Satvika Raju

‘Bhagvat Prasadam’ is as good as Bhagwan Himself. It should be taken with due respect. This episode teaches us this principle.

Once there lived a king called Satvika in the holy place of Puri. He was great devotee of Puri Jagannath. He was renowned for his Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya. He saw God in all his people. So he looked after his people with love, care and affection. He never looked down upon anyone. He did not feel himself the protector of his subjects. He treated the Lord as the protector of everyone including himself. He learnt that people are ill placed or well placed based on their karmas. So he led a good life.

One day he came to the temple to have the Darsan of God. He heard that it was Prasadams’ time and that he had to wait for sometime. He wanted to kill time. So he began playing gambling at the main entrance. Within no time he was deeply engrossed in the game. He was told that he could go for Darsan but those words did not reach his ears. Later the priests brought Prasadam and offered it to him. The king, instead of taking it in right hand with due respects, held his left hand for the Prasadam. He was so busy playing with the right hand. The priests could not bear it. They left the place mutely without offering him the Prasadam.

The king looked around after he finished his gambling and asked why the Prasadam was delayed. The ministers explained ‘Oh king! Prasadam was offered long ago. We informed you of that and requested you to have the Lord’s Darsan. You were so much occupied with your gambling. Then the priests brought the Prasadam to you but you had no inclination to take it properly. They left you to your fate.’ Look at the impact of your gambling! The king was very much grieved over his behaviour. What’s wrong with me? Why did I behave thus? Does it befit any one to drink wine instead of nectar at Yagna? But that’s what I had done! I came to the doorstep of God, but sought the sinful gambling. That’s why great people don’t entertain gambling. Don’t we know the amount of suffering the Pandavas faced due to Dharmaraja’s gambling habit? I am worse than him! I played in the holy temple! He reprimanded himself thus in various ways. He had darshan and went back to the palace, but he could not drive back his guilty feeling! He wanted atonement for his sin.

He recollected a story of two great saints he learnt about in the Sastras. They were brothers. It so happened that one day one brother took away the fruits from the garden of his brother without the latter’s knowledge. Later he went to the king, confessed his guilt and saw to it that his right hand was cut. The king wanted to undergo the same punishment.

Immediately the king sent word for his minister and drought his help for a problem ‘Oh minister! For the last few nights a device has been disturbing my sleep. He puts his right hand into my room through the key hole and disturbs me. I am not able to sleep properly. Tonight I will sleep elsewhere. You be near my bed, and the minute you see the right hand, you cut it with your sword. The minister agreed and accordingly he waited in the king’s room ready for action. Late in the night, the king held his right hand through the key hole. The minister who was eager to obey his king. Without any second thought cut the right hand with one blow.

The king gloated at the punishment and so did not feel the slightest pain. He went joyfully to the minister and hugged him with his left hand. ‘Oh Great man! you are my saviour. You saved me from going to hell. Lord Jagannath himself came in your form to purity me. You are my Guru.’ The minister was stunned and looked at the king. Lo! His right hand was cut off. The minister could guess at once, he cut the right hand, not of the devil, but of the king.

Now it was the turn of the minister to cry for his sin. ‘What a great sinner I am! I’ve made our savior suffer! How can I atone for my sin? The king consoled him and explained his feeling to him. He held his amputated right arm in a palanquin and followed to the temple with his followers in the morning. He addressed the crowd gathered there, I am a great sinner. I am unfit to enter the temple. So please take my right hand into God’s presence and request him to punish me as per God’s desire.

The saints, the priests, the holy people and the ordinary people all were equally surprised at the King’s magnanimity. They said unanimously that they had never come across such a great man! They had not seen a single soul who had no interest on his physical body. That was the height of his Vairagya. As per his wishes, his right hand was placed before God and the priests brought him Prasadam. What a miracle! His right hand came back to him. He stretched both his hands and took the Prasadam with due respect. Surprisingly at the place where his right hand was kept in the temple, ‘Davanam’ appeared. The fragrant Davanam was offered three Gods there. Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra. The rest they preserved in the Nandanavanam.

The king developed greater Vairagya hence forth and spent his time in prayer to God that he breathed his last and attained Moksha.