Shamika Maharishi continued, “You could not understand the dictates of our scriptures which state that a king is none other than Vishnu. You have equated the king to an ordinary person. What you have done is absolutely wrong. The King’s power is unbeatable. Being protected by his unsurpassed strength and power, citizens move about fearlessly. They attain auspiciousness and material prosperity.
Oh my son! Lord Vishnu who holds the discus, himself protects this world in the form of a king. In the absence of a king, citizens will be devoid of any protection. Scoundrels will thrive in the society and like a flock of sheep this entire world will be destroyed in no time. In a world that is devoid of kings, thieves will steal away all wealth. We will be tainted with these sins even though we are unconnected to them.
As the number of rogues increase in society, violence will become rampant. People will kill each other. Wealth, women and animals will be stolen. In a society without a ruler, dharma (adherence to righteousness) specified in the Vedas will get neglected. The rules pertaining to the caste (varna) and stage of life (ashrama) will die down as none will abide by them.
People will concentrate only on earning material wealth (artha) and on fulfilling their desires (kāma, sense gratification). There will be no thought about adherence to righteousness (dharma) or attaining liberation (moksha). People will be fickle-minded like monkeys. Like dogs they will be inclined only towards materialistic comforts. At all times and in all circumstances they will be inclined only towards bodily comforts. Have you realized your blunder at least now?
The saintly king Parikshit, who zealously protects dharma and who has conducted many Ashwamedha yagnas is of great renown. He is a supreme devotee of the Lord. Fatigued and thirsty he came to our ashrama seeking water. Under such circumstances he does not deserve to be cursed.
Oh God! Due to unripened intellect and lack of maturity, this ignorant boy who lacks discrimination between sins and merits, has sinned gravely against the great king, who piously rules the world and safeguards the interests of everyone!
O Lord of the universe! Kindly forgive his sins. The devotees of that Supreme Lord are so merciful that they will never seek revenge on those who abuse, cheat, scold, beat, or insult them, even if they are supremely capable of it”.
Thus, Shamika Maharishi was deeply repenting the sin of his son and was grieving over it. He could not, even for a moment, find fault in the actions of the king. He did not consider the king’s act as insulting. He kept on re-iterating that his son was wrong.
Prāyaśaḥ sādhavo loke parair dvandveṣu yojitāḥ
Na vyathanti na hṛṣyanti yata ātmāguṇāśrayaḥ
Although people of the world constantly push them into dualities such as pleasures and pains, saintly persons do not experience them. This is because they constantly enjoy the bliss of the Self which is over and above dualities and trigunas.
With this the eighteenth chapter of the first canto comes to an end.
First Canto Nineteenth Chapter
Parikshit going to the banks of Ganga and awaiting death by abstaining from food and water, the arrival of many great sages to that place, Parikshit putting forth his questions to Maharishi Śuka are covered in this chapter.
Parikshit began recollecting the events that had taken place in the forest. He felt agitated when he realized he had erred. “Oho, I have behaved in an uncultured manner towards a great saint who was faultless and who was glowing with divine illumination. My behavior is very disgusting. What have I done! I have insulted a person who is at par with God! Undoubtedly due to this, a great calamity is going to befall me shortly.
I hope that I pay for all my sins and that my children should not have the bear the brunt of it. With this punishment may I be absolved of my sin in totality and may I never ever be inclined to commit such a sin in future. In the fire called ‘Maharishi’s wrath’ may all the riches, kingdom, armies, that are attached to me, a wretched being, be burnt completely. This is what I seek.
I am a sinner. I have committed a heinous sin. I have insulted a great saint who was immersed in absolute meditation. May my sin burn me up completely! Let it burn all my wealth and belongings! As long as my children do not have to suffer for it, I am happy. Never ever in future should I be negligent in my attitude towards saints, Vedic scholars, Gods and cows.”
When the king was repenting his misdeed in this manner, he received the news that, due to the curse of the saint’s son, he was to die within 7 days, from the bite of the poisonous snake called Takshaka. Shamika Mahamuni had sent a disciple with this news to the king.
Srihari! Narayana! Narayana!