Laosen does the impossible

There was once a king named Karnasen who was a great hero. For many years he defeated all his enemies in battle, but eventually he lost to a most powerful king. King Karnasen lost his wife, he lost his hero-sons, and he lost all his dear ones. He himself would have been killed by his opponent, but that king showed him compassion. He said, “You are an old man. I don’t want to kill you. I have killed your wife and sons and all your relatives. I have destroyed your army. Now you can go peacefully on your way.”

Karnasen felt miserable. Since nobody was left alive in his family, he went to another kingdom and there he took shelter. The king of that particular kingdom, whose name was Gaur, was very kind to him and showed him great hospitality. He invited Karnasen to spend the rest of his life there. One day King Gaur said to Karnasen, “If you would like to marry, I will ask one of my sisters-in-law to marry you.”

King Karnasen said, “I am an old man. At this age, why should I again enter into family life?”

But King Gaur replied, “No, no, you will be happy. It is good to have some near and dear ones.”

King Karnasen finally agreed, and soon he married a sister-in-law of King Gaur named Ranjabati.

Now Kripan, Ranjabati’s brother, was at that time away from the kingdom. On his return, when he heard that his sister had married without his knowledge, especially to someone who was now a true beggar, although he had once been a great king, he became furious. King Gaur was showing Karnasen considerable affection and love, so Kripan became jealous. He had hoped that he would become the dearest to the king, but now he saw that somebody else was becoming the dearest. He could not insult King Gaur, but he wanted to punish Karnasen.

Karnasen and his wife lived together for a number of years, but unfortunately Ranjabati was not blessed with a child. According to stupid Indian tradition, if you do not have children, then you are not a woman of good character. So one day, in an assembly, Kripan said to her, “You are a useless woman. You are a barren field!”

Poor Ranjabati felt miserable. She prayed and prayed to the sun god to grant her a child. Finally the sun god listened to her prayer and she did have a child. Karnasen gave this son the name Laosen.

Laosen was extremely beautiful. Right from his childhood he showed tremendous physical strength. He became a great wrestler in his youth. He could defeat three or four wrestlers at a time. Laosen even used to fight with tigers and whales. Now Kripan, Laosen’s maternal uncle, once again became extremely jealous. First he had been jealous of Karnasen because he was getting so much affection from King Gaur. Now he was jealous of Karnasen’s son because he had become so powerful.

Kripan tried in many ways to kill Laosen. Once he hired ruffians to kill him. Another time he cleverly invited his brother-in-law and nephew to visit him so that he could honour them, and then he put two mad elephants along the route to kill his so-called guests. In many ways he made their lives miserable and caused suffering for them.

One day Kripan became so desperately angry that he said to King Gaur, “I shall leave this kingdom if you do not banish Laosen.”

King Gaur said, “How can I do it, and why should I do it! Laosen is unconquerable. I am so happy that he is a relative of mine. If anyone attacks our kingdom, he will be able to defeat the enemy.”

Kripan said, “Do you think that he can defeat anybody?”

The king said, “He is unconquerable. Nobody can defeat him — nobody, nobody.”

Kripan said, “Can he do the impossible?”

King Gaur said, “I will call nothing impossible. There is nothing on earth that Laosen cannot do.”

“All right, I will believe it if he can compel the sun to rise in the west.”

King Gaur said rashly, “Yes, he will be able to do even that.”

Kripan was delighted to hear this. He knew that Laosen could never compel the sun to rise in the west.

When Laosen heard of this, he went immediately to the king. King Gaur was extremely fond of Laosen’s father and extremely proud of Laosen. But now he was worried. On the one hand, he believed that Laosen could do the impossible because he had so much faith in the young man. On the other hand, he could not help feeling that to make the sun rise in the west was an impossibility.

But Laosen said to the king, “Don’t worry. If you have made a promise, I will fulfil it.” Then Laosen started praying to the sun god as his mother had done many years before. Soon the sun god came to him and said, “Please continue to pray. I will see if it can be done. Just pray, pray, pray.”

So Laosen prayed and prayed. His maternal uncle was very happy. He was sure that the sun would never rise in the west. One day he said to King Gaur, "Laosen is unable to fulfil your promise. Now you have to fulfil my desire. He has to leave the kingdom since he can’t do the impossible.”

King Gaur said, “Give him some more time. He has said that he will be able to do it. Just give him some time.”

Laosen prayed and prayed. One day one of his maids said to him, “Don’t worry. The sun will be pleased with you someday.”

Laosen said, “I have been praying and praying for such a long time. I am afraid he will never grant me this boon.”

Then the maid said, “Just cut off your head and he will be pleased with you.”

Laosen said, “If I cut off my head, then I will only die, and if the sun does not rise in the west, I will not be able to do anything more. But if the sun god agrees to fulfil my desire, then I am ready to kill myself.”

The maid said, “Do it. The sun god will definitely be pleased with you.”

So Laosen chopped off his head and immediately the sun god appeared. He brought Laosen back to life and said, “Now I am truly pleased with you. I shall fulfil your desire. Tomorrow the world will see that instead of coming from the east I will appear in the west. You can go and tell King Gaur and your father.”

Laosen was filled with joy. He ran to tell his father and King Gaur. Both of them always believed him. Then King Gaur told Kripan, “Tomorrow morning you will see that Laosen has really done the impossible.”

Kripan said, “Tomorrow morning. You yourself have given the time. If Laosen doesn’t make the sun rise in the west tomorrow morning, then you have to throw him out of this kingdom.”

King Gaur said, “Yes, but he will do it.”

Kripan was the first person to disbelieve it, and the following morning he got up long before anybody else to see the sunrise. And to Kripan’s amazement the sun did rise in the west. Then the sun god appeared before everyone and said to Kripan, “You have caused so much suffering for Karnasen and his son Laosen. Laosen is my devotee, and you have tortured him for many years. Now you deserve some punishment. From now to the end of your life you will suffer from leprosy.” This was the worst possible punishment he could give.

Then King Gaur asked the sun god, “How could you do it? How could you rise in the west?”

Then sun god said, “Is there anything that I will not do for my true devotee? If somebody were to insult me and say, ‘Sun, you always have to rise in the east. Obviously you can’t appear in the west; you don’t have the power,’ immediately I would agree. I would say, ‘You are right. I can’t do it!’ But my devotee is dearer to me than my life itself. When he accepts a challenge, I also have to accept. Kripan could have challenged me personally, but if he had done it, I would not have taken the trouble of breaking the cosmic Law. But he challenged my true devotee, who is so dear to me. He was ready to sacrifice his own life in order to keep his promise.

“You can defeat me, but not my devotee. A true devotee can always do the impossible. God Himself will not want to do that thing, because there is no need for Him to show the world that for Him nothing is impossible. But God does want to show the world that there is someone else who can do everything, and that is a true devotee. So don’t challenge a devotee. You will always lose.”