Sense of Righteousness

Arjuna was then still very young, he was about seventeen years old. But his sense of Dharma was extraordinary. Treating Rajyalakshmi as a straw, he rejected her. He told the ministers and others.

“O ministers, I am grateful to you, But I do not want the Kingdom. If an imcompetent persons gets tied to his kingdom and cannot discharge his duties due to his love of position or love of power, he will not escape punishment. Is there not the saying ‘rajyante narakam dhruvam’? The merchants give twelve percent of their profits and cowherds, six percent of their earnings. Why do they give a share of their labour to the King? Is it not because he protects them from all kinds of misfortunes, from ‘adhi bhoutika’ and ‘adhyatmika’ afflictions and from public calamities and sufferings? And because he guards them against enemy attacks?

“How can I accept the shares they give, believing that I can protect them with these crooked arms? Tell me, if I cannot protect them, and yet take shares of their labout, what difference will there be between me and a robber or a cheat?

“You may say, I could get my men to fight the battles. O Sirs, leaving the question of fairness aside, if I, crippled and incapacitated as I am, tell the men under my control to go and fight, will they not laugh to themselves, though they may accept out of desire for money?

“There is also another important consideration. Among the duties of a king, is it not important to determine who has committed a crime and to catch and punish them? Can I work without hands? If I were to depend upon others for this, I should accept responsibility for all sins of omission and commission on their part, though I commit no sin myself. Will I not have to be in hell till the end of the Kalpa? Even if I had good hands, I would not accept the Empire now. Carrying out the duties of a government is not an easy task. To avoid hell as a king is only possible if he possesses great power acquired by tapas, is endowed with celestial sight, is a yoga siddha, an expert in arms and has acquired skill in governing.”

“Therefore, I shall do tapas and when I feel that I have acquired sufficient power, I shall take over the Empire. I could not bear the burden of guilt if I took over the Empire now. Do not compel me”.

Hearing these words, which were like victory-flags flying on the peaks of Dharma, the ministers, priests and otheres were all impressed and surprised. Muni Garga, one of the ministers, was very much pleased. He told Kartaviryarjuna; “Son, if this is your will, I have an expedient to suggest to you”.

“For the purpose of protecting the world, Lord Dattatreya born with the aspects of the Trinity, is residing in the Sahyadri mountains. He is the one and only Acharya for Yoga. He looks upon everyone equally. Go and serve him. He alone can satisfy your desires”.

The moment he heard the name of Lord Dattatreya, the hairs on Kartaviryarjuna’s body stood on end. He questioned Muni Garga politely – “Sir, how can you say this with such certainty?”

Muni Garga laughed. He narrated in detail the complete story of the destruction of Jambhasura and then added:

“Child, will not that Supreme Lord, who did so much for Indra, do this little favour for you? That is why I am so convinced. But there is one difficulty. The Lord is severe tester. He is an avadhuta. He transceds both Dharma and Adharma. The disguises he assumes and the acts he performs to test the intensity of our devotion are too numerous to mention. Have I not already inofrmed you of what Brahispati told Indra about him? Therefore be careful. If you can stand the severity of his tests, your request is simple for him. There is no doubt about it.”