Chapter III - 11 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Sahadeva laid the child down at the centre of the court hall. Maids and chamberlains came in long lines towards the place where the prince was, holding in their hands gold plates full of perfumes and flowers, silks and brocades. Behind specially fitted curtains, the queens Rukmini, Droupadi, Subhadra and Uttara were rejoicing at the happy scene, watching the gambols of the child. Sahadeva took the child and placed it on a bed of flowers in the mantap that was erected for the naming ceremony. But, the child rose on all fours and started crawling bravely on, in spite of the remonstrances of maids. Apparently, it wanted to proceed somewhere!

The efforts of Sahadeva to stop its journey proved futile. Yudhishtira, who was observing its movements with interest said with a smile, "Sahadeva! Do not stand in the way. Leave him alone. Let us see what he does". And Sahadeva left his hold. He allowed the child to move wherever he liked. Only, he took care to keep his eye always on him lest he fall or hurt himself. He followed him at every step, vigilantly.

The child, who got freedom of movement, soon made a beeline towards the place where Lord Krishna was seated, as if He was a long acquaintance whom he was seeking to meet. The child grasped the feet of Krishna and pleaded, by his looks, that he may be taken on to the lap and fondled. The Lord saw his yearning; He laughed aloud; then, He, graciously bent low and lifted the child on to His lap.

Sitting on His lap, the prince was staring at the Lord's face without even a wink; he did not turn his head this way or that or pull at anything with his hands or make any sound. He just sat and stared. Everyone was amazed at this behaviour, so unlike that of a child. Even Krishna shared in the feeling that pervaded the hall.

Turning to Yudhishtira, Krishna said, "I did not believe when I was told that this child stared at every one who came before him and examined their lineaments. I thought it was a new explanation given by these priests, to the usual prank and play of children. Now, this is really a wonder. The fellow has started examining even Me! Well, I Myself test his behaviour, a little."

Then, the Lord tried to distract the attention of the child from Himself by placing before him a variety of toys, and Himself hiding from view. He expected that the child will soon forget Him. But, his attention was not drawn towards any other object. He had fixed his eye inexorably on the Lord Himself, and it was seeking Him and no other. He was trying to move towards the place where he imagined Krishna was. When His attempts to transfer the attention of the child from Himself failed, Krishna declared, "This is no ordinary child. He has won through My tests. So, the name Parikshith is the most appropriate one for him. He lives up to it already!"

At this, the Pundits recited verses invoking their blessings on the child. The Brahmins recited relevant passages from the Vedas. The music of trumpets rent the air. Women sang auspicious songs. The family preceptor dipped a nine-gemmed jewel in a golden cup of honey and wrote the name on the tongue of the child; on the rice grains spread on a gold plate, the name was written and the rice was then showered on the head of the child, in token of prosperity and happiness. The naming ceremony was thus celebrated in grand style. Men and women who attended were given presents as befitted their rank and they departed. Every one was talking appreciatively of the wonderful way in which the child sought out the lap of the Lord. Many praised the steady faith that the child had already attained.