Maitreya Maharishi continued, “Suneetha, wife of Anga, drank the pāyasam (sweet pudding) given by her husband. Shortly thereafter she conceived. In due course of time she gave birth to a boy, who was named Vena.
Suneetha was the daughter of Mrtyu. Right from childhood Vena closely followed the footsteps of his maternal grandfather who belonged to the lineage of unrighteousness (adharma). As a result, he became a lover of unrighteous behaviour.
When hunting he would use his arrows to kill innocent harmless animals like a wicked hunter. Upon seeing him people would tremble and scream, ‘he is Vena, the tormentor’. Wicked Vena was absolutely devoid of any compassion. He would abduct his playmates, thrash them mercilessly and kill them as if they were animals.
When Anga realized that his son was evil, he struggled hard to reform him through various punishments but to no avail. With this he was totally depressed. He thought, “How lucky are those childless couples! They would have pleased the Lord through their worship and hence were blessed with childlessness. It is better to be childless than to be tormented by the atrocious deeds of wicked sons.
Bad progeny only results in bad name, enmity, unrighteousness and mental agony. Such a house is a repository for grief. Such children are children only for namesake and tie the parents into illusory bondages. How can an intelligent father accept such worthless son? How can he pamper and love a wicked son?
From a different perspective, perhaps having a worthless son is better than having a worthy son. A parent would be aggrieved to be separated from a worthy son. Due to worthless progeny at least there is a scope to distance from the household where spiritual ignorance and other afflictions reside”.
The aggrieved king who was fed up with this son could not sleep. Around midnight he left his beautiful wife, who was in deep sleep and also his huge palatial house, which was replete with untold riches, and secretively left the city.
In utter shock the ministers, priests, friends and citizens heard the news of the king’s departure. They were dejected and saddened. Forming search parties they looked for him everywhere. Just as pretentious saints cannot see the Lord who resides within their heart, they could not locate the king who was residing within that city itself.
Having failed in their mission they returned to the city. With tears that were freely flowing from their eyes, they informed the priests of their inability to locate the king”.
With this the thirteenth chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.
Fourth Canto Chapter Fourteen
In this chapter, the priests appointing Vena as the king, his evil deeds and his death are explained.
Maharishi Maitreya said to Vidura, “When it was obvious that Emperor Anga would not be found, eminent saints such as Bhrigu began to ponder about the safety of the country and its citizens. They decided that in the absence of a king, citizens would loot each other like animals. They approached Vena’s mother Suneetha and informed her of their thought process.
Even though the ministers, priests and others elders were unhappy, the Maharishis who were keen to protect the well-being of the citizens crowned Vena, the tormentor of the citizens, as the king.
The moment the news of his coronation reached the ears of the dacoits, all of them went into anonymity. Such was their fear!
Vena became haughty and conceited the moment he was crowned. He imposed harsh and ruthless punishments. There was none to oppose him from any of the eight directions. He was filled with feelings of superiority. At all times, he would boast. In his arrogance he began to ruthlessly insult noble persons and Mahatmas. Intoxicated due to wealth he behaved without care, respect and fear of elders.
Like an intoxicated elephant does not fear its mahout, King Vena fearlessly mounted his chariot and travelled everywhere as he pleased. Both the earth and the skies trembled violently as he thus travelled.
He issued a proclamation prohibiting priests and Brahmins from conducting Yāgas, Yagnas and homas. Charities and other noble deeds were banned. He opposed performance of every righteous deed.
Maharishis who noticed these wicked deeds of Vena were now concerned about the sufferings of the citizens. These compassionate Maharishis assembled and thought, “How strange! On the one hand, the citizens fear dacoits and on the other they fear the king. Their grief is comparable to the suffering undergone by insects, when firewood is lit on both ends.
In the absence of a king, the kingdom becomes unruly. Although Vena was undeserving, we appointed him the king. It was a grave mistake” lamented the Maharishis. They now pondered upon the ways to rescue the citizens from this tormenting situation.
Aher iva payaḥ-poṣaḥ poṣakasyāpy anartha-bhṛt
Venaḥ prakṛtyaiva khalaḥ sunīthā-garbha-sambhavaḥ
It is but natural for a snake which is nourished with milk to bite the person who has thus nurtured it. Vena who is born from Suneetha’s womb and who is inherently wicked is exactly like that poisonous snake’- though the Maharishis.