King Muchukund and his sleep

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Raja Muchukund, a king of solar dynasty, was the son of the illustrious king mandhata. In the long battle between Asuras and Devas, king Muchukund, as a brave fighter he was, was invited by the Gods to help them to defeat the Asuras. Muchukund went and assisted successfully to subdue to Asuras. After the battle was over, Muchukund sought permission from Indra to go back to his kingdom on earth. With teary eyes, Lord Indra said to the king- “O king we are indebted to you for the help and protection which you have given us by sacrificing your own family life. Here in heaven one day equals one year of the earth and you had fought with Asuras for one year of heaven.

Since it has been a long time, there is no sign of your kingdom and family because it has been destroyed with the passage of time, we are happy and pleased with you. So ask for any boon except moksha (liberation) because it is beyond our capacities. Muchukund asks for a boon to sleep without disturbance. He was so tired in the battle. Indra conferred the boon to Muchukund and said- so be it, go to the earth and enjoy your sleep. One who awaken you would be reduced to ashes. After taking farewell from the Devas, Muchukund Descended to the earth and slept in a cave near Mathura. Lord Krishna was aware of this. So he took advantage and killed kalayavana, the great yavana warrior, who was not to be killed by any weapon, as he had got a boon from Lord Shiva. Krishna cunningly took kalayavana to the cave where Muchukund was sleeping and hides himself in a corner.

Kalayavana went and attacked Muchukund mistaking him to be Krishna when Muchukund opens his eyes, his gaze falls on Kala-yavana who is immediately burnt to death. Raja Muchukund was an ancestor of Rama who belonged to the Tretayuga. Krishna appeared towards the end of Dwapara yuga. So Muchukund was asleep for a long time. When he finally was awakened, was glad to see Lord Shri Krishna. Here we get a powerful and devotional prayer (Stuti) by Muchukund to Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu, the almighty. The stuti is reproduced below-“People get greatly attracted due to illusionand getting blinded to the real truth,They get attached to their homes,Which is a source of misery,And Search for happiness there and again get deceived.After getting the very difficult to get, life of a manAnd with a sound body and mind fit for devotion,They do not seem to worship your lotus like feet.And fall in the blind dark well of domestic life like an animal.

Mural depicting King Muchukunda. Monkey-faced legendary Chola king. , Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India

All my allotted life has been simply wasted by me by the royal wealth and the very great pride, of being a king.And getting worried about my mortal body,which was attached to my wife, my son, treasury and land.Leading to unnecessary pessimistic worries.In the body of mine which is like the mud pot or wallI being proud that I am the God among kings,Who was surrounded by chariots, elephant, cavalry and soldiers,I went round the world but never thought of you.When I loose intelligence due to the great pride,And not take any actions but get entangled with attractive sensual aspects of the life of the world,you come and catch me.Me who in olden times was travelling on a golden chariot,or on a exuberant elephant thinking that I am a king,In course of time became an excrement,Like a dead body which becomes ash or be eaten by worms.Though conquering places in all directionsWith no possible conflict,And sitting on the blessed throne soluted by Kings equal to him.

He gets drowned in the pleasure of the act of love making,And becomes a like a pet deer to the yound ladies there. Having done all the duties whth a decided austerity, And forsaken pleasures compared to them for the sake of getting the post of the king again, he though blessed with a life of happiness, wants to get more than that and looses even that when the mind is confussed when confronted with death, The companionship of good souls reduces his attachment to life, And if the some companionship comes his way, his mind travels and gets attached to you. I consider that you have granted me a blessing when without expectation you removed me from kingship, for this would be the prayer of all those good kings, who are wise who intend to go to forest and meditate on you.

Who will want to do anything except, To perform service and worship to your feet, And to pray for any other thing, my Lord, And oh Hari which wise men would ask, anything else which will tie and imprison his soul? So forsaking for all time, oh God, The ties of the sathva, Rajas, Thamas gunas I seek from you nothing except to serve you, For a long time, suffering the pitiable state of attachment, Being tormented by the Six enemies of five senses and the mind, I could not get at any time any peace whats over, But on completely surrendering to your lotus feet, which is devoid of fear, sorrow and death, Now I have crossed that very dangerous state. Sri Krishna advised him to do tapasya in the forest to get moksha. So Muchukund went to Gandhamardan and then to Badrika ashram to do penance. Any sensible person would sympathise with king Muchukund for the unexpected turn of events.

(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)

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Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur.  He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published from Kolkata.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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