Advice and a boon…

Read the previous part here…

The āshrama was full of rishis and sādhakās, who went about their daily tasks. In the middle, under a tree, sat Rishi Kaṇva surrounded by many shishyās.

Candrāvaloka walked up to him, and when he reached, prostrated at the great rishi’s feet.

Rishi Kaṇva welcomed him, offered him a seat, and some water to refresh himself.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

वत्स चन्द्रवलोकैतच् छृणु यद् वच्मि ते हितम् ।
जानासि यादृक् संसारे प्राणिनां मृत्युतो भयम् ॥ १२,२७.३९ ॥

तन् निःकारणम् एवैतान् वराकान् हंसि किं मृगान् ।
शस्त्रं हि भीतरक्षार्थं धात्रा क्षत्रस्य निर्मितम् ॥ १२,२७.४० ॥

तत् प्रजा रक्ष धर्मेण समुन् मूलय कण्टकान् ।
हस्त्यश्वास्त्रादियोग्याभिश् चललक्ष्म्यादि साधय ॥ १२,२७.४१ ॥

भुङ्क्ष्व राज्यसुखं देहि धनं दिक्षु यशः किर ।
कृतान्तक्रीडितं हिंस्रं मृगयाव्यसनं त्यज ॥ १२,२७.४२ ॥

हन्तुर् वध्यस्य चान्यस्य यत्र तुल्या प्रमादिता ।
किं तेन बह्वनर्थेन पाण्डोर् वृत्तं न किं श्रुतम् ॥ १२,२७.४३ ॥

Rishi Kaṇva then addressed the king and said…

“My dear Candrāvaloka, Listen and heed to what I have to say to you.”

“You know how all living creatures in this world fear death…so why do you kill them without reason?”

“Brahma created weapons in the hands of the Kshatriyas so that they could protect others, and not to kill needlessly.”

“And so rule your kingdom righteously, follow the path of Dharmā, uproot your enemies and ensure that your subjects are protected and taken care of. “

“Pursue Sri Lakshmi and her gifts, but do not lose your way. Enjoy the benefits of being a king, engage in charitable activities, spread your fame throughout the world, but abandon the vice of hunting, for it is a cruel sport of death.”

“What good can come of it, when both the killer and the killed are not benefited? Have you not heard of what happened to Pāṇḍu?”

(King Pāṇḍu, on a hunt, once killed a pair of mating deer which were actually a rishi and his wife. He was cursed by the dying rishi, who said that Pāṇḍu would die if he ever tried to make love to his wife. Pāṇḍu stopped himself for long, but finally died when he once tried to get close to his wife Mādri.)

एतत् कण्वमुनेर् वाक्यं श्रुत्वा समभिनन्द्य च ।
राजा चन्द्रावलोकस् तम् अर्थज्ञः प्रत्यभाषत ॥ १२,२७.४४ ॥

अनुशिष्टो ऽस्मि भगवन् कृतो मे ऽनुग्रहः परः ।
मृगयाया निवृत्तो ऽहं प्राणिनः सन्तु निर्भयाः ॥ १२,२७.४५ ॥

तच् छ्रुत्वोवाच स मुनिस् तुष्टो ऽहम् अमुना तव ।
प्राणिष्व् अभयदानेन तद् वृणीष्वेप्सितं वरम् ॥ १२,२७.४६ ॥

इत्य् उक्तस् तेन मुनिना कालज्ञः स नृपो ऽभ्यधात् ।
तुष्टो ऽसि चेत् सुतां देहि मह्यम् इन्दीवरप्रभाम् ॥ १२,२७.४७ ॥

Candrāvaloka was intelligent enough to know that the Rishi had given him good advice, and so joined his hands and replied…

“Oh revered rishi, your words are true. I have been blessed for receiving your advice. From today, I renounce hunting, and I will ensure that all animals move throughout the forest without any fear of harm.”

Rishi Kaṇva was pleased. “You have promised to protect all living beings, and have thus made me very happy. You can ask me for any vardāna (boon) that you desire!”

The king, who was well-versed in the matters of timing, replied…

“Oh great Rishi, if you are truly pleased with me, then give me your daughter Indīvaraprabhā’s hand in marriage.”

to be continued…