King Dilipa, the ruler of Ayodhya, possesses all that a king could desire, but his life is bereft of the great joy of parenthood. He communicates his unhappiness to sage Vasishta. The sage tells Dilipa that his childlessness is the result of a curse. But there is a way to atone for his sin, and thereby shake off the curse. Dilipa along with his wife should worship the divine cow Nandini, which is in sage Vasishta’s hermitage.

Dilipa follows the sage’s advice diligently. Dilipa’s inherent goodness becomes evident in the manner in which animals respond to his presence in the forest. The deer do not run away in fear at his approach. This is despite the fact that Dilipa is armed with a bow and arrows. They know that he is no enemy to the good and innocent, and that his arrows will remain in the quiver at the approach of the innocent.

The deer, in fact, consider themselves lucky to have been blessed with large eyes, for this enables them to feast their eyes on Dilipa, the virtuous king! Even the wind in the forest seems to sing of the greatness of Dilipa’s family.

Dilipa hears these eulogies of his family, but he is not unduly moved by what he hears, for such is his greatness. Great men are known for their equanimity of temper. They are swayed neither by praise nor cruel words. They are unperturbed by sorrow just as they are not overwhelmed by their successes. Such men radiate goodness, said N. Veezhinathan, in a discourse. A pleasant breeze is blowing in the forest, and it carries the fragrance of flowers. This breeze caresses Dilipa, and he surely deserves such soothing comfort, for he is a person who does his duties, expecting nothing in return. How can the five elements not worship such a man?

It is said that in the presence of a gnani, even natural enemies become well disposed towards each other. Thus in the presence of a gnani even a snake and a mongoose will not attack each other. Likewise when Dilipa enters the forest, lions and tigers refrain from attacking their prey and flowers bloom. Forest fires die even though it is not raining.

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