The statue of gold…

Read the previous part here…

The next morning, he called a meeting of his cabinet of ministers, and told them what had happened.

One of the ministers – Sumati, reassured him and said…

“Don’t worry my king. I will search and bring to you such a boy. This world has many strange things to offer, and so I am sure that I will be successful.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

एवम् आश्वास्य राजानं स सौवर्णीम् अकारयत् ।
मन्त्री सप्ताब्ददेशीयबालकप्रतिमां द्रुतम् ॥ १२,२७.९० ॥

रत्नैर् अलंकृतां तां च कृत्वा कर्णिरथार्पिताम् ।
भ्रामयामास नगरग्रामघोषेष्व् इतस् ततः ॥ १२,२७.९१ ॥

यः सप्तवर्षदेशीयः स्वेच्छया विप्रपुत्रकः ।
ददाति सर्वसत्त्वार्थम् आत्मानं ब्रह्मरक्षसे ॥ १२,२७.९२ ॥

उपहाराय सत्त्वस्थो मातापित्रोर् अनुज्ञया ।
हन्यमानश् च यस् ताभ्यां हस्तपादे प्रगृह्यते ॥ १२,२७.९३ ॥

तस्मै ग्रामशतोपेतां हेमरत्नमयीम् इमाम् ।
ददाति प्रतिमां राजा पित्रोर् उपचिकीर्षवे ॥ १२,२७.९४ ॥

इति च भ्राम्यमानायास् तस्याः प्रतिकृतेः शिशोः ।
पटहोद्घोषणां मन्त्री सो ऽग्रे ऽजस्रम् अदापयत् ॥ १२,२७.९५ ॥

Sumati then bowed to the king, and then went back to his chambers, and called the royal sculptor. He then proceeded to instruct him to make a statue in gold, of a seven year old boy. The statue was to be studded with diamonds and other precious gems, and completed within the same day.

The sculptor worked hard and delivered the statue by midnight. Sumati then got the statue mounted on a chariot, and had it sent out into the city and the neighboring towns and villages, with drummers and announcers.

And so, from the next morning, the statue was taken all over the kingdom, with the drummers announcing it’s arrival and the announcers proclaiming loudly…

“Listen one and all! If a Brāhman boy of seven years willingly offers himself to a Rākshasa for the good of our king and our kingdom, and if his parents permit this brave boy to offer himself, and if his parents hold his hands and legs while he is being sacrificed, the king will give to that boy and his parents, this magnificent statue, and one hundred villages!”

तावच् छ्रुत्वा तद् एकस्मिन्न् अग्रहारे द्विजार्भकः ।
कोऽपि सप्ताब्ददेशीयो ऽप्य् अतिधीरो ऽद्भुताकृतिः ॥ १२,२७.९६ ॥

पूर्वाभ्यासेन बाल्ये ऽपि सदा परहिते रतः ।
प्रजापुण्यपरीपाक इव साकारतां गतः ॥ १२,२७.९७ ॥

उवाचोद्घोषकान् एत्य युष्मदर्थे ददाम्य् अहम् ।
आत्मानं पितरौ गत्वा बोधयित्वाभ्युपैमि च ॥ १२,२७.९८ ॥

इत्य् ऊचिवांस् तान् मुदितान् स बालो ऽनुमतश् च तैः ।
गत्वा गृहं जगाद स्वौ पितरौ रचिताञ्जलिः ॥ १२,२७.९९ ॥

Now it so happened that a certain Brāhman boy, who was seven years old, one of great courage and admirable character, heard this announcement.

The boy was special. Even at this tender age, he always took pleasure in being of assistance to his fellow human beings, as this was a trait that he carried forward from his previous lives.

In fact, he seemed to personify the merits of all the king’s subjects.

And so he came forward, and told the men who were making these announcements…

“I will offer myself for this noble deed. But please, wait here so that I can go and inform my parents, take their permission, and then come back to you.”

to be continued…