Though endowed with power and authority, prosperity and wealth, Sibi was a genuine Sadhak (seeker of spiritual path) having attained a high stage in detachment and the spirit of renunciation.
God decided to discover whether his achievements were deep-rooted and unshakeable. Agni (the God of Fire) and Indra (God of the Heavenly Regions) took on the forms of a dove and a hawk. The hawk pursued the dove across the sky, until the frightened bird came down into the lap of Sibi sitting in his throne, pleading for protection from the hawk.
As befitted his Dharma, Sibi gave word that he would save the dove from its enemy and assured full protection for it. At that moment, the hawk presented itself before the Emperor and demanded its meal, its legitimate prey. “I am hungry, I had secured my food, you have deprived me of my meal,” it complained. “Of what use is all your vaunted spirituality, if you rob me of my meal?” it lamented. At this, Sibi said, “Yes, I shall slice off flesh from my body weighing as much as this dove weighs; you can appease your hunger with that.”
The hawk agreed; a balance was brought; the dove was placed on one pan, pieces of flesh cut from the body of Sibi were placed in the other pan. But, then and behold, however many pieces of flesh were laid thereon, the pan on which the dove sat did not rise at all!
It was indeed a mystery how a bird could weigh so much. At last, Sibi said, “Well. You can take all of me. Eat me whole. Here am I at your disposal.” No sooner did he utter these words than the hawk became Indra and the dove was transformed into Agni-Gods effulgent in their Glory!
They were supremely happy at the depth of Sibi’s spirit of renunciation; they blessed him profusely and departed.