How to Rule a Kingdom

To greet their king, the citizens decorated each part of his city with strands of pearls and flowers, draped cloth from its golden gateways, and flooded the air with the most wondrously fragrant incense. They washed the roads, squares, and lanes with water infused by sandalwood and agarwood, decorated them with flowers, whole fruits, shoots of grains, and lamps, and lined them with clean young betel trees and banana trees in fruit and flower. Strands of young mango leaves decorated everything.

The citizens greeted the king with limitless lamps shining auspiciously. More brilliant than the lamps were the shining young maidens with glistening jewelry who came forward to welcome him.

He entered his palace to the sound of priests singing the Veda while drums and conch shells boomed. He had no vanity, in spite of being the object of so much adoration and respect. Indeed he, the object of so much worship, turned to worship each one of his citizens, from the famous and important nobles down to the common workers. He gave each one what they needed or wanted. Fully satisfied, they all overflowed with good wishes towards their king.

Thus began his reign over the earth, marked by constant magnanimous welfare work, which made him history’s most famous ruler, greater than any other great person and elevating him to the transcendent position.

– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of
Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto [4.21.1-7]
By Vraja Kishor
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive
are available at
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