Tag Archive | devotion

An inspiration

Today at Write tribe’s Festival of Words we have to tell an inspiring story or write about someone who has inspired us.writetribe_festival_words_3

Though there have been many who have inspired me, in recent times there is one whose devotion amidst numerous hardships has inspired me. She is one who prays to Krishna that,’ Please keep on giving me more troubles in life so that I can always remember you’. Sounds strange isn’t it? I am a person whose faith shakes at the mere mention of a problem. There have been times where I have even blamed God  to give me birth and give problem after problem. But not with Kuntidevi, the mother of Pandavas. She asks for more problems so that she can always remember HIM.

She was originally called as Pritha and was the daughter of Shurasena. (Kunti was the sister of Vasudev) But then she was adopted by Kuntibhoja and from then on she was known as Kunti. Sage Durvasa happy with her servitude had given her a secret mantra by which she could beget children. She begot Karna from Suryadev in her immature curiosity before marriage but then had to cast him away.

Later she was married to King Pandu. But then he was cursed by a Rishi that if ever he tried to attempt union with a woman, he would die. And so Kunti had to beget children with the help of her mantra. She had Yudhisthira by invoking Yamaraj, Bhima by invoking Vayu and Arjuna by invoking Indra. She even helped Madri, the other wife of Pandu to beget sons by invoking the Ashwini Kumaras and so Nakula and Sahadeva were born.

But soon Pandu succumbs to Madri’s beauty and dies. Madri commits sati while Kunti stays to look after the young kids.

And from then on her trial begins.

Her sons are not given respectability by the Kauravas. Though Bhisma sees to it that they get a good education, in all other matters they are sidelined. They are not given their rightful kingdom. From then on the Lakshagruh episode, the time in hiding, the disrobing of her daughter-in law, the thirteen year of banishment of the Pandavas, the war of Kurukshetra, the killing of Abhimanyu and killing of the five sons of Drauadi, Kunti has to see it all.

And yet after the war when the coronation of Yudhisthira is over and Krishna gets ready to go back to Dwaraka, Kuntidevi says, ‘give me more and more troubles’. Why?

Because every time there is a problem, the Lord or his emissary has been there to protect them. When the incident of Lakshagruh took place, Vidura, a sincere devotee of the Lord had already informed that something may happen. When Draupadi was disrobed. Krishna saw that she was never without any robes. And after the war when Ashwattame sends the Brahmastra to kill the last scion of Pandava dynasty in Uttara’s womb; Krishna assumes a form smaller than the thumb of the hand to protect the child in the womb. And for such help, she thanks the Lord and asks him for more troubles so that he will always keep them in his protection and always come to meet them.

Isn’t she a great lady??

Yes, she did make mistakes. Like if she had told either Karna or Yudhisthira that they were brothers the war might not have taken place. But the important point is, in all her trials and tribulations she never lost her faith in the Lord.

For me her faith is exceptional and exemplary.

The ‘look’

I caught a glimpse as I turned,

I retraced my steps,

I saw,

and then I stared.

The beauty,

The twinkle in the eyes;

The mischief;

All held me.

I stood there,

transfixed,

The world moved,

Around me.

I stood,

Nothing shook me,

Nothing touched me,

As I gazed.

Your beauty;

arrested me,

Your gaze;

Beckoned me.

And I have been

Mesmerized ever since.

Image courtesy: Art of Krishna

Gowramma

Gowramma lovingly checked the flowers before plucking them. Everything had to be perfect for her Krishna, isn’t it? Her flower basket full of flowers, she moved slowly to her house and then to the deity room. Sat down slowly taking support of the walls and began making a garland.

At 82 years of age, Gowramma was quite active. Mornings were devoted to tending her little patch of land which had some flower bushes and some vegetables. Cleaning the house and then the altar room. Looking after her Krishna, making garlands for Him, some simple food for Him and looking after Surabhi. Surabhi, her cow and her companion for many years. She looked after Surabhi and Surabhi looked after her.

‘Mayi..Mayi…’, it was Harish, her neighbor.

‘Harish, I am in the altar room’, she called out.

‘Mayi, I am dirty, cannot come in, can you please come out’, he said

Gowramma slowly got up, again taking the support of the walls.

‘What happened Harish, you fell down somewhere, why are your clothes so dirty?’

‘Mayi, it  is because of the urchin Madan, he was stealing some milk from the kitchen when I found him and chased him away.But the scoundrel was too fast for me’.

‘He must be hungry Harish’, said Gowramma

‘ He can ask, Mayi, why steal?. Anyways here are some roses from my garden, use it for your Krishna, so saying he waved a bye and left.

Gowramma stood there for some time. ‘It was good that Harish failed his 10th. See he is such an enterprising farmer. And look at my son he was good at studies no doubt but then he became a software engineer, left to USA and sold our acres of land to Harish. Yes, yes he had taken me with him but I could not adjust there. Is it a place worth staying where even if I offer aarti to my Krishna, the fire alarms ring. Nah, US is not for me’.

Surabhi heard her patiently mooing her yes and no at the appropriate places.

It was in the evening when she was going to the grocer’s that she saw a boy hiding behind a cart near her house.

‘Are you Madan?, she asked.

‘Speak in a low tone or Harish will listen’, he said

‘Come to me and he will not beat you’, she said

But he refused to budge. after a lot of persuasion and a bribe of milk payasam he agreed to come out.

From then on, Gowramma nurtured him. Madan was an orphan. No one knew from where he came, but he always loitered around Harish’s farm, more precisely the erstwhile land of Gowramma. Harish always saw to it that he was given food and clothes and yet Madan loved to steal from Harish’s kitchen.

But everything changed after Gowramma started taking care of him. She even started teaching him. He would help her in all the chores but never in the altar room. He would look at her fondly when she cleaned the room, made garlands or made prasadam but never took part.

‘Madana, why don’t you join me. The Lord will be happy if you help me’, she would say.

‘Nahh, that is your job’, he would say with a mischievous smile.

Gowramma would back off. Bhakti and Seva  are qualities that should  not  be forced on anyone.

———————

Gowramma was tired. She could not string the flowers. She knew her end was near and she was worried. A tear flowed down from her eyes.

‘What happened? Why are you crying?’, it was Madan.

‘I am going to leave you soon, my dear’, she said

‘So why are you crying? You will be freed of this body’, said he.

‘I am worried for my Krisna and Surabhi’, said she.

‘Harish will look after Surabhi and your Krisna, he can look after himself , don’t worry’.

She looked at him then, taken aback by the sharp tone of his voice and then she smiled.

Harish came running. He was tilling his land when Surabhi’s mooing reached his ears. It meant that something was not right. He found tears running down Surabhi’s eyes, he rushed inside to find Gowramma bowing down at the altar. He touched her to find that her life breathe had gone away.

The idol of Krisna was missing.

Neither did he see Madan ever again.

* fiction