|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhakti Purushottama Swami > Lord Shri Jagannatha at Puri > King Kulasekhara|
Once upon a time there was a king in Orissa named Kulasekhara. He was a very powerful king. He was very strict in his administration. His countenance was effulgent like the sun, and his heart was as deep as the ocean. He was very charitable, like a wish-fulfilling tree, and in learning he was compared to Brihaspati. He was as tolerant as Mother Earth, as beautiful as Kamadeva, the God of love, and was very pure in his mood and behavior. His wealth was like that of Kuvera, and he took care of the citizens of his kingdom as if they were his own children. He was very much surrendered to the devas and brahmanas. He was full of devotion and sincerely served the lotus feet of his spiritual master. King Ku-lasekhara always served the devotees, and was constantly engaged in hearing hari-katha. One day King Kulasekhara was sitting on his throne, sur¬rounded by his ministers and soldiers. Many sadhus and sannyasis gathered around the King, who was listening to them speak hari-katha. He was absorbed in the ecstasy of hearing. At this time, the King's guru arrived. Immediately King Kulasekhara left his throne to receive his guru. He offered him prostrated obeisances, washed his lotus feet, and arranged a nice asana to seat him. Then by the order of the guru, the King also sat and continued hearing hari-katha.
It so happened that a fly came and sat on the Kings fore¬head. The King was feeling very uncomfortable, and touched his forehead to chase away the fly. Immediately the fly flew away. When King Kulasekhara chased away the fly, his hand touched his forehead, and some of the dust that was on his forehead from pay¬ing obeisances to his guru fell to the ground when the King brushed it. When his guru saw this, he lowered his head so the King couldn't see his face. The King was very observant, and noticed the reaction of his guru. He asked his guru what was the cause of his apparent sadness.
The guru re¬plied, "When one offers pros¬trated obeisances to his guru, he is immedi ately freed from the reaction of his sinful activities for as many past lives as there are dust particles on his forehead from paying his obei¬sances. Now you have removed those dust particles from your head. Can you imagine how much sin you have acquired by doing so? By touching your hand to your head, the dust particles fell back to the ground. That is why I feel sorry for you, because you have deprived yourself of being free from your sins of that many lives."
Hearing this statement from his guru, King Kulasekhara started to tremble, and no words came from his mouth. His eyes filled with tears and he became stunned. When he came back to his normal senses, he found that his guru had left the palace. The King asked the assembled learned persons, "Now I have committed a great offense at the lotus feet of my guru. Please check the scrip¬tures and let me know how I can be free from this offense. Other¬wise I will die. I have no desire for this kingly position." Hearing this, all the pandits present started to search the scriptures to find the remedy. They found that the scriptures recommend very hard and difficult atonement for this kind of offense. It was so severe an atonement that the brahmanas did not dare tell the King. The King asked them, "Why are you not telling me what atonement I will have to do? However difficult it may be, I must do it to make my¬self free from sin. I promise to undertake this atonement, keeping the sun god as my witness. Please tell me." The sages and brahma¬nas explained that if one offers prostrated obeisances to his guru and sits down in front of him, he becomes free from the reaction of as many lives as there are dust particles smeared on his body during the time he offers obeisances. But if one foolishly removes those dust particles out of pride, then he loses all sukriti, pious credits. To he free from this kind of guru droho, he must perform the following atonement: he must make a copper plate twelve feet long, three feet wide, and six inches thick. He should place that copper plate on top of four pillars, and put burning charcoal under the copper plate until it becomes as hot as fire. Then he should of¬fer his prostrated obeisances one hundred and eight times on that copper plate. Only then will he be free from this offense to his guru. This is verdict of the scriptures. When the King heard this, his face became jubilant like the full moon, and his hair stood on end. Being very happy, he said, "Now I will be free from my offenses to my guru."
The King immediately called for the coppersmith. By his order one copper plate was made according to the proper scriptural standards. The plate was then placed on top of four pillars, and hot burning charcoal was kept under the plate. It started to become so hot that no one could even stay near it. The King went to take badi in holy water. He applied tilak to his body, and placed a tu-lasi mala around his neck. He dressed himself in simple white cloth, then took a few grains of nirmaly (Jagannath's dry rice prasad), and returned to where the copper plate was being heated. Thousands of people had come to witness this event. Many minis¬ters, soldiers, the King's relatives, many sannyasis and sadlius—all were present there. Drums and trumpets played, creating a tumul¬tuous sound, and it appeared that the whole earth was shaking.
Everyone was concerned that the King would get too close to the heated copper plate, and would leave his body. They begged him not to approach the copper plate. They said to him, "If you leave your body, who will take care of us? Please do not do this. If you die we will be deprived of our master." The King replied, "Who is the real master? Lord Jagannath is master of everyone. Please do not be concerned about my death. One who has taken birth will die one day. I do not fear deatli. I do not want to be pun¬ished by Yamaraj for being offensive to my guru. Whether I die or survive by doing this does not matter to me. Lord Chakradhar knows everything. He will do whatever is good for me. But I must do my duty. Please, all of you kindly chant the holy name of Han. That will help me."
