|Chapter XXVI - 91||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
The young messenger continued, "My preceptor felt that this curse amounted to unpardonable treason, for, you are well established in Dharma, and you are a great devotee of the Lord. So, he sought for long to discover some means by which the consequences of the curse could be avoided; however, he came to know through his yogic skill, that you are destined to give up your life as a result of snakebite and destined also to reach the seat of the Lord on death. He felt that this was an end, which was worth while; and that it was sinful to obstruct such a glorious consummation. So, he sends you, through me, his blessings that you may reach the presence of God. I have now finished my mission. I can leave, as soon as you permit me."
Parikshith prostrated before the young disciple and prayed that his reverential gratitude may be communicated to the great saint Sameeka and his son. At this, he left and reaching the hermitage, he informed the hermit all that transpired at the capital.
Meanwhile, the emperor proceeded in great joy to the inner apartments and standing before the entrance of the zenana, he asked that his son, Janamejaya, be brought to him. Hearing the call the son wondered why he was summoned so suddenly and he ran towards the father. Parikshith got an old Brahmin into his room, and placing on the son's head his own crown lying on the cot, he walked barefoot, with just the clothes he had on, at the moment, towards the Ganga entrusting the new king to the old priest.
Within minutes, the news spread all over the place and all through the city; groups of men and women, Brahmins and ministers hurried behind the king and remonstrated piteously; but, it was all in vain. They wept aloud; they fell at his feet; they rolled along the road across his path. The king did not notice anything; he vouchsafed no reply; he moved on, with the name of the Lord in his mind and the goal of realisation in his thought. He was fast moving towards the bank of the holy Ganga. Finding that the king had left alone and unattended for the river, the royal elephant, the royal horse, the palanquin were taken in a line behind him, so that he may ascend any one of them as was his wont; but, the king did not pay any attention to the importunities. The populace were amazed to see their ruler discard food and drink; he was engaged without a moment's break in the recitation of the name of the Lord. Since no one knew the reason for this sudden resolution to renounce, all sorts of rumours got afloat, based on the imaginative faculty of each individual.
But, some people investigated the antecedents of the event of renunciation and discovered that the disciple of a hermit had come with some important news, and following that cue, it was known that the king had only seven days more to live; the people gathered on the bank of the river and sat sunk in grief around the king, praying for his safety.
The tragic news spread so fast that it reached even the forest. The ascetics and Sadhakas, the sages and saints - they too trekked along to the bank of Ganga, with water pots in their hands. The whole place put on the appearance of a huge festival. The place resounded to the chanting of the Pranava, the recitation of Vedic hymns, and the singing in chorus of the glory of the Lord. Some groups were roundly scolding the son of Sameeka who was the cause of all the tragedy. Thus, in a short time, the bank was filled with human heads, so that not a grain of sand could be seen.