So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was also discussed first in that Naimiṣā... Not first, for the second time. First it was explained by Śukadeva Gosvāmī to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was cursed by a brāhmaṇa boy to die within a week. Formerly, even a small child... This boy, this brāhmaṇa boy, was playing with his playmates. That means he was a child, not more than ten to twelve years old. And he was informed that "Mahārāja Parīkṣit has insulted your father by garlanding him with a dead snake." The fact was that Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in hunting. One after another, so many things comes, but let me explain to you. This hunting business was allowed only for the kings, kṣatriyas, not for ordinary man. Killing in sports. Because the king had to administer so strongly that sometimes he had to kill an evil person immediately with sword. The kingdom was very strong. Not many days before, say, about hundred years ago in Kashmir, if a thief was caught, burglar was caught, and he was proved that he has committed theft, the king would personally cut off, chop off his hand. The punishment was so severe. And the result was that even you miss something on your way, nobody will touch it. Everyone was afraid: "Let the things remain there. One who has lost his thing, he will come and take away. We don't require to take it." So the kings were very severe to punish unwanted social elements. So the kings were therefore allowed sometimes to hunt in the jungle to practice killing. Just like doctors are allowed to practice surgical operation on dead body; otherwise, how they'll practice, how they'll become surgeon, if they do not practice? Similarly, only the kings were allowed to kill some animal in the jungle sometimes.
So this Parīkṣit Mahārāja was hunting, and when he became tired and thirsty he entered in the hermitage home of a sage. Because in those days in the jungles there were many hermitages. Those who wanted to live secluded life in the jungle, in the forest, they would have their home, very small cottage, and their means of living was milk and fruit. They would get fruits from the trees, and the kings would sometimes contribute some cows. So that was sufficient for them. To have some milk from the cow and get the fruits from the trees in the jungle, that was sufficient. That is sufficient still. Anywhere, any part of the world, you can live without any economic problem, provided... There is no question of "provided." Anywhere, you can keep a cow. There is no expenditure. The cow will go out and eat some vegetables and grass, so you haven't got to spend anything for the cow. And when she returns, she gives you milk, nice milk. We are trying to introduce this system in our New Vrindaban scheme. We are keeping there cows, and that place is in Virginia, Moundsville. It is about three miles away from any city or any citizen approach. But they are living very nicely, depending on some vegetables, fruits, and cow's milk. So actually, a man can live very peacefully and healthy life. Not only peacefully. If you are healthy, if your mind is equilibrium, then naturally you are peaceful. So that was a system for the sages and hermitages, hermits, that they used to live on cow's milk and fruits.
So this king, being tired, being thirsty, entered the home of a sage, and he was in meditation. So the king called him. Because he was king, so he is habituated to order. A king is not supposed to submit, although they submitted to great sages and brāhmaṇas. But generally, their spirit is ordering, commanding spirit. So he commanded, "Give me a glass of water. I am very thirsty." So that sage, who was in meditation, could not hear him. The king became little angry, that "I am your guest. I am king. I am asking you water, and you are not hearing me. You are in your meditation." So he became little disgusted, and there was a dead snake. So he took that dead snake and got it round about the neck of the sage and went away in disgust, that "This sage did not offer me even a glass of water." Because, according to Vedic system, if somebody comes in your home, even if he is enemy, it is the injunction of the Vedas: gṛhaṁ śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akuto 'bhayam. When a person comes at your home, never mind even if he's enemy... Friend is welcome, that's all right. But even an enemy comes, they are not forbidden. Not that in the gate there is, oh, "Beware of dog," "No trespasser allowed." No. There was no restriction. Even enemy was admitted, "Come on." So gṛhaṁ śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akuto 'bhayam. Even an enemy enters your house, you'll receive him in such a friendly way that he will forget that you are his enemy. That was the system. So because Mahārāja Parīkṣit was king, he saw that there is negligence of this disciplinary action. "I became... I was king, and I was thirsty. I became his guest, I came..." Athiti. This guest is called athiti. Athiti means there are some guests who give notice before, prior to coming there, and some guests come without any notice. So the guest who comes without any notice, he's called athiti. So according to Hindu custom, the householder is to keep always some foodstuff for athiti guest. Somebody may come without notice, so some foodstuff is already in the stock. That is called athiti food. And a gṛhastha, the householder, is ordered that before eating, a householder was to see in the members of the family, first the children must be fed, then diseased person must be fed, then elderly, old person must be fed. In this way, when everything is finished, then the proprietor of the household, he will take his meals, and before taking his meals, he will stand outdoors and call loudly, "If somebody is hungry, please come. Still there is food here." And if there is no response, then he'll take. This is the system of Vedic civilization.