LIKHITA – A sage

In the Mahabharata Likhita and Sanlcha were brothers, with their asramas (her­mitages) next to each other on the banks of the Bahuda River. One day Likhita was hungry and went over to his brother’s asrama and began eating his vegeta­bles. Jsankha discovered the theft and took Likhita before the king. The king’s law stated that a thief would be punished by cutting off the thief’s hands. So King Sudyumna did just that. With blood flowing from each arm, Likhita stood before Jsankha. The older brahmin congratulated his brother for accepting his punishment and then told him to bathe in the Bahuda. Likhita did and his hands began growing back. He ran to Jsankha, who told him that this was accomplished by the power of his (Sankha’s) austerities (tapas). Likhita questioned why his brother could not have purified him without having his hands cut off. Sankha answered that it was the duty (dharma) of the king to administer the law and that King Sudyumna had become great by so doing.

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