Saturday, 18 October 2014

Malala Yousafzai: An Inspiration

When I was 17 years old I was busy in doing nothing and then I see a girl, not old enough to have an ID card, getting Nobel Prize for peace. She makes me feel like a loser. She takes a bullet to her head helping to propagate education, gets a global acclaim and a chance to speak in front of a global audience at the UN. Eventually she also meets the American president.


I feel shame that I am not like Malala Yousafzai. Like other people I am also not free from the social enigmas having the same ridiculous mindset. How can I celebrate at Malala’s universal triumph when I’ve been taught all my life that a girl’s place is in the kitchen? I just can’t. I am from the country where mothers used to feed boys with their own hands while the girls were busy washing the dishes.




Malala getting Nobel is the biggest thing in Pakistan because there were not a single female other than Benazir Bhutto who can be taken seriously as the Pakistan’s global representative. Even Benazir Bhutto was famous because of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. But the case of Malala is different; you can’t trace any illustrious person behind Malala who can justify her success and accomplishments.

I just have admiration and support for this eloquent, strong and brave young woman who has learned to turn tragedy and fear into hope and progress. I want her to keep it up and ignore the haters. Malala, you are a bright light in a dark world!!

The Point is, Malala Yousafzai, 17, becomes youngest Nobel winner. 

My Question: What's holding you back from making a difference?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Panchkanya of Hindu Epics: My Views

There is a Sanskrit sloka on Panchsati or Panchkanya:

ahalya draupadi sita tara mandodari tatha ।

pancakanyaḥ smarennityaṃ mahapatakanaainiḥ ॥

It means:

Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari

One should forever remember the panchakanya who are the destroyers of great sins

(A variant replaces Sita with Kunti)

In childhood I had heard about Panchkanya or Panchsati; they basically stands for Five Virgins. For me they were very respectful until I came to know more about them. I am still confused why they are called so as they were no virgins and had multiple partners in their life. Each of them experienced a tragedy and were used by men, but battled on with time and the social order. A free-spirited Ahalya was punished for her adultery. Druapadi, who challenged and ridiculed even her husbands, had her decorum constantly sullied by men.

All of these kanyas (Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, Sita and Draupadi) except Kunti lack mothers in their life and took birth supernaturally. Kunti was adopted and separated by her real mother.

Although all of Panchkanyas are described as mothers but except Kunti none of the others had any emphasized motherhood tales.

Another common part about these kanyas is that they all had lost their relatives or companion. Ahalya was cursed and discarded by her husband. Tara had lost her husband, Draupadi her sons and Mandodari her husband, sons and relatives in war.

When I go through the literatures it seems that the Panchasatis had slept with more than one men because the society had dictated them to. It may be possible that sleeping with those people was not their will but also there were no evidences of their extreme hesitations or resistance. For me it is rather remarkable that they got to sleep with multiple men and then also got credited for the same. Since then things have changed drastically. Now a day we don’t hear this type of things.

I want to talk about all the five ladies here:

Ahalya

The word Ahalya means who has not been ploughed. Brahma—the creator of the Universe gifted this perfect beauty to a sage called Gautam to keep her safe. She was regarded as the most beautiful woman in the entire universe.

Brahma placed Ahalya in the care of Gautama. He protected Ahalya from the eyes of the world until she gained puberty and was lastly married to the aged sage. In another version, Brahma was so astonished by Gautam's wonderful willpower that at the end of the testing phase he gifted Ahalya herself to him as his spouse. 

Indra—the king of Gods, the one who would probably break through his way to the entire female population of the living world, had set his eye on this perfect lady. The king of the gods—Indra was infatuated with her beauty. Even after the wedding, he did not give up on this woman of desires.




There are many versions of the incidents happened after this. I don’t know which one is correct. But here are the incidents:

1. Ahalya saw through the disguise; she still asked Indra to get over with it quickly and leave at the earliest. This version says that Indra comes disguised as Gautama, when the sage was away, and requests or orders sexual intercourse. Ahalya sees through his disguise, but still complies out of "curiosity"

2. Ahalya couldn't not see Indra through the disguise; however, she did not show disclosure of any kind at her accepted that it was, indeed, Gautam himself. Ahalya falls prey to Indra's deception and does not make out him or is raped.

