god or divinity incarnate in the guise of a bull? Please tell. The powerful and strong arms of the kings of Kuru dynasty thoroughly protect the created beings on earth. I see no other living being in the kingdom from whose eyes tears flow without a break. Please do not grieve, feel distressed and fear sudra, O bull.”
He turned to the aggrieved cow and said, “O mother, I will punish the evil doers. Do not weep. I wish you well. God bless you.”
He further said, “O godlike cow, a wild and imprudent conduct of a king destroys reputation, longevity, health, pleasures and fortunes of a country. People suffer tyrannical behaviour of a wicked king. To put end to the sufferings and pains of people is the supreme dharma of kings. The cruel men and wild criminals definitely beat and injure living beings. Therefore, I sentence a depraved sudra to death because he acts viciously.”
After a pause, he said reverently, “O holy bull, you are quadruped (a four-footed) being. Who amputated the three legs? Tell about the ghastly man. I want no suffering and miserable living beings in the regime of kings, who are devotees of lord Krishna.”
King Pariksit was sincere, truly worried and anguished because he did not want any innocent to suffer and so, pleaded, “O bull, I wish you well. Justice will be done. Tell me about the iniquitous fellow. Who mutilated an unfortunate and pathetic being like you? He has brought disgrace to Pandavas’s nobility and reputation. A good may come to you O bull. A fellow, who tortures and hurts innocent living beings, must fear me. The pious and the virtuous souls live a rich and happy life if the ruler conquers and eliminates vicious and degenerate creatures.”
He assured, “An inhuman and a foolish man, who inflicts injuries on innocent creatures has no right to exist. I shall surely cut off the well-ornamented and adorned arms even if he is a god-incarnate or a veritable god. To protect and guard people devoted to the principles of dharma, and punish those, who violate dharma, are essential duties of a king. A man causing misfortunes to the people needs castigation.”
He looked at the king for a long time.
Dharma (as a bull – in fact, the bull was dharma personified) said, “You belong to the dynasty of Pandavas. To assure and protect the distressed and the suffering is the Dharma of the king people expect. Pandu’s virtues persuaded even lord Krishna to agree to become a charioteer and envoy of your ancestors. O great soul, grand, different and ennobling axioms of various scriptures infatuate you. In truth, we do not know this person, who is a fountainhead of sufferings.”
He continued, “A few persons and at times, many, do not accept any difference, and believe they are the cause of sufferings. A few hold providence responsible for miseries on earth. Still, a few people feel that nature causes sufferings and declare the lord as the source of pains and sufferings. Again, to describe the causes of sufferings and reasons thereof is beyond the reach, ability and competence of speech several people believe. O sage king, it is for you to consider everything in totality and arrive at a sound judgment.”
The wisdom of dharma delighted King Pariksita and so, earlier disillusionment disappeared. He was quiet and calm as the rays of brightness appeared on his face. The wise king stood before Dharma, a personification of wisdom and sagacity.
Pariksit glorifies Dharma (disguised as a bull)
After a short pause, he said, “O dharma (holy bull), you are a god of virtues and know the essence of truth and life, and dharma’s varied wings. Therefore, give advice on virtues. You did not reveal the identity of the person, who tormented. If you do not divulge the name of intimidator, you will also share punishment. The principles and limitations of language of living beings cannot describe the image of maya (the deluding divine potency) of the Supreme Creator you know.” A long pause caused disquiet. He thought over the possibilities of reasonable solution for some time.
He resumed after a pause, “O lord of Dharma, in Satyayuga (the Age of Truth), you had four legs of austerity, purity, compassion and truthfulness. In the age of truth, progeny of impiety, malice, pride, attachment and passion, hauteur and conceit destroyed the three feet and legs. Now, O Dharma, I find you have the leg of truth. On its force and energy alone, you stand and live. The untruth and adharma feed you. O sacred Bull, the age of Kaliyuga (the age of darkness) wishes to devour truth with the power of falsehood and mendacity. The cow sustains everyone and is none other than the mother earth (the goddess of Truth).”
He said again, “Now, she is relieved of the terrible burden as the lord’s beautiful footprints adorn earth and it is a scene of revelries. However, it appears she is abandoned. The holy mother grieves over destiny like an unfortunate, worried and dependent woman (of tearful eyes). In the guise of a king, the enemies of brahmins, sudras (the progenies of immorality, malice, pride, attachment and infatuation, arrogance and vanity) will enjoy and live life of pleasure and also exploit the poor and the vulnerable.”
King Pariksit consoled and comforted Dharma and the Earth in the guise of a Bull and a Cow with compassion and truth. In anger, he took out a terrible sword to kill Kali, the ruler of the age of evil, untruth, and the source of wickedness. Now, sudra perceived imminent threat and so, trembled in fear and dread, and without wasting a moment, threw away insignias of royalty and decided to place the head at the feet of the king. Pariksita was not only a sympathetic king but also frequently, he offered shelter to the sufferers and the disadvantaged, who appeared before him.
