(1) S'rî Parîkchit said: 'How could Vritrâsura with a nature of passion and ignorance, o brahmin, and being that sinful minded be of such a strong consciousness in Nârâyana, the Supreme Person? (2) The great saints who directed their minds to the goodness and truthfulness of the gods and who have unblemished souls, hardly ever develop devotion unto the lotusfeet of Mukunda, the Lord of Liberation. (3) There are as many living entities as there are atoms in this material world; of them there are indeed some human and alike and out of them there are only a few acting to do good. (4) O best of the twice-born, one always sees that of those who are faithful to the liberation there are only some who desire liberation and that of the thousands of them there are only a few that are really liberated, really perfect. (5) Among those who found liberation and perfection, o great Sage, is out of the millions and trillions very rarely one found who concluded to Nârâyana and who has a mind that is completely peaceful [compare B.G. 7: 3 & 7: 26]. (6) How, with the truth of this, could Vritra then, being so sinful and the cause of such a suffering in all the world, in the midst of the fire of giving battle have an intelligence that was fixed on Krishna? (7) To this I am in great doubt and very eager to hear, o master, about how he managed to please the Thousand-eyed One in battle with his bravery and strength'."
(8) S'rî Sûta said: "The all-powerful son of Vyâsa thus hearing the perfect question of the faithful Parîkchit expressed his compliments and explained it to him. (9) S'rî S'uka said: 'Please listen carefully, o King, to what I can tell you of what I've heard from the mouths of Vyâsa, Nârada Muni and Devala Rishi. (10) Once there was a king, an emperor to all, living in S'ûrasena, who, o King, was named Citraketu ['the light of excellence'] and of whom, being honored with that name, there was of the earth everything one could wish for. (11) Of the tens of thousands and thousands of wives he had received the king, although they were very well capable of giving birth, not a single son. (12) With all his beauty, magnanimity, youth, good birth, education, opulence, welfare and all other good qualities he was endowed with, was he full of anxiety in the role of the spouse to that many incapable wives. (13) Nor his great opulence, nor all his queens with their beautiful eyes, nor all the lands of the empire could please him. (14) But Angirâ, the very powerful sage who traveled around all his countries, one day unexpected came to the palace. (15) Paying him his respects according the customs, he stood up from his throne and offered him worship. And after thus having been hospitable in offering him a comfortable seat, sat he in proper self-restraint down next to him. (16) The great rishi himself bowing to the ground then complimented him who in all humility sat beside him, o Mahârâja, and addressed him saying the following.
(17) Angirâ said: 'Is everything all right with your health and the material order of the state; the order of the king [in priests, ministers, territories, subjects, fortresses, the treasury, the police and the army] that is so much alike the seven material layers which protect the living being [consisting of the totality, the ego and the five objects of the senses; mahat-tattva, ahankâra and tanmâtras]? (18) The king submitting himself to these elements of royalty may befall all that is good, and so will each and all depending on him in offering wealth and services, o god of men. (19) And your wives, citizens, secretaries, servants and merchants as well as your ministers, your intimates, governors, landholders and offspring, do they all comply with your rule? (20) When the mind is controlled will all the subjects comply and then will everyone, along with the governors no longer being negligent, offer his contribution. (21) From the anxiety of your pale face I can tell that you're not quite happy of mind for some or another reason or that you're in fact frustrated in your plans.'
(22) By the philosopher, despite of his greater learning, thus being questioned o King, bent he [Citraketu], in his desire for offspring, low to the sage in great humility to reply him as follows. (23) King Citraketu said: 'O great one, what would there be that you, in your austerity, spiritual knowledge, and absorption and your association with other great and sinless yogis, do not know of the external and internal matters of the embodied souls? (24) Still, o brahmin, even though you know everything, you question me about my anxieties. Now, with your permission, let me dilate on what you asked me. (25) With a great empire even desirable for the demigods does all the wealth and the upkeep not give me any pleasure because I have no son; to me it is all like trying to satisfy one's hunger and thirst with everything else but food and drink. (26) For this reason save me and my forefathers from perdition in darkness o great wise; make it so that we get a son so that we may overcome that what is so difficult to overcome.'
