Sunday, 2 September 2007

Visiting Mahabharata--20. Jealousy: its first sprouts. (revisited in 2011)

( I am happy that I can take a break. Rishi Vyaasa had to recite the epic non-stop.)
For the first time in their lives Pandava princes tasted the life of luxury that was theirs by birthright. Bheeshma spent a few days of happiness listening to the voices of his grandsons.

Bhima was a wild lad. He enjoyed teasing the other boys and humiliating them. Duryodhana could not take this humiliation .... he hated his cousin Bheema with all his might and heart and thought of avenging this extreme humiliation.

His uncle Sakuni and Duryodhana plot to kill Bheema. They manage to poison his food when they go to the river bank to play and when he sleeps due to the effect of the poison, tie him up and dump him in the river. The brothers somehow miss all this and they go home thinking that Bheema has already reached home. Learning that he is not home they go back to the river and do not find him.

Kunti expresses her fear to Vidura that she suspects Duryodhana ..'I have a fear that he has killed my child when he was sleeping'. Vidura comforts her by saying ....'the rishis have said that your sons will be long-lived' and that he is sure Bheema is safe. Sensibly advises her to keep her suspicions to herself for the safety her other four children! (Any real prophets around now?)  

Bheema is bitten by the snakes in the water. The snake poison works as an antidote. Bheema rid of the poison begins to attack the snakes. Some snakes escape and go to the nether regions and report to Vasuki, their master. Vasuki gets there and  recognises Bheema as son of Kunti, takes a liking to him and rewards him with a bowl of elixir to drink. Bheema facing east drinks eight bowls of the elixir, each bowl supposed to give him the strength of a thousand elephants.

Then Bheema sleeps for eight days and goes home to the relief and delight of his mother and brothers.... Vidura came and heard the story. He advised them to be careful. Duryodhana and Sakuni were amazed that Bheema was safe. Duryodhana's hatred was greater now. But he had to be quiet, because he knew that the Panadavas knew.

(We see a combination of the real, unreal and surreal in most of our Mythology and have become adept in assimilating it into our psyche without batting an eyelid! Life did come cheap those days. First it was Vidura who wanted Duryodhana to go because of bad omens. It is now Sakuni who plots to kill Bheema!)

No comments: