(Before the unfolding of select tale, to know background is necessary. First six discourses glorify Srimad Bhagvate Mahapurana. It begins with a dialogue between sage Narada and Bhakti. An embodiment of truth and consciousness, Krishna is the lord of creation, preservation and destruction, who ends sufferings of mind, sufferings others cause and suffering from natural calamities the dialogue reveals. Saunaka requests Suta, a recluse (a son of Sage Vedavyasa) merged with the Universal Spirit and enjoying divine bliss, who knows hearts of created beings, to tell how one attains detachment and perfect intellect through devotion and spiritual light, and dispels delusions ensnaring life. Suta tells that lord is happy if a man of devotion surrenders. In an assembly of sages, Narada speaks of devotion and later on, reveals that in Kaliyuga, righteousness and truth suffer. Devotion in body form tells that one attains everything if one lives among holy souls because it was through devotion, Prahalada conquered delusion and Dhruva attained Vaikuntha (Above of lord Vishnu) he reveals further.
Sage Narada tells Kumaras that spiritual illumination and insouciance grants salvation and in the age of Kali, a man merges with the Supreme lord through Bhakti. Kumaras feel that Srimad Bhagavata has origin in Vedas and is the essence of holy books. Suta talks of deliverance from a life of sins, and tale of Gokarna tells how he attained divinity. To follow certain rules is necessary during hearing of slokas of the great book Kumaras advise and elucidate the procedure. Saunaka and sages ask Suta, many questions relating to the Transcendent Reality, the Supreme Lord and a discourse on the three-fold creation born of Sattva, rajas and Tamas qualities, and three-fold agonies born of mind, natural calamities and sufferings others inflict. Later on, a penetrative disquisition on the world of matter begins and reasons of Vedavyasa despondence are clear and one learns about the earlier life of Narada.
Narration also tells about the assassination of Draupadi’s sons as Arjuna curbs ego and pride. Later, Bhisma praises Krishna and dies. Krishna going to Dwarka, birth of Pariksit and departure of Dhritrastra and queen to the forest in remorse, form part of the discourse. Krishna’s going to Dwarka does not give joy to Pandavas and they hand over the kingdom to Pariksit and relinquish mortal frames. Pariksit expands territorial limits and conquers the world. After a while, King Pariksit learns about the entry of Kali in the kingdom and so he begins another journey of conquest. People not only praise but revere him and in the course of expedition, he hears about his deliverance and many divine acts of Sri Krishna. He follows principles of truth and righteousness and then, hears about an extraordinary incident that takes place far off from the limits of empire. Dharma (bull) with one foot/leg and mother Earth in sad figure of a cow with tearful eyes, present a heartrending scenario. Dharma asks in many words the cause of agony from mother earth Cow, who is in deep anguish, looks quite frail and emaciated).
Precisely at that time, King Pariksit, while wandering around the kingdom, arrived at riverbank Sarswati, and then, at the sacred source from where it flowed eastward. He saw a man of sudra caste bearing emblem of royalty and a long and sturdy stick in hand, beating mercilessly a cow and a bull as if the animals were without a lord. The bull, like a white lotus stalk, stood still on one leg, trembled and out of fear appeared to urinate as sudra thrashed it brutally.
A cow yields milk, ghee, curd and valued produce for the health of human beings. Human beings also utilize products in prayers, worship and yajnas and religious ceremonies. At that time, animals looked pathetic and wretched as sudra kicked cruelly. It was a miserable sight and sudra did not allow even cow to stay with calf. Cow was frail, thin, lean and hungry as tears filled eyes and then, continued to roll down.
Mounting a gold-plated chariot, Pariksit (king and a royal sage) took bow and arrow, pulled up strings and challenged callous sudra in thundering drawl, “O man, who are you? You are strong and … you beat up weak animals of my kingdom. Why it is so? Like an actor of a stage, putting on dress of a king, you act but appear a sudra. Your karma is against appearance. You thrash and beat up innocent creatures at a time when Krishna and Arjuna left for heavenly abode. It proves you are an offender of law. Therefore, you deserve reprimand, and so, you ought to get death sentence.”
