Canto 1: CreationChapter 18: Mahārāja Parīkṣit Cursed by a Brāhmaṇa Boy

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.18.41

niśamya śaptam atad-arhaḿ narendraḿ

sa brāhmaṇo nātmajam abhyanandat

aho batāḿho mahad adya te kṛtam

alpīyasi droha urur damo dhṛtaḥ


niśamya — after hearing; śaptam — cursed; atat-arham — never to be condemned; nara-indram — unto the King, best of humankind; saḥ — that; brāhmaṇaḥbrāhmaṇa-ṛṣi; na — not; ātma-jam — his own son; abhyanandat — congratulated; aho — alas; bata — distressing; aḿhaḥ — sins; mahat — great; adya — today; te — yourself; kṛtam — performed; alpīyasi — insignificant; drohe — offense; uruḥ — very great; damaḥ — punishment; dhṛtaḥ — awarded.


The father heard from his son that the King had been cursed, although he should never have been condemned, for he was the best amongst all human beings. The ṛṣi did not congratulate his son, but, on the contrary, began to repent, saying: Alas! What a great sinful act was performed by my son. He has awarded heavy punishment for an insignificant offense.


The king is the best of all human beings. He is the representative of God, and he is never to be condemned for any of his actions. In other words, the king can do no wrong. The king may order hanging of a culprit son of a brāhmaṇa, but he does not become sinful for killing a brāhmaṇa. Even if there is something wrong with the king, he is never to be condemned. A medical practitioner may kill a patient by mistaken treatment, but such a killer is never condemned to death. So what to speak of a good and pious king like Mahārāja Parīkṣit? In the Vedic way of life, the king is trained to become a rājarṣi, or a great saint, although he is ruling as king. It is the king only by whose good government the citizens can live peacefully and without any fear. The rājarṣis would manage their kingdoms so nicely and piously that their subjects would respect them as if they were the Lord. That is the instruction of the Vedas. The king is called narendra, or the best amongst the human beings. How then could a king like Mahārāja Parīkṣit be condemned by an inexperienced, puffed-up son of a brahmaṇa, even though he had attained the powers of a qualified brāhmaṇa?

Since Śamīka Ṛṣi was an experienced, good brāhmaṇa, he did not approve of the actions of his condemned son. He began to lament for all that his son had done. The king was beyond the jurisdiction of curses as a general rule, and what to speak of a good king like Mahārāja Parīkṣit. The offense of the King was most insignificant, and his being condemned to death was certainly a very great sin for Śṛńgi. Therefore Ṛṣi Śamīka regretted the whole incident.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness