A KING who was guilty of the heinous sin of killing a brahmana went to the hermitage of a Rishi to learn what penance he must perform in order to be purified. The Rishi was absent, but his son was in the hermitage.

Hearing the case of the king, he said, "Repeat the 'name' of God (Rama) three times, and your sin will be expiated."

When the Rishi came back and heard of the penance prescribed by his son, he remarked indignantly, "Sins committed in myriads of births are purged immediately by uttering the 'name' of the Almighty but once. How weak must be your faith, O fool, since you have ordered the holy 'name' to be repeated thrice? For this weakness of your faith, you shall become an outcaste." And the son became Guhaka of the Ramayana. (74)