|Chapter XXVII - 94||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
At this, the king prayed to them, with palms folded in adoration: "O best among ascetics! I have just one doubt; please remove it from my mind. Make my days worth while." "Tell me what it is," responded the ascetics. The king asked that he be informed what the man for whom death is imminent can best do. At this, one sage rose and said that, so far as time permitted, one could perform Yajnas or Yagas, or one could engage himself in Japa or Thapa, acts of charity or pilgrimages, or fasts or ritual worship. Another declared that liberation can be acquired only through the acquisition of Jnana. "Jnaanaadevathu Kaivalyam;" a third spoke of the supreme importance of holy acts prescribed in the Vedas and Sastras, "Karmanyaivahi shamsiddhi." Some others argued that cultivating devotion to God is the best method of using the week, "Bhakthirvasah Purushah," the Lord is won over by devotion alone. In this confusion of conflicting opinions, the king sought the true path and the ascetics were silenced by the persistence of the king to get a real answer to the problem he had posed.
Meanwhile, a youthful ascetic, with an extraordinarily bright face, and personality of attractive splendour, moved through the gathering of aged sages, like a fast stream of light and reaching the presence of the king he seated himself on a height. The onlookers were amazed at this sudden appearance. Some among them were stricken with curiosity about his antecedents. To all outward appearance, he as a 'munikumar' that is to say, the son of an ascetic. But his stance, his pose and poise, his personality - all affirmed that he was a master. In years, he was quite tender. Yet, there was a divine halo, bathing him.
Very soon, one wise old sage, identified him and approached him reverentially with folded palms. "Blessed indeed are all of us. This ray of divine effulgence is no other than Sri Suka, the precious offspring of Vyasa-bhagavan." Introducing the stranger thus to the gathering, the sage continued: "From the moment of birth, this person is free from all attachment. He is the master of all knowledge." The king who heard this, shed tears of gratitude and joy. He rose like a kite in the air, so light and full of joy, and fell prostrate at his feet. His palms were folded in prayer when he stood up; he was straight and silent as a pillar. He was immersed in bliss. He visualised the youth before him as Krishna Himself. The splendour of Suka was too brilliant for his eyes. His charm appeared to the king, equal to the God of love. The black curly rings of hair moved like black serpent-hoods hovering over the white oval face. As stars amidst the dark clouds, his eyes shed cool lustre and shone extraordinarily bright. A smile showered drops of joy from his lips.
The King neared Suka, with slow steps; his voice was broken and indistinct; his throat was quivering with emotion. He said, "Master! I have no strength to describe the depth of your grace. Every act of yours is aimed at the welfare of the world. It is indeed my fortune that I had your Darsan today, so easily, for, I know, it can be won only by protracted and persistent effort. O, how fortunate am I! I must ascribe it to the merit earned by my grandparents". The king was overcome with grateful joy at the presence of Suka; he stood with tears of joy streaming from his eyes.
With a smile hovering on his lips, Suka, directed the king to sit by his side. He said: "O king! You are no doubt straight and steadfast in moral conduct. You are intent on the service of the good and the godly. Your meritorious life has drawn this large gathering of sages around you, this day. Or else, these ascetics who are concerned with spiritual discipline would not have left their schedules to come here and pray that you may attain the realisation of the highest. This is no act of charity! You have earned this gift by many lives spent virtuously and well."