Srimadbhaagavatam - King Parikshit is cursed

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Sep 28 15:02:53 CDT 2000

Hari Om
Om NamO bhagavatE vAsudEvAya

One day while king Parikshit was hunting inside a deep forest he becomes
thirsty and goes in search of water. In a hermitage he sees  ShamIka
muni doing meditation. King calls him out many times asking him to give
water, but since the sage is in a state of samaadhi he does not respond
to the call of the king. King mistakes his silence to a deliberate show
of disrespect to the king and becomes very angry ( it was the Kali
purusha who was residing in the golden crown that the king was wearing
who corrupts the king's mind ). He waits impatiently for some more time
and when the sage does not respond at all, the king picks up a dead
snake lying nearby and puts it round the sage's neck inorder to
humiliate the sage. He then returns to his palace.

After some time the son of the sage , Shringi, returns to the hermitage
and finds a dead snake around his father's neck. He comes to know of the
happenings through a little boy who would have been a witness to the
misdeed of the king. The son Shringi becomes very upset and in his mad
rage curses the King parikshit to die on the seventh day by the bite of
the snake Takshaka. When the sage wakes up from the samaadhi he learns
of the curse his son has uttered and becomes very unhappy. He tells his
son that it was not at all becoming of a Brahmin to lose his temper thus
and curse the king who is the protector of all. Since the curse can not
be recalled once uttered, he tells his son to atleast inform the king of
the impending death and alert him.

Here, when the king returns to the palace and removes his golden crown
he suddenly  realises what a grave and heinous act he had committed !
The king who had always respected the Brahmins and revered them had
today mistreated a great sage in such a humiliating manner that he feels
can not be excused at all even by Gods. He is filled with remorse. Just
then a shishya of the sage comes there and informs him of the curse that
the son of the sage had uttered and tells him that he would live only
for seven days. Hearing this the King is overjoyed that the Gods had
rightly punished him for his misdeed. He is even more happy that he now
knows when he would meet his death ! No mortal knows when the end would
come even though he is aware of the death following him everywhere like
a shadow. Atleast now he can plan and live the rest of the days in the
best and most useful way !

The king immediately relinquishes the throne and gives it to the carge
of his son JanamEjaya. He considers the curse as a blessing in disguise
which would cure him of all the  attachments he had for temporal
pleasures and powers. He leaves his wife, family, palace, kith and kin
and goes to he bank of river Ganga and sits there in meditation of God.
Hearing the news of the curse befallen on their King , scores of Rishis
and mahaatmaas come to the bank of Ganges to be with the king in his
last days and pray for sadgati for their King. Seeing the large crowd of
mahaatmaas the king feels blessed that he was going to spend his last
days of his life in such a satsang. He bows down at the feet of all the
sages and begs them to bless him that his faith in the infinite Lord may
increase ever more and may he associate with holy men and the devotees
of Lord in his future births too !

As his mind is freed of all  worldly attachments and is filled up with
the desire to see the Lord, his heart is purified and he becomes calm
and peaceful. Just then the son of Vyaasa maharshi, sage Shuka, arrives
there. He was then  sixteen years of age. In Bhaagavatam he is mentioned
not as a sixteen year old, but as twice eight year old ! - meaning that
he did not have the chitta vikaaraas of a sixteen year old boy, but was
twice as innocent as an eight year old boy ! His face was glowing and
his eyes were bright with the light of the Infinite that he had seen. He
had no cast marks upon him, was an avadhuuta without any clothing on
him. Urchins used to pelt stones at him, people used to mock at him, but
he was always drowned in the necter of experience of Brahman. He would
not stay in a place for more than the time required for milching the
cow. But as he came into the assembly of Parikshit, the king ties him up
there for seven days with his questions on God and liberation. Shuka
very soon realises the eligibility of the king to Moksha and gladly
stays there narrating to the asembly the stories of the Lord day and
night without any interval.

The very first question that the king puts to Shuka muni is, "
mriyamaanasya kim kartavyam " - what is the foremost duty of a man who
is going to die ?

( to be contd )

Hari Om
Om NamO bhagavatE vAsudEvAya

Latha Vidyaranya
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