Long time ago, Kaatama Raaja used to be the King of the Gopaalakas. He used to do Janaa-ranjaka Paalanam of his praja, without deviating from the path of Dharmam.
Once a great Kshaamam (famine) came. The life of an ordinary man became very difficult. Seeing the duhkham of his praja and the Go-sampada, the King was worried. He could not bear seeing the Gomaatas not even having water to drink. He thought what is the use of he living if he is not able to save the praja and the Go-maatas. He thought “but what can I do. This is not Satya-yugam to expect miracles to happen”.
One day when the King was in this great depression, duhkham, that he is not able to save his praja, a Braahmana came to him and asked for aahaaram. The King who was already very disturbed, said “O Vipra! You seem to be a person who does Anushthaanam. But why dont you have Nigraham? People and Gomaatas are dying there not even getting water; cant you bear your hunger for one day?” Even though the King spoke like this, the Braahmana replied “Bhikshaam Dehi”. Howmuch ever the King insulted him, because of his bad mood, the Braahmana persisted and finally the King gave him some Dhaanyam etc. and sent him away.
Curious to know what the Braahmana will do with the Dhaanyam, Kaatama Raaja followed him. The Vipra entered his house, woke his Arthaangi, who was very very hungry and asked her to eat the aahaaram. The pativrata enquired whether the Vipra had Bhojanam or not? The Vipra replied to his arthaangi, “O Priya! Obviously our Dharmaatma Raaja will never send an arthi empty handed. I satisified my Kshut-baadha, then only brought you this”. The arthangi then ate the aahaaram.
Seeing all this, the King asked the Vipra why did he do all this. The Vipra replied “O Raaja! Before Panditas, my elders, and most importantly Agni-deva, I gave my word during Kalyaanam that ‘Dharmecha, Arthecha, Kaamecha, Naaticharitavyaaiti, Naaticharaami’. So in any circumstances it is my prathama Kartavyam to do rakshana and poshana of my Arthaangi, so even though you insulted me, I didnt have any other go than to persist asking you for Bhiksha”.
Listening to the Amruta-vaakyas of the Vipra, the Raaja remembered his Kartavyam. He thought there is no point worrying that he is not able to save the Praja, Gomaatas from the Kshaamam, instead he can plan, work-hard, do Daiva-dhyaanam or do Tapas or anything else to save his Desham and Raajyam. Once there is a will there is a way. In no time, the Raajyam again became Sasyashyaamalam.
Morals in the Story:
- “Krushi to Naasti Durbhiksham”. The king thinking what he, a mere mortal can do, was worried; instead he could have spent that time in trying to do something constructive. Later the words of the Vipra changed him.
- The Amruta vaakyas of the Vipra must never be forgotten. The prathama kartavyam of a Bharta is to protect his arthaangi. Bhaarateeyas, to keep up their word, undergo all kinds of pains, but never go against Satyam.
Search Terms: Katama, Kaatamaraaja, Katamaraajulu, Kaatamarajulu