Published On: Mon, Feb 13th, 2017

Traditional Tales – Greed That Brought Destruction

Long ago lived a king named Srinjaya. A daughter was his only child. He was worried that he did not have a son to inherit his kingdom. To find a solution, he invited great Vedic sages, served them, and sought their counsel. Pleased by the king’s service, the sages prayed to the divine sage Narada to remove this worry of the king. Narada was also a guest of Srinjayaat that time. Narada was pleased to be requested thus by the sages who had understood the import of the Vedas, and he resolved to remove the king’s worry.

Narada asked the king : ‘O King! What kind of son do you want?’ The king could have asked for an ordinary son but who is free from the clutches of desire? The king became greedy and bowed before Narada and prayed: ‘O great sage! If you are willing to bless me with a son, kindly give me a son as I desire. He should be very hand-some, healthy, and even his excreta like stool, urine, sputum, and phlegm should be of gold. ’Pondering for only a moment, sage Narada could understand everything and left after having blessed the king thus: ‘O King! You will get a son just as you wish!’

Accordingly, in due course, a son was born to the king, who experienced in-estimable joy and named his son Suvarnashtivi. When the prince cried, tears of gold flowed. Allexcreta of the prince’s body were in gold. This greatly increased the king’s income and made him very happy. He filled his cellar with gold. He then got all utensils, walls, doors, and all other objects in the palace made of gold. The floors, pillars, ceilings—everything in the palace was of gold.

The news of this prince, who excreted gold, spread all across the nation and people came from a far to have a glimpse of the prince. When robbers came to know of this unique prince, they assembled in a meeting and planned to kidnap the prince using expert robbers. One night, they secretly entered the palace and kid-napped the prince and took him to their hide-out. After the kidnapping of the prince, there was a difference of opinion among the leaders of various robber-gangs regarding the sharing of the prince’s excreta.

Further, the robbers learnt that the king had sent great soldiers in all directions in search of his son. It was not possible to keep the prince in the robbers’ custody for long. Hence, the different gang leaders came to an agreement that the prince had to be killed and the gold that would be taken from his body should be divided equally. Thus, the merciless robbers killed the prince. However, though the prince’s body was cut into two parts, there was not even an iota of gold in his body.King Srinjaya could not save his son because of the boon he sought out of his greed. He suffered severe pain and agony.

Greed led to the prince’s killing by the robbers and they did not get any-thing. Instead, they only incurred the sin of killing an innocent child and also became the prey of the king’s fury. Thus, due to greed King Srinjayalost his son and the robbers lost their lives.

This story that finds place in the Mahabharata, reminds one of the story of the golden goose. A goose used to lay golden eggs daily. Once, the owner of the goose got greedy and thought that if he cut the goose, he could get all the golden eggs all at once and could become very wealthy. However, when he cut the goose, he saw that its stomach was empty and lost the golden egg that it lay daily. These stories remind us that greed leads to destruction.

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