Once, a saintly person wanted to meet with the king. The king
informed the saintly person that he, unfortunately, did not have time
to see him and that he should please return in a week. When the
saintly person came back a week later, the king was still unavailable,
but he had left a large donation of hundred gold coins for the saintly
person. The saintly person said that he had no need for a hundred
gold coins; he simply wanted to meet with the king. He was again
told to come back, this time in two weeks. When he returned at
the end of the two weeks, the king was again unable to receive him,
but the saintly person was told that the king wanted to give him
five hundred gold coins for his trouble. The saintly person refused
to accept the money, and was requested to come back in a month.
He returned a month later but again there was no meeting.
This time he was told that the king wanted to give him a thousand
gold coins. The saintly person refused the gold coins again, repeating
that he only wished to meet with the king.
The saintly person now decided to go to the queen’s palace.
When he arrived there, the queen offered praṇāma, gave him a seat,
offered him something to drink and asked, “Bābā, how can I serve you?”
The saintly person replied, “I went to see the king because
I wanted to tell him something, but he always sent the message, ‘Not
today; come back next week, come in two weeks.’ He just wanted to
give me gold coins, which I do not need. Therefore, I will tell you
what I have to say.”
“What is it, Bābā?” the queen inquired.
The saintly person explained, “The king has only three more
months to live. After that he will give up this world. However, he
has performed good karma so he will go to a heavenly planet where
all arrangements have been made for him. Nowadays, there are
mosquitoes on the heavenly planet to which the king will go, so a
mosquito net has been provided for him. However that mosquito net
has a small hole in one corner so when the king leaves this world, he
must take with him a small needle and a little bit of thread in order
to repair the mosquito net.”
Having delivered his message the saintly person left the
The queen began to weep and immediately sent her maidservant
to call the king. The king, who had had no time to meet with the
saintly person, immediately rushed to his queen wanting to know
what was causing her so much distress.
“Why are you crying my queen?” he asked.
The queen then related the conversation with the saintly person.
“What kind of person was he?” asked the king. “Please describe him.”
“He was in saffron robes, and he had a śikhā, a sacred thread and
kaṇṭhī-mālā.”The king immediately sent a horseman to catch up with the
saintly person and bring him back with great respect. It had not
been long since the saintly person had left the queen’s palace, so the
horseman was able to find him very easily. He brought him back to
the king with great honour. This time, the king received the saintly
person with great respect, placed him on his own throne and sat
down at his feet.
The king said, “Bābā, have you been speaking with my queen?”
“Yes, I spoke with her,” replied the saintly person. “However, if
you have no faith in me, you can arrest me and put me in jail. After
your death, you can have your followers release me from jail.”
The king asked the saintly person. “How can I take a small needle
and thread with me when I die?”
“This you should consider deeply,” the saintly person replied.
“You have a large kingdom, and you have done so many things
for your citizens and others. But what have you done for yourself?
What have you got to take with you when you leave? All this large
kingdom, and you are wondering how you can take a small needle
and thread? You cannot take even that much with you, so what will
you do? What is the purpose of your whole life?”
The king became humbled and said, “Please, Bābā, kindly tell me
what should I do?”
“Do bhajana of Bhagavān under the guidance of a bona fide guru.
Let all that you do, think, and speak be for the pleasure and benefit
of the Lord. Then at the time of death you will be able to remember
Bhagavān intensely, your path to eternal auspiciousness will become
blessed, and your life will be successful.”
― Śrīpāda Bhaktivedanta Mādhava Mahārāja