The story of the boy who had a million mothers and fathers because of the cycle of birth and death.
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 6 Chapter 14
"King Citraketu’s Lamentation"
By His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The jiva-soul within the gross and subtle material bodily vessels has had millions of material bodies, this means they have had millions of mothers and fathers too while in this temporary material creation.
The boy who had a million mothers due to being born again and again in the temporary material creation.
Bhagavad-gita - "Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all." (Bhagavad-gita 2.29)
In the following historical narration from Srimad-Bhagavatam, King Citraketu's son reveals his previous births and instructs the King and Queen about the imperishable nature of the soul and the science of reincarnation.
King Citraketu had many wives, and although he was capable of producing children, he did not receive a child from any of them, for his beautiful wives were all barren.
One day the mystic sage Angira came to Citraketu's palace. The King immediately stood up from his throne and, as was the Vedic custom, paid his respects.
"O King Citraketu, I can observe that your mind is disturbed. Your pale face reflects your deep anxiety. Have you not achieved your desired goals?" the sage inquired.
Because he was a great mystic, Angira knew the cause of the King's distress, but for his own reasons he questioned Citraketu, as if in need of knowledge.
King Citraketu replied, "O Angira, because of your great penances and austerities, you have acquired complete knowledge. You can understand everything, both external and internal, about embodied souls like myself.
O great soul, you are aware of everything, yet you ask why I am in such anxiety. Therefore, in response to your order, let me disclose the cause of my suffering. A starving man cannot be satisfied with a garland of flowers. In the same way, my vast empire and immeasurable wealth mean nothing, for I am bereft of a man's true wealth. I do not have a son. Can you not help me to become truly happy and arrange for me to have a son?"
Angira, who was very merciful, agreed to help the King. He performed a special sacrifice to the demigods and then offered the remnants of the sacrificial food to the most perfect of Citraketu's queens, Krtadyuti.
"O great King, you will now have a son who will be the cause of both jubilation and lamentation,"
Angira said. The sage then vanished, without waiting for the King's response.
Citraketu was overjoyed to learn that he would finally get a son, but he wondered about the sage's last words.
"Angira must have meant that I will be greatly happy when my son is born. That is certainly true. But what did he mean by the child being the cause of lamentation? Of course, being my only son, he will automatically become the heir to my throne and kingdom.
Therefore, he might become proud and disobedient. That might be a cause for lamentation. But a disobedient son is better than no son at all."
In due course of time, Krtadyuti became pregnant, and a son was born. Hearing this news, all the inhabitants of the kingdom rejoiced. King Citraketu could not contain his joy.
As the King carefully raised his infant son, his affection for Queen Krtadyuti increased daily, and he gradually lost affection for his barren wives.
The other queens continuously lamented their fate, for a wife who has no sons is neglected at home by her husband, and her co-wives treat her exactly like a maidservant.
The barren queens burned with anger and envy. As their envy increased, they lost their intelligence, and their hearts became hard like stone.
They met secretly and decided that there was only one solution to their dilemma, one way to regain the love of their husband: poison the child.
One afternoon, as Queen Krtadyuti walked in the courtyard of the palace, she thought of her son sleeping peacefully in his room.
Because she loved the child dearly and could hardly bear to be without him for a moment, she ordered the nurse to awaken him from his nap and bring the boy to the garden.
But when the maidservant approached the child, she saw that his eyes were turned upward, and there were no signs of life. Horrified, she held a swab of cotton beneath the boy's nostrils, but the cotton did not move.
Seeing this, she cried out, "Now I am doomed!" and fell to the ground. In great agitation, she struck her breast with both hands and wept loudly.
Some time passed, and the anxious Queen approached the child's bedroom. Hearing the nurse's wailing, she entered the room and saw that her son had passed from this world.
In great lamentation, her hair and dress in disarray, the Queen fell to the ground unconscious.
When the King heard of his son's sudden death, he became nearly blind with grief. His lamentation grew like a conflagration, and as he ran to see the dead child, he repeatedly stumbled and fell.
