King Rantideva

 

Value- Right Conduct

Sub value- Charity

King Rantideva was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and saw the Lord in everyone. He worshipped Lord Vishnu by helping and caring  for all the people of his kingdom with great love. He was always ready to provide whatever was needed by his people and never showed any difference in his generosity between the poor and the rich. King Rantideva distributed his wealth that he had in plenty to the poor and the needy as he was never greedy for wealth, He showed pleasure in serving his people and thought it was a way to spread the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

rantideva

People lived happily and prosperously in his country. Then one day the unseasonal rains and winds destroyed many crops, caused death of animals in his country which lead to scarcity of food. The common man ran to seek help from their kind hearted king. Without a second thought, Rantideva distributed his wealth and treasure to his people and prayed  to Lord Vishnu to bless him with strength to protect them.

However, the condition became more worse as days passed due to continuous failure of the crops resulting in famine throughout the region. People starved without food and water and were homeless. This was a horrible disaster faced by the king who himself did not have any food. Whenever he and his family had little food, they would first distribute them to the people who came with hungry.

As time passed, the drought got more severe and the king was left with nothing for his starving poor people. He felt very miserable but had a strong faith on Lord Vishnu and prayed him with devotion. Though there never came a good time for his country and the famine continued.

Rantideva starved for days long yet meditated and prayed to Lord Vishnu. He became very weak with lack of food and was hardly able to move. On one fine day, unexpectedly the king and his family were offered food by a stranger. As they saw the food Rantideva and his family were delighted ; just as they were about to partake the food, a poor hungry Brahmin came seeking for food. The king received him respectfully and offered a part of his food.; the Brahmin ate happily, greatly pleased with  the king’s  generosity. As soon as he left, they were about to eat  but then there came a hungry beggar to their doorstep. Rantideva graciously  offered the hungry beggar too some part of the food and  the beggar left satisfied. No sooner than the beggar departed,  there came a man with his dogs to seek food and told about starving for many days now. The king offered them with the remaining food. The man  and his dogs ate  all the food and Rantideva was left only with water to drink.

The king was about to drink the water to appease the hunger , when a Chandala came by , his throat was  parched with thirst and he requested the king to offer him some water. The king without any hesitation gave him the water and prayed to the Lord to give him strength to feel the pain of others rather than wealth and power.

As the man drank the water, his eye sparkled brightly and was full of energy that made the king fulfilled and refreshed. Lo and behold!! there appeared Lord Vishnu and all his attendants. Vishnu conveyed to the king that he was very pleased with his devotion and love to his people. He told that all his sufferings will end and he will be rendered with all wealth and riches only if he continued to worship him. Instead, Rantideva told that he had no desire to worldly pleasures but rather he was completely absorbed in Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu blessed his devotee Rantideva who attained moksha and became one of the great yogis involved in meditation.

Learning

Service to man is service to God. Serving the needy and giving charity to the one who needs the most pleases the Lord. Love all, serve all. One should be blessed to get an opportunity to help others by seeing the Lord in all. One who selflessly serves and helps other attains all the best in his/her life.

Story adapted from Apnisanskriti.com

 

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