You must avoid excessive merriment. A mind in that state never becomes calm; it becomes fickle. Excessive merriment will always be followed by sorrow. Tears and laughter are near kin. People so often run from one extreme to the other. - Swamy Vivekananda
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Story of Shravan Kumar

Once upon a time, when king Dashrath (Shri Ram’s father) ruled Ayodya, there lived a boy named Shravan Kumar. His parents were old and blind. He had to do all the work for them, since they couldn’t see. Shravan Kumar took great care and did everything for his mother and father with earnestness and love. He fulfilled all their wishes.

One day, Shravan Kumar’s parents expressed their desire to go on a pilgrimage. As an obedient son, he wanted to fulfill their wish. But, how was he going do that? He couldn’t afford any transportation since he did not have money. He found another way. He took a strong bamboo-stick, tied baskets at its two ends, and placed his parents in those baskets. He, then, started on a pilgrimage carrying a bamboo-stick with baskets on his shoulder. His parents were very pleased looking at their son’s devotion.

During the journey, Shravan Kumar managed to get some roots and fruits from the forest to eat. They filled their stomach by eating them, and never accepted any food offered by anyone else. They were on a pilgrimage and wanted to eat simple food offered only by their son.

After visiting a few sacred places, Shravan Kumar and his parents arrived in a forest near Ayodhya at the banks of sacred river Sharayu. Pleased with the beautiful scenery around them, they decided to take a rest. His parents were thirsty. They asked him to get some water. Shravan Kumar placed his parents under the shadow of a tree and went to the river Sharayu.

Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya, was fond of hunting. At the same time, he had also come to the forest alone for hunting. He had a unique skill of shooting an arrow to the precise target by mearly hearing a sound made at the target. Shravan Kumar dipped the vessel into the water. Dashrath heard a sound while vessel was getting filled with water. He thought it was the sound of a deer drinking water. He stood steadily and shot the arrow precisely aiming at the place from where the sound came from. The arrow pierced into Shravan Kumar’s chest. Fatally injured, he cried painfully and fell on the ground.

King Dashrath was taken aback by the moaning sound of a human instead of a deer. He hurriedly rushed to the place to see who it was. He saw an innocent boy crying in pain. His body was all splashed with blood and mud. The vessel was lying on the ground. King Dashrath realized his mistake that he shot a boy instead of deer. He became very sad and started cursing himself.

Even in the painful and dying condition, Shravan Kumar was thinking about his parents. When he saw the king repenting for his hasty action, he told him, “O, King! Don’t worry about me. I came here to take some water for my thirsty parents. I am in severe pain and can’t move. Please take some water and give it to my parents.” By saying this, he took his last breath.

Sad and embarrassed king took some water and went to Shravan Kumar’s parents. He silently gave them water. However, he didn’t utter a word fearing that he would reveal his identity if he opened his mouth. Shravan Kumar’s blind parents couldn’t see him. They also didn’t hear their son’s familiar voice. They, therefore, refused to accept the water unless the carrier revealed his identity. Their intuition warned them that the carrier was not their son. They asked the king, “Who are you? Why are you giving us water? Why aren’t you talking? Where is our son?”

At last, the king had to open his mouth. He told Shravan Kumar’s old and blind parents everything about what happened. Hearing the sad news of their dead son, they were shocked and were in utter grief. They cried out loud and told the king to take them to their dead son. The king carried them on his shoulders to the place where their son’s dead body was lying.

Shravan Kumar’s parents couldn’t bear the shock of the tragic death of their beloved son. They soon died by his side. Before dying, they cursed the king, “O King! Just as we are dying because of our son’s loss, you would also die one day for the same reason.” Their curse came true and King Dashrath died when Shri Ram was sent out in exile for fourteen years to the forest and he couldn’t bear the shock of his son’s separation from him. Shravan Kumar is remembered as an oebdient and devoted son to his parents.

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