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Once upon a time there lived a King by name Satvika who ruled Puri Kshetra (the pilgrim town of Puri in East India ). He was deeply devoted to Lord Jagannath (a form of Lord Krishna worshipped in Puri). This King, who was highly learned, was unequalled in debates and ruled the Kingdom in a righteous way. He had but one bad habit - he was obsessed with the game of dice. However much he tried he could not give up this bad habit.

Once, King Satvika, along with his courtiers, went to the Temple to have Darshan of Lord Jagannath. At the time he went to the Temple the screen had been drawn across the Sanctum Sanctorum. King Satvika sat on the 'prakara' (corridor running outside and around the Sanctum Sanctorum) and began to play the game of dice with his Minister.

The screen was opened and the Temple priests came up to King Satvika and informed him that the 'abhisheka' (ritual) was about to be performed. But, he turned a deaf ear to it as he was excitedly playing the game of dice.


As the wait for the presence of the King went in vain, the priests commenced the 'abhishekha'. Though the King was again informed about the puja being performed, he did not pay heed to it, passionately playing the game of dice.


The priests performed 'Alankara' (decoration), 'nivedanam' (offering of food), and ‘karpoora harati' (showing lighted camphor). But, the King was still playing the game of dice. Going to where the King sat, the temple priests requested him to accept the 'prasad'. Turning the dice with his right hand the King extended his left hand to receive the 'prasad'. It has been said in the scriptures that the Lord's 'prasad' should be received in all humility and devotion. Since the King failed to receive the 'prasad' in this manner and had indifferently extended his left hand (which is considered disrespectful), the priests went back without giving him the 'prasad'. After a long time the game of dice came to an exciting close and returning to his normal state the King learnt that the puja to the Lord was over and 'prasad' had been distributed.

The King questioned the priests, "Why did you not inform me when the screen was opened?" The priests explained to him, "At every stage of the puja we invited you. But, you did not come, as you were playing the game of dice. Moreover, when we came up to you to offer the 'prasad' you extended your left hand.

As receiving the 'prasad' in the left hand and giving the 'prasad' to one who receives it in this manner is verily a sin we did not give you the 'prasad'.” Realizing his fault the King said to the priests, "You have indeed acted in the right way!"

The King deeply regretted playing dice at the temple instead of worshipping the Lord and also for holding out his left hand for receiving the 'prasad'. He was unable to eat or sleep. He was eaten with remorse that one who had to set an example for the people of his Kingdom had acted so sinfully. He decided to cut off his hand by way of punishing himself. Since he had played the game of dice with the Minister he decided to ask the Minister to cut off his hand and informed him. The Minister was totally shaken by this and refused to carry it out. The Minister advised him, "It is enough if you seek the Lord's forgiveness from the bottom of your heart!" But, the King was unable to accept this advice.

One day, when the Minister had forgotten about this matter the King said to the Minister, "Oh! Minister! For some time now I have been unable to sleep at nights. Through the window a hand seems to appear into my room and wave out. I think that this might be the work of some ghost!" The Minister thought for a while and said that he would stay that night in the King's room and find out. The King said to the minister, "If you see that hand tonight cut it off. Only then can it be known if it is the work of a ghost or that of a thief." Agreeing to this suggestion the Minister, holding a sword in his hand, stayed awake in the King's room that night. Just as the King had said a hand appeared through the window. Without any delay the Minister cut that hand down.

The Minister was shocked to find the King's ring on the finger of the hand and rushing out of the room he found the King standing there bleeding.

.Only then did he understand the King's motive in asking him to cut of the ‘ghost hand’. Though writhed in pain the King was happy that he had been punished for the wrong he had committed.

Everyone wondered at the devotion and righteousness of the King on learning about this incident. Some time passed and one day the King went to have Darshan of Lord Jagannath. That day, after the puja when the priests came to him to offer the 'prasad', King Satvika tried to receive it with both his hands. A miracle occurred when by the Grace of Lord Jagannath the King's right hand was restored!

Deeply touched by the compassion of the Lord, the King said, "I came here today with a decision to give up my life, as losing the right hand is not enough for the wrong done by me. But, oh! Lord! What compassion you have even towards a wicked person like me?" and fell in prostration to Lord Jagannath.


From that day King Satvika undertook the service of the Lord and His devotees as his duty and finally merged with Lord Jagannath.

Courtesy: Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas, January 2007

Illustrations: Sai Aditya, SSSU.

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 5 Issue 07 - JULY 2007
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