Pariksit did not relent. He turned to bull and asked, “O noble soul, you are white, pure and untainted like a lotus stalk. You do not have three legs and so, stand on a leg only. It gives pain. O soul, are you a god or divinity incarnate in the guise of a bull. Please tell. Powerful and strong arms of kings of Kuru dynasty thoroughly protect created beings on earth. I see no other living being in the kingdom from whose eyes tears flow without a break. Please do not grieve, feel distressed and fear sudra, O bull.”
He turned to the aggrieved cow and said, “O mother, I will punish evil doers. Do not weep. I wish you well. God bless you.”
He further said, “O godlike cow, a wild and imprudent conduct of a king destroys reputation, longevity, health, pleasures and fortunes of a country. People suffer tyrannical behaviour of a wicked king. To put end to sufferings and pains of people is the supreme dharma of kings. Cruel men and wild criminals definitely beat and injure living beings. Therefore, I sentence a depraved fellow sudra to death because he acts viciously.”
After a pause, he said reverently, “O holy bull, you are quadruped (a four-footed) being. Who amputated three legs? Tell about the ghastly man. I want no suffering and miserable living beings in the regime of kings, who are devotees of lord Krishna.”
King Pariksit was sincere, truly worried and anguished because he did not want any innocent to suffer and so, pleaded, “O bull, I wish you well. Justice will be done. Tell me about the iniquitous fellow. Who mutilated an unfortunate and pathetic being like you? He has brought disgrace to Pandavas’s nobility and reputation. Good may come to you O bull. A fellow, who tortures and hurts innocent living beings, must fear me. Pious and virtuous souls live a rich and happy life if the ruler conquers and eliminates vicious and depraved creatures.”
He assured, “An inhuman and foolish man, who inflicts injuries on innocent creatures, has no right to exist. I shall surely cut off well-ornamented and adorned arms even if he is a god-incarnate or a veritable god. To protect and guard people devoted to the principles of dharma, and punish those, who violate dharma, are essential duties of a king. A man causing misfortunes to people needs castigation.” In fact, bull was dharma personified. It looked at the king for a long time.
Dharma (as a bull) said, “You belong to the dynasty of Pandava. To assure and protect the distressed and the suffering is Dharma of a king people expect. Pandu’s virtues persuaded even lord Krishna to agree to become charioteer and envoy of your ancestors. O great soul, grand, different and ennobling axioms of various scriptures infatuate you. In truth, we do not know this person, who is a fountainhead of sufferings.”
He continued, “A few persons and at times, many, do not accept any difference, and believe they are cause of sufferings. A few hold providence responsible for miseries on earth. Still, a few people feel that nature causes sufferings and declare the lord as a source of pains and sufferings. Again, to describe causes of sufferings and reasons thereof is beyond reach of speech several people believe. O sage king, it is for you to consider everything in totality and arrive at a sound judgment.”
Wisdom of dharma delighted King Pariksit and so, earlier disillusionment disappeared. He was quiet and calm and rays of brightness appeared on king’s face.
Pariksit glorifies Dharma (disguised as a bull)
After a short pause, he said, “O dharma (holy bull), you are a god of virtues and know essence of truth and life, and dharma’s varied wings. Therefore, give advice on virtues. You did not reveal identity of person, who tormented. If you do not divulge intimidator, you will also share punishment. Principle and limitation of language of living beings cannot describe image of maya (deluding divine potency) of Supreme Creator you know.” A long pause caused disquiet.
He resumed, “O lord of Dharma, “In Satyayuga (Age of Truth), you had four legs of austerity, purity, compassion and truthfulness. In age of truth, progeny of impiety, malice, pride, attachment and passion, hauteur and conceit destroyed three feet and legs. Now, O Dharma, I find you have a leg of truth. On its force and energy alone, you stand and live. Untruth and adharma feed you. O sacred Bull, age of Kaliyuga (age of darkness) wishes to devour truth with power of falsehood and mendacity. Cow sustains everyone and is none other than mother earth (goddess of Truth).”
He said again, “Now, she is relieved of terrible burden as lord’s beautiful footprints adorn earth and it is a scene of revelries. However, it appears she is abandoned. Holy mother grieves over destiny like an unfortunate, worried and dependent woman (of tearful eyes). In the guise of a king, enemies of brahmins, sudras (progenies of impiety, malice, pride, attachment and passion, hauteur and conceit) will enjoy and live life of pleasure and also exploit the poor and the vulnerable.”
