Any married person, whether he belongs to the mortal human beings or saints, or Gandharvas, Gods or even the Lords, undergoes the usual pathology of house-hold disputes, skirmishes and disquiets. Lord Shiva was no exception. One day, Narada, the non-stop mobile saint got audience with the Lord at Kailasa. Narayan…Narayan… Saluted the sage with humble reverence:“Lord and mother of the Universe…” he said aiming the couple, “I am the most blessed person among the whole creatures of the universe, for; I can have the rarest audience of you whenever I wish, if you are not otherwise engaged.”
“Narada,” addressed the Lord, “you are our real friend and are acclaimed for your impartiality. Listen to me…” the Lord stopped for a deep sigh and continued: “Devi has posed a question to which I answered with my limited knowledge. That doesn’t, however, satisfy her. What shall I do?”
Narayan…Narayan… said Narada, “Your limited knowledge, Bhagavan? However, am I eligible to know of your dispute, venerable Lord?”
“Of course, honourable saint,” answered Goddess Parvati, “My opinion was, ‘Anapathya’ or having no children, is the gravest sorrow for any couple.” Narayan…Narayan… appealed saint Narada to the Lord: “And what is your stance, Lord?” “In my opinion, saint Narada…” replied the Lord: “it is poverty that puts the human race in maximum hardships. What is your expert opinion Narada?”
Narayan…Narayan… replied Narada, “My agreement with either of you will invite the other’s unpleasantness towards me. This I can hardly afford to. However, I can suggest, that both of you may adopt human life and experience the gravity of each problem and decide.Give me your leave.” Narada left Kailasa with a smile of victory.
Devi Parvati took her birth as a human lady in an aristocratic family of royal businessman. Lord Shiva took birth as a mendicant wanderer and visited all holy shrines, temples, towns and rivers.Devi Parvati grew up, got proper education and eventually got married. She led a blissful married life. She was blessed with four sons and three daughters.
Parvati’s father-in-law was a pious soul and a very rich merchant of gold, gem and jewelry. One day the catamaran in which he sailed with his salesmen and a good load of invaluable commodities sunk in the deep seas. Hearing the news, his wife also died of heart break. Parvati’s husband fell ill. Other merchants who gave credit to her father-in-law filed suits and Parvati’s properties were attached. Her husband died for want of proper medical treatment.
The support less lady, Parvati, with her seven children took to begging.
A severe famine gripped the land. No grain was available for two to three years. No house-hold could spare alms to beggars.
Parvati’s last born, who was a tender girl and her pet who she loved most and more than her own life, breathed the last on the lap for want of food. She carried the dead body and wandered with her other children. She reached a small forest where she found a deserted old well. Keeping the children there, she went in search of food. She was baffled. Her children started dying one after the other. Finally she became lonely. She had not eaten a bit for several days.She was so helpless that she could not stand up, let alone burying the children.
On the other side of the well she observed a ripe fruit hidden among the dry branches of a small tree. The sight lit hope of rays in her. She could not find a twig around. Somehow she could summon energy and stood up. She approached the bush. Her hand could not reach the fruit. She found an idea. She dragged the corpse of her eldest son and stood over it. Her hand did not reach the target. She dragged the corpses of all her children and lain them one over the other and stood above them. She struggled to reach the fruit. She had almost touched it; when she heard a loud laugh followed by a sharp question:“O woman and mother, what are you doing there? Where are you standing upon to quell your hunger temporarily? Shame on you!” It was the mendicant, the wanderer.
( To be concluded )