15 of 31 Questions for Reflection. Today’s question is inspired by reading Dṛg Dṛsya Viveka: An Inquiry Into the Seer and the Seen alongside a “The Tale of King Pariksit: Cursed to Die in Seven Days.”
What questions arise when I focus on the “curses” as an object of Vedanta meditation?
The Bhagavata Purana tells of King Pariksit who was out hunting deer when he became tired and hungry. He stopped at the hut of the sage Samika and expected the customary hospitality any priestly sage would show to a warrior king. But the king was not offered a comfortable place to sit, a bite to eat, nor tea to drink. Samika was sitting in samadhi. All of his sense perception was shut down, and he was merged in Purusa, pure consciousness. He didn’t even notice the king’s presence and was not able to host him. The king grew angry and used his hunting bow to pick up a dead snake, and he placed the snake corpse on Samika’s shoulder. Then he left.
When Samika’s young son returned and saw this, he cursed the king. The boy sent out a snake bird to deliver a lethal bite to the king. The king had seven days to live. The boy cried loudly over the offense to his father, and his cry roused Samika out of meditation.
When Samika learned that his son cursed the king, he scolded his son and told his son that brahmans don’t curse kings. He explained that saintly people don’t get easily offended because they have realized atman situated beyond the gunas.
Meanwhile, the king felt bad about his behavior, learned he was cursed, and accepted his fate. He returned home to consult with sages who helped him answer his question: when a man knows he only has a limited time left to live, what is the best way to spend that time?
Meditating on curses, a Jnana yogi might ask, “If I don’t have the resources to ‘be the better person,’ and if I am not ready to ‘forgive and forget,’ would Brahmavidya be enough to help render someone’s offense against me less hurtful? Or, if I can really see that the hurt I feel is also Brahman, then wouldn’t that be like giving people permission to hurt me?”