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Freeindia > Biographies > Great Personalities > Rantideva

The Srimad Bhagavatam glorifies King Rantideva who, at the point of breaking a 48-day fast, fed two beggars the very food he was about to eat.

The boon asked of God by the King Rantideva who, when his kingdom was ravaged by famine, gave away his last morsel of food to a hungry man and the last sip of water to a thirsty dog, remains the eternal heart-beat of every devout Hindu:

Na twaham kaamaye raajyam na swargam naapunar bhavam |
Kaamaye duhkhataptaanaam praaninaam aarti naashanam ||
"Oh Lord, I desire not kingdom nor the heavens nor even moksha. All I desire is to remove the suffering from the afflicted beings."

For forty-eight days he and his family were starving; a little liquid, and that enough for only one, was all that remained. As he was about to drink it, an outcaste came begging for water. Rantideva was moved at the sight and said, "I do not desire from God the great state attended by divine powers or even deliverance from rebirth. Establishing myself in the hearts of all beings, I take on myself their suffering so that they may be rid of their misery." So saying, the compassionate king gave that little liquid to the outcaste, though he himself was dying of thirst.

The gods of the three worlds came and desired to bestow upon him manifold blessings, but Rantideva, who had no attachment or desire, merely bowed to Lord Vasudeva [Krishna] in devotion.

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Published on: 2003-01-31 (4114 reads)

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