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Jeevan Vigyan - 8: Lesson-1 : Why Did You Speak At All

Published: 19.09.2018

Once upon a time there lived a king who ruled over a large kingdom. His people were prosperous and happy. The treasury of his kingdom was full with all kinds of wealth. His queen was beautiful and pious. Yet he was unhappy. He had no son to succeed him.

His courtiers knew the cause of his unhappiness. So, one day a courtier said to him. "Your Majesty, a great saint resides near our kingdom who has the divine power to bless you with a son. Please do go and serve him with devotion and he will fulfil your wish."

The king heeded to the courtier's advice and went to meet the great saint. He began serving the saint with great devotion. Days passed by and the king continued to visit the sage dutifully.

The king's perseverance puzzled the saint. One day he asked the king, "Oh king! You seem to have everything in life. Then, why do you come here and serve me without asking for any favour?"

The king knew that this was the right moment. Hence, he promptly replied, "The Great One! I have everything that one could desire in life. Yet I am unhappy. I have no son who could succeed me as the king. I want you to bless me with a son."

The saint replied, "Oh King! Don't waste your time here. You are not destined to have a son. Therefore, I can't fulfil your wish. I am helpless."

But nothing could discourage the king. He continued to serve the saint with same devotion. Whenever he found the saint in a good mood, he repeated his wish. And the saint too gave the same old reply.

This carried on for a long time until one day an exasperated saint shouted at the king in a rage, "You are really mad. Stop pestering me and return to your palace. Go back! You will be blessed with a son. Now leave me alone." And the king returned to his palace a happy man.

But now the saint fell in deep thoughts. He wondered how the king would get a son when it was not in his destiny. There was no way to change his destiny. Now, he had blessed the king with a son. How could that be made possible? At last, he saw only one way to solve this problem. He would relinquish his present body and take birth as a son to the king, so as to fulfil his own blessing.

The king was informed about the death of the saint. He felt aggrieved to hear this news. At the same time, the king was happy also because before dying the saint had given him the blessing. After the cremation of the saint, the king retained a handful of ashes from his funeral pyre. He preserved the ashes in his palace.

At the appointed hour, a son was born to the queen. There was jubilation all over the kingdom. At the right moment, the king took out the ashes and rubbed it all over the body of the prince. As soon as the king did this, the prince was reminded that he was a saint in his previous birth. He realized that in order to fulfil his own blessing, he was reborn as the prince. If he had continued to lead his previous life as a saint, he would have achieved salvation (Nirvana). But now as a prince he would have to live another life and wait for salvation. This saddened the prince and he spoke less and less. A stage came when the prince stopped speaking altogether. The king tried his best to encourage the prince to speak but failed. Consequently he lost all interest in him.

One day the Prince was in the royal garden. He saw a woodpecker pecking away at a tree to build a nest. While the woodpecker was chirping merrily, a hunter heard him and shot an arrow to kill him. The woodpecker was pierced by the arrow. It fell down, struggled a bit and then lay dead.

The Prince had observed all this. He said to the dead woodpecker, "Why did you speak at all?"

The maid-servant, attending to the prince, ran back to the king shouting happily that she had heard the prince speak. The king at once came there but found the prince was silent as ever. The king was very angry with the maid-servant. He said to her, "You have told a lie. The prince does not speak. You shall be punished". He ordered that the maidservant be whipped.

The prince who was watching all this, suddenly spoke, "Why must you speak?" The soldiers, who were whipping the maid-servant were surprised to hear the Prince speak. They went to the King and reported about the incident.

The King again tried to make the prince talk but he remained silent. The King told his soldiers, "You were all lying". The prince does not speak at all. You shall be punished."

As the soldiers were being whipped, the prince said, "Why did you speak at all"?

There were certain countries of the King who witnessed all this. One of them brought the King to that spot and related all that had happened. Finally, the prince spoke, "I am the same saint who had given you the blessings of a son. To fulfil my promise,

I was reborn as the prince. But as you are not destined to have a son, I am now free from all obligations. I am once again going in search of nirvana." Thus the prince left for ever.

The story highlights the perils that can befall, if one is not wise and discreet while speaking. The moral of the story is that we must exercise restraint over our speech.


  1. Why was the King unhappy?

  2. What made the saint to be reborn as the prince?

  3. Why did the prince become silent?

  4. Why did the woodpecker fall a victim to the hunter's arrow?

  5. Why did the maid servant and the soldiers were whipped?

  6. What did the prince tell the King?

Title: Jeevan Vigyan - 8

Muni Kishan lal

Dr. Shiv Kumar Sharma

Shubh Karan Surana

Editor: Muni Dhamendra Kumar
Publisher: Jeevan Vigyan Academy
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain

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