Vraja Bihari Das

Mistakes by the good people

Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, blundered in her judgment by cursing the devotee king Chitraketu. The king saw mother Parvati seated on the lap of her husband, and joyfully exclaimed. He found it surprising that Lord Shiva could offer a discourse on renunciation while having his chaste wife seated on his lap. What was a spontaneous expression of joy was misunderstood by Parvati, the most influential person of this material world, and she cursed him to be a demon. While Chitraketu happily accepted the curse, and Lord Shiva admonished his wife, Parvati felt ashamed of her actions.

Srimad Bhagavatam also explains the mistake of emperor Parikshit who in a moment of anger garlanded a meditative sage with a dead snake. This was a slip from the usual, gracious behavior of the king. But the damage had been done, and the sage’s young son cursed the king to die within seven days. That’s when the substance of the character of emperor Parikshit shines forth. His acceptance of the curse and decision to surrender to Krishna are immortalized in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srimad Bhagavatam doesn’t hide human frailties; it shows how the exalted personalities rose beyond their failures; how they marched on closer to God in their spiritual sojourn regardless of the challenges they met or the failures they faced. Parikshit in particular rose to the occasion. He accepted his mistakes and happily surrendered to Krishna. This is inspirational for us lesser mortals, who often slip and struggle in life. Srimad Bhagavatam compassionately offers us examples of heroes to learn from. Their attitude in the face of defeat teaches us how we need to face setbacks ourselves.

To be continued…


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