There will be many who do Suvarna, Go, Bhuu daanam; but it is rare to find one who has sarva-bhuuta-daya.
One day, when Raghu maharaja was doing Tapas, a Viprottama approached him and asked for Sharanam. Seeing the Viprottama, who was trembling with fear, Raghu maharaja gave Abhayam and asked the reason for the fear. Meanwhile a Raakshasa came there saying “leave … leave”. He said to Raghu maharaja “Raja! leave him. This is the aahaaram that Brahma decided for me. Why are you protecting my aahaaram. I am very hungry”.
Raghu maharaja said “I will not. He, that too a Viprottama, came to me and asked for Sharanam. A sat-purusha always gives Abhayam to a Sharana-arthi. Also it is my Kshatriya-dharmam to protect this arthi. A person who does Abhaya-daanam will get more punyam than one who does all Yagnyas-Vratas. How can I cheat a person, to whom I said even giving my life I will protect you? For any paapam there might be a praayashchittam; but not for a Sharnaagata-hanta. I can get you any other aahaaram which you will like. With hunger how much you are suffering, this Vipra is also suffering that much with fear”.
Raakshasa replied “Like a Gnyaani you talked a lot about anya-samrakshana-dharmam. However you wont care about my hunger. When the tastiest food I want is before me, you are asking me to ask for some other aahaaram. Now if I die of hunger wont you get the paapam? Raja! you dont have daya. For Tapas, daya is the basis. Nirdaya gives paapam. Please save me – who is suffering from hunger. Leave the Vipra”.
Raghu maharaja then thought like this “If I leave this Vipra, Raakshasa will eat him. If I dont, Raakshasa may die of hunger. Without any doubt in either case I will get the paapam. What do to?”. Then he remembered his Guru, Vasishtha’s bodha — “Hari naama smaranam is the only way in case of difficulties”. So Raghu maharaja, with nishchala chittam, did Shri Hari dhyaanam and said “Paatu maam Bhagavaan Vishnuh”.
Just on hearing the Hari naamam, the Raakshasa got Divya-aakruti and said “I am a King by name Shatadyumna and got this ghora-ruupam because of Vashishtha maharshi shaapam, for my dushkaaryam. Because of hearing to Divya-Hari-naamam that too from a Dharmaatma, Tapasvi like you, I got Vimukti”. The Vipra also reached home safely.
Seeing this, Brahmadeva appeared before Raghu maharaja and said “O Mahiipaala! your Dharma-vartanam impressed Me. Please aboard this Divya-vimaanam and come to Satyalokam”. This Divya-gaadha was told by Shri Bhrugu maharshi to Shaunaka mahaa-muni.
Morals in the story:
- Bhuuta-daya and Sharanaagati-dharmam are well shown by Raghu maharaja. The Punyam got by Abhaya daanam is anantam! For such a person, Satyalokam is easy to reach.
- The importance of Shri Hari-naama-smarana is well shown in the story. Especially in Kali-yugam, Naama-sankeertanam, Daiva-bhajanam is the easiest way for Mukti.