blessed and renowned Pṛthu became very angry at Indra, and took up his bow and arrows.

The priests say him rise in a terrible rage to swiftly destroy the Thunder-Wielder, “Oh king of broad intellect!” they protested, “it is declared that if you injure any creature now, your sacrifice will be ruined!”

Pṛthu glanced ferociously at the sky, towards Indra.

We will stop him” the priests said, “and we will do it in a sacrificial manner. We will invoke that lord of storms who wants to destroy your success.”

“How will you do that?” Pṛthu would want to know.

“With mantas of summoning!”

“They are powerful enough to summon the king of paradise?” Pṛthu would ask.

“Their powers are insurmountable! They will invoke him instantly and irresistibly. He is already powerless, because he opposes you, and we are all-powerful because we serve you.”

“What will you do with him once you invoke him?” Pṛthu would wonder.

“We will make him the final horse, and give him to the sacrificial fire.”

Before Pṛthu could even reply, the furious priests prepared to incant the mantras, taking butter-oil ladles into their hands. But self-born Brahmā interrupted, ordering them to stop.

“You must not try to kill Indra!” Brahmā declared. “You will fail – for he is an essential part of the sacrifices manifest by the All-Attractive. Should sacrifice be employed to destroy sacrifice? If you did kill him, what would happen to all the gods for whom he is the essential king?”

There was silence.

Brahmā continued, “O Priests! By disrupting the King’s religious ceremony in the disguise of a religious person, Indra has opened the door to terrible religious hypocrisy and exploitation. Now just see the first result: you want to kill him by a religious ceremony!”

The Priests put down the ladles in shock.

Brahmā turned to Pṛthu and said, “Broad minded king! Your fame is already spread everywhere. So what if you have performed one less that one hundred rituals? What is the difference? You know that religion is actually meant for spiritual liberation, so why should you be so intent on finishing your hundredth mundane religious sacrifice? What will you really gain if you succeed?”

Pṛthu’s anger disappeared.

“Indra is a king just like you,” Brahmā continued, “and both of you are parts of He Who Is Glorified in Topmost Poetry. So why should you be angry at him? What should anyone be angry at either of you? I wish good fortune to both of you!”

Pṛthu looked at the final sacrifice half-completed. Brahmā encouraged him, “Your soul is very soft and kind, O Emperor. Don’t worry yourself by dwelling on this last sacrifice. What is done is done. The mind of one who dwells on what destiny seems to steal is lost in the blinding darkness of anger.

“Give up this ceremony! Of all the gods, Indra is the most tenacious and impossible to thwart. He has already created such a mess by using religious symbols to accomplish irreligious aims. Seeing how Indra ruined your ceremony by stealing the horse, everyone is now tempted to exploit religious symbols for their own interests.

“You have come into this world to help bring the people into moral harmony. After Vena practically destroyed morality, you arose from a part of his body, as a manifestation of Viṣṇu’s expansion. Fulfill your mission, which is the mission shared by all of us who help create the world. Don’t think about destroying Indra, think about destroying the religious hypocrisy he has invited by so wantonly exploiting religious symbolism.”

The king accepted the guidance of the world’s guru, Brahmā. He compassionately forgave Indra and made peace with him.

– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of
Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto
[4.19.27 – 39]
By Vraja Kishor [VrajaKishor.com]

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