Whatever happened was anybody's guess, but Gautam, in all narratives, cursed both Ahalya and her lover (or rapist) Indra.

Ahalya turned into a rock. Some say that she lived a life of celibacy and penance. Ahalya is cursed to become a stone and regains her human form after she is brushed by Rama's foot; and promptly resumed a conjugal life with Gautam.

Draupadi

Draupadi fell during the Mahaprasthan (way to heaven or swarg) because she had loved Arjun more than his brothers. Though the middle Pandava Arjuna—disguised as a brahmin—wins her in her swayamvara, Draupadi is compelled to marry all the five brothers on command of her mother-in-law Kunti.


Krishna made a law such that in the first year (which was Yudhishthira's) will be the first bed partner and all others have to take turns in a order (Y-B-A-N-S) to remain her bed-partner. Arjun was notably exiled for 12 years as he stepped inside when Yudhishthira and Draupadi were, well, not fully covered, thereby failing to adhere to the existing conditions.

If I talk in the way we talk in current situation; Draupadi had two other persons in her life. First was Karna, whom she couldn’t get anyway having a soft corner in her heart and second was the Sri Krishna as “So Called Best friends”.

Kunti

May of us know that Kunti had got a boon that she would be able to call any God whenever she felt like, and that too from Durvasa—the angriest sage. I don’t know how she managed that. As we don’t go away with the face value, even Kunti wanted to test the boon. She called Sun God first.


What happened I don’t know but Karna was born that day whom she had disposed off in the river. What type of boon it was that Kunti used to get a child every time from different Gods.

Following Sun she called Dharma, Pavan, Indra, Ashwini kumars and got sons from each gods. I believe that, as Arjuna was her favorite son, may be Indra was her favourite god.

Tara

Unlike the other kanyas Tara was considered wise. One interesting thing is that, I just got to know that Indra or sometimes Surya (Sun) had to do things in the lives of many satis including panchkanyas. Tara had two buddies in her life—Baali (the son of Indra) and Sugriv (the son of Surya).

Tara's chronology was simple. She was married to Baali. They made a fine couple—Baali the unconquerable and Tara the wise. She frequently helped her spouse in organizational matters. Sugriv, in the meantime, was married to Ruma.


Then, one fine morning, Baali and Sugriv went out to brawl a devil called Mayavi. They struck an agreement as Mayavi entered a cave that Sugriv would remain in guard outside the cave while Baali would chase Mayavi inside.

But the things changed and Sugriva was petrified by a constant gush of strange, violent sounds that came his way from inside the cave. When the sounds did not stop, he thought that Baali was killed and placed heavy boulders at the doorway of the cave and ran away. Announcing Baali’s death he married Tara and led a desirable life. 

It is pointless to talk about, Baali was not happy when he eventually killed Mayavi, detached the heavy boulders and returned to find the events.

Sugriv in fact tried to clarify the things, but he couldn’t. So he fled. Baali not only re-acquired Tara, but also took control of Ruma.

Sugriv, after some time, came back aided with the pledge of Ram and got Baali killed. Once again Tara changed hands (along with Ruma), and this time the transfer was permanent.

Mandodari

Mandodari had possibly the least impressive of careers. Of the quintet, She led a simple life. She got married to Raavan, did her level best to stop Raavan in her quest of Sita and, well, with the death of Ravana, had to marry Vibhishan, had the greatest career drop in the two epics combined.


Inquisitively enough, Indra had a role to play in her life as well. Raavan was a long-time adversary of Indra, and their son Meghnad was renamed Indrajit after he vanquished Indra. Despite her husband's faults, Mandodari loved Ravana and advised him to follow the path of virtue. Mandodari repeatedly advised Ravana to return Sita to Rama, but her advice fell on deaf ears. Her love and loyalty to Ravana are praised in the Ramayana. Different versions of the Ramayana record her ill-treatment at the hands of Rama's monkey generals. Some versions say they humiliate her, while disturbing a sacrifice by Ravana, while others narrate how they destroy her chastity, which protects Ravana's life. Hanuman tricks her into disclosing the location of a magical arrow which Rama uses to kill Ravana.