(27) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus being beseeched made that most powerful and merciful son of Brahmâ him cook a preparation of sweet rice for Tvashthâ [the demigod father of Vis'varûpa, see 6.8], which he then offered in worship of him. (28) The first and most perfect queen of all the queens of the king, o best of the Bhâratas, listening to the name of Kritadyuti, was offered the remnants of the sacrifice delivered by the sage. (29) Thereafter said he to the king: 'O King, there will be one son who will be the cause of jubilation and lamentation for you', whereupon the son of Brahmâ left. (30) Kritadyuti proved to be pregnant of Citraketu after having eaten the food of the offering so that she got a son like the goddess Krittikâ got one [Skanda] from Agni. (31) Her fetus grew day after day developing step by step from the semen of the king of S'ûrasena like the moon does in the bright fortnight of the month. (32) Then in due time took the son his birth, creating the greatest delight among the inhabitants of S'ûrasena the moment they heard about it. (33) The king, very happy with his newly born son, bathed and decorated himself with ornaments, and then arranged for the brahmins to perform the birth ceremony with many benedictory words. (34) The brahmins he gave in charity gold, silver, garments, ornaments as also villages, horses, elephants and sixty crores of cows. (35) Like a raincloud showered the beneficent king all that one could desire for in order to increase the opulence, the reputation and longevity of his newborn. (36) Just like a poor man who has an increasing affection for the riches he gained with great difficulty, had the pious king, as a father, a day by day growing affection for the son he with so much difficulty got. (37) Also the mother had an excessive affection for the son, which, with all the co-wives of Kritadyuti, out of their ignorance led to a feverish desire to have sons also. (38) Just as with the constant care for the son became king Citraketu extraordinarily attracted to the wife who gave him the son and not so much to the others. (39) Of having no sons and being unhappy of being neglected by the king, they then lamented condemning themselves out of envy. (40) A woman being without a son is, by the husband and the co-wives who have sons, not honored at home finding all condemnation and is consigned the burden of sin; she, ill respected, is then just like a maid-servant. (41) And what indeed is there for maidservants to lament who find honor in being constantly of service to their husbands - but being like a maidservant to the maidservants one is most unfortunate. (42) Thus was there of the queens fallen out of grace, who burnt in lamentation with their king enjoying the wealth of a son from the co-wife Kritadyuti, a very strong growing envy. (43) Having lost their intelligence of the envy and unable to tolerate the king his ways, became the women extremely hardhearted and administered they poison to the boy. (44) Kritadyuti walking around the house was not aware of the sin committed by the co-wives and thought, looking upon her son, that he was fast asleep. (45) With the boy lying down for a long time gave she, as a lady of intelligence, thus the nurse the order: 'Please o friend, bring me my son'. (46) Looking after him she saw him lying down with his eyes turned upwards and his life force, mind and senses gone, and thus cried she, falling down to the ground: 'I'm doomed!'. (47) At that time hearing her agitated voice loudly in words of regret, to which she stroke her breast with both her hands, hurried also the queen in to see, upon approaching her son, that her child suddenly had deceased. (48) She swooned unconscious to the ground overcome by grief with her hair and dress in disarray. (49) Thereafter, o ruler of man, came all the inhabitants of the palace and all the people, men and women who had heard the loud crying nearby, and all lamented they equally aggrieved greatly, just as did pretentiously the ones who had committed the crime. (50-51) Hearing that his son had died for reasons unknown, could the king not see properly anymore as he, constantly falling and slipping, on his way was followed by his entourage of ministers and brahmins. Because of his affection and his rising wail of lamentation he fell unconscious down at the feet of the dead boy, heavily breathing with his hair and dress disheveled, and [coming to] was he because of the tears he cried not able to speak with his choked up voice. (52) The queen, seeing her husband as he was heavily lamenting in his grief over the deceased child, the only son of the family, cried her heart out and added thus to the pain in the heart of all gathered there, including the officers and ministers. (53) Her two with kumkum powdered breasts got wet of the teardrops that, mixed with her make-up, fell from her eyes, and from her scattered hair slipped down the flowers as she in every tone lamented over the son with a sound which reminded one of the sweet cries of a kurarî bird.
(54) 'Alas, o Providence, how short You fall in wisdom as someone who indeed performs just to the contrary of his creation; with the father still alive is there, with the death of the one that came later, a contradiction with You in the light of which You are found as a constant threat. (55) Not of the regular order out here of the death and birth of the embodied, You allow it to be so that, as a result of one's karma, that which follows from the bond of love, that which is personally made by You to Your greater glory, is cut away. That is what You do! (56) And you my dear son, shouldn't give up on me, me so poor without you as my protector. You should look after your father who grieves so deeply; by you we may easily cross that realm of darkness which is so difficult to cross without a son; please don't leave us. Don't abide by the mercilessness of the Lord of Death. (57) My dear son, get up, all the children, your playmates are calling for you to play with them, o prince of mine; you've slept for so long, you must be really hungry by now, please take my breast and drink, just to dissipate the grief of your relatives. (58) How unfortunate I am not to see any longer the charming smiles of you, born from my flesh, now you've closed the eyes of your lotusface; have you really left me for the place of no return, for the other world; have you really been taken away by the cruel Lord of Death? No longer I can hear your sweet prattle...'
(59) S'rî S'uka said: 'With the woman bewailing her dead son this way in several lamentations, was Citraketu very much aggrieved and cried he loudly along. (60) With the king and his wife thus lamenting cried all their subjects equally loud along, and so were all the men and women of the kingdom out of their wits of sadness. (61) The saint that was Angirâ, who knew that from the misery that fell upon them they had lost their senses and were helpless, then decided to go there with Nârada Muni.