Surrounded by his ministers and court officers, the King entered the boy's room and collapsed at the child's feet, his hair and dress scattered in all directions.
When he regained consciousness, he was breathing heavily, his eyes were filled with tears, and he was unable to speak.
When the Queen saw her husband merged in great lamentation and again viewed the dead child, she began to curse the Supreme Lord.
This increased the pain in the hearts of all the residents of the palace.
The Queen's flower garlands slipped from her body, and her smooth jet-black hair became tangled. Falling tears smeared the cosmetics beneath her eyes.
"O Providence! During the lifetime of the father, you have caused the death of his son. You are certainly the enemy of the living beings and are not at all merciful."
Turning to her beloved child, she said, "My dear son, I am helpless and aggrieved.
You should not give up my company. How can you leave me? Just look at your lamenting father! You have slept for a long time. Now please get up. Your playmates are calling you to play. You must be very hungry, so please get up immediately and take your lunch.
My dear son, I am most unfortunate, for I can no longer see your sweet smiling. You have closed your eyes forever. You have been taken from this planet to another place, from which you will not return. My dear son, unable to hear your pleasing voice, I can no longer maintain my life."
The King began crying loudly with an open mouth As the mother and father lamented, all their followers joined them, bemoaning the untimely death of the child. Because of the sudden accident, all the citizens of the kingdom were nearly unconscious with grief.
When the great sage Angira understood that the King was almost dead in an ocean of sorrow, he went there with his friend, Saint Narada.
The two sages found the King, overwhelmed by lamentation, lying like a dead body beside the corpse. Angira addressed him sharply,
"Wake up from the darkness of ignorance! O King, what relationship does this dead body have with you, and what relationship do you have with him? You may say that you are now related as father and son, but do you think that this relationship existed before his birth? Does it truly exist now? Will it continue now that he is dead?
O King, as small particles of sand sometimes come together and are sometimes separated due to the force of the ocean's waves, living entities who have accepted material bodies sometimes come together and are sometimes separated by the force of time."
Angira wanted the King to understand that all bodily relationships are temporary.
"My dear King," the sage continued, "when I first came to your palace, I could have given you the greatest gift -- transcendental knowledge -- but when I saw that your mind was absorbed in material things, I gave you only a son, who caused you jubilation and lamentation.
Now you are experiencing the misery of a person who has sons and daughters. These visible objects like wife, children, and property are nothing more than dreams.
Therefore, O King Citraketu, try to understand who you really are.
Consider where you have come from, where you are going after giving up this body, and why you are under the control of material lamentation."
Then Narada Muni did something very wonderful. By his mystic power, he brought the soul of the King's dead child into the vision of everyone.
Immediately the room became effulgent with a blinding brightness, and the dead child began to move.
Narada said, "O living entity, all good fortune unto you. Just see your father and mother. All your friends and relatives are overwhelmed with grief because of your death. Because you died untimely, the balance of your life still remains.
Therefore, you may reenter your body and enjoy the remainder of the years allotted to you in this body with your friends and relatives, and later you may accept the royal throne and all the opulences given by your father."
By Narada's mystic power, the living entity reentered the dead body. The child who had been dead sat up and began to speak, not with the intelligence of a young boy, but with the full knowledge of a liberated soul.
"According to the results of my material activities, I, the living being, transmigrate from one body to another, sometimes going to the species of the demigods, sometimes to the species of lower animals, sometimes incarnating among the vegetables, and appearing sometimes in the human species.
In which birth were these two people my father and mother? No one is actually my father and mother. I have had millions of so-called parents. How can I accept these two people as my father and mother?"
The Vedas teach that the eternal living being enters a body made of material elements. Here we find that such a living being entered a body produced by King Citraketu and his wife.
Actually, however, he was not their son.
The living entity is the eternal son of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because he wants to enjoy this material world, God gives him a chance to enter various bodies.
Yet the pure living being has no true relationship with the material body he gets from his father and mother. Therefore, the soul who had taken the body of Citraketu's son flatly denied that the King and Queen were his parents.
