All of us commit mistakes. However, the extent of our mistake lies not in how big the mistake itself is, but in how responsible a person one is. A child is permitted to make a huge mistake, yet it is considered forgivable; a small fraction of the same mistake done by a grown-up would tantamount to a sin. Hence, one can fathom the gravity of a mistake made knowingly by a wise king.
The Suta continued to talk to the assembled sages: Once King Parikshit was hunting in a forest when he grew extremely thirsty. He was unable to find any source of water. He wandered on until he came upon a great sage called Shameeka. Parikshit asked him for water, but the sage did not respond. The king repeated his request but the sage, deep in the state of samaadhi, did not even hear the king. The king, not used to such treatment and further irked due to his immense thirst, grew impatient and threw a dead snake around the sage’s neck implying that the latter was as good as dead. This too the sage was unaware of, as he was blissfully immersed in Brahman. The king then went away in search of water.
A little later the sage’s son, Shringi came and saw the humiliation inflicted upon his father. Shringi, one born with great powers, was infuriated and cursed that whoever had brought his father to that state would die of snake bite in a week’s time.
The king returned to his palace. Now in a calm frame of mind, he came back to his senses and grew deeply remorseful. Soon, he came to know of the curse uttered by Shringi. The king was glad and accepted this curse as a blessing. His mind felt less burdened. He handed over the throne to his son Janamejaya, and retired to the forest on order to spend the week contemplating on God.
Many sages heard of the king’s resolve and came to meet him. The king was immensely glad to be in the company of the wise and holy. Then, there came the son of the great teacher, Vyasa. Aged a mere sixteen, clad in air and with mind fixed on the Brahman, arrived the radiant faced Shuka. The assembly stood in reverence.
Parikshit requested Shuka to teach him about God and of how to reach Him. Shuka taught of the Love of God. Those present there listened. I was one of them. I am now going to teach you what Shuka taught.
Continued in next part…