He not only offered prostrated obeisances to them on their arrival, but also credited their presence to their kindness, and not to any of his achievements. He gave an analogy of a bathroom. In the Vedic times, people washed their feet outside before entering the house. The king said he was like that place- in other words; he placed himself as ordinary. He chose to accept the reality of his small position in this massive universe and declared that the sages came to honor his grandparents who were great devotees of God, and he, on the other hand, was insignificant.
The choice of humility by the king attracted the Lord’s heart to orchestrate an extraordinary event- the descent of the immortal classic Srimad Bhagavatam.
The incident of Parikshit’s cursing is also a prelude to a whole lot of events that shaped human history at the end of Dwapara yuga- the previous time cycle. What is remarkable in this episode is the king’s choice of truth. He preferred to embrace a higher reality and transcend petty fighting and retaliation over an obvious wrong against him.
Our daily contrasting choices
Twenty-five of us traveled from Mumbai to the holy town of Mayapur, first by flight to Kolkatta, where we waited inside the comfortable airport for over two hours for our sumptuous lunch to arrive. Then we had a long drive on the winding roads of Bengal in an air-conditioned bus. Finally, eleven hours from our homes, we reached the holy place of Mayapur, safe, but restless and hungry.
A day before, another group of twenty-odd members from our congregation traveled the same distance, but by train. They were exposed to the blazing heat of Northern and Eastern India, on a train that got delayed by an hour initially. Slowly it added more minutes, and finally, instead of reaching at 12.00 pm on the following day, they arrived in Kolkatta eleven hours later at 11.00 pm. Their delay was our total travel time! Besides, during the journey, they had no proper food- the cooked rice and vegetables had spoiled due to the heat. The train’s bathrooms ran out of water as well. From my comfortable room in Mayapur, I had called one of my friends on the train and learned of their arduous journey. Six hours more of swerving through the potholes of Bengal villages, they arrived at last in Mayapur, a good forty-eight hours from the time they left their homes.
To be continued…