Chapter 18: Mahârâja Parîkchit Cursed by a Brahmin Boy
Slokam- 1 to 50.
(1) Sûta said: "He [Parîkchit] who in the womb of his mother was scorched by the weapon of the son of Drona, did not die thanks to the mercy of the Supreme Lord S'rî Krishna whose actions are so wonderful. (2) Cursed by a brahmin to die by a snake-bird, he was never overwhelmed by the great fear of death because he had consciously surrendered himself to the Supreme Lord. (3) After he had left behind all the ones surrouding him and had understood the actual position of the Invincible One, he as a disciple of the son of Vyâsa [S'ukadeva Gosvâmî] gave up his material body at the bank of the Ganges. (4) They who remembering His feet occupy themselves with His hymns and appreciate the nectarine stories in which He is glorified, will not even at the time of their death be confounded. (5) Even though he is present everywhere, the personality of Kali cannot flourish as long as the mighty ruler, the son of Abhimanyu, is the one who factually rules. (6) The moment the Supreme Lord left this earth, Kali, he who promotes irreligion, appeared in this world. (7) The emperor who as a realist lived for the essence was never envious of the personality of Kali. Like a bee going for the nectar, he knew that auspicious things lead to immediate success, while working for the inauspicious one never attains. (8) Kali, who in the eyes of the weaker ones appears to be a great power, is to the self-controlled a cause of apprehension, and thus Parîkchit as a tiger among man was the one who among the careless took care. (9) Upon your request I have related almost all the stories that in relation to Vâsudeva can be told about the pious Parîkchit. (10) Those who want to develop and prove themselves should take notice of all and everything about the Supreme Lord His wonders, transcendental qualities and uncommon deeds I spoke about."
(11) The sages said: "O Sûta, may you live a long, happy and particularly eternally famous life, because you speaking so nicely about Lord Krishna grant us mortals certainly the nectar of eternity. (12) In this performance of sacrifice, of which the outcome is uncertain, we are black of the smoke, but by the pleasing of Govinda's feet of your good self we enjoy the nectar of a lotus flower. (13) Attaining higher worlds or liberation from matter, not even mentioning the worldly benedictions of those who inevitably head for their death, is nothing compared to finding but for a moment one's perfect balance in enjoying the company of a devotee of the Lord. (14) Once having acquired the taste someone will never get enough of relishing the nectar of the stories about the greatest and only refuge among the living beings, He whose transcendental qualities could never be measured by even the greatest masters of mystic union like Lord Brahmâ and Lord S'iva. (15) Be so kind oh learned one to describe to us who are eager to hear about it, His impartial transcendental activities, for He to the good self of you, our most important person in relation to the Supreme Lord, is the one and only shelter, the greatest of the great. (16) Evidently Parîkchit, as a first-class devotee, attained the lotus feet of Him who has Garuda in His banner, after he had strengthened his intelligence with the knowledge that was voiced by the son of Vyâsa in order to inform him about the path of liberation. (17) Please tell us therefore about the supreme and purifying that is so wonderfully contained in bhakti [devotion]. Describe to us, the way it was spoken to Parîkchit, the activities of the Unlimited One that are so particularly dear to the pure devotees."
(18) Sûta said: "See how we, this way being connected to the great ones in conversation, despite of having a mixed background, today clearly are promoted to take [a higher] birth [in the spirit of the Lord]. By serving the ones who are advanced in knowledge one is quickly freed from the suffering that is a consequence of one's being born in a lower [material] sense. (19) And, again, what to say of those who exclusively take to the shelter of the great devotees and thereto chant the holy name of Him who is called Ananta because of the fact that He is unlimited in His potency and unmeasurably great by His attributes? (20) To give a description of Him unlimited in His attributes and equal to none, it suffices to say, that the Goddess of Fortune, with rejecting others who asked for it, wished to serve in the dust of His feet, while He Himself never asked for it. (21) Who else would be worth the position of carrying the name of Supreme Lord besides Mukunda [Lord Krishna as the one granting liberation] from whose toenails the water [of the Ganges] collected by Brahmâjî emanated that via Lord S'iva purifies the whole universe. (22) Those who are firmly attached to Him are capable of instantly leaving aside the attachments of the gross body and the subtle mind and go away to take shelter of the highest stage of perfection [sannyâsa], the stage of life in which nonviolence and renunciation is found. (23) Because you who are as strong as the sun asked me, I can give you an account of the knowledge I have acquired; it is in this matter as with the birds who fly as far as they can: I can enlighten you on Vishnu as far as my realization permits.
