Story of King of Kashi
Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. At Ayodhya he was being crowned as the king. The king of Kashi wanted to be in Ayodhya to attend the coronation ceremony. When his chariot was on the way towards Ayodhya, he met Narad Muni. Narad Muni said, “I am happy that you are going to Ayodhya. But please promise me that you will do as I tell you to do.“
The king of Kashi promised him. So Narad Muni said, “When you reach Lord Rama’s court, bow and show respect to everyone except Maharishi Viswamitra. You must ignore him completely.”
“But, he will be displeased if I do so and everyone knows about his dangerous temper,” said the worried king of Kashi.
But Narad Muni insisted that he do so. So he promised Narad Muni to do so and went to Ayodhya. On reaching Lord Rama’s court, the king of Kashi did as Narad had asked him to. Soon Viswamitra grew very angry. He felt insulted. Maharishi Viswamitra went and complained about it to Lord Rama. Lord Rama also grew very angry. He declared, “I promise you, Gurudev, that the king of Kashi will meet his death with three arrows from my quiver. He will be dead by this evening.”
Hearing Lord Rama’s words, the king of Kashi thought, “I would rather commit suicide out of shame than to be- humiliated thus. I’ll go and drown myself in the river Saryu.”
So he went to the river Saryu and just as he was about to jump into the river Narad Muni came to the spot. The king of Kashi said, “Narad Muni, look what has happened. I followed and obeyed your words and now my life is in danger.”
“Don’t worry, just sit on my Veena and take you to Kanchangiri,” said Narad Muni. So the king of Kashi sat on Narad Muni’s veena. On the way Narad said, “Anjana, mother of Hanuman, resides on Kanchangiri. You must fall at her feet and ask her to protect your life.”
When they reached Kanchangiri, the king of Kashi did as was told by Narad Muni. He fell at Anjana’s feet and asked her to protect him. When she promised him that no one would harm him under her protection then king of Kashi told his whole story. She was shocked to hear the story. She thought of her son Hanuman and he immediately presented himself in his mother’s presence. Anjana told the king of Kashi’s problem to Hanuman. She said. “Hanuman, my son, I need your help to protect the king of Kashi.” “But mother,” said Hanuman. “How can I do this? Lord Rama is my master. Thus, one, who is Lord Rama’s enemy, is also my enemy. How can I protect him?”
But Anjana insisted that Hanuman do as she told him to do as she had given her word. So Hanuman agreed had to obey his mother. Hanuman went to the king of Kashi and said, “You must stand in the river Saryu immersed up to your waist and recite Lord Rama s name constantly. Meanwhile I’ll go and pray to Lord Rama to forgive you, “said Hanuman.
The King of Kashi did as Hanuman asked him to do. Hanuman went to Lord Rama and said, “My Lord, once you had said that I must protect whoever is reciting your name. Do you remember?”
Yes, Hanuman, I do,” said Lord Rama. “Not even death would go near such a man.”
“Thank you, my Lord. I am reassured.” With these words Hanuman left the palace. He went to the river Saryu and stood guarding the king of Kashi.
In the early evening Lord Rama came to the spot. He wanted to kill the king of Kashi to keep his promise made to Viswamitra. Lord Rama took an arrow and shot at the king of Kashi but it came back. He tried three times but the arrows came back to the quiver and a voice from the arrow said to Lord Rama, “My Lord, I cannot harm a person who is under my protection especially when he is reciting your name.”
Rishi Vashistha had also come along to the spot. He asked Hanuman to leave the king’s side but Hanuman said, “I cannot go from here. I have to keep Lord Rama’s words given to me. He had said that his devotee would never be harmed even by death. If I leave, my Lord will be proved a liar.”
Hearing Hanuman’s words Rishi Vashistha said, “If he does not keep his word given to Viswamitra then people will lose faith in him.” Then, Rishi Vashistha went to Viswamitra and said, “Maharishi, the promise that Lord Rama made due to you has now created a difficult situation. Now there are chances of conflict between Lord Rama and Hanuman. If you forgive the king of Kashi then the problem will be solved easily.”
Thus, to prevent conflict between Rama and Hanuman, Viswamitra relented. He went to the river Saryu where the king of Kashi was reciting Lord Rama’s name. He called him out of the water and said, “If you touch my feet and ask for forgiveness, I’ll forgive you. Also promise me that you will never insult me or any other sage in such a manner ever again.”
The king of Kashi touched Viswamitra’s feet and begged for forgiveness. Then Viswamitra freed Lord Rama from his promise. And, the king of Kashi was saved.
Thus, Hanuman kept his mother’s word and saved the King of Kashi