The soul continued, "In this material world, which is like a swiftly flowing river, all people become friends, relatives, and enemies in due course of time.
They also act neutrally and in many other relationships. But despite these various transactions, no one is permanently related."
Citraketu was lamenting for his son, who was now dead, but he could have considered the situation otherwise.
"This living entity," he could have thought, "was my enemy in my last life, and now, having appeared as my son, he is prematurely leaving just to give me pain and agony."
Why should the King not consider his dead son his former enemy and instead of lamenting be jubilant because of an enemy's death?
The living being in the body of Citraketu's child said, "Just as gold and other commodities are continually transferred from one place to another through buying and selling, so the living entity, as a result of his karma, wanders throughout the universe, being injected into various bodies in different species of life through the semen of one father after another."
As explained in Bhagavad-gita, it is not by any father or mother that the living entity is given birth. The living entity's true identity is completely separate from the so-called father and mother.
By the laws of nature, the soul is forced to enter the semen of a father and be injected into the womb of a mother. He cannot directly control the kind of father he will get; this is automatically determined by his activities in previous lives.
The laws of karma force him to go to different fathers and mothers, just like a commodity that is bought and sold.
The living entity sometimes takes shelter of an animal father and mother and sometimes a human father and mother. Sometimes he accepts a father and mother among the birds, and sometimes he accepts a demigod father and mother in the heavenly planets.
As the soul transmigrates through different bodies, everyone, in every form of life -- be it human, animal, tree, or demigod -- gets a father and mother. This is not very difficult.
The real difficulty is to obtain a spiritual father -- a bona fide spiritual master. Therefore, the duty of a human being is to search out such a spiritual master, for under his guidance one can become free from the cycle of reincarnation and return to his original home in the spiritual world.
"The living being is eternal," the pure soul continued, "and has no relation with so-called fathers and mothers. He falsely accepts himself as their son and acts affectionately.
After he dies, however, the relationship is finished. Under these circumstances, one should not be falsely involved with jubilation and lamentation.
The living entity is eternal and imperishable, he has no beginning and no end, nor does he take birth or die.
The living being is equal in quality to the Supreme Lord. Both are spiritual personalities. But because the living entity is so small, he is prone to be illusioned by the material energy, and thus he creates bodies for himself according to his different desires and activities."
The Vedas tell us that the soul is responsible for his lives in the material world, where he is trapped in the cycle of reincarnation, material body after material body.
If he likes, he can remain suffering in the prison house of material existence, or he can return to his original home in the spiritual world.
Although God arranges through the material energy to give the living beings the bodies they desire, the Lord's true desire is that the conditioned souls get off the punishing merry-go-round of material life and return home, back to Godhead.
Suddenly the boy became silent, as the pure soul left the body of the child, and the body fell lifeless to the floor. Citraketu and the other relatives were astonished. They cut the shackles of their affection and gave up their lamentation.
Then they performed the funeral ceremony, cremating the body. Queen Krtadyuti's co-wives, who had poisoned the child, were very much ashamed.
While lamenting, they remembered the instructions of Angira and gave up their ambition to bear children.
Following the directions of the brahmana priests, they went to the bank of the sacred river Yamuna, where they bathed and prayed daily, atoning for their sinful activities.
Because King Citraketu and his queen had become fully cognizant of spiritual knowledge, including the science of reincarnation, they easily gave up the affection that leads to pain, fear, grief, and illusion.
Although this attachment for the material body is very difficult to overcome, because they severed it with the sword of transcendental knowledge, they were able to give it up very easily.
"As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones". (Bhagavad-gita 2.22)
Krishna saves us the none material eternal jiva soul, and not nessessary the material body we are in.
Such a material body is always in a progressive state of decline, decay anyway.
Prayer is meant to save the soul NOT the material body we are in, be it old or even a children's material body.
Every material body deteriorates and decomposes ending in its death in this temporary material creation.
The jiva- is eternal, not the gross and subtle material bodily vessels it is in that are always in a state of constant maintenance and decay.🙏