* Long ago, there lived a great king named Nruga who was the son of Ikshvaaku. He gave away, as sacrifices, as many cows as there are grains of sand on the surface of earth, stars in heaven and drops in a single shower of rain. The best quality Kapila Varna cows were given by him, decorated with pure golden hooves and horns, along with their calves. He gave them to learned Brahmins and their families, who were in need, dedicated in character and qualities of truth, well-renowned for their austerity, well-versed with the Vedic scriptures and saintly in their behavior. Apart from this, he even performed many sacrifices for the poor and the needy, indulged in yajnas(holy sacrifices into the fire) and executed a number of pious welfare activities.
* Once, a learned Brahmana’s cow came wondering by and entered the herd of cows being given away in the form of ‘Danam’(donations to the brahmanas, poor and the needy) by King Nruga. Not knowing about the possession and the real owner of the cow, King Nruga gave it away to one other needy Brahmin. The real owner of the cow, on seeing it being taken away by another person, revolted and said, ‘The cow belongs to me!’ To this, the other Brahmin replied, ‘No, it has been given to me by Raja Nruga.’ When the King came to know of this confusion, he begged pardon and offered each of them a thousand cows of the highest quality, seeking them to save him from this traumatic situation. However, both the brahmanas departed without taking anything and leaving behind the cow too.
* Years later, after King Nruga’s body departed for the heavenly abode, on reaching Yamaloka, Yamadharmaraaja asked Nruga whether he wanted to experience comforts and luxuries in heaven first, for his good deeds, or should he be subjected to atrocities and sorrows for the sins that he performed on earth. He said, ‘Nruga, I see no end to the greatest sacrifices that you have performed, or to your consequent enjoyment in the UrdhvaLokas(higher worlds where Gods reside). However, you committed the sin of stealing a Brahmin’s cow.’ King Nruga chose to experience the results of his sins first and was immediately put into a well in the form of a chameleon. Since he was a pious soul, he always remained inclined towards his devotion to the Lord and spent his time in the well remembering who he was and repenting for the mistake he had done by doing Bhagavatdhyaanam.
* After many years, once when Lord Krishna was playing with his friends in the forest, they happened to go to the same well to quench their thirst where King Nruga was spending his time as a chameleon. Shri Krishna, out of pity, took him out of the well. The very touch of the Lord of the universe enabled king Nruga to get a divine form, dressed up with ornaments and brightened with the divine light from the Sun. When lord Krishna enquired about the reason for his Chameleon form, Nruga narrated to him his unfortunate story. King Nruga uttered a few shlokas (verses) and stotram(hymns) to Lord Krishna, worshipped him and took leave from the lord in a heavenly abode and set off for the UrdhvaLokas.
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