Once upon a time in Naimiśāraṇyam, Śaunaka-ādi munis requested the great Pourāṇikottama, Sūta, to tell the Kṛtajñata-Dharma Vaibhavam. Sūta māhāmuni told the following story:
Kṛtajñata is a great sat-guṇam. Not forgetting a favour done is the minimum one can do. Kṛtajñata is one of the such Dharmas, where following the Dharmam does not carry any special Puṇya, but not following will give mahāpāpam. Saying thus, Sūta muni continued:
Once there lived a brāhmaṇa, a Kāśyapavamśajāta. But, he left his svadharmam and lived like a kirātaka in some forest. Everyday he used to hunt animals and lead a himsa-maya jīvanam. He was a māmsa-bhakṣhaka and had his interests in doing many other durita-kāryas. A person who believes that Indriya-sukhas are Paramārtham, runs behind viṣhayas and vañchas, always will want to earn more and more. To satisfy his vañchas, he dares to go against Dharmam and Nyāyam. A person who does not have Daiva-bhīti and Pāpa-bhīti not only does immense harm to himself, but also to the society.
Once he went to deśāntaras along with some vartakas for earning more money (in his durāśa). On their way, they reached a durgama parvata śreṇi. Meanwhile, a madagajam came running and chased them away. Each of them ran for their life and the kāśyapavamśajāta got separated from others and reached a still more gahana durgama-sthalam. He did not know how to get back to his svasthalam. He searched a lot for a way and finally reached the shade of an Aśvattha vṛkṣham, tired and exhausted.
On the top of the Vṛkṣham lived a mahābaka by name Nāḍī Jaṅgha (see this story too). He was not an ordinary baka. He had a mahākāyam and had Dharma-adharma vicakṣhaṇa, sambhāṣhaṇā sāmarthyam. He was the mitra of Lord Brahma and hence used to once in a while go and come to Brahmalokam. The Dharmajña, Nāḍī Jaṅgha, saw the exhausted human reaching the shade of the Vṛkṣham and gave sādara-ātithyam to him. He asked "O mahātma! who are you? Where are you coming from and heading to?". The brāhmaṇādhama told how he got lost and the reason for his exhaustion. With sānubhūti-vacanas, Nāḍī Jaṅgha invited the patita. He offered sweet water, very tasty food and with his big wings fanned air for him. Nāḍī Jaṅgha, seeing that it is dark, said "O mahānubhāva! You have now become a mitra of mine. So it is my kartavyam to remove your dāridryam and duhkham. Near to this place stays my priya mitra, Virūpākṣha, a King of the Rākṣhasas. He is a Dharmātma, has Madhuvrajam as his rājadhāni and lives 3 yojanas away from here. If you go to him and tell him that I have sent you, he will give you many dhana-ratnas. Tomorrow morning you can leave for his place, please take rest in my place for tonight". Nāḍī Jaṅgha prepared a kusuma-śayya and gave undisturbed sleep for the brāhmaṇādhama by guarding him all night from wild animals.
The patita brāhmaṇa left for Virūpākṣha's place the next day morning and was taken with great respect to the king by the rakṣhaka bhatas, on hearing the name of Nāḍī Jaṅgha. A person's ācāras, Dharmādharmas, bhāvas clearly appear in his ākṛti. A Dharmātma can easily see these in a person. Also being a King, Virūpākṣha immediately recognized that the brāhmaṇa was a bhraṣhṭa. However, since he was sent by his mitra, Nāḍī Jaṅgha, the king did many great satkāras to the brāhmaṇa. In a suvarṇa sthālikā he offered good food, gave him many kinds of dhana-ratnas and sent him away. Not able to carry the huge dhana-rāśis, the pāpātma planned to take rest at Nāḍī Jaṅgha's place on his way back. As usual, Nāḍī Jaṅgha offered him ātithyam and requested him to take rest in his place for the night.
