The story of Ratnakara
Agnisharma, belonging to Bhrigu family was on a Pilgrimage along with his wife. His wife gave birth to a male child. It was a thick jungle infested by decoits and robbers. Somehow the parents were seperated from their infant child.A band of robbers cum hunters happened to see the child and they took it home. The child was adopted by the leader ofthat group and it was anmed Ratnakara. When he came of age, Ratnakara became the leader of the group.
Ratnakara fell on the pilgrimags and took away all their belongings. If they resisted they would be killed mercilessly.Ratnakara became very wild and cruel. If he did not find valuables on them he would take away their dresses even. Heput them to untold misery. Sage Narada was observing the happenings in the forest. His heart melted for the helpless pilgrims. He knew that Ratnakara who was orginally good, turned bad owing to the force of circumstances. Thereforethe sage decided to save both Ratnakara and the pilgrims. He wannted to make the highway safe for the pilgrims and treadthe path of righteousness. One day he appeared before the band of robbers led by Ratnakara on the dreaded highway. It was almost evening and that day Ratnakara was not lucky enough to meet any rich pilgrim. On seeing sage Narada herushed at him sword in hand, shouting loudly at him.
Narada was not perturbed. He was playing on his Veena, singing the praise of the Lord. This kind of situation was quitenew to Ratnakara. he was so confused that he did not know what to do with the strangely behaving sage, the sage stoodbefore him without any fear and he appeared cool as a cucumber.
Ratnakara brought his sword down and composed himself and shouted,"Hey, you beggar!Stop!"Narada said,"Dear brother,whyare you angry with me?I haven't done anything to make you angry."
Ratnakara's voice rose to a high pitch and he shouted,"Give me all that you have and leave the place."Narada spokewith great calmness and composture. He said,"As you have called me, I am a mendicant. I don't think I have anythingwhich is going to be of any use to you." Ratnakara shouted,"Give me your bag,cymbals and veena."
"Be it so, but will you give me answer to a question. Everyday you loot and harm people and get cursed by them. Bydoing so, you are accumulating a huge load of sins. Why do you do it? Narada asked.
"I have aged parents, a wife and children. I also have a band of followers to look after" Ratnakara said.
"That' fine.what you say is acceptable. You have to look after the welfare of those who depend on you. But the wayyou follow is full of sins. Do you think your people share your sins as they share the spoils? Are they ready topartake of your sins? But something tells me that none of them is ready to take even a very small portion of theload of sins you have accumulated.
Ratnakara was already under Narada's charm and influence. He was perplexed at the sage's words. He sad,"What are yousaying? Do you think those whom I feed and look after, will desert me? My parents love me to their heart. My wifeloves me dearly and my children have great love and respect for me. My followers regard me with great respect. They enjoythe food and other things I provide them. As they share my wealth, they will certainly take a share of my sins."There was a degree of firm assurance in his words.
Sage Narada felt concerned very much at Ratnakara's simplicity and child like confidence. He said,"The world is notwhat it seems. Real sincere love is a rare commodity. If you have any doubt in what in what I say, you can go and askyour own people. Go and ask them whether they are ready to take a share of your sins."
Ratnakara laughed loudly and said,"You mendicant, I might appear rough as a forest dweller, but I am not a simpleton as you think I am. As soon as you see my back you want to go away."
"Look here, this forest belongs to you. You know every inch of it, not me. Where can I run and how can I escape?"said Narada.
"Thats true. I am acquainted with every inch of this forest. Still I cannot leave you like that. I will tie you toa tree." Ratnakara said."
Do as you please" said Narada.