|Chapter XXIX - 102||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
"The Gods (Devas) were happy that they could achieve victory through the timely help of Khatvanga. They praised his might and his sense of righteousness. 'O king, there is no one who can compare with you, in contemporary history. You granted us triumph in this deadly struggle against the forces of evil. We desire that you should accept from us in return any help that you need and we can render.' The king told them, 'Ye Gods! Yajnas and Yagas are performed by men to please you, isn't it? This battle in which I had the privilege to participate is therefore a Yajna, so far as I am concerned. What else do I need from you than this grace that you showered on me? This is adequate boon.' Declaring thus, he fell at the feet of the Gods."
"Not satisfied with this reply, the Gods compelled him to ask for something, some boon from them. Though he had no mind to ask anything, he was forced to frame some wish, since he felt he would not be left alone. At last, he said, 'Ye Gods! Reveal to me how many years more I shall live. Only then can I decide which boon I can ask from you.' Purandara (Indra), the monarch of the Gods is all-knowing and so, without a moment's delay, he replied, 'O king, your span of life is very nearly over. You can live only for one more Muhurtha (a period of a few minutes).' On hearing this, Khatvanga said, 'I have nothing to ask. I do not need anything. I feel that all the pleasures of this world and the next are trifles to be discarded. I shall not enter again the slush of sensory pleasure. Give me the boon of attaining the sublime presence of the Lord, from which there is no return, for which all life is dedicated.' Then, he sat with closed eyes repeating the name of God and, at the end of the Muhurtha he achieved the Lotus feet of Hari (God)!"
"Note how in a few moments, he cast off from the mind all attachment to objective pleasure! Khatvanga was thus able to reach the feet of the Lord, where fear dare not approach. You have seven days, while he had a few minutes only. Therefore, you have no reason to be anxious. During these days, purify your inner consciousness by attentively listening to the best and holiest narrative of the manifestation of God."
At this, Parikshith shed tears of joy, remembering the supreme benediction won by the great devotee, Khatvanga. He exclaimed, "Master! Instruct me what I must do now; I do not get words to express my yearning. My heart is overflowing with bliss." He sat in petrified silence.
Suka advised, "O king, equip yourself with the sword of detachment. Cut into pieces the deluded affection of the body. Give up the 'myness' that makes you cling to your kith and kin. Be seated firmly on the bank of this sacred river." Then, when Suka was about to begin his narrative, Parikshith appeared anxious to ask some question. Seeing this, Suka said, "You seem to be perplexed with some thing. Ask me what you wish to know and have that doubt removed from your mind." Immediately, the king said, "Master! You are indeed an ocean of compassion. As a tasty meal to a starving person, your words bring cool comfort to my burning heart. Revered preceptor, you had spoken to me a short while ago about the beginnings of creation. I did not understand it clearly. Why did the attributeless Parabrahman (formless - immanence - transcendence ) assume form and attributes? Tell me about that." The king sat with expectant face, all attention, praying sincerely and eager to hear and learn.