|Chapter XV - 53||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
When Parikshith was on the throne, ruling over the empire with great care, the ministers and the spiritual masters who were the guides of the dynasty conferred among themselves and resolved that they must approach the king with a proposal that he should enter the Grihastha stage, by taking on a partner by marriage; they submitted their prayer likewise. When they found him agreeable, they asked his maternal uncle, Uttara of the Virata royal family, for the hand of his daughter. The Brahmins they sent to Virata returned with the happy news that he was happy over the proposal. The priests fixed an auspicious day and hour and the marriage of Parikshith and Iravathi, daughter of Uttara, was celebrated with pomp and splendour.
Queen Iravathi was a great Sadhvimani (gem among virtuous women). She was endowed with a tenacious love for truth; she was devoted to her husband. Whenever she heard that any one in the empire was in distress, she was pained much, as if she herself had the calamity. She mixed with the women of the capital, and acquainted herself with their aspirations and achievements. She provided them with encouragement and consolation. She fostered the growth of virtue among them, by teaching and example; she established institutions to promote and protect good character. She allowed women of all grades to approach her, for she had no false pride. She treated every one with reverence; she was an angel of fortitude and charity. Every one praised her as Goddess Annapurnaa (the bestower of food) Herself in human form.
During the reign of this king and his queen, men and women lived in peace and plenty, untroubled by want. Parikshith too arranged for the performance of many Vedic sacrifices and rituals, for the prosperity of mankind. He arranged the worship in temples and homes of God in His manifold names. By these and other means, faith in God and love of man were implanted in the hearts of his subjects. He promoted measures to ensure peace and harmony among the sages and saints who were living as recluses in forest hermitages; he guarded them in their silent retreats from man and beast. He exhorted them to probe into themselves and discover the laws of self control. He supervised personally the steps taken to ensure their safety and security.
Thus, Parikshith and Iravathi ruled over their empire like Iswara and Parvathi who rule over the universe with parental love and care. Shortly, news that the queen was in the family way spread among the women and was confirmed. The subjects prayed to God, at home and in public places of worship, that He should bless the queen with a son who will be endowed with all virtues and strength of character, who will be a staunch and unflinching adherent of Dharma and who will live the full span of years. In those ages, subjects loved the king so intensely that they renounced their own joys to please him; the king too loved them and guarded them as the apple of his eye.
Parikshith saw and heard the enthusiasm of the subjects at the auspicious prospect of the advent of a child to continue the dynasty. He shed tears of joy when he realised how deeply his people were attached to him. He felt that the affection was the contribution of his grandfather and the gift of Lord Krishna's grace.