KING HARISCHANDRA –CREMATION LABOURER
There was one king in India named King Harish Chandra. He was a very, very honest person. One day he had a dream, and in his dream, sage Vishwamitra appeared. The king asked him “what do you want from me, O sage?’
“If you so want, “the sage replied, give me your whole kingdom without keeping anything back to yourself.”
“The king was delighted, and he said, “it is given to you. Now you are the king.”
“And the sage left.
“The king woke up. He thought about the sage. “Now this kingdom belongs to him. It does not belong to me. I have already given everything to him.”
“He was waiting and waiting for the sage.”
“At last sage came. King Harish Chandra bowed down to him, and said, “Now you take care of your kingdom.”
“You are handing over the charge of your kingdom to me in order to fulfil your promise,” the sage said. “But there is a custom that when you meet any sage, you must give them dakshina (gift).
“Now, because the king had given his kingdom to Vishwamitra, the king did not have anything of his own, and he could not take anything from his own kingdom. So he told the sage, “Please wait for some time, and I will give your dakshina. Please wait.”
“And the sage agreed.”
“The king left the kingdom along with his wife and son, Parikshit, and went to Benaras (Varanasi). He was searching for a job, but he could not find one. With great difficulty, the queen obtained a job of cook in the house of a very cruel, high-caste Brahmin. King Harish Chandra obtained a position in cremation grounds. His job was to collect tax whenever a dead body would come.
“One day, prince Parikshit was bitten by cobra, and he died. The Brahmin was so cruel, that he did not give the queen any money for the prince’s cremation. The queen, weeping, carried the dead body of her son on her shoulder to the cremation ground. King Harish Chandra recognized dead body of his son. He also recognized his Queen, but said, “I am appointed here to collect the tax. Therefore, I cannot permit you to cremate our child unless you pay the tax.”
“I have nothing.” the queen replied, “I have nothing else, only this sari.”
“Her husband, the king, replied, “I cannot allow you to cremate our child until you pay the tax. So you must give half of your sari by way of tax.”
“Whatever you like, you can take.” the queen replied. She offered her sari to Harish Chandra and asked him to cut it half, and take half of it for the tax.
“The king was about to cut off his wife’s sari when the sage Vishwamitra appeared, and said to the king. “I was testing your honesty. And you passed my test. I am very much touched with your honesty. Now go back to your kingdom and rule over it.”
“And prince Parikshit woke up on the queen’s shoulder, as if he had only been sleeping.”
Gist: Baba said, “Honesty is to win the victory over your false self. Each person has a higher self (Reality) and lower self, false self. So long as your false self is there, you will remain attracted to false-hood. So aim of life is to get rid of your false self.