Shibi Chakravarti (शिबिचक्रवर्ती)

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The concept of Abhay Daan is illustrated by the story of King Shibi.

King Shibi was once sitting with his councillors, when a dove fell into his lap. It was being chased by a falcon. The dove prayed to the King for protection. When the falcon arrived the King refused to hand the dove over, saying that the dove had sought asylum, and he (King) was duty-bound to protect it. However, the falcon insisted that he was merely following his Dharm, as the dove was designated food for him.

The King then offered the falcon rice and vegetables instead. When the falcon refused the offer, the King asked him as to how his hunger would be satisfied. The falcon asked for the King’s flesh, weighing as much as the dove. The King cut off a piece from his thigh and put in on a scale. However, this was not sufficient. The King kept adding more flesh from other parts of his body, but to no avail. He finally climbed into the scale himself, at which the falcon (Lord Indra in disguise) disappeared. The dove (Lord Agni in disguise) also disappeared after making the King whole again.[1]

References

  1. Agarwal, Sanjay. (2010) Daan and Other Giving Traditions in India. New Delhi: AccountAid, India