Theme of the month: NEW BEGINNINGS
EARN YOUR FREEDOM
Once was a city called Karniki located on the western coast of the river Reva. There lived a brahmin of superior grade. One day he gave his two sons to his wife and left for the holy city of Kashi where he soon died. When the news reached home the two sons did proper funeral rites. The brahmin’s widow kept some money for her funeral and distributed the rest among the two sons equally. After a short while the woman’s time arrived. Despite all the good deeds she would do her soul would not leave her body tormenting her all the more severely. This worried the two sons. They asked her, “What is it that you have not done yet which torments you so? Tell us. We will happily do it for you.” When the mother heard these words she said, “There is a little bit of desire left unfulfilled. If you promise to fulfilly it, I will die peacefully.” The elder son promised her again. She revealed, “I wanted to go to the holy city of Kashi but now I am dying without seeing it. If you promised to dispose my remains in the holy river of Ganga there, I will definitely reach a better world from here.” Saying this, the mother’s condition grew worse. Her elder son promised to fulfill her desire and encouraged her soul to let go off the dying body. The mother died that night. The funeral was performed without any delay.
After this, the elder son, whose name was Suwah (meaning: Good Words) took her bones and ashes and travelled to the holy city of Kashi. The travelling brahmin reached the holy city in the evening. Performing his evening rites, he returened to a brahmin’s at whose place he had lodged. That night a strange incidence happened at the host brahmin’s place.
A beautiful cow and her calf were tied in the porch of the host brahmin. The master of the house was out in the evening and so the cow could not be milked. On his return he discovered this and felt badly. He separeted the calf from the cow and tied him aside. The calf resisted and stepped on the brahmin’s foot. This angered the brahmin and he started to beat the calf until he grew silent and submitted. The brahmin then milked the cow. Since he was mad at the calf he did not open it even after milking the cow. So the cow who wanted to feed her calf started to cry.
Seeing his mother cry, the calf said to the cow, “O mother, why do you cry? What pain has happened to you?” The cow said to the calf, “O son, what shall I tell you? That monster has hurt you. This is why I am pained.” The calf tried to calm his mother, “What can we do? Where can we go? We are tied to our Karmas (actions). We reap waht we have sown. We laugh when we act and we cry when the results fall upon us. Nobody gives us happiness or sadness. It is only our deeds that return to us in the form of fruits. The reason is the action and that is the only thing worth devoting oneself to. It is this Karma which makes you my mother and me your son. All living creatures are bound with Karma. WSo, do not bother yourself over it.” Listening to such knowledgable words from her son, the cow grew restless for him and said, “O son, I know all this. All creatures are tied to their Karma. Still I, stuck in the illusion of this world, am pained. This suffering just does not end.”
The calf said, “Now that you know it, why do you still cry? There is no other way but to reap what you have sown. Get hold of yourself.” The cow took a deep breath and exhaled. Then she said, “I will feel relieved when the brahmin suffers the same pain as I am suffering now. At the crack of dawn I attack his son with my horns and will surely kill him.” The calf said, “No, this shall not happen at any cost. We do not know what Karma in previous life has caused us to suffer this animal incarnation. To top that, you want to commit murder of such high grade of brahmin? When good and bad deeds are balanced we take birth in this material world. When all the good and bad fruits are consumed we achieve our nirvana. Consuming the fruits kill the Karma. Doing the Karma kills the fruits. So, I request you to give up the thougt. There is no significance of you being mother and I your son. Why such ego and holding up revenge? In the bigger picture these social and blood relations do not count to anything. We are all just victims of our Karma.” The cow said, “Even though I am aware of this cosmic law, the illusion does not free me. I will inflict great pain on the brahmin in revenge for the pain he gave you and in turn to me. Then I will go to the place where I know I can wash sins as great as murder of a high grade brahmin. Then I will free myself of this sin.”
Listening to these final words, the calf did not reply. The travelling brahmin had heard this conversation. He was surprised at the incidence and was curious. He decided to see the next day’s incidences and put his journey on hold until he had discovered the secret place of washing your sins. The next morning the host brahmin woke up the guest brahmin and said, “Why do you waste time lying in bed like a lazy fellow? The sun is up. You must be going.” The guest brahmin said, “My body aches. I have decided to take some rest before I leave.” The host brahmin returned to his daily routine. He called his son to milk the cow. The brahmin’s wife also came. The son brought the calf in front of the cow. When he was tying the knot, the cow attacked him with her horns and killed him instantly. The brahmin’s wife started to cry. People called the brahmin. The dead boy’s mother grew mad at the cow and she set the cow free, “What will I do with a cow like that?” The cow walked out of the porch and people saw that her body turned to black. She had sinned. The travelling brahmin ran after the cow. The cow kept on travelling until she reached the banks of river Narmada at the temple of Nandikeshwar Mahadev. She jumped into the river and soon her white colour returned. She had been free from all her sins. She got out of the river and returned to her master brahmin’s house. The travelling brahmin watched her go. At this time a beautiful lady approached the brahmin and said, “What are you waiting for? Take a bath in the holy river. Today is an auspicious occasion. Free your mother from earthly bondages.” That lady was river Ganga in human form. That auspicious occasion was that special date when river Ganga comes to river Narmada once a year.
The brahmin flew the remains of his mother in the river and freed her from material bondage. His mother blessed him and ascended to heaven. The happy brahmin returned home.
Nakul Jadhav is works as a screenwriter in Mumbai. He likes his characters to push harder against the odds. He feels unlike humans, stories are eternal. And they hold the codes of how to be a better human being. His likes to stay in the world of stories and keeps on digging deeper into the meaning of life because that is what stories are all about.