Benefits of hearing the story of Prithu Maharaja
Janmajaya desires to learn more about King Prithu after whom, Earth derived its name Prithvi. Therefore, he requested Vaishampayana to narrate the tale of how Mother Earth got her name ‘Prithvi’. The Sage was glad to accept this request for hearing pastimes of Prithu Maharaj yielded great benefits. If one hears this story, Dharmic activities, longevity, and happiness are boosted along with all dark secrets and worries being uprooted from the listener’s life.
Story of Prithu’s birth
Prithu was a descendant of Dhruva Maharaja, a king of the Atreya Vamsa. This is because there is a mention of Dhruva being adopted by the sage. This clan has seen many kings ascend the throne, among whom, King Vena was famously known for his atrocious reign. Vena the son to king Anka and queen Sunitha, the daughter of Yamaraja, the God of death. Obstructing all Dharmic Yajnas, slaughtering cows and torturing noble men comprised his daily activities. A group of sages retired to the forest for a whole hundred years and had made a visit to the palace to inform the king about their decision. The sages, were compassionate towards ignorant beings and thus, they warned the king to follow Dharma which might otherwise invite destruction for the entire kingdom. But, only if intelligence had dawned upon the king would he have paid heed to the noble advice. In their absence, the ruthless king proclaimed himself as God.
Why are Shastras important?
The Shastras guide individuals by revealing such atrocious characters like Vena, for we see many people claiming themselves as God today. It is not uncommon that people worship mortals for they are famous and possessors of great wealth. But, with the moving wheel of time the same person is thrown into the hells of defame and suffering. The nature of the world towards other beings is highly vulnerable. Praises from the world is not a notable achievement for they are mere fruits of one’s past actions. Hence, it is needed that we only follow Vedic customs for they guide man according to changing times and suggest us to always lead a life, glorifying not mortals but the Supreme Lord alone. We respect our Acharyas and gurus, but the one object of worship is Bhagawan alone. To be established in this ultimate principle, man must hold tight the rope of spiritual teachings.
For example: It is common to see Sanyasis living in settlements occupied by Grihastas. They are invited for meals by householders and in reciprocation, Sanyasis accept them as their hosts. Householders are at an advantageous position for they get an opportunity to serve and receive punya. But most times sanyasis get bound to people and places where which nullifies their purpose of Sanyasa. Thus, the Shastras strictly object Sanyasis from closely interacting with people who do not fall in line with their lifestyle. Grihastas have many privileges and through Seva they can boost their Sadhana but sanyasis are rendered vulnerable for they must prevent attachment from seeping into their conscience. Many of them fail to maintain the code of Sanyasa and accept Grihasta ashram. The chronology of the 4 ashramas (Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprastha, and Sanyasa) gets ruptured when a sanyasi loses track of his goal to attain God. Being in Grihasta too, one can attain God with simple practices and purity of intention. But, once one has consciously accepted the saffron robes, he is bound to stay away from society which otherwise sets guilt in the person.
King Vena’s ‘Anti-God’ approach enraged the sages as they put an end to his life. Out of his body, streams of venom flowed which was accompanied by fire eruptions. Out of the fire flames, the Nishadas were formed. They were short and dark in complexion. After all the negative energies were released from the corpse of Vena, a spark of goodness emitted and King Prithu was born.
Glories of Prithu Maharaja
The common folks of villages compose songs in praise of Prithu Maharaja. They say: “His faith and ideologies stand like the gigantic mountains which never budge. He displays qualities like that of God. He is generous like mother earth who donates everything to people without them asking for it. There is none other like him as he is the epitome of compassion, valor, and righteousness. We have never witnessed any such being with such exceptional qualities on earth.”
Story of Prithu Maharaja and Boomidevi
On the contrary, Bhoomadevi, rejected to grant her assets like medicinal herbs, grains, raw material for clothing, etc to Prithu Maharaja. She presented barren lands in return for all the crimes King Vena committed. But, King Prithu was unlike his father as he was born with celstial gists like a Kavach or protecting shield and he held the stick of righteousness. Inspite of his exalted qualities, Bhoomidevi did not show benevolence and the poor subjects of the kingdom were inflicted by famine. Rapidly, people started growing wearier and death rates increased in his kingdom. Prithu Maharaj decided to tear open Earth and benedict his subjects with food for their survival, for they were not party to his father’s crimes.
He started chasing Boomidevi who disguised herself as a cow in order to escape the King’s wrath. After chasing for a while, the cow turned to the King and said: “Oh you wanted to kill me just because I have refused to open my granaries for your kingdom. To get rid of this famine, killing me will have adverse effects on your subjects. Instead only a well-thought approach will be appreciated. Hence, I warn you that you must to think over your decision. I have a proposal for you. If you promise to protect me and allow me to live, then I shall render my services in the form of milk.”
Immediately Prithu Maharaj, accepted the proposal and promised to safeguard her as his own daughter. Thus, under the reign of Prithu Maharaj, the guardian of Bhoomidevi, none of the evil forces could reap for he was the torchbearer of Dharma, wherein earth saw a prosperous age of Dharmic activities.
Celestial beings to receive gifts from Prithu Maharaja.
To distribute gifts on the occasion of this new ceremony of adopting Bhoomidevi as his daughter, King Prithu invoked
- Swaayambhuvamanu who assumed the form of a calf and became the first to receive the cow’s milk which had properties of grains and vegetation. He used his hands as the collecting vessel.
- Proceedingly, the Rsis lead by Chandra deva were invoked by King Prithu who too drank the ambrosial milk fed by Bhoomidevi. They placed Vedas as the vessel to collect Devotion towards God.
- Indra accompanied by other Devatas as calves drank the milk of Bhoomidevi to attain the nectar of life, Amrita.
- The Pitrus (ancestors) escorted by Yamadharmaraja as their leader, received Swadha devi as a gift in silver vessels.
Swadha devi is the wife of Agni Bhagawan and is invoked when performing fire sacrifices for the Pitrus (ancestors). She delivers them the ritualistic food offered by their relatives to satiate their hunger. On the other hand, fire sacrifices for the Devatas invokes Swaha Devi, the second wife of Agni Bhagawan.
- Later, the chief representative of Nagas, with their cavities opened, collected the venom in the form of milk. Venom is ambrosia for the Nagas and hence they were gifted with this boon.
- Next, the Asuras headed by Virochana assumed the form of a calf and drank the milk which gifted them Maya (illusory powers) in iron vessels.
So, Prithu maharaj became the greatest among rulers as he fulfilled the desires of all creatures on the planet and beyond. All salutations to this great king, whose wondrous story endows one’s children, grand-children and great grandchildren with happiness, till the time the sun exists.