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XXVII. Enters Sage Suka

Some ascetics who heard the story of the curse from the lips of the king were so incensed at the 'son of Sameeka' that they declared he must be a fake, an unworthy child, for, no child born of a Rishi of the stature of Sameeka will ever pronounce such a devastating curse, for such a trivial misdemeanour. He must be an ignorant fool or a madcap, they guessed. How can the curse emanating from the tongue of such a one take effect? - they asked. The king cannot come to harm, as a consequence of his curse, they affirmed. They tried to convince the king that he need have no fear on that account.

Many who felt similarly argued that the king had no reason to take the curse seriously, but, the king was unmoved. He replied to them with folded hands: "You are thinking and speaking on these lines, prompted by sympathy and kindness towards me. But, I know that the wrong I have committed is not light and inconsiderable. Is there a more terrible sin than casting insult on those deserving reverence? Besides, I am the king, responsible for their welfare and the maintenance of their honour. How can my act be dismissed as light and inconsiderable? Moreover, if you only consider it deeply, the curse pronounced by the boy is no curse at all. It is on the other hand, a great big boon."

"For, I had fallen into the well of sin called empire; I had deluded myself into the belief that pleasure is the be-all and end-all of life; I was leading the life of a mere beast; I had forgotten God and my duty towards Him. God Himself has, by this means and through this instrument, directed me along the correct path. God has blessed me. This is a boon, not a punishment for past wrongs, as you imagine".

When the king spoke thus, tears of joy and thankfulness flowed from his eyes; he was visibly moved by extreme sincerity and devotion. He was uttering what he felt in calm, unruffled contentment. The ascetics and the subjects around him were amazed at his equanimity. They knew his declaration was true.

The aged ascetic rose and standing before the wailing populace, he addressed the gathering thus, "O Best of Kings! Your words are rays of sunlight to the hearts of the ascetics; they are so appropriate to your lineage and upbringing; for, you are a Pandava born. The Pandavas never even once slipped into wrong or sin. They held fast always to the feet of Hari, the Lord; they stuck to the commands of the Lord, unwaveringly. When the Lord returned to His abode, they gave up the kingdom as a result of spontaneous renunciation; they left for the northern regions. You too are today following this holy path, since you belong to this great clan, which has inherited this way of life."