History of Prithu Maharaj
Prithu Maharaj was one of the important and iconic characters who finds a mention in the 4th Canto of the Maha Bhagavata Purana.
Characters and heroes in the great Scripture, the Maha Bhagavata Purana, written by the great sage Veda Vyasa have many gifts to offer to the people of Kaliyuga.
There is a goldmine of lessons to be learned from the scripture, considering the fact that Sri Vyasa conceived the Bhagavatham at the maturity of His spiritual knowledge.
Prithu Maharaj was a descendant appearing in the family of Dhruva Maharaj.
Dhruva Maharaj was one of the devotees who at a tender age, strove hard and finally succeeded in having direct contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sriman Narayana.
However, not all the descendants of Dhruv Maharaj were kind.
Lesson 1: Vanity attracts long-term Destruction
There was one descendent named Vena, whose name closely represents the pronunciation of the English word “vain”.
In fact, if Vanity had a personal form, it could not have been anyone other than Vena.
King Vena considered himself as God. He was obviously vainglorious.
He punished the devotees of the Lord and wanted the seers and sages to worship him.
His era ended with his infamous death, owing to the curses of the mystics in the land.
Vena had meanwhile used up all the resources in his greed and caused great harm to Mother earth.
The earth, also known as Bhumidevi, suffered immensely because of the ill-rule of King Vena.
After Vena’s death, the wise men of the land maintained the corpse of Vena.
Ancient India believed that the land whose King did not bear a child, was an accursed land.
Vena did not have progeny at the time of his death. His evil deeds saw his end.
Although he dies, according to the learned men of the land, averting future evil was not assured as Vena died issueless.
The Birth of Nishadas
After the death of King Vena, the sages came together and decided to use potions and herbal mixtures, to churn his body.
There is an ancient science whereby churning the body of a dead man could bring to life, a new entity.
Following this process, the mystics churned the limbs of Vena’s corpse.
From the body appeared a dark figure, who later became famous as Nishadas.
They are a branch of tribes, who are dwarves, with a bodily complexion like a crow, exceptionally short limbs and particularly short arms and legs.
Moreover, they have large jaws, a flat nose, blood-shot eyes and red hair.
He was from the caste of the lowly and meek.
So, from the loins of King Vena, came the Nishada race, a lowly community who belonged to the fourth service class, Shudras.
These men took the abode of the hills and mountains.
Lesson 2: Nectar comes after Poison
The Nishadas bore the sins of Vena and hence their lowly nature and dark complexion.
Just like, churning the ocean first brings forth poison, only after sustained and continuous effort can goodness surge forth.
Hence, the Nishadas represented the virulence of Vena’s nature.
Until then, there was no scope of Goodness.
At the time of the churning of the great ocean by the Devatas and the Demons, poison came first.
Only towards the end, after a long wait, did nectar emerge.
In life too, success and happiness cannot emerge through inattention or lousy attempts.
When someone commits himself to a task, the results shall finally be sweet.
After sustained and persistent efforts with the churning of the body, the effulgent form of Maharaja Prithu appeared from the body of Vena along with His eternal consort Devi Archi.
Maharaja Prithu, is a partial incarnation of Lord Narayana while Devi Archi is an expansion of Mother Laxmi.
Only when there are pure intentions and pure efforts are we blessed with spiritual results.
This example points to this philosophy.
Lesson 3: Evil leaves its mark on the Future
Maharaja Prithu turned out to be a just ruler and ruled the same way as Lord Narayana would.
There is an anecdote in the story of Maharaja Prithu where mother Earth (Bhumi Devi) stopped yielding crops and Her landscape turned barren.
Subjected to opression during the reign of King Vena, Mother Earth refused to render services.
So, evil always leaves its mark on the future, irrespective of how good the present ruler is.
It is not in one’s direct experience that if a bad rule is immediately replaced by a good rule, good will follow.
The lesson is that every single entity is responsible for the evil consequences, if that nation’s ruler is an evil one.
Even in the current day, if we have elected a ruler and he turns out to be evil, then the entire population has to pay the price for his evil deeds.
So was the case, when Prithu Maharaj became the king.
The earth appeared barren and famine was rampant.
Only the divinity of the king could save the innocent population who were unfortunate to have Vena as their ruler.
Lesson 4: Realizing our Mistake Ends all Problems
On hearing the piteous lament of the people, Maharaja Prithu pondered for long.
He thought of mechanisms by which He could get the grains out of the terror-struck Earth.
At last, He decided to scare Earth with his huge bow and to strike Her.
Seeing him with an uplifted weapon, She began to tremble.
To defend heredelf, she assumed the form of a cow and ran in terror just like a doe chased by a hunter.
His eyes turned crimson with wrath, the son of Vena thereupon followed her.
He ran with the arrow fitted to his bow.
Being a culprit of such a mighty king, Mother Earth turned utterly terrified.
She could not hide at any place for long.
So, she finally surrendered to Maharaja Prithu and took shelter under the King.
She asked the King to forgive Her and expressed to him the reason for Her misdemeanor.
Mother Earth had understood the noble intentions of the King and realized Her mistake of holding back the crops and the natural elements.
She realized her mistake of depriving the general population of their basic survival needs.
By realizing and surrendering to righteousness, we rid ourselves of all future terrors and problems.
Lesson 5: A Pious Ruler’s Kingdom Never Suffers from Starvation
Mother Earth took the form of a cow and Maharaja Prithu, milked the cow.
From then onwards, Mother Earth was famously known as Prithvi Devi.
A father to all his subjects, King Prithu, took care of Prithvi Devi as his own daughter.
Accepting this agreeable and wholesome advice of goddess Earth, the Emperor made a calf of Swayambhuva Manu, the son of Brahma.
He drew species of herbs and annual plants from Prithvi for his kingdom and other species of various worlds.
A good ruler on the planet, ensures that his subjects are healthy.
Starvation can never strike in the region where goodness rules over evil.
Likewise, all other wise and intelligent persons too take the essence of everything.
The seers and the sages made a calf of Brhaspati (the preceptor of the gods), and milked the Prithvi Devi for the sacred Vedas.
The organs such as that of hearing, speech and the minds became milk-pots
The essence of this great story of Prithu is that, not all is easy.
Our valiant, genuine and truthful attempts to satisfy one and all shall benefit one and all.
It is important to bear in mind that there is enough for one’s needs but never enough for one’s greed.
Thanks for reading!