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The Boy and the King of Death

Namaste,

One time there was an old couple that lived in Kashi at the shores of the Ganga and longed for a son for many years.
Way beyond child bearing time, the older couple both had a vision of Lord Brahma telling them that they will be loaned a child for 16 years, and at that time Lord Yama would come for him.

And so it came to be.
The child was born a healthy, happy little boy who started yoga almost before he could walk.
The elderly parents were so ecstatic that they did not notice the years slipping by.
In the boy’s 16th year, the parents became quite sad and depressed.
The boy asked them why were they so sad.
They never would answer, but as the day of his birthday grew near they finally told him.

He said, “Mother, Father – do not be sad; I will spend this last little time I have left in the Shiva Lingam temple.”
And so the boy went to the Shiva Lingam and sat with the symbol of Lord Shiva for many days, merging into Him.
Soon it was time, and Lord Yama sent his messengers to bring the boy to Him.
They prepared to do so, as it was the boy’s 16th birthday.
They found him sitting next to the Shiva Lingam doing his worship and meditation.

He was so absorbed in the Lord of his Heart that he did not even notice Yama’s messengers come near Him.
He was melting into Lord Shiva.
Returning to their Lord Yama, they described what they have seen.
This was the first time in the history of the world that Lord Yama’s messengers of death had failed Him.
So Lord Yama decided to go and see this child Himself.
He traveled to the temple to take the boy.
He then saw the child, and begged Him to follow the natural laws of life and death and to come willingly with Lord Yama.
The boy wrapped His arms around His heart’s Love the Siva Linga, and surrendered  himself to the Lords Shiva’s protection.
“It is all your will, my Lord,” cried out the boy.

Death threw His noose to gather the boy, but the noose went too far and gathered the Linga as well.
Immediately Lord Siva, dwelling in the image, split the linga open.
He was enraged.
Yama had no authority to use His noose on the great Lord, especially in the city of Kashi where Shiva reigned as King of life and death.
Lord Yama was killed with one blow from Shiva’s Foot.

All the Gods heard the racket and looked on in dismay
They all feared that Yama’s death would upset the order of the universe.
They got on their hands and knees, and begging the Great Lord of Yoga to bring back Lord Yama, they all shed tears.
Shiva had mercy for the Universe and the Gods and Goddesses; He brought the King of Death back to life.
He pointed out that the boy’s devotion had protected him.
The ancient belief is that the realized soul of Markandeya (the boy) is watching over all souls who love Shiva.
He helps them to get even closer in life and death.
His parents were liberated also and are free to be with their son for all time.

It is written in the Rig Veda: “Where is that gracious hand of yours, oh Rudra, the hand that brings health protection and gives comfort?”
Lord Rudra (a form of Lord Shiva who is both fierce and compassionate) replies, “I am always here in your heart of hearts as you hold on to my feet.”

My Baba told me this story as we were just arriving on our gracious Ashram, and I never forgot it.
On Kashi Lord Shiva rules with total love strength and compassion.

I love you all so very much.
Love,
Ma Jaya
Kashi Ashram

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