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The Story of Khatvanga

Shukadeva recounted the story of King Khatvanga, who when he knew his end was near, renounced all worldly thoughts and meditated. Khatvanga had been a powerful king who had helped the gods defeat the demons in battle. Upon being informed of his impending death, he focused solely on Shri Hari, the supreme Lord, for his remaining moments. There was a battle between the demigods and the demons, and the demigods sought the help of King Khatvanga Maharaja. He agreed to be their commander and led them to victory. As a reward, the demigods offered the king a boon, but he only desired salvation and the chance to serve the Supreme Lord, Lord Krishna. The demigods could not fulfill his request for salvation, but they informed him of his impending death in 24 minutes. The king then concentrated on the lotus-feet of Krishna and was liberated in just 12 minutes, gaining the opportunity to serve Krishna in the spiritual world.

The story highlights the importance of surrendering to Krishna at every moment, as we never know when our time will come. Instead of being engrossed in solving worldly problems, we should engage in pure bhakti and strive to attain the service of Krishna. This may require great effort and sacrifice, but the ultimate goal of prema-bhakti is worth it. Krishna Himself shows the way to meditate via a Guru, a Saint, and we should focus our meditation on Him as the Supreme.

Shukadeva then advised King Parikshit, who had only one week left to live, to use the time to prepare for death. He recommended purifying oneself and reciting the holy name of God and practice Bhakti.

Following his previous discourse, Shuka explained that all the knowledge he has shared was originally revealed by Lord Vasudeva to Brahma in ancient times. When Brahma was contemplating how to begin the creation of the universe, he heard a voice saying 'Tapa' (meaning austerity). Since he could not identify the speaker, he realized that it was the voice of the Lord himself. Thus, he decided to follow this instruction and engage in austerities. After a long period of meditation and self-control, the Lord finally revealed himself to Brahma and explained that his attainment was not solely due to his austerities but rather by the Lord's grace.

The king was deeply moved by Shukadeva's words and he quickly gave up his body, mind, and life to the Lord.

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