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Story Of Harishchandra And Varuna – How King Came To Be Known As Satya Harishchandra?

Harishchandra, a distinguished ruler from the Ikshvaku dynasty, faced a prolonged period of childlessness with his wife Taramati. Despite fervent efforts through rituals and pilgrimages, the couple remained childless. Desperate for a child, they turned to Lord Varuna, the Rain God, seeking his blessings. Varuna granted their request, but with a challenging condition: they had to sacrifice their newborn son to him.

Reluctantly, Harishchandra and Taramati accepted Varuna's condition. When their son was born, the couple, torn between joy and sorrow, found themselves bound by their promise to Varuna.

As the child grew, Harishchandra repeatedly delayed fulfilling his promise. Each time, Varuna, understanding the king's reluctance, agreed to wait. The excuses continued until the son, now aware of his destiny, decided to escape. Disappointed by his parents' lack of integrity, he left for a distant land.

Varuna, angered by the evasion, demanded the child once more. Harishchandra, now suffering from a severe illness (oedema), appealed for mercy. Touched by the king's plight, Varuna released him from the obligation, blessing him with recovery.

Harishchandra, realizing the consequences of his actions, acknowledged the punishment for breaking his promise to God. Determined to lead an honest life, he adopted the name 'Satyavrata,' signifying his commitment to truth and righteousness. From that moment forward, Harishchandra upheld his resolution, living a life of unwavering honesty.

Harishchandra realized his folly and knew that this was his punishment for not having fulfilled his promise to God. He felt really bad that he had cheated his own Lord and vowed then and there, that he would never lie or go back on his promise anymore. Thereafter, he stayed true to his resolution and lived a life of truth and righteousness. This gave him the name, 'Satyavrata', or the observer of truth.