Ancestors of King Khatvanga
The Srimad Bhagavatham describes the family tree of Sri Rama in great detail.
The entire description is found in the 9th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatham.
One of His great ancestors was Khatavanga Maharaja.
After the earth was bereft of Kshatriyas, owing to the pledge of Sri Parshuram, the son of Asmaka survived.
He was known as Balika, as young damsels would surround him all the time.
As women became a shield, protecting him from the fatal curse of Parshurama, Nārīkavaca became another significant name.
This name literally means Nārī: Women and Kavaca: shield.
So, from Balika, the Kshatriya race managed to survive.
Hence, people deem him to be the father of the Kshatriya race.
Balika had a son by the name Dasharatha.
Note: Do not mistake this Dasharatha as the father of Sri Rama!
(King Dashratha, father of Sri Rama was born later)
Later, the son of Dasharatha, Aidavidi gave rise to Viśvasaha.
He was the father of the virtuous and splendorous King Khatavanga.
Valour of Khatvanga Maharaja
King Khatvanga fought in favor of the devatas in the Devasur Sangram.
Due to his excellent archery skills, valor, and might, the Devatas emerged victorious over the Daityas.
The entire Swarga-Loka conducted a ceremony to celebrate their victory.
The king of Swarga, Devraj Indra expressed his heartfelt gratitude for King Khatwanga.
When the Devatas were suffering miserably from the onslaughts of the Danavas, it was King Khatawanga who extended his help.
So, pleased with King Khatawanga for his services, Indra urged him to seek a boon.
Khatawanga was a pious King of the Solar Dynasty.
Though he had all the luxuries and pleasures of life, he stayed detached.
He never showed attraction towards matter and for this reason, in the Srimad Bhagavatam Rajshri is synonymously used to address him.
There are very few characters who qualify to be Rajarshi.
Some of them are Janaka Maharaja, Parkshita, Yuddhistira, and Vishwamitra.
Khatawanga was one of them.
He had Jnana in his genes.
King Khatvanga Seeks a Boon
On asked to seek a boon from Indra, Khatvanga Maharaja said:
“Oh Indra, I have only one desire, deep in the core of my heart. Please bless me with Salvation or Moksha.
I shall find myself to be the most fortunate person on Earth.”
On hearing these words from the mouth of the glorious king, Indra was put into utter dismay.
With a disheartened tone he replied thus: “Oh king, human beings are more fortunate than us devatas.
We have all luxuries and pleasures to satiate our senses.
If you asked for anything related to matter and sense enjoyment, I would have, with most pleasure, offered you.
However, what you seek from me is Liberation.
Even if we were desirous, we are incapable of attaining that supreme bliss.
So, how could I probably bless you with Liberation, if I myself am incapable of attaining it?
I am sorry, but I cannot grant you this boon.
Because I am incapable.”
King Khatawanga understood what to ask next.
Khatvanga Learns about His Death
He immediately asked: “Oh Indra, You are capable of predicting the future.
You can see the past, present, and future of an individual.
So, please with your celestial powers, please tell me my time of death.”
Indra replied: “Although Devatas are not allowed to reveal this secretive information as they might cause turmoil in the minds of people, I shall reveal your time of death as you seek a boon which is much within my control.”
After uttering these words, Indra gathered courage and looked into the King’s future.
Oh Khatawanga, my friend, my helper, You will die within the next 1 Muhurta (approximately 48 minutes from now).
Hearing these words, Rajrshi Khatawanga did not waste a moment.
He thanked Indra and left for his capital.
King Khatvanga Prepares for His Final Journey
After coordinating his worthy son Dirghabahu as the king, Khatawanga renounced everything.
He discarded his title, position, fame, etc and went into seclusion, to attain God-realization.
So, within 1 Muhurta (48 minutes), due to his steadfastness and genuine intentions, he attained Bhagawan.
He wisely chose to renounce all material pleasure of life and with fixed attention pursued his goal of liberation.
He thought: “Even the Devatas, though blessed with higher planetary positions and more refined sense objects, they lack the fervor or advantage of attaining God-realization.
What to speak of human beings who are in all respects lower than the glorious devatas.
However, I have never been inclined towards materialism and falsehood.
I never seek worldly pleasure and anything other than the dear associates of the Lord are dear to me.
So, now I shall with one-pointed attention seek my Lord, Sri Hari.
My desire is to attain Moksha.”
With such a raised level of consciousness, Maharaja Khatwanaga left his mortal coils and ascended the spiritual abode.
Within a span of 1 muhurta, he attained God-realization.
King Khatvanga inspires Parikshit Maharaja
This unique episode finds mention in the Srimad Bhagavath Mahapuran, where Sri Sukhadeva Goswami narrates the story of Khatvanga to his dear disciple Parikshit.
This story inspired Parikshit after which he accepted Srila Sukhadeva Goswami as his guru or spiritual preceptor.
The story of King Khatawanga is pious and whoever hears this once, shall immediately gain strengthened fervor to pursue God-realization.
The same happened with Parikshit.
King Parishit naturally had more time (7 days-1 Saptaham) than King Khatawanga (48 minutes-1 Muhurta).
He could do so much more to please Lord Narayana.
This his spiritual preceptor made him realize.
So, Parikshit instead of thinking about his death, now focussed on God-realization.
He engaged himself in hearing the stories and philosophy of spirituality to raise his consciousness and scend the plane of Sri Hari.
Therefore with great deliberation, Parikshit Maharaja next heard the Family tree of King Khatawanga, as narrated by Srila Sukhadeva Goswami.
Descendants of Khaṭvāṅga
śrī-śuka uvācaSrimad Bhagvatham Canto 9 Chapter 10 Verse 1
khaṭvāṅgād dīrghabāhuś ca
raghus tasmāt pṛthu-śravāḥ
ajas tato mahā-rājas
tasmād daśaratho ’bhavat
Srila Sukhdev Goswami revealed the most precious secret to Pariskhit.
He said: The son of Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga was Dīrghabāhu.
Dīrghabāhu was the father of Mahārāja Raghu, the father of Raghu Vansha (clan).
From Mahārāja Raghu came Aja, and from Aja was born the great personality Mahārāja Daśaratha.
This formed the near foundation of the Raghu Dynasty, in which Sri Ramachandra was born.
Sri Ramachandra was the gem of Raghukul, Raghukulbhushan.
He was Dashrathanandan, the son of King Dashratha.
Sri Rama was a descendant of glorious and pious kings like Aja, Dasharatha, Dirgabahu, and Khaṭvāṅga.
So naturally, the life of King Khatawanga ought to teach us some crucial lessons of life.
5 Lessons from the Life of Khatavanga
- Never give anything more preference than the pursuit of God-realization.
2. Always seek boons that help you progress on your spiritual path.
3. Remain detached from worldly objects as Death is the ultimate reality.
If you do not detach initially itself, death shall forcefully pull you away from all that you were attached to, be it family, friends, assets, or emotions.
4. Nothing is impossible when it comes to attaining your final goal of God-realization.
5. Time is a mere concept.
It is all in our minds.
Only sincerity of purpose can weaken the clasp of time on us.
Thanks for reading!