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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 4a

The Story of King Vena

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 4a   

 The Story of King Vena

(1) Maitreya said: 'The sages headed by Bhrigu who always aspired the welfare of all the people, understood that the citizens with the king being absent were doomed to live on the level of animals. (2) The men of wisdom called for the mother of Vena Sunîthâ and then enthroned him [Vena] as the master over the world, even though the ministers didn't agree. (3) Hearing that King Vena had ascended the throne the thieves, knowing that he was a most severe punisher, hid themselves immediately like rats afraid of a snake. (4) King Vena having ascended the royal seat was very proud of the eight kind of opulences [bhaga, see 3.24: 32] and considered himself to be the greatest. Impudently he began to insult the great personalities. (5) Thus blinded by power he, as proud as an uncontrolled elephant, mounted a chariot and traveled around creating fear in heaven and on earth. (6) Not permitting the performance of any sacrifice, that charities were given or that any butter was offered in the fire o twice-born one, he thus beating his kettledrums everywhere put an end to all religious rituals. (7) When the sages who always had performed the sacrifices saw what the great rogue Vena did, they considered it a threat to the common people and out of compassion talked about it. (8) 'Like a log burning from both sides, the common people alas from both the sides of the king and the thieves and rogues are in great danger. (9) Because we were afraid to be without a king Vena has been crowned although he was not qualified and now there is also the threat of danger from his side. How can the living beings be happy now? (10) Vena, born from the womb of Sunîthâ, has grown into a mischievous character, just like a snake that maintained with milk even attacks the one who feeds him. (11) With him appointed king there is no doubt that he desires to harm the citizens, but in order not to suffer the consequences of his sins we nevertheless should try to pacify him. (12) Knowing Vena's unrighteousness we nevertheless have made him king. If he's not amenable to our pacifying words, he for his evildoing will burn by public condemnation just as we will burn him by our prowess.' (13) Thus having decided the sages approached Vena concealing their anger. Pacifying him with kind words they spoke to him.

(14) The sages said: 'O best of the royals! Please try to understand that what we are about to tell you o King, and which will increase your lifespan, strength and good repute o best one. (15) To those persons who free from attachment in their words, mind, body and intelligence acted according to the religious principles, the worlds will be given that are free from misery; they will find liberation and lasting happiness. (16) May you not lose that spiritual life o hero of the people, the king who misses that which is the cause of prosperity will lose his sway. (17) O King, the royal rule protecting the people against mischievous officials, thieves and rogues may for that reason collect taxes and enjoy this world as well as the next. (18) It is in those kingdoms in whose cities the Supreme Lord, the enjoyer of all sacrifices, is worshiped, that the people following the varnâs'rama system [of vocations and age groups] will act according to their nature. (19) The Fortunate One, the original cause of the cosmic manifestation, will be pleased with that king o noble one, who in his position of power is of the Soul that keeps the entire universe together. (20) With Him, the Controller of the Controllers, being satisfied, one can achieve the impossible and therefore the people are everywhere with their preferred lead [their gods, kings and idols] by all means with the greatest pleasure all performing sacrifices for Him. (21) It is He who with all the deities that are worshiped is the recipient. He is the sum total of the Vedas, the owner of all means of worship and the goal of all austerity. Therefore o King, you should to your greater honor and self-interest direct your countrymen to perform worship by means of the different kinds of sacrifices. (22) When the brahmins in the kingdom are of devotional service, all the enlightened ones that are part of the Lord, are properly respected and will, most satisfied, grant the desired result. O hero, you should not fail to respect them.'

(23) Vena replied: 'Oh how childish you all are in taking irreligious principles for religious ones. In fact you forsake the father who feeds you being unfaithful with another love. (24) They who ignorantly of disrespect don't realize that the Lord is there in the form of the king, can't find happiness in this world nor after they died! (25) What now is the name of that enjoyer of sacrifice unto whom you direct your great devotion? Like with a bad woman relating to her paramour you fall short in affection for [your king,] the husband! (26-27) The creator, the maintainer, the destroyer, the king of heaven, the god of the wind and the god of death; the god of the sun, the god of the rains, the god of the treasury and the god of the moon; the god of the earth, the god of the fire and the god of the waters; all these and also other powers capable of blessing and cursing abide in the body of the king, the king comprises all the gods. (28) For that reason o learned ones, you should worship me in your rituals and not be envious. Use those means for my sake, there is no one else to worship as the prime enjoyer of what is offered.'

(29) Maitreya said: 'With all respects offered not acceding to the request of the sages, the one whose intelligence was perverted and who most sinfully had strayed from the path, was thus bereft of all good fortune. (30) All the brahmins felt insulted by him who thought himself to be so very learned. Frustrated in their polite request o Vidura, they became very angry with him: (31) 'Put him to death, to death, this king, this sinner, this dreadful nature who very soon will turn the whole world into a heap of ash if we let him live. (32) This man full of impiety, doesn't deserve the exalted throne as the god of man. He shamelessly insults Lord Vishnu, the master of all sacrifices! (33) Who else but that miserable Vena would be such a blasphemer of Him by whose mercy all opulence is received?' (34) Thus decided to put him to death they showed their anger and by the sound of their reproach [saying 'Hum'] ended the life of Vena, [the king] who was dead in his blasphemy against the Infallible One. (35) After the sages had returned to their hermitages Sunîthâ in her lamentation preserved the body of her son by means of chanting mantras.

(36) Once, when the sages were bathing in the waters of the Sarasvatî and offering oblations in the fire, they sitting on the bank of the river began to discuss the question of truth. (37) They then told each other that they had noticed that disturbances were developing that created fear among the people; wouldn't the citizens without a ruler suffer the misfortune of having a world full of thieves and rogues? (38) Evidently, as the wise were considering this, wherever one looked dust clouding the sky could be seen caused by the running of plundering criminals. (39-40) They then realized their fault: the disturbance of the common people whose riches were plundered, was due to the death of him who was their protector. With the state full of thieves and murderers and bereft of a king, they despite of being aware of all the evil that took place, couldn't manage to subdue the rogues. (41) An equipoised and peaceful brahmin who grossly neglects the ones afflicted is sure to lose the spirit, just like losing water from a broken pot. (42) The family line of the saintly King Anga should not be broken, for the semen of the kings of this family was so productive that they enjoyed the shelter of Kes'ava [He with the beautiful curls]. (43) Thus the wise men decided to churn the thighs of the dead king with great force. Thereupon a person named Bâhuka [the dwarf] was born. (44) He was as black as a crow, very short in every way with very short legs and arms, had big jaws, a flat nose, reddish eyes and copper-red hair. (45) Having appeared he meekly bowed before the sages inquiring: 'What can I do for you?' 'Please sit down' they replied and thus, o best one, he became thereafter known as Nishâda. (46) His descendants were thereupon called the Naishâdas. They inhabited the hills and forests because they, being born from Vena and with Nishâda taking the burden of all the sins, were feared.'

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/