This is one inspirational story from Indian mythology. I had a book of such stories when I was a kid. Today I just feel like sharing this story,
Long long ago, there lived a king named king Pralhada. He was a mortal human. But he had extraordinary character. He never told a lie, always kept all his promises and was kind and generous to all. He ruled the entire earth. His fame evantually spread even in heaven. He became so dear to everyone on earth that the king of Gods, king Indra, started feeling threatened. He was concerned that a human king might become more powerful than a god king purely because of an extraordinary character.
One day the Indra could take no more. He took appearance of a old homeless man and showed up on the doorsteps of king Pralhada late one night. He asked to wake up the king and see him. Kind king Pralhada woke up and saw this old man and asked generously how can he help.
Indra, as the old man, smiled and asked the king “Will you give me what I ask?”
“Yes.” King Pralhada said carelessly. He thought, what an old homeless man could want? Food, Clothes, some money, a house if he is too bold perhaps.
“I want you to give me everything you have and leave.” The old man said.
King Pralhada realized he had done a big mistake. All his life he had never broken his word and he had vowed to keep it that way. But this old man was really asking everything he had. With a heavy heart he said “So be it.”
At this point the king of Gods showed his true appearance. He ordered king Pralhada’s ministers to take everything from the king. He ordered king’s soldiers to take the king away. King Pralhada was driven from his own palace. He was banished from earth. He was made to give up everything. He had to leave earth. He had to go to the land of darkness.
After walking for miles in the land of darkness, with blister on his feet, the king sat down under a tree. That’s when he saw a radiant feminine figure come out of his body.
“Who are you?” he asked the woman.
“I am the goddess of wealth. I am leaving you now, as you prmomised to give everything away. I cannot stay in the land of darkness. I will go and stay with the king Indra.”
King Pralhada nodded sadly and said “I understand you have to go. Thanks for being with me so far.”
After some time he saw another goddess leaving his body. She was godess of fame. Then left the godess of power, then left the godess of knowledge. Then left the godesses of health, respect and courage. King Pralhada thanked each godess and said it was ok if they had to go.
Now he was feeling almost half dead and was barely able to open eyes. But then he saw the most radiant godess of all. When he asked her, she answered that she was the godess of character. Upon hearing that, the king collected all his might and fell on the her feet. He begged her not to go.
The godess of character was adamant. But the king was relentless. He argued with her and prayed her not to go for six nights and days.
” I gave everything away just because I wanted to keep my word, keep my character. I am here because I wanted to keep you with me. I cannot let you go. The king of gods tricked me such that I would go to hell whether I keep my promise or not. But if I have you on my side, I can get out of this hell. ”
At last, the goddess changed her mind. She promised to stay with king Pralhada. She entered his body again.
A day passed and next night Pralhada saw the other seven radiant goddesses in front of him. “We are all daughters of the godess of character. We always stay where our mother is.” They said and one by one they entered king Pralhada’s body.
Because the goddesses decided to stay in the land of darkness, the land of darkness was no more dark. There was light, and breeze and peace and happiness. The condemned souls had no place to go any more. The balance of the universe was disturbed.
Upon knowing this, the king of Gods, Indra realized that he had lost. His wise counselors told him that anyone blessed by the goddess of character cannot be stopped from entering heaven, or otherwise heaven becomes wherever they are. He knew that by tricking Pralhada, he could not make Pralhada a bad man. As long as Pralhada held on to his character, he could bounce back from any problem.
Indra then handed over the kingdom of earth to Pralhada and left for heaven.