One for the father…

Read the previous part here…

“This child has been given to me by none other than Śiva himself” thought Sūryaprabha as he took the infant in his arms, and walked back into his palace.

He then threw a magnificent feast, and the whole kingdom was entertained for twelve full days, with food, and song and dance, and so much wealth given away in charity that that the only thing which remained poor in the kingdom, was the word poor itself.

On the twelfth day, the child was named Candraprabha.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

ववृधे राजपुत्रो ऽत्र सो ऽथ चन्द्रप्रभः क्रमात् ।
वपुषेव गुणौघेनाप्य् आश्रितानन्ददायिना ॥ १२,२६.५९ ॥

शनैर् युवा च संजञ्जे शौर्यौदार्यश्रुतादिभिः ।
आवर्जितप्रकृतिकः क्ष्माभारोद्वहनक्षमः ॥ १२,२६.६० ॥

तादृशं च ततो दृष्ट्वा तं स सूर्यप्रभः पिता ।
राज्ये ऽभिषिच्यैव कृती वृद्धो वाराणसीं ययौ ॥ १२,२६.६१ ॥

पृथ्वीं शासति तस्मिंश् च तनये नयशालिन ।
स राजा तत्र तत्याज चरंस् तीव्रतपस् तनुम् ॥ १२,२६.६२ ॥

बुद्ध्वा पितृविपत्तिं ताम् अनुशोच्य कृतक्रियः ।
सो ऽथ चन्द्रप्रभो राजा सचिवान् धार्मिको ऽब्रवीत् ॥ १२,२६.६३ ॥

तातस्य तावत् केनाहम् अनृणो भवितुं क्षमः ।
तथाप्य् एकां स्वहस्तेन ददाम्य् एतस्य निष्कृतिम् ॥ १२,२६.६४ ॥

नीत्वा क्षिपामि गङ्गायाम् अस्थीन्य् अस्य यथाविधि ।
गत्वा सर्वपितृह्यश् च गयां पिण्डं ददाम्य् अहम् ॥ १२,२६.६५ ॥

And Prince Candraprabha had a good childhood, and grew to develop good qualities, an excellent character, and was the apple of everyone’s eye.

As he grew into adulthood, the prince won over all his subjects by his quick learning, courage and generosity. People started to respect him, and even look up to him.

And his father, King Sūryaprabha, seeing that he now possessed all the qualities desired in an ideal king, decided that it was time to appoint him as his successor.

Having announced this, the king then anointed Candraprabha as the ruler, and himself set out to the holy city of Vārāṇasī, having become content that his kingdom was in good hands. There, he performed tapasya and in due course, gave up his physical body and attained mōksha.

When the newly crowned king Candraprabha heard about the death of his father, he mourned for a long time, performed his last rites, and then called a meeting of his ministers and said…

प्रसङ्गात् तीर्थयात्रां च करोम्य् आपूर्वसागरम् ।
इत्य् उक्तवन्तं राजानं मन्त्रिणस् तं व्यजिज्ञपन् ॥ १२,२६.६६ ॥

न देव युज्यते कर्तुम् एतद् राज्ञः कथंचन ।
न हि राज्यं बहुछिद्रं क्षणं तिष्ठत्य् अरक्षितम् ॥ १२,२६.६७ ॥

तद् एषा परहस्तेन कार्या ते पित्रुपक्रिया ।
स्वधर्मपालनाद् अन्या तीर्थयात्रा च का तव ॥ १२,२६.६८ ॥

बह्वपायं क्व पान्थत्वां नित्यगुप्ताः क्व पार्थिवाः ।
इति मन्त्रिवचः श्रुत्वा राजा चन्द्रप्रभो ऽब्रवीत् ॥ १२,२६.६९ ॥

अलं विकल्पैः पित्रर्थे गन्तव्यं निश्चितं मया ।
द्रष्टव्यानि च तीर्थानि यावन् मे क्षमते वयः ॥ १२,२६.७० ॥

पश्चा को वेत्ति किं भावि शरिरे क्षणनश्वरे ।
राज्यं चागमनं यावद् रक्ष्यं युष्माभिर् एव मे ॥ १२,२६.७१ ॥

“How can I ever repay my debt to my father, for bringing me up and taking care of me?”

“Yet, I will try my best to fulfill my duties as a son. I will take his ashes and immerse them in the Gangā, and then will go to Gaya, where I will conduct the Pinda-dānā (offering of rice balls) to my ancestors. On the way, I will also be able to visit a lot of teerthās…”

When the king said this, his ministers replied…

“Oh mighty king, please listen to us. Kings are not meant to perform these rites, and surely not when you have just taken over the kingdom.”

“There are many dangers surrounding us, and we need to be on our guard. A priest can perform these rites on your behalf, and what bigger duty towards your father than taking care of the kingdom that he left to you?”

“Such teerth yātrās are always risky, and as a king, it is our duty to ensure your safety and well-being.”

King Candraprabha looked at them intensely and said…

“You should not have such doubts, and hesitate so much! I have to go, for my father’s sake, and I have to make the pilgrimage when I am young and able-bodied.”

“For who knows what will happen tomorrow, to this physical body that can die in a moment?”

“So let me go. I entrust the affairs of the kingdom to you, and you will have to take care of it until I am back.”

to be continued…