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XXXIX. The Omniscient as Student

"Great Master! I do not get satiated, however many stories I hear about the boyhood sport of Krishna! Really this lovely boy Krishna is the divine, who had within Him everything that exists, but, nevertheless, He played about as if He was an ordinary human child! O, what good fortune is mine! When I think of it, I feel that it has accrued to me, not as a result of the merit earned in this life. Ah! I am spending these last days of mine in listening to the exploits of Him, who has hooded Sesha as His couch! The curse of that sage has helped to cleanse me of the sin, through this means! I offer once again a thousand prostrations to the sage's ire, for affording me this beneficent opportunity!"

"As the final moment draws nearer, and nearer, my yearning centres in the joyful quaffing of the sweet narrative of Krishna's sport. It intoxicates me; it makes me 'insane'. Give me as I am burning with that desire, the cool comforting drink, throughout the few hours that are left of the allotted span of my life."

Parikshith, the king, fell at the feet of Suka, overwhelmed by the burden of devotion in his heart, and prayed for more stories of the boy Krishna. The spring of compassion in the sage welled forth, at this prayer. He asked "O king! Which among the countless delightful divine incidents do you desire to hear from me? Their number is so large, that even if they are told continuously for millennia, many will remain untold. No one, however proficient, can compress the narration into a few hours."

At this, Parikshith replied, "Master! I have heard that our dearly beloved Krishna learnt many skills and subjects, with Balarama as His companion, from a very fortunate preceptor Sandeepani. Does this mean there was the need for an unlearned person, to instruct Him who is the master of all branches of knowledge, the master and sovereign of all? It must have been His play. Only that great play-director Gopala knows who has to be blessed and saved, by which means and when. He should have enacted this play, in order to liberate Sandeepani from the shackles of birth and death, through the merit of association with the Lord. Let me hear the incidents of the play, centering round Sandeepani; I will be saved by listening to it." Suka said, O king! What you said is the indisputable truth. Yes, all is His play. For the drama which Krishna directs, the universe is the stage where there are countless screens (curtains), stage appurtenances, shelves and compartments, for enacting His various plots, devised to save and to liberate. Since the propitious destiny of Sandeepani had ripened, He gave him that great chance and blessed him in that manner. Listen! I shall relate to you that divine drama."