Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Visiting Mahabharata --24. Radheya and Bhargava's curse. ( revisted in 2011)

(I am back after a break. The break caused largely by the failure of the computer!) (Which is frequent!)

The story reintroduces Kunti's son, the one she abandoned! Radheya is brought up by Athiratha, a charioteer and his wife Radha, hence the name Radheya. When he turns sixteen his father offers him a gift of a chariot and horses! Radheya is not excited and confides with his mother about his desire to learn archery. His mother chooses this moment to tell him that he is not their son and of their belief that he is a khastriya, based on the fact that they found him in a box which was not an ordinary one and was wrapped in silk. They named him Karna as he was with Kavacha and Kundala and brought him up as their own.

Radheya digests this story and later departs, after declaring that for him Radha is the only mother, and goes looking for Drona to learn archery. Predictably his request is refused when Drona realises that he is a sutaputra, son of a charioteer.

He then approaches the Khastriya hater Bhargava, lies to him that he is a brahmin. He is a good student and an obedient one and Bhargava, pleased with him, teaches him all the astras. When he is about to move on, fate intervenes and Radheya is discovered to be a Khastriya. The story is interesting about how as a Khastriya he is able to bear pain stoically. He lets his guru continue to sleep on his lap, when an insect bores his thigh. Bhargava wakes up and realising that a brahmin could never bear such a pain, angry with Radheya for lying to him, curses that he will forget an astra when he needs it most.

His woes do not end there, he manages to get an additional curse from a brahmin whose cow he mistakenly kills thinking it was a deer. (You will be killed by your opponent when you are least prepared for it),

The author again speaks about fate. 'Fate is indeed a wilful woman. She is gifted with a perverse sense of humor. She can laugh only her victims weep. She is happy only when she sees someone hurt by her terrible hand.' True enough in case of Radheya. He is treated as a sutaputra, obviously unfortunate considering he is really the son of a god.

(Intriguing was  the definition of a sutaputra as the son of brahmin and a khastriya. Also was the special quality of the Kavacha, which seems to be organic in the sense that it grows along with the wearer Radheya! No big deal; that was the time when a brahmin could create world destroying weapons with a mantra . Has anyone researched on how Brahmins lost all their power?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have enjoyed Kumaravyasabharatha largely i guess? :)