The Ganesha Purana (abridged)
by Gregory Baily | 11,149 words
The Ganesha Purana is a Hindu religious text dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha (Gaṇeśa). It is an upapurāṇa that includes many stories and ritualistic elements relating to Ganesha. Ganesha Purana – Translated by Prof. Gregory Baily and Edited by C. Devadas...
Chapter 4 - Entering the City
Suta Gosvami said, “When the ceremony began, the King honored the Brahmins by giving away jewels, pearls, coral and numerous wonderful cows. To show his gratitude, he also gave elephants, horses, gold, and fine clothes. These clothes came from various regions and were woven with pure gold thread. To the other kings, queens, and village leaders, he gave a considerable amount of clothes of variegated colors. To his dependants and those of good character, he gave according to what they deserved. Then to his ministers he gave large amounts of gold and authority over many villages. After he gave away a portion of his immense wealth in charity, feeling grief and pain, and exceedingly impure, the King left for the forest. Once the King had departed, a great cry of distress arose among the people. Everyone instantly abandoned their duties. All of them, including his ministers, wife, son, and friends, followed the King. When he left the kingdom, he stumbled and fell on the ground. He then got up, tried to run away from them, and began to cry. The King had only gone two miles from the city but became very tired. The distressed ministers and towns-people caught up and surrounded him. Taking shelter of a nearby lake of cool water surrounded by many trees, the King spoke to all the ministers, town’s people and his kinsmen”.
King Somakanta said, “Please forgive all the offences I have committed against you during my long reign. With all sincerity, I offer my deepest respects. Have compassion on my son and myself too, who has become this way because of fate. Please do not lose affection for me. Everyone who has come, including the women and elderly, must go back to the city now. You are being protected by my son, so you will be free from all worries. All of you bid me farewell, for I am resolved to go to the forest. When you have gone back to the city, I will feel much better. All of you kindly do this great favor for me. Although I want to leave this world behind and am in great distress, I am unable to speak harshly to you. I have acquired this karmic reaction due to misdeeds from other lifetimes, so it is for the benefit of good people, such as your selves, that I have separated myself from the kingdom. Since I am oozing from leprosy, what else can I do? Each person experiences his own fate”.
Suta said, “After they had heard his wishes, the King’s friends were speechless. Some who were very distressed struck their heads with the palms of their hands. The learned consoled each other by relaying stories of previous great kings. Others, having realized the situation at hand, were like yogis, having analyzed the true nature of the world. Then some, who were bold, having calmly held back their own sorrow, spoke to the distressed Somakanta, who was longing to leave for the forest”.
They said, “Because you have nourished and protected us, it is not right that you should leave. In the same way that cold does not leave water, or heat and light from the sun, or as the ocean does not abandon its shores, how can we enter the city without you, our beloved King. Indeed, like the starry heavens without the moon, this city will have no splendor without you. O conqueror of enemies, we will go with you onto two or three sacred spots. Your bodily appearance, which was splendid before, will be splendid again by visiting such places. With the sages chanting mantras, and with great joy, we shall again enter the city together, which is decorated with banners”.
Suta said, “King Somakanta, although bowing down to them after having heard their speech, was irritated and anxious, and said repeatedly, ‘No! No!’ Then Hemakanta, accompanied by the ministers, spoke to the beloved king with appropriate decorum along with feelings of compassion and affection”.
Hemakanta said, “I cannot bear to go and rule the kingdom living without you. How can I tolerate be separated from you, never having experienced this before?”
The King said, “It was for this very reason that I instructed you in the Sastras which contain so much knowledge about good conduct and politics. Don’t be useless! Once upon a time Rama, having left his kingdom, went to the forest with his younger brother Laksman. Rama causelessly abandoned Sita in there. Therefore, at my command, Hemakanta, go quickly to the city with my three ministers and rule the kingdom which I have entrusted to you. Just like a wise man, who is intent upon remaining fixed on the Supreme Self, when I have left for the forest, I will always think of you. When good fortune has arisen again through the power of fate, I may again come home. The injunctions of the Sastras will certainly continue to operate if you act in accord with my command, but if you accompany me, this will not be so. Therefore go back to the city so I may leave”.
Suta said, “The towns-people, ministers and his son were feeling very depressed, but when the King decided to depart, they offered obeisance to him. After having praised the King with prayers and circumambulating him, he dismissed them to return home. The proud Hemakanta, holding a parasol and banner, then assembled his great army with foot soldiers, chariots, horses and elephants, and went back to the city”.
Thus ends the fourth chapter of Upasana Khanda of the glorious Ganesha Purana
called “Entering the City”.