King Pariksit consoled and comforted Dharma and Earth in the guise of Bull and Cow with compassion and truth. In anger, he took out a terrible sword to kill Kali, the ruler of the age of evil, untruth, and a source of impiety. Now, sudra perceived imminent threat and so, trembled in fear and dread, and without wasting a moment, threw away insignias of royalty, placed head at the feet of the king. Pariksit was not only a sympathetic king but also frequently, he offered shelter to the sufferers and the disadvantaged, who appeared before him.
Sudra prostrated, fell at King’s feet and prayed for mercy. Pariksit left thought of killing and said mildly, “O Sudra, nurse no fear as you seek shelter at my feet, a descendant of dynasty of Arjuna, a great archer and warrior. However, since you are genial to terrible vices of untruth and unrighteousness, you will not stay in the kingdom. O lord of evil and deceit, when you live in the body of a king thought as the lord among human beings, you witness dreadful increase in greed, falsehood, thieving, iniquity, desertion of path of rectitude, poverty, deception, cantankerousness, pretense and other sins.” He said slowly and emphatically, “Therefore, O an ally of wickedness and sin, do not stay in Brahmavarta (land of Brahma), an abode of dharma and truth. In the holy land, brahmins well-versed in organizing yajnas elaborately and who, follow rituals religiously based on scriptural injunctions, propitiate the lord of Yajnas and undergo tapasya. Krishna resides here in the form of sacrifice (yajna) and people worship, and so he blesses devotees, who keenly perform yajnas with dedication. In truth, the Universal soul lives in all animate and inanimate beings and keeps fulfilling devotees’ desires.”
Kali (lord of adharma –unrighteousness and untruth) trembled because he knew well intents of King Pariksit. An uncertainty stared in the face as Pariksit stood with a terrible sword and looked a Yama holding a rod of punishment.
Kali spoke in quivering voice, “O king, I obey commands and wherever I think to settle down permanently, I find you everywhere and it is not easy to locate a suitable land. O crown and glory of Dharma, tell a place where I can live and obey directives you issued.” He stood humbly and waited for the king’s decree.
King Pariksit specifies four places to Kali to settle down
King Pariksit heard requests of Kali, thought over the appeal, allotted four places to settle down. He told Kali to live in a house of betting or at a place where people drink or enjoy in a house of easy virtues and finally, asked him live at a place of violence, loot and arson. Falsehood, intoxication, obsession and brutality are four untruths and vices where adharma lives and flourish, Pariksit thought for some time. It appeared Kali was not satisfied, as places allocated seemed restricted and not entirely suitable to fulfill desires, and earn livelihood.
Kali insisted for more and therefore, the king offered abode of gold and thus, he became the lord of five abodes namely: falsehood and fabrication where dice rules, intoxication (the root of madness and passion) where prostitutes live and flourish, violence (abode of destruction and massacre) and wealth (materialism of age) live and prosper. Kali made no further demands and so the lord of deceit and untruth finally became the lord of five places of vice and sin. Therefore, Kali, the ancestor and progenitor of untruth and unrighteousness (adharma) occupied the above realms King Pariksit offered.
King Pariksit while giving punishment to the lord of sins (adharma) determined the principles of an ideal life and allotted five regions to live and prosper. If a man seeking divine blessings avoids regions of sins and crimes gets joy in life. A king of dharma, a leader and a religious guru must carefully abandon thoughts to visit areas, vices and sins haunt.
He looked at bull’s pathetic condition and so, king an embodiment of dharma took steps to heal bull’s legs and cautiously joined legs symbolic of a life of penance, truth, purity and compassion and came forward to console and comfort mother earth (the cow). Thus, a benign king helped promotion of virtues constantly and exhorted kings to act on the principles of truth and ideals.
If contemporary rulers follow principles of dharma (austerity, righteousness, truth, purity, compassion) and avoid five sins warily, King Pariksit of truth stipulated, the world would become a heaven. However, for pure personal gains and motives, people ignore ideal principles of dharma and live life of corruption, vices, violence, fabrication and deceit, the ruling planets of a modern ruler.