After saying this, the King started to meditate upon Niladribihari, Lord Jagannath. He said, "All glories to the Lord, who is holding a conch and disc in His hand. All glories to the life of Kamala, by whose order all the great demigods like Brahma and Indra are moving in this universe. The sun, moon, all the directions, mountains, earth, ocean, are eternal order-carriers of my Lord. Lord Haris lotus feet have been meditated upon by all the demi¬gods like Lord Mahadev, Indra, Yaksha, Rakshsa, siddhas, yogin-dras, and munis. I am an ordinary human being. How can I under¬stand His glories? O Lord! You are the root, and everything in crea¬tion are your branches and leaves. I am taking shelter of your ah-haya charan (fearless lotus feet). You are vancha-kalpa-taru (wish fulfilling tree). You are glorious and Your glories are like a great mountain. There is no one like You in this universe who can finish the suffering of the living entities. You are like a great fire burning die forest of material worries. You are like Agastya Muni, who can save one from the ocean of dangers. Your lotus feet are the gada (medicine) to free everyone from the influence of the poison of material existence. You are like the moon that maintains the lotus¬like devotees. You are like cintamani to those who think about You constantly. Everything in this brahmanda is done by Your potency only. I know no one but You who can save me from this danger. O my Lord, please protect me from this great fire. It is my final deci¬sion that I will enter mto the fire, but whether I die or survive is entirely up to You. In any case, I need to free myself from this of¬fense to my guru." After praying like this, King Kulasekhara started to chant the holy names of the Lord.
Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Hari, Mukunda, Madhava, Murari,
Acyuta, Ananta, Govinda, Shyamasundar, Sadananda.
Vraja Sundar, Vamsi Pani, Radha Vallabha prana mani.
Daya-sagar, Dasarathi, Sridhara, Srikara, Sripati.
Laxminayak, Chakra-pani, Sita-Ballabha, Raghumani.
O Vanamali, O Kamsari, Gopi Jivan Dityaari.
Srivasta-lanchana, Kesava,Dina-bandhava, Vasudeva.
Bhavamochan, Bhagavan, Jagatjivan, Janardana
While chanting the holy names of Lord Hari, hearing hari-kadia vibrating m his ears, meditating upon the form of Sri Han, and surrendering his mind unto the lotus feet of the Lord, King Kulasekhara very happily climbed on top of the hot copper plate after offering his obeisances to the sun and moon gods. The plate was so hot even wet wood would burn to ashes. But still without any fear the King offered his prostrated obeisances on top of the copper plate. The King's body started to burn. His head, hands and feet burned to ashes. But still the King was not scared, and remem¬bering Lord Jagannath, he again offered his prostrated obeisances on top of the burning hot copper plate. Lord Jagannath, who is the cause of everything, knew about the situation of his surrendered devotee and became very merciful upon the King. Immediately the fire became cooling like water by the mercy of the Lord. The King's burning body was immediately cooled.
Meanwhile, all of the assembled people were crying in great grief. They were beating their heads with their hands and say¬ing, "Oh King! We are so unfortunate. Now you are going to leave us. Who will maintain us?" When everybody was crying like this the King got up from the copper plate. He looked effulgent, like a second sun. He again offered prostrated obeisances on the copper plate, cool and unconcerned as a swan playing in the cooling water of a river. Those surrounding him were surprised to see this. The king offered his prostrated obeisances on top of the burning hot copper plate thirty-six times. The earth started to shake, and all of the directions trembled. Understanding the sever¬ity of the situation, Lord Jagannath left Nila-giri. Accepting a very attractive form that even Lord Brahma cannot create, the Lord appeared near the copper plate in His Jagamohan form. In His one hand He took King Kulasekhara and lifted him off the burning copper plate. The Lord said, "Now you will be glorified all over the universe. Never before and never in the future will there be one as pious as you. Now you are free from all sins and offenses. Please accept the highest destination, param-gati" When the King heard this he fell at the feet of the Lord, who had appeared in the form of a brahmana. The King asked the Lord, "Who are you? I don't recognize you." The Lord replied, "Then see My real form." The Lord manifested His four-armed form holding a conch, disc, club and lotus. The Lord blessed the King, making him fearless, and then disappeared from the palace. Due to the illusory energy of die Lord, those present could not see all of this. They did not see the appearance of the Lord, nor His blessing upon the King.
The King was very fortunate to see the Lord. Everyone glo¬rified him for his feat and left for their houses. What kind of desti¬nation this King will achieve at the time of death is unknown. The readers can decide for themselves. In this age of Kali this kind of description will sound very strange and people will find it difficult to believe. But devotees of Sri Hari will derive great pleasure from this narration. Ignorant and foolish people will definitely think this is a false story. But for the devotees this will increase their de¬votion to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord.