Friday, 10 August 2007

Visiting Mahabharata ...14 Born of the Sun (Revisited 2011)

(The story of Kunti, the mother of Pandavas is strange.) Sage Durvasa visits king Kuntibhoja, uncle and foster-father of Kunti. Kunti takes care of the sage admirably. The sage famous(!) for his temper is very pleased and grants her a boon. The boon is a mantra, when chanted, the god she wanted would 'come to her'. Kunti, still a child and curious, enraptured by the beauty of the morning sun, invokes the sun god! She is extremely happy when the sun god appears, aghast when she learns the true meaning of 'god coming to her'. Finally, when assured 'she will be a virgin again' accepts the embrace of the seductive sun god.

As he departs the sun god describes the special qualities of their son. He would be born with a Kavacha and a Kundala. He would be a great archer and with a goodness of heart, he would be the greatest of all givers. Proud and sensitive his fame would endure.
(Kamala does well to recreate the scene between the smiling Sun god and the apprehensive Kunti!)

In time Kunti delivers a child and providentially, as she lives near the river, she places the child in a box and sets it afloat on the placid river with tears in her eyes and a prayer for his well being. Thus a laughing girl suddenly becomes a woman with a haunting memory of her beautiful child in a box.

I like to quote Samhita here: 'Kunti grew up to be sad princess, knowing that her fault would never be forgiven. She always had a sad look in her eyes'
( My first reaction was how is it Kunti's fault? Then, whose fault is it anyway? How could a sage give a child such an odd boon! We know that the sages would have their answer pat. 'It was written!' How could the sun god take a mere child? Then again Gods are different apparently with different value systems.

(How old was Kunti anyway? Obviously it would be statutory rape today. It could also explain the reason for child marriages prevalent in old India! One way to protect them!) 

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