Sunday, 22 February 2015

Kaushalyaa : A story of a perfect mother, a perfect wife- yet neglected by her husband

Please welcome back guest writer* Gyanendra Narayan, who enchanted us last year with his perspective on ideas of physical beauty as it appears in the ancient texts.** Today Gyan brings to our notice a mother who perhaps hasn't got her due as compared, say to Yashoda or Kunti. We all know who she is, but how much do we really know about her? Read on, comment, share your views. You can follow Gyan and interact with him on Twitter  

Kaushalyaa :  A story of a perfect mother, a perfect wife- yet neglected by her husband

Raamaayana, when compared against Mahaabhaarata, comes out to be an epic where things are ideal and perfect. Maryaadaa Purushottam Raama gives us a world which is ideal and perfect. Mahaabhaarata walks away with prize of having all the emotions of human world, but Raamaayan also has grey shaded of human life. In this series, I have picked up a thread of conversation by Queen Kaushalya-  a perfect mother, a perfect wife but neglected half of King Dasharatha.

Read more to find out how neglected Kaushalyaa seeks the anchor of her life in Lord Raama.

Kaikeyi has asked for her 2 boons which were due with King Dasharatha. First being exile of Lord Raama in forest for 14 years and another being coronation of Bharata. Raama has been informed of this decision and now he has come to meet his mother Kaushalyaa. Queen Kaushalya ,always neglected because of beautiful Kaikeyi and affinity of Dasharath towards Kaikeyi,  was at the verge of realizing her dream of getting due respect ,is shattered again and opens her heart threadbare to lord Raama.

Shlokas have been taken from Vaalmiki Raamaayana, Ayodhyaa Kaanda, Sargah 20.

Shloka 37
Eka Eva hi Vandhyaayaah Shoko Bhavati Maanasah|
Aaprajaasmeeti Santaapo Na Hya-anyah Putra Vidyate||

Roughly it means: A woman without a child (Vandhyaayah) has a grief(Shoka) in mind (Maanasah). I would have had this grief that I don’t have a child but I would not have had any other grief.

Comment: Notice the feeling of bereavement with which Kaushalyaa is going through. Letting her son go, like this, is much more painful than being without a son.

Shloak 38
Na Drishtapoorvam Kalyaanam Sukham Vaa PatiPoureshe|
Aapi Putre Vipashyeyamiti Raamaashtitam Mayaa||

In the glory of my husband (PatiPoureshe) I could not see ( Na Drishta) earlier (poorvam) happiness (Kalyaanam Sukham ). (Hopin that ) However(Aapi), in the glory of Son (Putre) it would be seen( Vipashyeyamiti) by me (Mayaa)

Comment: Kaushalyaa was never happy being “one of the wives” of King Dasharatha. However she had consoled herself that in the era of her son she will get her due. Now the years of patience, craving for respect turns out  be crumbling with 2 boons of Kaikeyi.

Shloka 39

Saa Bahoonyamanogyaani Vaakyaani Hridayachidaam|
Aham Shroshye Sapatneenaamavaraanaam Paraa Satee||

I will hear ( Aham shroshye) many (Bahooni) things which will pierce my heart ( Vaakyaani Hridayachidaam) from my co-wives despite being the eldest wife(Patneenam Varaanaam).

Comment: Kaushalyaa is worried that like before she will keep hearing heart piecing words from co-wives of King Dasharatha (Particularly Kaikeyi)

Shloka 40

Aato Dukhataran Kim nu Pramadaanam Bhavishyati|
Mama shoko Vilaapashcha yaadrishoayamanantaakah||

It seems my grief, bereavement ( Mama shoko Vilaapasha) has not foreseeable end( Yaadhrishoayama-anantaakah).What will be(Kim Bhavishyati) worse grief than this grief (Aatao Dukahataran)

Comment: Look at the importance she has given to this grief. Seems sometimes bearing the co-wife is worse than being childless.

Shloka 41

Twayi Sanihiteapyevamahamaasam Nirakritaa|
Kim Punah Proshite Taata Dhruvam Marannameva hi||

Despite you being near to me (Twayi Sanihite-api) I am being neglected( Ahaam aasam Nirakritaa) (by co-wives). Once you again go to far lands ( Punah Proshite) then my death is a definite ( Dhruvam Marannameva hi) .

Comment: Raama has just returned from his education from Ashram. Kaushalya somehow managed to pass this time. She is fearful of the same fate if Raaama leaves him alone. In Raama kaushalya finds an anchor of her life.

Shloka 42
Atyantam Nigriheetaasmi Bhartunirtyamasammataa|
Pariwaarenna Kaikeyyaah Samaa waapyathawaawaraa||

I have always been neglected (Atayntam Nigriheetasmi) , always dishonored by my husband ( Bhartunirta-asammataa). With Kaikeyi, in our family ( Pariwaarenna Kaikeyyah) I will be as good as her slaves or even worse than that.

Comment: It put Kaikeyi in very poor light. People hate her for her two boons. But as we can see from what Kaushalyaa is speaking, Kaikeyi was a pathetic personality even otherwise too. Perhaps this is the reason we do not name our daughters with the name “ Kaikeyi”

Shloka 43

Yo Hi Maam Sevate Kashchidapi Vaapyanuvartate|
Kaikeyyaah Putramanvikshya Sa Jano Naabhibhashate||

Whosoever (yo hi) provides any service (maam Sevate)  to me or even  tries to follow me ( Api anuvartate), after seeing Kaikeyi’s son ( kaikeyyah Putram- Anviskhya)  they ( sa jano) do not talk(Naabhibhashate) to me.

Comment: This shloka does not give so rosy picture of Bharata. The ideal Bharata is respectful of his mothers and his brother. Either Kaushalyaa has a deep fear of kaikeyi or it is truth or it may be a bit of exaggeration. But, still it remains a worthy point to ponder.

Shloka 44

Nityakrodhatayaa Tasyaah kathaam nu kharavaadi Tat|
Kaikeyyah wadanam drastum Putra Shakshyaami Durgataa||

My son!! Always in anger (Nityakrodhataa), thus peaking harsh words (kharwaadi tat), The kaikeyi--how will I see her(Kaikeyyah Wadanam Drastum)  in mine dire status(Durgataa).

Comment: Kaikeyi while not asking for her boons, otherwise too was in fact very rude and full of anger. Kaushalyaa dreads the thought of seeing her.

This whole episode gives us the vortex of emotions which Kaushalyaa is going through. Layers of emotions of a mother, a wife, a queen, a co-wife, a neglected member of palace, all find place in this episode.  It is painful but still wonderful to read this in Raamaayana. And, much more to find out in Vaaalmiki Raamaayana.

* I may or may not agree with the view of guest writers, but I respect their right to be heard
** You can read Gyan's earlier pieces here:


Aditya said...

wow gyani . hats off to this article. The polictics that are in Ramayan are often shadowed by the ones that Mahabharat brings forth . as the name stands "Ramaayan" is an epic centered around Lord Shri Ram . While Mahabharat is not about any central figure. But again what beauty and grace Maharshi has captured the emotions of a neglected wife and a to be estranged mother . And how beautifully you put them across.. thanks keep them coming

Mendicant said...

Great post depicting beautifully our great ancient scriptures nicely

aashaakp said...

A very enlightening article and a sensible reply to Mr Shoaib..