Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 4 Chapter 14:1-17

Book 4: Chapter 14

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 14: Verses 1-17
The story of king Vena

Maitreya continued : The aforesaid sages, Bhrgu and others, solicitous as they were for the welfare of the people, saw that in the absence of a protector (in the form of a ruler) men were being reduced to the level of beasts. Sending for queen Sunitha, the mother of Vena, O valiant Vidura, the sages (who were all expounders of the Vedas) crowned Vena as the sovereign of the globe, even though he was not approved of by the ministers. Hearing that Vena, who ruled with an iron hand, had ascended the throne, thieves and dacoits soon hid themselves like rats afraid of a snake. Arrogant and self-conceited as he was by nature, he was puffed up with pride now that he had attained to the royal state and acquired the power and affluence of the eight protectors of the world, . and despised (even) holy men. Thus blinded with the intoxication of power and proud like an elephant not governed by a goad, he mounted a chariot and touring (all over his vast dominion) and shaking heaven and earth as it were, banned all religious performances, proclaiming by beat of drum as follows; "You shall never perform sacrifices nor bestow gifts nor pour oblations into the sacred fire under any circumstance, 0 members of the twice-born classes !" Observing the conduct of Vena, who had taken to evil ways, and pondering the calamity of the people, the sages assembled at a sacrificial session and compassionately said : "Oh i a terrible calamity has befallen the people from both sides, viz., from the thieves (on the one hand) and the ruler (on the other), even as ants etc., inhabiting a piece of wood lighted at both ends find themselves in great peril. For fear of anarchy this undeserving fellow was installed on the throne; but he himself is proving a source of terror. How can embodied beings live in safety now ? Just as nourishing a snake with milk is fraught with danger to the very man who nourishes it, Vena, who was born of Sunitha and wicked by his very nature, seeks to destroy the people themselves now that he has been appointed their ruler. Nevertheless let us (try to) bring him round through persuasion, so that his sin may not touch us. For Vena, who was addicted to evil ways, was made king by us even though we were aware of his sins. If, however, the unrighteous fellow does not accept our advice even when kindly addressed, we shall burn him with our spiritual fire, burnt as he already is by popular reproach. "Thus resolved, the sages approached Vena, concealing their anger, and, after soothing him with kind words, spoke to him (as follows). The sages said : Listen, 0 chief of kings, to that which we urge for your consideration, and which, dear child, is calculated to prolong your life and enhance your fortune, strength and glory. Duty performed with mind, speech, body and intellect bestows on men (after death an abode in) worlds which are free from sorrow, nay,-even the eternal state on those who are free from attachment. Let not that duty, which consists in your case in ensuring happiness and security to the people, be abandoned by you, 0 valiant monarch ! For, when this duty is neglected, a king (surely) falls from his royal splendour. A monarch, O king, who protects the people against (the tyranny of) wicked ministers, thieves and so on-and takes revenue from them as enjoined by the scriptures enjoys happiness here as well as hereafter.



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