(24-25) Once upon a time when Parîkchit was hunting stags with bow and arrows, he got very fatigued, hungry and thirsty. Looking for a reservoir of water he entered the hermitage of the famous rishi S'amîka where he saw the sage silently sitting down with his eyes closed. (26) Having restrained his sense organs, breath, mind and intelligence he, in quality equal to the Supreme Absolute, had ceased all activity while he remained unaffected in trance elevated above the three modes of consciousness [wakefulness, dream and unconsciousness]. (27) He was covered by his long, compressed hair as also by the skin of a stag. The king, whose palate was dry of thirst, asked for water. (28) Not being properly received with a place to sit, water and nice words, he felt neglected and so he got angry. (29) Oh brahmins, given the circumstance of being distressed because of his hunger and thirst, his anger and hostility against the brahmin was unprecedented. (30) Having lost his respect he with the tip of his bow picked up a lifeless snake and placed it angrily over the shoulder of the sage as he left to return to his palace. (31) There he wondered whether or not the sage's meditative state of withdrawing from the senses with closed eyes was a false, pretended trance to remain in avoidance of seeing a lower ruler.
(32) When the sage's son, who was a very powerful personality, heard of the grief the king had caused his father while he was playing with some children, he said this: (33) 'Just see how irreligious these rulers are! Enriching themselves like crows they defy what is settled for servants, while they are nothing but dogs keeping watch at the door! (34) The sons of the ruling class are to guard the learned ones like watchdogs - on what grounds would he who is supposed to stay at the door deserve it to enter the house of the master and eat from the same plate? (35) Since Krishna our protector, who is the Supreme Lord and ruler of those upstarts, has departed, I shall today punish them myself, just witness my power!' (36) Thus with eyes red-hot of anger speaking to his playmates, the son of the rishi touched the water of the Kaus'ika river and discharged the following thunderbolt of words: (37) 'Verily, seven days from now the wretched one of the dynasty who offended my father will, because of breaking with the etiquette, be bitten by a snake-bird.' (38) When the boy thereafter returned to the hermitage, he saw the snake over his father's shoulder and wept aloud over that sorry plight.
(39) Oh S'aunaka, when the rishi heard his son crying in distress, he who was born in the family of Angirâ slowly opened his eyes and saw the dead snake on his shoulder. (40) Throwing it aside, he asked: 'My dear son, what are you crying about? Has someone wronged you?' Thus being requested, the boy told him everything. (41) After hearing about the curse pronounced against the king who should never have been condemned because he is the best among man, he did not compliment his son, but lamented instead: 'Alas! What a great sin you have committed yourself today in awarding such a heavy punishment for such an insignificant offense! (42) In fact no one may ever place a transcendental man of God on the same footing with common men - your command of intelligence is immature... by his unsurpassable prowess his subjects completely protected enjoy the prosperity. (43) Oh my boy, the Lord who carries the wheel of the chariot is represented by this monarch; once he is abolished, this world will be full of thieves who immediately will vanquish the ones unprotected like they were lambs. (44) Because of us negating the monarch, from this day on, the reaction upon this sin will overtake us causing great social disorder. The wealth will be taken by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of women and animals. (45) The righteous civilization of human progress in the vocations and stages of life according to the vedic injunctions will at that time systematically be vanquished, and with the economy then only serving sense-gratification will result in an unwanted population on the level of dogs and monkeys. (46) The protector of the religion, the king, is a highly celebrated emperor, a direct, first class devotee of the Lord and a saint of nobility; a great performer of horse sacrifices - and when he hungry and thirsty is stricken with fatigue he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.'
(47) Next the sage addressed the Supreme, All-pervading Lord in order to beg His pardon for the great sin that by the child immature of intelligence was committed against a sinless, worthy and subordinate soul. (48) [He prayed:] 'Whether they are defamed, cheated, cursed, disturbed, neglected or even when one of them is killed, the forbearing devotees of the Lord for certain never will avenge themselves for any of this.' (49) Thus the sage regretted the sin of his son while he personally didn't consider the king insulting him sinful. (50) Generally the saints in this world prove themselves not distressed or happy when they because of others are engaged in worldly duality, because they are situated in the transcendence of the soul."