Monday Morning Greetings 2022 #27 – The Examiner

July 4th, 2022

In my last post, I mentioned that I had something of an epiphany concerning the first verse of the Tenth Canto. Mahārāja Parīkṣit had just heard from Śukadeva Goswāmī at the end of the Ninth Canto about the lineage of saintly kings. Within that description were a few verses summarizing the activities of Krishna, which very much inspired the King to want to hear more. The Tenth Canto begins with an expression of his enthusiasm in terms of an inquiry to hear about the activities of Krishna in detail. My inspiration concerns how much Mahārāja Parīkṣit’s name reveals about the mindset behind his inquiries and how much that understanding meant to me.


The name “Parīkṣit” comes from the root words pari (in all respects, everywhere) and īkṣ (to see), which conventionally means “to examine”, the suffix making it an active principle, the examiner, which is certainly an appropriate designation for the King, considering the story of his birth and how that informed his raison d’être[1]:


King Parīkṣit saw the form of the Lord when Krishna appeared in the womb of his mother to protect him from being aborted by a special weapon that was directed at her womb by the revengeful Aśvatthāmā. The vision of the Lord’s beauty at that time made such a powerful impression on him that he would come to inspect all people in search of that personality he had seen in the womb. As that pursuit formed his constant contemplation and his reason for living, he became famous as Parīkṣit, the examiner.


His name therefore gives us insight to the degree of emotion he must have felt in anticipation of finally coming to a part in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam where the pastimes of Krishna, the one whom he had been searching for and contemplating his whole life, are finally described. He was already so enthralled with what he had heard on the science of Krishna that even the vow he made on the verge of death to give up eating and drinking could not hinder his absorption. The opportunity, however, to now directly hear the pastimes of Krishna brought his enthusiasm to hear to even newer heights. It is this intensity of longing to hear the pastimes of Krishna recorded in the first sixteen verses of the Tenth Canto that is the catalyst for the ninety chapters that follow, which describe Krishna’s pastimes and serve as the fulfillment of the search of one designated as “Parīkṣit”.


And here is where the name “Parīkṣit”, the examiner, really struck me. Am I also not the examiner? Did I not also have an experience of Krishna, one that made me also seek Him as the goal of my life? If not, then why I am still chanting His name and calling myself a devotee? Like Parīkṣit, am I not the person who is about die, if not by my advanced age, at least by the glaring reality before me of the world of death? Have I also not come to the oasis of the Tenth Canto, where this desperate and dying soul can certainly quench his spiritual search and find the joy of eternal life in the beautiful pastimes of Krishna? What is the use of my life if I don’t imbibe the import of Parīkṣit by prioritizing and absorbing myself in the pastimes of Krishna?



[1] The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence.


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