The Greater Sacrifice

The Greater Sacrifice :

There was once a king called Jimut who had a prince named Jimutvahan. Jimutvahan was a very kindhearted and benevolent boy who always wanted to do good for the people. There was a tree called Kalpaka Vriksha in the courtyard of the palace. This tree had the powers to fulfill all desires. Jimutvahan went up to the tree and prayed that all poverty and sadness be removed from the people of the kingdom. Soon the branches spread to every corner of the kingdom. There were showers of gold in the kingdom.

The royal family came to know that some neighbours were planning to attack and over throw them. Jimutvahan went to his father and pleaded, “Let us renounce this royal life and live at peace as hermits in the forest and do good to people.”

King Jimut agreed and the family went to live in the forest. It was a calm and serene life and they all realised that there was nothing more to life than to live in such a blessed way.

Some days later Jimutvahan met the daughter of a hermit. Her name was Malayavathi. Soon they fell in love and were married. One day while walking in the forest with his wife, he saw a mound of bones. On enquiring, he learnt that they were the remains of Nagas killed by Garuda the king of eagles.

On another day in the same place, he saw a Naga mother lead her young son tearfully to the same spot for Garuda to consume him. Everyday it was the turn of one Naga or another to be the prey of Garuda.

Jimutvahan was moved. He approached the Naga mother and said, “Please don’t be sad. I am willing to be eaten by Garuda instead of him”.

Soon Garuda flew down and seized Jimutvahan and carried him to the mountains to devour him. As he was carried, Jimutvahan’s ring fell near his cottage. His wife Malayavathi seeing it rushed to the mountains in a vain attempt to save her noble husband.

But Garuda had reached the mountains much earlier. As he began to rip the skin and flesh off Jimutvahan, Jimutvahan cried, “Let the world live in peace and happiness.”

Garuda the king of eagles heard these words and realised that this was no Naga. At the same time the young Naga boy who had decided that he would not let another being die in his place came rushing up and said, “Don’t kill him. He is not a Naga. Take me as your prey.”

But it was too late for Garuda had inflicted deep wounds and Jimutvahan was already dead. Then Malayavathi arrived. Seeing her husband dead, she prayed to Goddess Parvathi who restored him to life. Garuda was moved by his gesture of dying for the sake of the Naga boy.

He gave Jimutvahan a boon to ask for any thing. Jimutvahan said, "I pray that you stop killing the Nagas and bring all those you have killed back to life.”

Garuda granted his wishes.

Betal’s question was, “Whose sacrifice is nobler?”

King Vikram answered, “The willingness of the Naga boy to offer his life was of greater significance than the willingness of Jimutvahan to die, for he was a noble soul used to acts of sacrifice. But despite his fear of death the Naga boy had the noble desire to prevent Jimutvahan from dying in his place.”

“You are right. But you learn to remain silent,” said Betal and disappeared. King Vikram had to get him back.

The Greater Sacrifice

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The Greater Sacrifice
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