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Kalmasapada. Khatvanga Maharaja.
In the fifth generation after Bhagiratha appeared King Rituparna, who learned the science of horses from his friend Nala, in exchange for the art of gambling. Three generations after Rituparna was Saudasa, the son of Sudasa. Once, while living in the forest, Saudasa killed a Rakshasa but let the man-eater’s brother go free. Still, the Rakshasa’s brother decided to take revenge, and to do so, he became the cook at Saudasa’s palace.
One day, when the king invited his spiritual master, Vasishtha for dinner, the Rakshasa served him human flesh. By his mystic power, Vasishtha examined the food and saw that it was human flesh, thus being unfit to eat. Vasishtha then angrily cursed Saudasa to become a Rakshasa. However, when the rishi came to understand that the human flesh had been served by the Rakshasa-cook, and not by Saudasa, he became greatly repentant. To atone for having cursed the faultless king, Vasishtha then underwent twelve years of austerity.
As soon as he was cursed, Saudasa touched water and prepared to counter-curse Vasishtha, after chanting the shapa-mantra. His wife, Damayanti, who was also known as Madayanti, forbade him to do so, however, and in this way the king was restrained.
Thereafter, King Saudasa acquired the propensity of a Rakshasa, and received a black spot on his leg for which he also became known as Kalmasapada. Because of his degraded nature, Saudasa hungrily observed how, in all directions, both in the sky and on the land, there were innumerable living entities.
Once, while wandering in the forest, King Kalmasapada saw a brahmana couple engaged in the act of sexual intercourse. Being very hungry, and under the influence of the Rakshasa propensity, Saudasa forcibly seized the brahmana, desiring to eat him.
The poor brahmana’s wife pleaded, “O hero, you are not actually a Rakshasa, but are a descendent of Maharaja Ikshvaku. Therefore, you should not act sinfully like this. Because I desire to beget a son, please give me back my husband, who has not yet impregnated me. This brahmana, who is highly qualified, is engaged in performing austerities and worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lives in everyone’s heart.”
“My lord, you are aware of religious principles. Just as a son does not deserve to be killed by his father, so this brahmana should be protected by a rajarshi like you, and never killed. Indeed, the killing of this brahmana would be as sinful as the destruction of an embryo within the womb, or the slaughter of a cow.”
“O King, without my husband I cannot live for even a moment. If you insist on devouring him, then you should first of all eat me, for without my husband I am no better than a dead body.”
Even though the poor woman spoke so pitiably, due to Vasishtha’s curse, Saudasa remained unmoved and proceeded to devour the brahmana, just as a tiger eats its prey. After seeing how her husband had been mercilessly eaten, the chaste wife angrily cursed King Saudasa: “O foolish, sinful person, because you have devoured my husband at a time when I was sexually inclined, I shall also see you die as soon as you attempt to discharge semen in your wife.”
After saying this, the brahmana’s wife set fire to her husband’s remains and then entered the flames, desiring to follow him to his destination. Finally, after twelve years, King Saudasa became released from Vasishtha’s curse, and at that time, he wanted to unite with his wife, Madayanti, in sexual intercourse. The queen reminded him of the brahmani’s curse, however, and thus he restrained himself from further sex.
Indeed, King Saudasa gave up, then and there, all aspiration to enjoy the happiness of sexual intercourse in this life, and as a result, he remained without a son. Therefore, later on, with King Saudasa’s permission, Vasishtha was invited to beget a child in the womb of Madayanti. Madayanti continued to bear the embryo within her womb, but after seven years, when there was still no sign of delivery, Vasishtha struck her abdomen with a stone and the child was born. Due to the unusual circumstances of his birth, the boy received the name Asmaka (the child born of a stone).
The son of Asmaka was Balika, who was protected by women as Parashurama proceeded to vanquish all of the kshatriyas. Because of this, Balika also became known as Narikavacha, and later on he became the progenitor of more kshatriyas. Thus, he also received the name Mulaka (the root of the kshatriya dynasty).
In the fourth generation after Balika appeared Maharaja Khatvanga, who was unconquerable. For this reason, the demigods once requested King Khatvanga to join them in their fight with the demons. Because Khatvanga enabled them to gain victory, the demigods were very pleased and so offered to give him a benediction of his choice. Maharaja Khatvanga first requested the demigods to disclose his remaining duration of life, and so in response, they informed him that he had only one more moment to live.
Upon hearing this, Maharaja Khatvanga thought, “I was never attracted, even in my childhood, by insignificant material things or irreligious principles. Indeed, I could find nothing more substantial than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods want to give me a benediction, but I do not want any material facilities, for I am only interested in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord.”
“Even though the demigods are more advantageously situated in the higher planetary systems, their minds, senses and intelligence are still agitated by material conditions, and thus they fail to understand the Supreme Lord, who is situated in the core of the heart. Therefore, I should now give up all attachment for the creations of the external energy, and surrender fully unto the Supreme Lord. Although every conditioned soul has a natural attraction for this material world, since it is no better than an imaginary town seen in the forest, one should give up attachment to it and surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead”
After coming to this conclusion, Maharaja Khatvanga immediately left the heavenly planets by airplane and returned home so that he could fully engage in rendering devotional service unto the Supreme Lord. In this way, Maharaja Khatvanga gave up all false bodily identification and thus achieved perfection by reinstating himself in his original position of eternal servitorship to the Lord.”