Sudra prostrated, fell at King’s feet and prayed for mercy. Pariksita abandoned the thought of killing and said mildly, “O Sudra, nurse no fear as you seek shelter at my feet, a descendant of the dynasty of Arjuna, a great archer and warrior. However, since you are genial to the terrible vices of untruth and unrighteousness, you will not stay in the kingdom. O lord of evil and deceit, when you live in the body of a king, think as if the lord among human beings, you witness dreadful increase in greed, falsehood, thieving and iniquity. Desertion of the path of rectitude seems easy. At that time, you notice that poverty, deception, cantankerousness, pretense and other sins besiege human beings.”
He said slowly and emphatically, “Therefore, O an ally of wickedness and sin, do not stay in Brahmavarta (the land of Brahma), an abode of dharma and truth. In the holy land, brahmins well-versed in organising yajnas elaborately and who, follow rituals religiously based on scriptural injunctions, propitiate the lord of yajnas and undergo tapasya. Krishna resides here in the form of sacrifice (yajna) and people worship the lord, and so he blesses devotees, who keenly perform yajnas with dedication. In truth, the Universal soul lives in all the animate and inanimate beings, and keeps fulfilling the desires of the devotees.”
Kali (the lord of adharma – unrighteousness and untruth) trembled because he knew well the intents of King Pariksita. An uncertainty stared in the face as Pariksita stood with a horrible sword and looked at Yama holding the rod of punishment.
Kali spoke in quivering voice, “O king, I obey the directives and wherever I think to settle down permanently, I find you everywhere and it is not easy to locate suitable land. O crown and glory of dharma, tell a place where I can live and obey commands you issued.” He stood humbly and waited for the king’s decree.
King Pariksit specifies four places to Kali to settle down
King Pariksita heard requests of Kali, thought over the appeal and allotted four places to settle down.
He said to Kali, “You live in the house of betting or at a place, suitably the dwelling of easy virtues where people drink or enjoy and do not listen to the voice of conscience. Finally, I ask you to live at a place of violence, loot and arson. Falsehood, intoxication, obsession and brutality are the four untruths and vices where adharma lives and flourishes.”
Pariksit thought for some time. It appeared Kali was not satisfied, as places allocated seemed restricted and not entirely suitable to fulfill desires, and earn livelihood.
Kali insisted for more and, therefore, the king offered the abode of gold and thus, he became the lord of five abodes namely: falsehood and fabrication where dice rules, intoxication (the root cause of madness and passion) where prostitutes live and flourish, violence (abode of destruction and massacre) and wealth (materialism of age) live and prosper. Kali made no further demands and therefore, the lord of deceit and untruth finally became the lord of five seats of vice and sin. Therefore, Kali, the ancestor and the progenitor of untruth and unrighteousness (adharma) occupied the above realms Pariksita offered.
King Pariksit had thought deep earlier and decided to punish the lord of sins (adharma). He had also determined the principles of an ideal life and so, allotted five regions to adharama to live and prosper. If a man seeking divine blessings avoids regions of sins and crimes, he gets joy in life. A king of dharma, a leader and a religious guru must carefully abandon thoughts of visiting areas, where vices and sins haunt.
He looked at the bull’s pathetic condition and so, the king an embodiment of dharma took steps to heal bull’s legs and cautiously joined the legs – a symbolic illustration of a life of penance, truth, purity and compassion, and came forward to console and comfort the mother earth (the cow). Thus, a benign king helped promotion of virtues constantly and exhorted other kings to act on the principles of truth and ideals.
If contemporary rulers respect the principles of dharma (austerity, righteousness, truth, purity, compassion) and avoid the five sins warily, King Pariksit of truth stipulated, the world would become a heaven. However, for pure personal gains and motives, people ignore ideal principles of dharma and live life of corruption, vice, violence, fabrication and deceit, the ruling planets of a modern ruler.
Courtesy: The Lord of Gods (Vol. I). New Delhi: Authorspress, 2019
About the Author:
PCK Prem (PC Katoch Of Garh-Malkher, Palampur, Himachal, A Former Academician, Civil Servant And Member Himachal Public Service Commission, Shimla), an author of more than fifty-five books, is a poet, novelist, short story writer, translator and a critic in English and Hindi. Associated with several social/ literary organizations, he has brought out eleven volumes of poetry besides six books on criticism, four books on ancient literature, two on folk tales, six novels and three collections of short fiction. In Hindi, he authored twenty novels, nine books on short fiction and a collection of poems besides critical articles, reviews and critiques published in various national and international journals and anthologies. PCK Prem - Echoing Time and Civilizations 2015 and The Spirit of Age and Ideas (in the Novels of PCK Prem) in 2016 and Kathasagar of PCK Prem are books on him.