Worthy are not respected...
Dileepa thought that if all persons
of his retinue entered the Ashrama, it would disturb the sages. So he asked
them to stay out. Only the king and the queen went into the hermitage.
The sages who were there welcomed them and offered seats. The royal couple
then approached Vasishtha. They prostrated before the sage and his consort
Arundhati, touching their feet. As they stood with folded hands, the holy
pair gave their blessings.
And Vasishtha said, "Dileepa, you have
both had a long and tiresome journey. You must take rest." He gave them
milk and fruits.
Later the sage continued his talk -
"Are all people happy in your kingdom? Do you have timely rains and good
crops? Do you have sufficient grains and money, and are the cows well-fed?"
And the king answered - "0 sage, when
you are there to ward off all troubles that may assail my kingdom, I have
no fears. My realm has never seen scarcity or famine. Nor does it have
thefts, robbery or murder. Thanks to the force of your penance and your
blessings, my arrows do possess the power to kill enemies. Thus there is
no fear of any foes. We have timely rains and good crops. Owing to your
sacred splendor, my people have no troubles at all."
Dileepa thought that though Vasishtha
would have known of the purpose of his visit with his inner eye, it would
be proper for him also to mention it. So he said: "Sage, though my land
has all prosperity and happiness, my queen and I have no joy. I have no
son to rule over this kingdom and protect the people, after me. My ancestors
have had their troubles set right by you, our preceptor. I also need y6ur
help and favor."
The learned sage closed his eyes for
a while. He was thinking as to why his disciple had no offspring. His mind's
eye could make it out. And he said:
"0 king, there is a reason for your
not having a son. Once upon a time you had gone to Heaven to help Devendra,
the Lord of Heaven. While you were returning, there stood the divine cow,
Kamadhenu, in the shade of the Tree of Wealth in Paradise. You should have
gone round the divine cow in obeisance and then proceeded further. But
you failed to do so. It looked as if you sighted Kamadhenu. The heavenly
cow was angry; for your fault of neglecting her, she has pronounced a curse
on you, that you shall not have any issue, and that you would have children
only if you worship her own daughter Nandini, and please her and win her
favor. You did not hear her cursing you. But if the worthy are not saluted
and respected, none can be happy."
Dileepa felt very sorry for the mistake
that had occurred. "For this fault, both of us have suffered the punishment
in the way of our consuming worry. I am very eager to make amends. You
must guide me as to how it could be done. Where is the sacred cow, Nandini?
How can I get her favor?" - the king asked.
Vasishtha replied - "Kamadhenu'sdaughter
Nandini is now in the netherworld Patala.
Varuna is performing a sacrifice there
and has taken her there for providing the milk,
curds, ghee and other things needed
for the sacrifice. She is the cow belonging to this ashrama and may return
here some time now, with the sacrifice completed. Please wait till then.
You and your wife must both do service to Nandini every day. You will of
course get a good son. Don't feel sad."