Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Treachery of step mothers

Treachery of step mothers:
The Arabian story of Abraham and his two queens, who had a son each.

Sarah, the favourite queen, the mother of Issac was jealous of Hager, the second queen who had a son by the name Ishmael.

One day, Sarah complained to her husband that Hagar was always despising her and frightening her that when Ishmael grew up he would be the heir to the throne.

She wanted the King to promise that her son Isaac would be his successor and demanded that Hager and Ishmael should be sent into the desert.

The King did as the first and favourite queen dictated. Carrying the small boy on her shoulders, Hager reached the Red sea, where tired and very thirsty, she seated herself on a rock and wept in fear lest her son and she should die in the desert of thirst.

The boy kicked the sand below his feet, and a spring of fresh water gushed out of the sand. This spring is now known as Zemmzem.

Abraham heard of the miracle and rushed to the spot and built a temple. The descendants of Ishmael built the sacred city Mecca around the temple. The children of Isaac multiplied in the course of years and came to be known as Jews. In the same way, the children of Ishmael multiplied into a big race known as Arabs.

The old jealousy and rivalry seem to thrive still in spite of thousands of years.

The Ramayana:
Rama's exile stands on a different footing. He was the favourite child of the three queens of King Dasaratha. Rama was the only son of the first queen. The second son Bharata was by the second queen, the third queen had two sons. All these boys grew up with love and devotion to one another. Even when the kingship was thrust on Bharata at the instance of his mother, he did not crown himself. but he ruled the land by keeping the sandals of Rama on the throne. Such was his faith, in the divine advent of his brother Rama. Inscrutable and mysterious indeed are the ways of Destiny to fulfil itself. The advent of Rama was to dethrone unrighteousness, falsehood, and wickedness of every kind and to re-establish Dharma. As such, his fourteen years forest life was needed to wipe out evil wherever he went. His father Dasaratha died heart-broken over the separation from his divine child Rama, and in this tragedy we get glimpse of the Doctrine of Karma or the Law of Cause and effect.

When Sumatra returned to Ayodhya, having failed persuade Rama to return from the forest life to the royal life, Dasarata who has hoping against hope that Rama and Sita would return home to save his life, fainted and fell. Just before his passing away, he addressed his first queen, Kausalya, Rama's mother, thus:

"Dear lady, you are accusing me and Kaikeyi of treachery to our beloved son, Rama. Please listen to my story. When I was a prince and before married you, I went down to river Sataya to shoot buffaloes, elephants or other animals that came to drink water. In the darkness I heard a sound as if an elephant was drinking water, and shot the arrow. Alas! A human voice cried out in distress. I rushed to the spot and discovered that I had shot a recluse who was looking after his aged blind parents living in a hermitage nearby. I hurried to their hut and tendered my apology with tears and anguish, and begged for their pardon. But the old father who was about to die of the shock laid on me the curse that I too would pass away like him sorrowing for my son. The Messengers of death are at hand. The light is fading; I am dying."

This happened on the sixth night after Rama's departure. Ramayana is one of the earliest of Hindu literature where the doctrine of Karma is thus dealt with.

(Excerpts from the Book of 'Hinduism in a Nutshell" by its author K. Ramachandra, the Editor of Religious Digest.)

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