Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Story 01 -- Whose body is it anyway?

King Shrutakirti of Avanti had hundred wives. All of them were from
noble families, well trained in philosophy and arts, well behaved and they served their husband king with devotion and respect. The kingdom was prosperous, with no threat to its internal or external security and the subjects were industrious, law abiding and happy. But there was onecause of sorrow. The king had no son and that bothered the king to noend. What will happen to his kingdom after he is gone. King Shrutakirtispent long nights tossing and sighing in the bed with out a wink of sleepworrying about the future.

One day the great sage Kashyapa visited the palace. The king received
the sage with full honors and washed the sage's feet and spring led the
holy water on his head as well the heads of his devoted wives. After a
delicious meal of fruits, cooked vegetables, dry fruits and sweets
served with scented drinks the great sage sat for satsang with the king and his wives. The king fell at Kashyapa's feet sobbing and said that hewas in great grief with out a progeny to take over the reigns after him.Sage Kashyapa told the brooding king that there are two types ofsuffering regarding progeny- one not having children and the other all ofthem turning out unruly and disrespectful. Hence why donĂ¢€™t think ofadopting a child or training a worthy young man for royal duties? The kingwould have none of it. He wanted his own biological children. Kashyapadid not insist and initiated the king into "Ourasa Mantra" for thebenefit of having a son. After the satsang and rest Sage kashyapa left forhis ashram in the woods.

The king religiously chanted the mantra and his favorite queen
Bhadravati conceived. The news spread fast and every one was in a celebratory festive mood The king was over joyous. Queen Bhadravati shown like fullmoon. Duly she delivered a beautiful healthy baby boy on first fullmoon day of the month of ashadha. The kingdom burst into jubilation.The king and all his lovely wives dotted on the baby prince todistraction. They hovered around the baby like bees around a fresh bloom. There was nothing more that the king could ask for.

The boy mastered all the arts and philosophy- Vedas, dharma sastras,
archery, danda neeti, magic and sorcery, grammar, composition and
rhetoric, dance and martial arts- in no time. Now he was sixteen. The king was ready to hand over the kingdom to the young prince.

Then was hell let loose. The step mothers, ninety nine of them, became
jealous of the good fortune of queen Bahadravati. She will be the queen
mother and they couldn't take the very thought of it. They secretly
plotted and poisoned the prince who died excruciatingly.

Now the whole world lay in ruins all around the king. When misfortune
opens the flood gates it comes in like unstoppable Mongolian hordes.
The king became a mental wreck The wives who plotted the heinous murder were all put in prison, which added fuel to the hapless king's mental torture.

Then appeared Sage Kashyapa, like a welcome shower to sun parched
fields. The king was inconsolable and begged kashyapa to do some magic to bring the dead prince back to life. Kashyapa's consolations and advise to the king that dead people never come back nor was it desirable to callthem back were not convincing to the king.Finally Kashyapa said to the king, " alright, I will establish contactwith the boy through my magical powers and you can talk with him, andif he is willing we can bring him back. The disembodied soul is drivenpurely by the power of thought and are embedded in mind."

Then Sage Kashyapa drew a deep shaft of air, sat in samadhi, commanded he power of samyama and pressed the king's forehead with his left thump, his right toe jabbing the king's navel. The rest of Kashyapa's leftfingers spread gently on the king's head. The king felt a powerfulcurrent of energy passing over his body and fell into deep trance. " Seewith your inner eye" commanded the sage, and " talk to your son".King Shrutakirti saw his son, playing with a group of boys andbeautiful girls and the material body that he wore in his human embodiment still hang around him like an odor. So the king could barely recognize hisbeloved son for whom his parental heart pined. "Abhirama" for the first time he called his son by name. Other wise he called him only byhonyed adjectives- rojapooo, thenkudam, kanne, karale ....etc. Hearing a vaguely familiar voice the boy looked up and shouted back,"
I am busy playing, can't you see, who are you?"
I am your father, King Shrutakirti, my lad, have you forgotten us, me-
your father and your mother and the whole country is waiting for you,
why did you leave my child, we will not live if you don't come back-
saying this the king cried aloud.

The boy was amused and unconcerned and the whole thing was embarrassing for him and so he shouted back, " Who are you? father! whose father? I have played those roles of sons and fathers in many episodic birthsthat I have lost count. Tell me in which edisode did you play my father'srole? Saying that the boy continued to play.

King Shrutakirti was shocked to death to hear this cool, heartless
words of the boy. His tears burst out uncontrollably and he pleaded, " son, don't you remember your father? Please call me father at least onceand stop talking like that; I implore come back and take up yourresponsibilities, and be beside your father and mother in their old age.

Don't be thankless, remember we gave you birth, educated you and made youwhat you are today. Don't forget that and don't be ungrateful. The boy stopped playing, " this is real nuisance " he whispered andshouted back, "OK, Ok, you gave me birth, my physical embodiment, my material garb in one life. though I don't remember, but I take you for your word. But look here old man, don't bother me further, I have cast away that costume when the play ended, didn't I return the body cloak that I borrowed from you when I left the stage? Look carefully around your vicinity, you will find them, thank you for calling, but don't botheragain.

[ The physical body which houses the mind- memory chip is born of
parents chromosomes]

The confused and exasperated king looked around listlessly.
Sage Kashyapa had already left unnoticed.

Nobody dies, nobody is born, it is all a big joke, whispered the kiang
unbelievingly as he shuffled out of his seat.

Swami Bodhananda.

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