In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Utthanga making his way to King Poushya so as to obtain the pair of diamond earrings that the queen possessed. This was to be given as the “Guru Dakshina” to Veda, who was Sage Utthanga’s Guru. In fact, King Poushya’s Guru was Veda only, as both King Poushya and Sage Utthanga were “classmates”! As Sage Utthanga arrived, King Poushya was extremely happy to see him after a long time and he offered the best hospitality to Sage Uttthanga. Now, when Sage Utthanga expressed his purpose of visit, King Poushya was again more than happy and requested him to collect the pair of diamond rings from his queen. According to the king’s instruction, Sage Utthanga makes his way to the “Antahpura” where the queen usually resides. However upon arrival, Sage Utthanga was unable to see the queen anywhere. Enquiring with King Poushya thus, Sage Utthanga realized his folly of performing the “Aachamanam” in the standing position as he was hurrying his way to King Poushya’s palace. It is because Sage Utthanga had committed this sin, the queen was not visible to his eyes. However, when Sage Utthanga corrected his mistake by re-performing the “Aachamanam” correctly in the sitting position, the queen appeared before him and handed over the diamond rings.
We’re now talking of the significance of performing the “Aachamanam” properly as per due procedure. However, in the today’s scenario, many of us aren’t even performing the “Aachamanam” at all! 🙂 This is our situation today! If the king has to correct the “Dharma” of performing the “Aachamanam” properly, what would King Poushya do with all of us? Forget King Poushya here – We’ve to first introspect within ourselves as to how much of the sins we are accumulating within us by not performing the “Sandhyavandanam” every day as per the prescribed protocol. Coming back to this context again – As the queen hands over the diamond rings, she issues a warning to Sage Utthanga thus, “Oh Sage! You need to be very careful with these diamond rings! In the past, the king of cobras (Snakes) by name “Takshaka” was very interested in these rings, and was always having an eye on them. He was looking for ways and means to abduct these rings from me, however, till now he has failed in all his attempts. Now that you’re having these rings with you, he might come after you any time. Hence, you need to be extremely careful until you submit these rings to Guru Veda!”
As the queen gives this “statutory warning”, Sage Utthanga did not take it seriously! Of course, he listened carefully to the queen’s words and remembered them at the back of his mind, but he was not extremely careful about it. As he was going back to the Guru’s place, he wanted to take a holy dip in a nearby river. He thus, places the diamond rings beneath a tree that was near to the water and then goes into the river for the dip. At this time, Takshaka notices Sage Utthanga and his eyes fall upon the diamond rings! Takshaka sees that this is the best chance for him to abduct the rings. Till now, these rings were with the queen of the Poushya Desha, and he wasn’t able to succeed in abducting them. Now that these rings have come to an innocent sage’s hands, Takshaka decided that he should grab this opportunity to the fullest. Readers should slightly take their memory backwards here – This is the same Takshaka that bit King Parikshit and caused his death.
Now, Takshaka plans out his quest here – How does he go and grab the rings? He shouldn’t go in the form of a snake. Instead, he decided that he would take the form of a “Jain Saint” and go there. Accordingly, Takshaka arrives at the river bank where the diamond rings were placed. He immediately pounces on the diamond rings, takes them with him and starts running! Upon seeing a “Jain saint” stealing the diamond rings, Sage Utthanga realizes that he had committed a careless mistake, and starts chasing him. Takshaka is running and running faster and Sage Utthanga is also equally following him all the way! Takshaka runs into the “Naaga Lokha”, thinking that this Sage wouldn’t be able to follow him there! However, Sage Utthanga never gave up the chase! He followed Takshaka all the way into the “Naaga Lokha” as well, despite the enormous amount of security placed outside! Sage Utthanga was totally unharmed by all the snakes there! Takshaka however is not going to stop! He keeps on running faster!
It is at this time, Indra comes along that way on his “Airavata” elephant. As Indra arrives, Sage Utthanga prays to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I have a commitment to submit these diamond rings to my Guru. However, this Takshaka is interfering in my path and is trying to abduct these rings from me. You’ve to somehow intervene and solve this problem for me!” Hearing thus, Indra looks around and sees a divine horse nearby. He asks Sage Utthanga to go near the horse and blow air into its ears and see what happens! According to Indra’s instruction, Sage Utthanga blows air into the horse’s ears. The moment this happens, this horse starts to breathe fire! As Sage Utthanga blows more and more air into the horse’s ears, a huge plume of fire erupts from the horse’s mouth and it follows Takshaka into the “Naaga Lokha”! The entire “Naaga Lokha” is set on fire within seconds! Afraid of losing his life to fire, Takshaka hurries back to Sage Utthanga, falls on his feet and returns back the diamond rings to him!
As this happens, Sage Utthanga thanks Indra for his timely intervention and help! Now he hurries back to his Guru’s place, goes straight to Veda’s wife and hands over the rings to her. With this, she is also extremely happy! Guru Veda is also extremely pleased with Sage Utthanga’s “Guru Dakshina” and blesses him with all the “Shaastra Gnyaana”! With this, we shall also understand how “Guru Bhakti” is extremely important and how people in those days were ready to execute whatever the Guru says! We shall wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