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KING RANTIDEVA

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King Rantideva was always satisfied and depended completely on the Lord's providence.

At the same time, when guests came to his palace the generous king would personally look after their every comfort.

king rantideva
In ancient days most of the Kings who ruled the country were very honest and truthful. They mostly worked for the welfare of the people and saw to that their subjects never underwent any difficulty as a matter of wealth or food. Once there lived a kind hearted king whose name was Rantideva and he was a great devotee of Sri Hari. He was very generous and worked hard for the good of the country and his subjects. He showed no differences and embraced all the people of his country for he saw Lord Hari in every living creature. He distributed lot of gifts for the needy and poor. The King was very clear that Sri Hari had given to him all the wealth and richness in plenty which he didn't want to enjoy by himself for there were so many children of Sri Hari without even daily food. He considered himself to be an instrument made by Sri Hari to share and distribute his blessings to the world. The King always had more than the required amount of food and clothing with him so that he did not say no to those who come in want of it. Thus his fame was known throughout the world especially for his warm hospitality which he extended to the rich and the poor alike. Like a child who runs to his or her mother for every little thing so was his subjects and he treated them with a motherly love. Anybody with any trouble would run up to King Rantideva for help and in turn the king took the pleasure to do service to them for he felt that it was the service he extended to Sri Hari. When the King was not able to clear the sorrow of his people he felt very painful more than the affected. So years passed like this with prosperity and people lived happily, basked in the generous love of their king.

But unfortunately there was a big famine in the country which led to the failure of crops, death of the catte and because of this men, women and children starved in large numbers. So they ran to the king to seek his help. The king distributed to his subjects with whatever he was left. He used to sit and pray to Sri Hari to give him the strength to remove their suffering. But still the condition worsened day by day and the famine continued. As situations got very bad there was a time when the king himself did not have anything to eat. He was not even able to feed his own family. None of the members of his household would eat, unless his people had been fed. So even when the king had food for himself, he and his family would not eat but instead they fed the people who came to them with hunger. Nevertheless, Rantideva used to feel happy, because his mind was satisfied when his people were fed. As the drought was getting severe, the king was left with nothing to give his hungry and starving subjects. He didn't get any help. But still his faith in Lord Sri Hari grew more and more. Though they were all looking for good time to come ahead, it didn't happen for the king and his dependants starved and the famine persisted.


king rantideva
Days went like this and the king and his family starved without food for nearly eight days. Of all in the family Rantideva became very weak due to continuous starvation for days and he was not even able to move. But someone brought him a bowl of porridge made of flour, milk and ghee. Because of great hunger and thirst, the king and his family felt very happy to see the unexpected bowl of porridge before them to eat. When they were about to eat their food, there came a very old Brahman to their doorstep who was in much need of food. The king received him respectfully and gave him some of the porridge to eat. Once the Brahman ate and wentt happily they were about to eat again, but then a beggar whose face looked pinched with hunger came to him for food. So Rantideva gave him too some of the meal to eat. Then soon after the beggar left, there came a sweeper with his dogs whose sight was very pity, saying that he and his dogs had not seen food for more than a month and that they have come to him for help. So the king gave him the remaining porridge. Now the solid food which was present was already over and there was only a little drinking water left. When Rantideva was about to drink, there came another person by name Chandala whose throat was scorched with dryness and he came to the king to wet his throat with some water. He could see his eyes which was heavy out of exhaustion. So seeing him, the king immediately held his cup of water to the beggar to quench his thirst. Rantideva was not able to bear the happenings of poverty around him. He prayed to Sri Vishnu asking for not power and wealth for himself but the capacity to feel the pain of others and the power to serve them by giving relief to their difficulties and sufferings.

Once the man drank the water and his thirst was quenched, his eyes opened with a sparkle and was full of life. But to everyone's surprise though it was the other man who had water and got back to normal, it was Rantideva who felt refreshed and fulfilled, as a hungry man is after a good and satisfying meal. Suddenly there appeared before him Maya and all her attendants. Maya is none other than the consort of Sri Vishnu and the queen of the entire Universe. She told him that she was very happy to see his devotion and his extreme love for his people. Maya also told him that if the king is ready to worship him now she will immediately take away all his difficulties and sufferings, load him with the riches and the entire wealth of the world. Rantideva was very pleased with Maya and he treated her with due reverence and he told Maya that he does not require anything for his mind was absorbed in Sri Hari. He also very kindly said no to all the riches and long life which Maya promised to give him for he had no yearning for the worldly pleasures and the other enjoyments in life. Hearing this from Rantideva and knowing what a great devotee he was of Sri Vishnu, just like a dream Maya fled from that place with her whole retinue of attendants. Pleased and taken aback by the devotion shown by Rantideva, Sri Vishnu, the protector of the Universe blessed his devotee by his blessings. Now Rantideva became a great yogi who got himself very much involved into tapas and meditation.