The patita brāhmaṇa woke up in the mid-night and saw Nāḍī Jaṅgha, who was near by. Seeing the well-built baliṣhṭa deham of Nāḍī Jaṅgha, the durātma got a durbuddhi. Our style of living determines our ālocanas. Because the patita always had himsa in his mind, his ālocanas were pāpa-bhūyiṣhṭhas. He did not see a mahātma who gave him ātithyam and ājīvana-dhana sampadas in Nāḍī Jaṅgha; instead he saw a mouth-watering meal. He thought that Nāḍī Jaṅgha will be a great meal for his next days exhaustive journey. He immediately took a big stick and banged Nāḍī Jaṅgha and killed him. The kṛtaghna removed the baka's feathers, fried the māmsam and took it in his bag. Virūpākṣha, being a priya mitra of Nāḍī Jaṅgha, woke up abruptly from his sleep and started worrying about him. He ordered his rakṣhaka-bhatas to see if Nāḍī Jaṅgha was alright. He immediately ordered the bhatas to bring the kṛtaghna, on learning what happened. Seeing the patita, the King ordered "O Rākṣhasas! Cut this fellow into pieces and eat him. Since you are Rākṣhasas you can eat nara-māmsam". The sevakas replied "Kṣhama mahārāja! We cannot even smell the māmsam of this kṛtaghna". Saying this, they offered the māmsam to dogs, which also did not touch it.
Our bhāvas, karmas go into the aṇu-paramāṇus of our śarīram and carry on to many janmas. This is why our Dharma-śāstras always warn us to do sat-karmas and have sat-bhāvam. Meanwhile, the sad Virūpākṣha did the kriya-karmas for Nāḍī Jaṅgha, to provide him with sat-gatis. Knowing the sad news, Brahmadeva brought back the life of Nāḍī Jaṅgha, using the Amṛta-kṣhīram of Kāmadhenu. Seeing his friend, Nāḍī Jaṅgha, Virūpākṣha was very happy and explanied him all the story. Nāḍī Jaṅgha became very sad on hearing that his mitra, the patita brāhmaṇa was killed!! He requested his priya mitra, Brahmadeva to give back the life of the brāhmaṇa. Brahmadeva, surprised seeing the mahaudaryam of Nāḍī Jaṅgha, gave back the life of the durātma. Nāḍī Jaṅgha gave back all the sampadas to the kṛtaghna and sent him off. The patita went away happily without having any kind of paścāttāpam.
Sūta muni continued: That pāpātma will not have any niṣhkṛti. Now he was saved by the audāryam and karuṇārdra-hṛdayam of Nāḍī Jaṅgha, but this mahāpāpam will carry over to his janma-janmāntaras. Because he has to experience the entire pāpa phalitam he did not even have paścāttāpam (If he had, then pāpam may be will reduce). One must have done atleast some minimum puṇyam to get paścāttāpam. Any pāpam might have a niṣhkṛti, but not kṛtaghnata. That too a mitra-droham is a mahāpātakam.
Brahmadeva gave āśīrvādam to Nāḍī Jaṅgha saying "because you are a śreṣhṭha Dharmācāri you will be known as 'Rājadharma'. Even devatas will do namaskāras for your Dharma-svabhāvam and kṣhamā guṇam".
Morals in the story:
1. Importance of kṛtajñatādharmam is well illustrated in the story.
2. Mitra-droham and kṛtaghnata will lead to mahāpāpas, which do not have any niṣhkṛti.
3. Nāḍī Jaṅgha taught us great sat-guṇas like atithi seva, mitra-lābham, karuṇa and kṣhama.
4. The importance of following once own svadharmam is well shown in the story. The patita brāhmaṇa left his svadharma and took to paradharmam. He did lot of himsāyuta-pāpakāryas without any daivabhīti or pāpabhīti.
Search Terms: Nadijangha, Nadi Jangha, Virupaksha, krutagnyata, kshama