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Moral Story


Story of Janasruti and Raikva.


Once upon a time there lived king named Janasruti famous for Charity and good conduct. He was great grandson of famous king Janasruta. Janasruti used to distribute huge quantity of cooked food to the people, and made many rest houses all over his kingdom. He enjoyed people coming, staying in rest houses and enjoying his food that was served. The fame of Janasruti spread all around and he enjoyed the good word talked about him.

One evening while the king Janasruti was resting on the roof of his place, noticed a couple of swans flying above him in the sky. Just then the swan flying behind made a joke, called out to the one ahead: “Hey, friend, Don’t you see that the brightness of Janasruti has spread all over the sky? Beware you do not fly over it. See that it does not burn you”.

The swan in front replied: “Say who is this king Janasruti? The way you are saying one would assume he is equal to Raikva with the cart”. Then the other swan asked, “And who is this Raikva with a cart you are referring to?”

The Swan then replied,” Just as in a game of Dice, when a person wins the toss called Krta, he automatically wins the lower tosses also, in the same way whatever good work people do goes to the credit of Raikva. If anyone knows what Raikva knows, he becomes like Raikva. This is how I would describe Raikva.”

The proud King Janasruti felt humiliated by what the swans had said about him. Maybe he could not be compared with Raikva, but in what way did Raikva excel over him? Who was this Raikva with a cart? Janasruti had a sleepless night. The next morning when he got up, the first thing he did was to question his attendant about this Raikva. He wanted to somehow find out in what respect Raikva was superior to him.

Janasruti sent his attendents all around to find Raikva, but none could find such a person. Then Janasruti ordered to check every person in the country and around. One attendant found a beggar like person called Raikva and reported that to the King.

Janasruti then went to the man sitting under a cart, scratching a rash on his body. Sitting down close to him, the Janasrutit asked,” Sir, are you Raikva with the cart” The man replied, "Yes, I am". Then the King introduced himself and requested the knowledge he have in return of six hundred cows, a gold necklace, and a chariot drawn by mules. Raikva was annoyed and refused to teach King, because the King tried to offer wealth.

King then tried to tempt Raikva. King said to Raikva, ” I am willing to giving you anything you demands, Sir, please teach me”. Lifting the face Raikva said: ” You have brought me many things, but they are not making me speak. It is not the wealth, but your eagerness to know is making me speak.”

Raikva said, ”The Air swallows everything. When the Sun sets, the moon sets, it disappears into the Air. When water dries up, it disappears into the Air. The air swallows all these. This is the worship of forces of nature, they do not ask anything in return of their great deeds”

Raikva continued: “In a person, the eyes, the ears, and the mind all these work because of the Prana. Without Prana nothing works. Prana swallows all these. Air and Prana swallow everything.” Raikva said, ” In this creation there are many elements which are worshipped as gods. There is wind that sweeps everything. The fire burns up whatever comes in contact with it. There is also the vital breath which activates a living being. It exists by itself. And yet it creates and sustains the creation. Thus, the entire creation is a complex instrument that is carrying out its work at the behest of the Spirit.”

Taikva said, ” O King! Have neither pride nor vanity for the charities that you dispense. Go thou, great king, to thy palace. Give but not pride. Give generously but not with egotism. Give freely but not with an aim to gain fame. Give but not as something that is yours, but as something given to you by the Spirit for giving to others. He who sees this truth becomes a seer and to him nothing is wanting, and he becomes the enjoyer of things.”

The King was extremely satisfied with these words of wisdom that came from Raikva. While departing he gave a thousand cattle, numerous gold coins and chariots, and his own daughter in marriage to Raikva. This time Raikva did not reject all these.

Reference: This story of King Janasruti and Raikva, the poor cart puller appears in Fourth Chapter (4.1 to 4.3) of the Chandogya Upanishad. Raikva imparted “Samvarga Vidya” to the King Janasruti.

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