Stories from Indian Mythology: 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Five Questions of King Adhrit and Queen Mihika

Once upon a time long before Lord Ram cleansed the world of asurs and saved it from Ravan's atrocities, in the kingdom of Bharatvarsh, ruled the great king Adhrit and his queen Mihika. Both were just and wise and were greatly loved by their people. Bharatvarsh had the largest army in the known world and king Adhrit was considered the most powerful ruler of his times. Emissaries from kingdoms all over the world used to come to his court to pay homage. Stories of queen Mihika's beauty and wit were known to one and all. She was said to have the the largest collection of ornaments and jewellery with rooms filled with gold, rubies, diamonds and other precious gems.

However despite all the wealth, power, pleasure and grandeur available at their doorsteps, neither king Adhrit nor queen Mihika were satisfied with their lives and were filled with self doubt and uncertainty about their conduct, actions and life's outcomes.

One day, news came to the court of the presence of Brahmarishi Agastha in the forests near the capital. Rishi Agastha had descended from his abode in the Himalayas at the behest of Lord Shiva and was travelling south. Both the king and the queen immediately rushed to meet the great sage. Having heard their mental duress Agastha said, " King Adhrit and Queen Mihika, your worries and problems are the same that every human being faces sometime in his life. I grant you the right to any five questions that you desire an answer to to assuage your curiosity. In return, you must ensure that these answers are passed on to others who seek them in various forms."

The king and the queen sat together and for seven days and seven nights discussed what would be the most relevant five questions to ask. In the end they went back to Rishi Agastha and had the following five questions.

King Adhrit: " O Great Agastha, why am I here?"
Rishi Agastha: "Great king of Bharatvarsha, you are here by chance. There is no pre-defined purpose for your life. You are free to chose the way you want it to be. You are here and you won't be tomorrow. That is all that there is."

King Adhrit: "O divine guru, what do I desire most while I am here?"
Rishi Agastha: "Raje, every man has one and only one desire in life. All other desires, be it wealth, power, knowledge or glory, find birth from this one basic need. If you focus your thoughts inward and peel away layer after layer of your longings you will find this irremovable need in the core. And this desire is called happiness.  All we seek in life, all we aspire for in the end is to be happy."

Queen Mihika: "O wise one, what is my greatest strength and what is my biggest weakness?"
Bramharishi Agastha: "Your greatest strength is doubt, and so is your greatest weakness. It depends on how you wield it. Doubts about right and wrong, existence or the perfectness of the current state of being  are self improving and strengthen our mind and body. All the changes in the world are brought about because someone somewhere doubted the unrivaled nature of the present state. However, if the same doubt creates hesitance in karma, leading to a stagnation of thoughts and actions, then it becomes one's biggest weakness."

Queen Mihika: "O cleanser of cosmic ocean, how would I know if my life is a success?"
Agastha: "O queen, you will not know if your life is successful. It is only those who remain after your passing or come after it can judge the success of your life. All you can do is to lead it in such a way that its ending brings joy to none."

"O bramharishi, does God exist?"
Bramharishi Agastha: "It does not matter. If you believe, anything and everything can be divine. You can see divinity in flowing rivers, blooming flowers, in effervescent life and even in stationary rocks. If you don't, everything in this world can be explained through logic, reasoning and thought. However, you beliefs or disbelief will in no way impact the outcomes of your life. They will solely depend upon the way you conduct it."

Receiving these answers, the king and queen felt as if a great burden had been removed from their minds and a sense of satisfaction settled on their consciousness.  Content at last, both bowed their heads to the great sage and returned to their kingdom.