An Unparalleled Sacrifice :
“No more hide and seek game!” said Vikram. “If so, listen,” the betal told a
“A king had a strange visitor! An old man spoke in terms of riddles. “O’ king, you may not remember me. We are cousins. Your mother and my mother were sisters. I had lived in luxury. But now all my wealth has gone. I had couple of friends. But they too had got shifted to far off places. Later, I had two more. But they too have deserted me. What I need now is all those four who had quit me and a fresh one as my fifth friend. So, I have come to you with this special appeal!”
The king understood what the old man was saying. That he had said that his mother and the king’s mother were sisters, meaning the poor old man was the son of Narayanee, the Goddess of utter poverty. So he was poor then.
The sister of Narayanee is Goddess Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth. So the old man meant that the king - son of Goddess Lakshmi was rich! The first two friends he referred were that he was young and handsome once!
The second two quoted by him must be his hearing and vision. Hence, now he could neither hear nor see properly. Finally, the fifth new friend he demanded was a walking stick, because he could not walk as before!
The king was pleased, “It is very wise of you to introduce yourself in the satirical wordage. I enjoyed your high sense of humor too. Tell me, what can I do for you?”
“I wish to serve you as your minister, my lord!” The king laughed. “At your age, how?”
Even before the king could complete, the old man removed his disguise. Then in his place, stood a young man! However, he begged the king saying that he wore a disguise only to raise his interest. He introduced himself as Suri.
The king was delighted at his wisdom. He inducted him as his minister. Suri did his duty ably well. Whatever the problem was, he handled extremely well.
One moonless light, Suri heard a woman’s cry. He quickly got to his feet and gingerly went out. There he saw a strange sight! It was Goddess Laxmi who was crying. He became alarmed. Rushing to her, he stood obediently and asked what the matter was. “Oh, the time has come for me to leave. In my place, my sister Narayanee is going to take over. The king and this kingdom will be engulfed with poverty!” said Goddess Lakshmi sobbing.
It shocked Suri. But He was cool. “No, we won’t let you go. Tell me. Is there any remedy to retain you here, Goddess?” he asked.
“Yes, there is only one way. Goddess Kali can stop Narayanee from entering this kingdom. But for that to happen, Kali needs to be appeased. One who is loyal to the king must sacrifice his own son before Kali. That is the way!”
Meanwhile, the king who had heard the cry came out quietly and was standing out of sight. He heard every word that Suri spoke with the Goddess Lakshmi. Meanwhile, he heard Suri telling Goddess Lakshmi that he would sacrifice his son immediately!
The king was shocked at this! Suri rushed home and told his wife about it and his decision. “I am ready to sacrifice my son for the sake of tens of thousands of people!” she said firmly. Then they woke up their small daughter and son and went to the Goddess Kali temple.
What followed was a heart-rending event! The king who followed them, hid behind a pillar and watched. Suri laid his eight year old son on the altar and chopped off his head!
On seeing this gruesome sight, their daughter aged 13 years grabbed the sword and chopped off her head too! Seeing the two children lying dead in a pool of blood, their mother picked up the sword and killed herself! After the tragic end of the three members of his family, Suri did not want to live. He too committed suicide!
This shook the king! The next instant, he ended his life in the similar fashion!
The betal put its hand in Vikram’s ears and tickled. “Now among these four, whose sacrifice is unparalleled?”
“Suri sacrificed his son out of loyalty. The little girl killed herself out of affection for her younger brother. Suri and his wife did not want to live after the sad end of their children. So, everyone had a motive. But why the king killed himself? He had no motive. But because he was moved by their sad end. So, his sacrifice is unparalleled!”
Vikram gave a fitting reply.
“Ha, you keep speaking. Now you will have to sacrifice me. See you!” the betal waved and shot back up in the sky to Peepul tree!
An Unparalleled Sacrifice
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