Chapter XV - 54 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Parikshith did not deviate from his resolve to serve the best interests of his people; he gave up his own likes and dislikes for this great task. He looked upon his subjects as his own children. The bond that brought the king and people together in such close and loving relationship was indeed of a high holy order. Therefore, his people used to say that they would prefer his kingdom to heaven itself.

Meanwhile, on an auspicious day, the son was born and the whole land was filled with inexpressible joy. Sages, scholars and statesmen sent blessings and good wishes to the king. They declared that new light had dawned on the state. Astrologers consulted their books and calculating fortunes of the child from then, they announced that he will enhance the glory of the dynasty, bring added reputation to his father's name, and win the esteem and love of his people.

Parikshith invited the family preceptor to the palace and consulted also the Brahmin priests, in order to fix a day for the naming ceremony of the child. Accordingly, during an elaborately arranged festival rite, the child was named Janamejaya. The Brahmins who were present were given costly gifts, on the suggestion of Kripacharya, the doyen among the Brahmin advisers of the king. Cows with golden ornaments on horns and hooves were given away in large numbers. All were fed sumptuously for days on end. When Dharmaraja set out upon his final journey, he had entrusted the little boy on the throne to Kripacharya and as a true trustee Kripa was advising the boy-king and training him in state craft. As he grew up, this dependence became more fruitful; the king seldom strayed from his advice; he sought it always and followed it with reverential faith. Hence, the sages and recluses of the kingdom prayed for his health and long life and extolled the people's happiness and the ruler's solicitude for their welfare.

Parikshith was the overlord of the kings of the earth, for, he had the blessings of the great, the counsel of the wise and the grace of God. After his long campaign of conquest, he encamped on the bank of the Ganges and celebrated as a mark of his victory, three horse sacrifices with all the prescribed rituals. His fame spread not only over the length and breadth of India but even far beyond its borders. He was acclaimed by every tongue as the great jewel of the Bharatha royal family. There was no state that had not bent under his yoke; there was no ruler who set his command at naught. He had no need to march at the head of his army to subdue any people or ruler. All were only too willing to pay him homage. He was master of all lands and all people.

The spirit of wickedness and vice known as Kali had already come in, with the end of the Krishna Era; so, it was raising its poisonous hood, off and on; but, Parikshith was vigilant. He adopted measures to counteract its stratagems and machinations. He sought to discover the footprints of his grandfathers throughout his realm, in the reforms they introduced and the institutions they established; he reminded his people whenever occasion arose, of their nobility and aspirations; he told them of Krishna, His grace and mercy. He shed tears of joy and gratitude whenever he related to them these stories. He was sincerely pining for the chance he had lost, to have the Pandavas and Krishna by his side.