Friday, November 21, 2008

King Parikshit & The beginning of Kali Yuga : (Part -2)

One day King Parikshit, decided to go hunting. It was one of the games he loved dearly. He was brave & also an excellent archer. While getting ready, he suddenly felt like dressing up differently. So he went to the treasury chamber to select some decoratives for himself. Like magnet, his attention was dragged towards a beautiful golden crown(one of the gold items he had collected from his Kingdom to protect his subjects from the ire of Kali), & he immediately put in on his head. It suited his personality well & he felt nice & proud.
This was the effect of Kali, who had been lurking around for so many years, waiting for an opportunity to take revenge of his defeat in hands of this mighty King. Kali had the powers to possess the bodies of the living beings & could enter the minds of men in their weak moments.
Kali was residing in that golden crown quietly for so long. Now he could enter the mind of the King & pollute it to do something wrong & evil.

The King set out for hunting & carried on with the sport till quite late in the day. By the end of it he was very tired & hungry & thirsty. Completely exhausted, he trudged along the jungle looking for some food & water. The setting sun & the cool breeze made him hungrier & he felt drained of energy.
After a while, the King came upon the hermitage of Rishi Shamik, who was alone & in deep meditation. The King asked the Rishi to give him some water to drink, but since the Rishi was in deep meditation & in silence, he did not respond. The king tried to draw the attention of the Rishi towards him, but the only response was Silence. Normally, the King would’ve understood & respected this, but, Kali had already entered his mind through the golden crown. The King (under the negative influences of Kali), felt neglected & humiliated. Out of anger, he picked up a dead snake with an arrow & placed it on the neck of the Rishi. There was still no response. Frustrated, exhausted & angry, the King returned to his palace.
Shringi, the son of Rishi Shamik was out during this whole incidence. When he returned home, he came to know about the dead snake on the neck of his father. Through his spiritual powers, he came to know that the King had done this & he became extremely angry(he was known for his short temper). Using his ascetic powers, he took some holy water in his hand & cursed the King. “Since King Parikshit, out of arrogance of his powers, has put a dead snake on my father’s neck, on the seventh day from now, Serpent king Takshak will bite King Parikshit to death. The king will pay for his sins by this untimely death.”

On return to the palace, once the King removed the golden crown, he came to his senses, & realized that he had done something very unworthy of a King. He was very repentant. He also knew that Kali had finally managed to take his revenge.
Meanwhile, the Rishi Shamik, came out of his meditation & silence & got to know the whole incidence. He became very sad at hearing about his son’s curse. He knew that King Parikshit had managed the kingdom very well till now, and all this had happened due to the influence of Kali. He summoned his son Shringi & and said, "Son, When I myself have forgiven King Parikshit for the insult offered, why did you curse him? Do you not know that he is a just and illustrious king? He was tired and hungry, and committed this venial offense in a fit of rage. This happened due to the influence of Kali, from whom he has been saving us & the people in the kingdom for all these years. Except for this one instance, he has been an exemplary ruler. Thanks to his just rule, the Rishis can continue their penances without fear of interruption. A Brahman should always keep his anger and passion under strict control. It is evident that you are yet to reach the mental maturity required to become an ascetic. Your education is, therefore, incomplete. Go to the forest and learn to control your anger by indulging in constant penance.”
Having said so, the Rishi called one of his disciple, Gurumukha & told him, “go to the palace of King Parikshit immediately & inform him about the curse in details. Tell him that there is a slim chance to thwart the curse, & the King must try his best to do so. Ask the King to take adequate precautions.”
Gurumukha carried the message to the King, who was already repenting for his folly. He thanked the messenger & asked him to carry back his greetings & regards for the Rishi, who inspite of being insulted, had been so helpful & caring. The king then called all his courtiers & informed them about the curse. At the behest of everyone & based on the suggestions sent by the Rishi, a tall tower with only a single entry was constructed for the King overnight. The King shifted in here. An announcement was made across the kingdom that anyone who could save the King from the snake bite of Takshak, would be suitable rewarded. The tower was heavily guarded & no one was allowed near it without appropriate permission.

