The Story of King Parikshit
|Sage Shuka narrating Bhagawatam to the King Parikshit|
King Parikshit entered the forest, hunting for pleasure and he was tired after a very hectic day when reached an Ashram. A king should always have a broad mind. A king should always consider his subjects as his own children. A king should consider Maharshis as people who are ideal. The king will have to conduct himself according to the dictates of the people who know what is right and wrong. But what did this king Parikshit do? Having entered the Ashram, he was tired and thirsty. He did not get anything to quench his thirst and became angry. He took a dead snake and put it around the neck of the Maharishi, who was in deep meditation. This is not what a king should have done. Shringi, the son of the Maharshi, saw this particular sight. He was annoyed and gave a curse to this king saying that the Takshak snake will bite the king and he will die at the end of seven days. The king, who was a good person, realised his mistake took a vow that he would not waste even a moment in those seven days. He decided that he would remember God constantly and sanctify his life. The moment a man gets a good thought; all the circumstances will help him to fulfill that particular good thought.
Thousands of Maharshis came there. At the same time, Sage Shuka also happened to come there. Such an assembly of great Maharshis happens only when there is a sacred moment. Shuka Maharshi narrated the Bhagawatam on this occasion. All the Maharshis who had assembled there drank the nectar of Bhagawatam. The king too listened to the narration of the Bhagawatam with a concentrated mind and tears of happiness. Before leaving his last breath, king Parikshit announced, “Oh great Shringi! The curse that you gave me is a great boon for me.” But, unfortunately, people do not understand the real purpose of a curse. Any curse that comes out of the mouth of a Maharshi will be really a boon. People who take it literally may not be able to comprehend its true value. Therefore, they criticise the Maharshis. Suppose there was no curse like the one given by Shringi to king Parikshit, Parikshit would not have come to such a glorious end.
The Story of Gajendra
The Story of Gajendra
|Gajendra praying to Lord Narayana to save him from the crocodile|
Agastya Maharshi also cursed Devendra similarly. He cursed Indra to be born as an elephant (Gajendra). And in this form, Devendra used his entire physical prowess and all his capabilities to fight against a crocodile. But he could not succeed in his fight. He finally realised that physical powers are futile when compared to the great power of God. He then prayed to Lord Narayana to come and save his life. So long as man or animal has ego, they will not be able to achieve the goal of life. As long as this elephant had egotism in him, he faced many difficulties. The elephant told himself, “Well, physically I am tired and exhausted. I do not have sufficient mental power too.” Only during difficulties we remember God. When we are happy, we do not bother to think of Him. In that way, it is the trouble that is giving us happiness (by making us think about God). In this context, a curse can only be a boon to a person, when he understands and conducts himself properly.
That is why it is said, ‘A pleasure is an interval between two pains.’ There is a Telugu proverb which says that, you remember Lord Venkataramana only when you are in difficulty and trouble, otherwise you do not care for God. It is possible to remember God in an intense way only when you are in real trouble, when you are in grief, or when you are sorrow stricken. Students would not be able to remember God as intensely in other times as they can during examination time, because for achieving anything in life, God’s grace is essential. The intensity with which you pray until you get a seat will not be there after you get the seat. Man’s mind consists of this type of thinking. Curses would become a boon because of the peculiar nature of mind. If there had not been any curse on the elephant, he would not have thought about God. As is the vision, so is the creation. As is the feeling, so is the result. As is the flour, so is the cake. As is the food, so is the belch.
The difference we find in the creation depends upon our own vision. Do good and reap good results. If you do bad and expect good results, it is not possible. If we eat bitter gourd, how can we expect the taste of a mango in our belch? You must be therefore ready to receive the consequences of whatever actions you undertake. Great sages, only for the benefit of the persons for whom they are given, intend curses. The scriptures have been giving this kind of benefits to man.