The Story of King Sibi
The story of Sibi also is a brilliant and thrilling one. It is found in the Maha-
bharatha, Aranya Parva, and Adhyayas 130 and 131. To test the high character of Sibi,
Indra assumed the form of a falcon and pursued a dove to kill it. In dire distress, the
dove approached the king and asked for refuge. Moved by intense compassion Sibi readily
promisedsuccour. The falcon that pursued the dove came to Sibi and remonstrated with him
that it was pursuing the dove, which was its natural food.
It demanded that the king should give the dove back to it. But the king
said that he had promised to save its life and that therefore he was unable to accede to
this demand. Thereupon the falcon asked Sibi to give up a portion of his flesh, which was
equal in weight to that of the dove for satisfying its own hunger. Sibi readily agreed to
do so and began to cut a portion of his thigh and weighed it in the balance against the
dove. But the weight of the dove was greater. Thereupon, the king proceeded to cut other
portions of the flesh in his body and weighed them in the balance.
Still, it was found that the dove was heavier in weight.
Finally the king placed himself in the pan offering the flesh of his whole body to the
falcon. When this climax was reached, the falcon assumed his real form as Indra and
praised the king for his heroic sacrifice for the sake of the dove and said: "Your
fame will last so long as the world lasts."