Shibi Raja (King Shibi)

Once upon a time there was a King named Shibi. He was very generous and just. If anybody approached the king for any help, he would never return disappointed. King Shibi would always take care of the needs of all his subjects.

Once a pigeon came to King Shibi's court. It was trembling with fear. The king lovingly held it in his hands. Just then, a hawk flew towards King Shibi and said, "O king, return my prey to me." However King Shibi refused and said, "This pigeon has taken refuge with me. If I return it to you, you will eat it and I shall acquire sin."

The hawk said, "I am hungry and this pigeon is my food. If you snatch away my food from me, I shall die of starvation. Won't you acquire sin then?" King Shibi replied, "No, that is not my intention. You ask for any other food and I shall give it to you. The hawk said, "I eat meat. You give me your flesh, equal in weight to that of the pigeon."

To the shock of everyone present King Shibi readily agreed. He ordered his men to get a weighing scale. The pigeon was kept on one side of the weighing scale and Shibi placed a piece of flesh from his thigh on the other. To everyone's surprise, no matter how much flesh was cut from the king's body and kept in the scale, it still could not outweigh the pigeon. Finally, King Shibi himself sat on the scale.

Suddenly, the pigeon and the hawk vanished and in their place stood Agnidevata (The Deity of Fire) and Deity Indra. They both blessed King Shibi and said, "O King. We had come here to test you. You really are very kind and just." They restored his body and left the palace.

– (Pujya) Dr. Vasant Balaji Athavale (Year 1991)

Children, you just saw how kind King Shibi was. He was ready to sacrifice his own life just to save the life of a pigeon. That is why even the Gods had to descend from the heavens to bless him. We should learn to be kind and helpful to others.

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