A Mythological Story on Destiny

I read this one long back somewhere ..

Whenever and where-ever a baby is born, on the 6th day after the birth, God Brahma, is believed to visit the child and write his/her destiny on the forehead. Now there was this great teacher. His wife has just delivered twins – a boy and a girl. When Brahma-ji was writing the destiny of the children, his disciple, was waiting outside the door of the room. When Brahma-ji stepped out of the room, this disciple begged and begged and pestered him to tell him what has he decided as the children’s future. This is against Brahma-ji’s principles and he tries to resist for long, but finally, since he’s getting late, he tells the disciple what he’s chosen for the children.

For the girl, he had slotted a life as a prostitute. And though she’d live a much cursed life, she’d be rich and earn pearls and diamonds daily. The boy, he blessed, a long and miserable life, with not much money to get by. He wrote a lot of hard work for the boy and then blessed him with a pair of bulls as his only companion. The disciple was sad but then, there wasn’t much he could do about it.

Years pass by. The great teacher dies. His wife dies. The children are left to fend for themselves, and sure enough, the girl is pushed into prostitution and her brother, lives a hard life. Then the discipline returns to find them. He’s saddened by their plight. He thinks a bit and then advises the children. To the girl he says, “You cannot help this life. It’s what has been charted for you, planned for you in advance. But, every night, when you take your customer, demand that he pay you in pearls and diamonds. Demand a big price, so big that you know, he cannot afford you.” The girl is bewildered and confused. She’s wondering if she should believe this stranger. However, one night of following his advice would not harm. To the boy, the disciple advises, “go to the market, and sell of this pair of bulls that you have. Sell them off to the first person you can, and spend the money you receive in return for them.” The boy is puzzled, but decides to follow the advice.

So, the girl, at night, refuses to take a customer, unless she’s paid her weight in gold. She does not get a customer that night. But when she wakes up in the morning, she finds a huge pearl and huge diamond beside her pillow. Encouraged by this, her brother proceeds to the market to sell off the bulls. He agrees to the first buyer and quickly spends the money in buying for his sister and himself, a decent meal. And then he returns to his place. And .. in the shed, he finds, a pair of bulls !!

The brother-sister are eternally grateful to the disciple. Though they are bound by their circumstances, they managed to get a good deal out of their destiny!! Life may not be good, but it was definitely not so bad for them. One just needs to know how to work around what’s written ūüôā

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The Myth of King Agrasen

Genealogically, King Agrasen is believed to be the origin of the Agarwals. Though there are many versions of how the Agarwals came into being, all of them agree about King Agrasen being the root. So here’s the most popular version :

King Agrasen was a Kshatriya, or a warrior. Having indulged in a lot of warfare and shedding a lot of innocent blood, he was conducting a yagna for the welfare of his subjects. During the yagna, Goddess Lakshmi appeared from the fire. She proposed the following to King Agrasen :

1.  King Agrasen should convert from a Kshatriya (warrior) to a Vaishya (trader).

2.  King Agrasen should give up all forms of violence.

3.  All the descendants of King Agrasen should refrain from consuming food which is a result of violence (basically, non-veg stuff) and intoxicants.

In return, she promised the following :

1.  Prosperity for all the descendants

2. ¬†Acceptance of the position of “Kul Devi” for the descendants of King Agrasen

3.  The formation of the 18 gotras of the descendants.

And so, that is how, the 18 gotras of the Agarwals were formed. That is how, Agarwals, at large, tend to be sharp businessmen and are one of the richest communities.  And that is why, generally, Agarwals tend to remain vegetarian and teetotalers.  And finally, this is why, Goddess Lakshmi is so deeply revered amongst the Agarwals.

The story of Saraswati

This week, Indians celebrated Basant Panchami – which signifies the coming of spring. Due to the Bengali influence in my family, we celebrate this day as Saraswati Puja. Saraswati is the goddess of learning and knowledge, and on this day, students, teachers, artists, writers, musicians and absolutely anyone connected to the world of knowledge, art and teaching, worship her. This day is considered auspicious for a child to start learning.

Each God or Goddess in India has a story associated. The story of Saraswati is not so very well-known, and so here it goes :-

God Brahma (the creator of the universe) was done with his task of creating the physical universe and earth. In order to bring forth life on earth, he created a female from his thigh. She was so beautiful, that Brahma wanted to espouse her. Since she was born from him, she was her daughter; and this idea of him espousing her did not go down very well with her. He was so taken in by her beauty that he would only look at her. In order to see her from any direction, he grew 3 other heads. (Now you know why Brahma has 4 heads.) In order to escape his amorous glaces, she sprang into the heaven. So, Brahma grew a fifth head which had a neck long enough to go to the heaven. (How he lost the fifth head, is a separate story. I’ll write that in another post.) There he convinced her to marry him and promised her that through them, the living beings of the world would be born. She agreed. She was Saraswati.

Now, many years later, Brahma was to conduct a “yagya”. All the Gods were present. A wife always accompanies the husband during a yagya. So, when the auspicious time neared, Brahma send a few brahmins to call Saraswati. She declines to come as “she was not ready, and was held back by household affairs” (this one proves that even Goddess went through all that a married woman goes through today!!). According to her, the wives of other Gods, ie Laxmi, Parvati, etc had not yet arrived and she couldnt enter a hall full of men alone. Thus, she sent back the brahmins. This infuriated Brahma, and so he sent forth Indra to find him another bride – the first spinster he crosses. He found a maiden cow-shepherdess, Gayatri. He brought her to Brahma and they were duly married. Just was the marriage was taking place, Saraswati with the other Goddesses entered. She was furious to see what was happening. Like Shakespeare said years and years later “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, Saraswati’s anger knew no bounds. Immediately she cursed everyone present –

Brahma, for setting a miserable example for the mankind (ie, the example being Рgetting a new bride when the first wife was very much alive)  Рno man would worship him except for one day every year.

Vishnu, for giving away the bride in marriage – he would be separated from his wife.

Shiv, for giving away the bride in marriage – he would lose his manhood.

Indra, for going forth to find the bride – he would be captured, detained and ill-treated by his enemies.

The Brahmins who conducted the marriage – they would never be rich and would have to beg to survive.

Saying this, she left the hall. The Goddesses accompanied her for a distance and after a while expressed desire to join their husbands. This infuriated her further and she cursed each one of them as :

Laxmi Рshe would never be stagnant at any place, she would keep moving around and  be coveted by greedy men.

Indra’s wife -when Indra’s kingdom is usurped, the conqueror will want her to wait on him and treat him as Indra, else he would kill all Gods.

Other Brahmin wives – they would remain barren.

One version of the story has it that when the wives returned back to the hall, Gayatri modified every one’s curses. The other version has it that after a while Saraswati returns to the hall and apologizes to everyone and modifies their curses. Curses once spelt out, cannot be revoked. However, we do notice a few effects of these curses till date :-

Brahma – there is no temple in his name till date (I am not very sure of this one, correct me if I am wrong).

Vishnu – was separated from his wife in all his births, though eternally, Laxmi and Vishnu are together.

Shiv – though he lost his manhood, he is still worshipped and does have 2 sons.

Indra – was conquered and detained by enemies. But his son did rescue him.

Brahmins – though normally poor, find enough donors to support and provide enough for their daily living.