Chapter XVII - 59 Home | Index | Previous | Next

All of us who were then present were wonder struck at your devotion and concentration. It appeared as if you were examining each face and trying to find out whether it was Krishna's; your face fell when you saw it was not; it blossomed when your eyes saw Him and Him only. Scholars and simple folks, Ryots and Rajahs, realised that you were a remarkable child. That is the reason why, when your grandfather Dharmaraja prayed to Him to give you an appropriate name, He named you after your strange behaviour, Parikshith (he who examines, he who tries to find out).

"When the Lord announced this name to Dharmaraja, in the hearing of that vast gathering of courtiers and scholars and sages, they all applauded saying, 'Very apt, excellent, fine.' Being so richly favoured by fortune, it is not meet that you should condemn yourself as unlucky. You were fondled by the Lord; He played with you and watched your gambols; He gave you your name. How few earn this fortune! Do not consider these just common gifts of grace."

Tears of joy welled from the eyes of Parikshith at these words. He had a question rising up from his throat, but, Vyasa saw him swallowing it and so, he patted him on the shoulder and encouraged him to ask it, "Son, it looks as if you desire to put some query to me. Ask without hesitation, do not quail." Taking courage from this prompting, Parikshith said, "Worthy master! Man cannot know the value of either joy or grief, unless he is aware of them. The joyful contacts of which you spoke now were awarded me when I was scarcely aware of the bliss inherent in them. Real joy can be tasted only when one is conscious of its value. If a child is given a billion-rupee diamond, it will only deal with it as a lump of glass. The happiness of being with the Lord, which you say I had in my childhood, is as ineffective as the joy experienced in past births. I did not know then what precious moments they were. Had I known it, were I capable of knowing it, I could have treasured that joy for ever. Now it is all mere inference. I have no ocular proof of the grace of the Lord which I received then; so, I depend now on auricular proof only. So, please tell me of the greatness and glory of Krishna; let my ears drink the nectar of those stories."

Vyasa was moved by his entreaty; he agreed. "Son, do you consider His Leelas to be just one or two? How can I relate to you His Leelas which are beyond one's capacity to enumerate. So, ask about what He did in connection with some particular person, or during some particular incident or situation; I shall gladly tell you all the details." Parikshith was elated at this; he begged him with folded hands, "Master! Tell me how this great attachment between my grandparents and Lord Krishna was born."

Vyasa burst into laughter. "Son, your earnestness surprises me much. For, only such earnest individuals can get Jnana; I am delighted that you have this deep yearning. So, I shall tell you what you have asked for. Listen!" Saying this, Vyasa made himself comfortable in his seat; Parikshith, too, got ready to hear, with a heart that was blossoming with joy and ears that widened in the eagerness to listen.