Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 12 (1973 - 74)
Story - Excerpt from Divine Discourse
Terrible and tender

The Mahaabhaaratha has a fine story which proves the same point. The fact that God might assume terrible aspects in order to examine attainment and establish the truth of achievement is witnessed in the story of Mayuuradhwaja. The Paandavas celebrated the Aswamedha Yaaga (Horse Sacrifice), and as part of that ceremony released the chosen horse so that it may take its own course across the length and breadth of the land. Whoever stops and binds the horse is thereby challenging the sacrificant for a fight; he has to win back the horse, after defeating the audacious obstructionist! Mayuuradhwaaja, a great devotee of Krishna, a virtuous ruler, a wise man learned in the Vedhas, a man of deep compassion, held the horse, and Arjuna, the Paandava hero decided to meet him in battle. But, Krishna advised him to desist; for, he desired to demonstrate to Arjuna the devotion of Mayuuradhwaja which far surpassed his own; he also desired to proclaim to the whole world, the heights that Mayuuradhwaja could reach in the realm of self-sacrifice and truthfulness. So, He proposed that He and Arjuna proceed to Mayuuradhwaja's palace in the guise of a pair of Brahmins, seeking a meal. They were welcomed by the King, who offered them rich hospitality. But, before they could eat the very first mouthful, Krishna stopped very dramatically and recited a tale of woe. "Listen! O Soft-hearted Emperor! As we were coming along through a forest on the border of your empire, a tiger snatched away the young son of my companion here. Before we could come up with the beast, it had swallowed half the body; but, it heard our piteous appeal, and promised to release the boy, and return him alive to us, provided it is given as substitute, one half of the sanctifying body of the pure and holy Emperor of the land, Mayuuradhwaja. How can we relish your hospitality with this agony in our hearts? Promise to give the tiger half your body in exchange for the full living body of this Brahmin boy, and then, we shall partake of your hospitality". Mayuuradhwaja agreed most gladly; when the lunch was over, he sat on the floor and instructed his queen and his son to saw his body into two halves. They placed the saw on the head and began the process of division, with the Brahmins witnessing the operation. They saw drops of tears in the left eye of the King. Krishna said, "O You are giving us the promised gift with tears, not with unalloyed willingness. I cannot accept anything given with tears." But Mayuuradhwaja replied, "Sir, If I am unwilling or hesitating, both eyes should shed tears, shouldn't they? Only the left eye is shedding them now; and the reason is this- the right half is being used for a highly sacred purpose, to save a person from cruel death. But, what will happen to the left half? Cast away, to be eaten by dogs and vultures? So, the left half-is weeping, but the right half is jubilant that it is being put to some meritorious purpose." At that moment, Krishna manifested Himself to the great Mayuuradhwaja in all His Glory and Majesty; He blessed him that he would have Krishna always installed in his heart and that he would be ever blissful and content. Arjuna too realised that there were devotees of Krishna far more advanced than he was His pride was humbled. Mayuuradhwaja's humility was rewarded.