Everyone was so engrossed in the conversation that one had lost track of time. The time had drifted away and the night had begun to fall. Nobody wanted to leave and as if everyone was glued to his seat. They had never had such an enriching dialogue in all their life. By this time the twilight was almost over, the stars had started twinkling in the dark sky. The King and the Queen got up and greeted the public as the time to leave had arrived but all the people urged The King and the Queen to depart in the morning as it would not be safe to make a night journey. Overwhelmed with this affectionate request, they immediately accepted their invitation and the evening was spent in music performances, dances and chit- chat with the local people.
Both of them had a gala time with their subjects and they were able to know a lot of details about the lives of the common man of their kingdom and the problems they had to face. This brought them much closer to the public and the King got an insight on how and what their public needed and wanted. He was sure that with these inputs he would be able to think more profoundly and act more pragmatically with the issues faced by them. Having had this candid interaction with them, Harshvardhan was very sure about one thing that he’ll try to find opportunities to have such interactions with his people more often. Now he had understood the importance of his grandfather’s teaching that a king must be a friend to his public and a demon to his enemy. While the King was busy in having these discussions with the people, the Queen had gathered all the interested people and started teaching them The Lotus Sutra and she was overwhelmed to see that they were following each and every step taught by her very fervently. As soon as the discussion with the King ended, rest of the people also joined the Queen.
They all seem to have developed faith in the lessons and advises of the Queen and the King. In a few moments the whole environment was reverberating with the mesmerising voices of chanting in unison. Everyone wanted the time to stand still as this golden opportunity may never come again in their lives but as they say, everything good has to come to an end and so it was. The people had arranged for a scrumptious feast for them and finally they all retired for the night and went to sleep.Before going to sleep, the King and the Queen requested the parents of Drishti for their permission to take her along with them so that she could be trained to spread the message of Buddhism.
The queen could sense the sadness of the parents for parting with their daughter. She proactively came forward and ask the king if her parents would like to be given a job at their palace to which they immediately agreed. Sunayana was already ready as she could clearly foresee an advent of a new life. She had never felt much happier in her whole life.
Next morning, all the people gathered at the same place to see the King and the Queen off, as the gesture of their love and respect for them.
They had brought small tokens of affection for them. Many of them had tears in their eyes as they couldn’t hold their emotions and respect they had accumulated for the King and the Queen in this short duration of two days. They came forward and requested the king with folded hands, “Hey Rajan! None of us will be able to forget even a single moment of few hours spent with you and the queen. We all are highly indebted to you for the new direction of life you have showed and our eyes can see a new era of wisdom and hope heralding in our village.” Harshvardhan and Sulochna were filled with gratitude and hospitality all these people had shown. They were not just taking with them the souvenirs given by the villagers but also heaps of good memories which they had created in these two days.
As the king and the queen were advancing towards the palanquin, they heard the growling voice of the beggar. He looked very happy and was chuckling with joy but at the same time had tears of apology in his eyes. The sternness of his expression had completely vanished. He wanted to express his feelings through his teary eyes. It didn’t take the King and the Queen much time to understand that the mystic power of the Lotus Sutra had permeated even into a stiff heart like his. Both of them smiled at him and finally set off for their journey back to their palace.
In few hours they reached the palace where they were greeted by their anxious children who seemed to be a little concerned due to their delay in returning. Especially their youngest child, their daughter, who was just five years old was very excited to see them back. She came running to the king and the king lifted her in his arms and said,” O my little Diksha! I missed you so much.” Then she chuckled with joy and said,” Pitashree! where were you both? I was worried about you. I must have recited Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo at least 100 times but I knew in my heart that before I finished my 100 chants you would be here and here you are before my last chant.”
Drishti and Sunaina were so impressed with the conviction of such a little girl in The Lotus Sutra. The queen introduced her children to Drishti and Sunaina and assigned the job of looking after them to Diksha and as hospitable as she could be, she proactively accepted the duty with readiness and warmth. She escorted them to their quarter in the palace, which was going to be their residence for the few coming days.