However, deep inside, the King knew that his end was imminent. So he called upon his eldest son, Janmajay & declared him as the next King of his empire. He then called upon Swami Sukhdev and asked him to recite the entire Bhagvatam. Parikshit was at peace with himself. He listened to the sacred chantings for the next six days, confined to the tall tower that had been constructed for him. He would eat only fruits that were brought up by the Brahmans.

Meanwhile, impelled by the curse, serpent king Takshak(disguised as a Brahman) was on his way to the tower, where Parikshit was residing. On his way, in the jungle, he met Kashyap, a poor Brahman, who was also going to the same destination, but with an altogether different purpose. They got talking, & Kashyap revealed that he was well versed in removing snake poison, & was sure he could save the King from his imminent death. He was poor & needed money badly to improve the state of his family. Takshak tried to impress upon the Brahman to return back, offering him bribe, but it did not work.
Takshak, now came into his real form & told the poor Brahman, “I doubt, if there is anyone who can thwart my poison. I am Serpent king Takshak, & I possess the maximum venom. No one has ever escaped from my bite.” Kashyap took up the challenge & proposed a trial of strength. Takshak, then looked at a banyan tree nearby & bit into the trunk of the tree. Immediately the big banyan tree was reduced to ashes. Kashyap, quietly went around the burnt ashes of the tree, & chanted his mantras & then took a little water from his kamandal (a vessel used by Rishis & Brahmans to carry holy water, meant for sacred rituals). He chanted some more mantras & sprinkled the holy water on the ashes. The banyan tree came back to life in full bloom almost immediately.
Takshak realized that he had met with his match. So he told Kashyap about the curse of King Parikshit . He said “ Oh worthy Brahman, you have humbled me. But I have to do my duty & bite Parikshit to death, as he has been cursed. This is due the sins committed by him in his previous birth. He has ruled the kingdom with valor till now, but his time is up & he needs to leave this mortal world. If you are trying to save Parikshit to obtain, wealth, I shall provide you with the same. This way, I would have taken care of your needs, & also I would be able to complete the curse, thereby free Parikshit of his earlier sins.
Kashyap, who was very learned & wise, used his Yogic powers to see the truth. He saw that the end of Parikshit was very near, & he did not want to use his knowledge to go against the Laws of Nature. He accepted the wealth given by serpent king Takshak ( who gave him double of what Kashyap asked for) & went back.

Having overcome the hurdle of Kashyap, Takshak now hurried towards the tower, where Parikshit was residing. On reaching there & seeing the heavily guarded tower, Takshak transformed himself into a small insect & entered an apple. He then got some of his fellow snakes to disguise as Brahmans & carry the apple along with some other fruits in a basket for the King. At the base of the tower, the fake Brahmans managed to impress the guards on their need to meet the King. It was the seventh day & almost twilight time, & the King thought, that he had managed to escape the curse. It has been said in our scriptures, that twilight zone is a very weak moment, when most of our guards are down. That is why, it has been advised, that we should involve in Satsangs at that time & think & pray to God. This way most of the miseries are averted. So as the sun was setting for the seventh day, once again, Kali had managed to enter the mind of the King & make him proud & vain. As fate would have it, King Parikshit chose the same apple in which Takshak was hiding. He took one bite & the insect came out. Under the influence of Kali, the King was not humble….he was proud. He placed the insect mockingly on his neck & said, “ Let the curse work. I think this tiny insect is serpent king Takshak. May he bite me & send me to my death.” In the next moment, Takshak assumed his real form of a serpent & bit Parikshit on his neck. As fate had ordained, the king fell down dead, & was charred to ashes by the potency of the venom.

The death of Parikshit, was what Kali was waiting for. He had no fear now & slowly, but surely engulfed the whole world with his negative influence. The age of Kali Yuga had begun…..

4 comments:

sharada said...

These writings on Kali Yuga were simply superb.keep writing..........we really get to know so many things....

Rashna said...

Vow! so enlightening....keep writing but Bips why dont you precis it. It takes a while to read, you being you, can drive home the message beautifully....

suresh said...

bhagavatam is so beautiful !! keep giving us more and more ..so yummm!! thanks !!

Anonymous said...

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