Like Tara, Mandodari's husband was also killed by Ram, and she too ended up marrying her husband's younger brother. 

If you are interested in such type of topics you can visit my page Emotions and Aftermaths. You can also subscribe to the posts and for the latest updates on the website. You know it is very easy.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Hindu and Greek: A Comparative Mythology

There are many similarities among different mythical characters of different epics. I dont know whether they are same or related to each other. Same thing is there in Mahabharata and Trojan war. I wonder if our mythology is influenced by theirs or theirs by ours! I guess we used to live in the same area and now we had different versions of same epic. Here I have compared some of the characters and I tell you this is very interesting. 


Krishna and Achilles: I think Krishna and Achilles both were the same. Both were killed by an arrow piercing their heel and both are the heroes of the two of the world's greatest epics. Achilles heels and Krishna’s heels were the only vulnerable point on their bodies and the reason of their deaths. Krishna dies when Jara’s arrow pierces his heel. Achilles death was caused by an arrow in his heel too.



                                          

Krishna and Odysseus: It is the character of Odysseus that is a lot more like Krishna. He convinces a reluctant Achilles to fight for Agamemnon—a war the Greek hero did not want to fight. Krishna did the same with Arjuna.



Duryodhana and Achilles: Achilles mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding him by his heel and he became invincible where the waters touched him—that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger, implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall and as anyone could have predicted he was killed when an arrow shot by Paris and guided by Apollo punctures his heel. Similarly, in Mahabharata, Gandhari decides to help Duryodhana triumph. Asking him to bathe and enter her tent naked, she prepares to use the great mystic power of her eyes, blind-folded for many years out of respect for her blind husband, to make his body invincible to all attack in every portion. But when Krishna, who is returning after paying the queen a visit, runs into a naked Duryodhana coming to the pavilion, he mockingly rebukes him for his intention to emerge so before his own mother. Knowing of Gandhari's intentions, Krishna criticizes Duryodhana, who sheepishly covers his groin before entering the tent. When Gandhari's eyes fall upon Duryodhana, they mystically make each part of his body invincible. She is shocked to see that Duryodhana had covered his groin, which was thus not protected by her mystic power.

 

Helen of Troy and Draupadi: In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy has always been projected as a seductress who eloped with young Paris, forcing her despairing husband to fight the war of Troy to get her back. This war resulted in the burning of the beautiful city. Helen was held accountable for this annihilation. We also hear of Draupadi being blamed for Mahabharata.

 
Greek and Indian values: Penelope waits for 19 years for her husband, Odysseus, to come back from this war, and during this time many Princes, each pretending to be Odysseus, try to woo her. Although Odysseus meets many loves during these years, Penelope remains chaste. They seem to have Indian values.

The Dog: Like in the Mahabharata, a dog is the only one who devotedly follows Yudhishthira up to swarg, the Greeks have the loyal Argus who waited for 19 years and was the only one to recognize Odysseus when he returned.

 

Indra and Zeus: Zeus is like our Indra, King of the Gods, Lord of the Clouds, and his wife Hera is always suspicious and extremely invidious, because Zeus has a roving eye.



Brahma and Zeus: We have Brahma changing into a swan to seduce Saraswati, and Greek mythology has Zeus changing himself into many forms (including a swan) to seduce Leda.

Persephone and Sita: Both were both forcibly abducted and wooed, and both (in different circumstances) disappeared under the Earth.

Arjuna and Achilees: When the war starts out, Arjuna is unwilling to fight. Similarly, when the Trojan War starts, Achilees does not want to fight. The lamentations of Achilles over the dead body of Patroclus are similar to lamentations of Arjuna over the dead body of his son Abhimanyu. Arjuna laments over the dead body of his son Abhimanyu and pledges to kill Jaydrath the following day. Achilles laments on the dead pody of his brother Patroculus, and pledges to kill Hector the following day.

Karna and Hector: Draupadi, although loves Arjuna, begins to have a soft corner for Karna. Helen, although loves Paris, begins to have a soft corner for Hector, for she knows that Paris is useless and not respected while Hector is the warrior and well respected.

If you are interested in such type of topics you can visit my page Emotions and Aftermaths. You can also subscribe to the posts and for the latest updates on the website. You know it is very easy.