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Story No 25-Rantidev

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25-Raajaa Rantidev
From Bhaagvat Puraan, 9/12

In our Hindu religion Daan (charity or donation or alms) has been regarded as the most important quality of the people. Even when all other qualities of a person, like Satya (truth), Tap (penance) etc go away in Kali Yug, Daan is the only leg on which Dharm stands. There have been a few kings and people famous for their Daan, such as Asur King Bali, Karn, King Shivi etc, Raajaa Rantidev is also counted among one of them. He is not only known in Bhoo Lok but also in other Lok too.

Long ago Raajaa Rantidev ruled this Prithvi. He did not take anything from the royal treasure for his own expense, rather he lived on whatever he got without any labor, thus his own money was decreasing day by day. No Atithi or beggar used to go from his palace empty-handed. Thus he gave his everything to poor and had to undergo lots of difficulties along with his family members. In the last he did not have even any food and water for themselves, but he was always satisfied. Once he had to live in this situation for 48 days.

At the same time Indra, Yam, Brahmaa and hiv went to Vishu and asked Him, "Who is most devout devotee?" Vishnu sad - "Raajaa Rantidev". Brahmaa Jee said - "The same Rantidev who has given up his royal living, not eaten food for the last 48 days and has been chanting your name?" Vishnu said - "Yes, He is the one. Today he will end his fast. I know that a hungry man cannot give his food, let us see whether he gives his food or not." So all gods went to the Earth.

Next morning he got some water and Kheer. Thanking God, he was about to eat that, that a Braahman Atithi arrived there. Rantidev cordially received him and offered some food to him. The Braahman ate to his satisfaction and went away. After he had left, Rantidev again sat to eat the remaining food that one another Atithi, a Shoodra, arrived there. Rantidev saw Bhagavaan in him also and offered him some food to him. That Shoodra also ate to his satisfaction and went away.

After the Shoodra had left, Rantidev again sat to eat the remaining food, that another Atithi arrived with a dog ad said to the King - "O King, My dog and I are very hungry, please give us something to eat." Rantidev gave the remaining food to that person. That person and his dog also ate to heir satisfaction and went away.

Now remained only a little water which was enough only for one person. As the King was to start drinking that water, a Chaandaal (a very low caste of India) came there and said to the King - "Nobody is giving me anything because I am a lowborn, please give me some water." Hearing this the King got very sad and he gave his water to him without any hesitation.

As he gave him his water, Brahmaa, Vishnu, Shiv and Yam Raaj appeared before him and blessed him. They told him that they came there to test him and he passed the test successfully. They came there in the form of the Braahman, Shoodra, the man with dog and the Chaandaal. After blessing him the went away and Rantidev became the same King again like before.

This story shows the importance and greatness of Daan, helping others selflessly. Rantidev truly realized God everywhere, that is why he did not see any difference between all the Atithi and himself.  All the qualities of an Uttam Daan are showed in this story. All the Atithi were hungry and thus deserved to be given food. Rantidev also did not expect anything from them. He shows great respect to all the Atithi, without any kind of pride of being a giver.

In Bhaagvat, Rantidev says -
Na twaham kaamaye raajyam, Na swargam, Na punarbhaavam,
Kaamaye dukkha Taptanam, praaninaam artri naashanam

Means - Happiness lies not in the desire for state, or material, nor the desire for Heaven, nor reincarnation. Happiness lies in dousing the pain and suffering of all living beings.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/04/13