What can a human gain? Reflections from Vishwamitra’s tale

Humans have no limit to their desires. Fulfill one, another is ready to knock your door. Sometimes, the desires inspire humans to do great things but most of the times, the crowds of desires take you to a deep dark ditch, from which it is impossible to come out.

Vishwamitra’s tales are all over Hindu scriptures. He appears not only in Ved and Puran (Shruti and Smriti) but also in Ramayan and Mahabharat (Kavya and Itihas). Born Vishwarath in the royalty of Kanyakubja, was initially mentored by Dattatreya, the avatar of Lord Shiva. As a king, he desires to become the Universal Monarch, the ruler of all the World. But a battle with Vashistha changes everything.

Vishwarath, happy and proud of his victories, one day appears at Vashistha’s ashram. The king and his soldiers are hungry and tired. However, the sage easily provides adequate food for the huge army. Vishwarath wants to know how. Vashistha shows him Nandini, the divine cow who can provide any wish.

Vishwarath wants the cow for himself despite Vashistha’s warning that Nandini has free will and will only go with Vishwarath if she wants to go. Enraged, he wants to capture the cow but with her powers, she created an army to destroy the king’s army.

Despite his loss, the king wishes to teach divine beings a lesson. He gains Daivi astras (divine weapons) through yagya and goes to attack Vashistha. The son of Brahma absorbs everything with a Brahmadanda (a stick).

Enraged, Vishwarath gives his kingdom to his sons and starts a tap. One day, while meditating, he discovers Gayatri Mantra, the beej (seed) mantra of creation. Vishwarath becomes Vishwamitra.

His discovery shakes Swarga. Indra sends Menaka, an apsara to disrupt his penance. Although, Vishwamitra falls for her beauty, when he realizes he had been tricked, he leaves her. Menaka goes back leaving their daughter Shakuntala to the ashram of another Rishi, Kanva.

Vishwamitra continues his Yogic practices, gains siddhi and reaches the level of Brahma when he creates a universe for Trishanku. Trishanku had been cursed by Vashistha’s son Shakra for wanting to go to heaven with his human body. Vishwamitra did what was forbidden but also gained the title of Maharishi from Brahma for the feat he accomplished.

But the desire of revenge against Vashistha does not die. He gets involved in a act that kills Shakra. Vashistha, while sad that his son died, is glad that Vishwamitra’s act has actually helped improve his clan morally. Vishwamitra, who had desired to kill Vashistha, comes to know that the Brahma Putra had actually guided him in his spiritual journey. He realizes that his journey was not to be the king of the world, but its friend, Vishwa Mitra.

The tale of Vishwamitra shows that humans can push their limits to any extent. They can even equal the Brahma. But the biggest achievement is to act on the benefit of the world. With great power, indeed comes great responsibilities.

(I was inspired to write this article after finishing Vineeth Aggarwal’s Vishwamitra.)

पुस्तक समीक्षा: झोला

‘झोला’ कथासंग्रहमा प्रसिद्ध आख्यानकार कृष्ण धरावासीका बाह्रवटा कथा राखिएका छन् । यीमध्ये केही पछिसम्म सम्झन सकिने खालका छन् । सबै कथाहरूको छोटो चर्चा गर्दछु ।

पहिलो कथा ‘झोला’ सर्वप्रिय कथा हो । सतीप्रथाको विकराल दृश्य प्रस्तुत भएको यो कथा ‘श्रुति संवेग’मा प्रस्तुत भएको थियो । त्यसपछि नै एउटा अनलाइनमा भेटेको थिएँ अनि बाबाले पढेर सुनाउनुभएको थियो । यस कथामा आधारित चलचित्र पनि बनिसकेको छ जसलाई धेरै प्रशंसा गरिएको थियो । यो कथासंग्रह को सबैभन्दा उत्कृष्ट कथा पनि ‘झोला’ नै हो ।

‘ठेकुवाकी आमा’ पनि मन परेको अर्को कथा हो । ठेकुवाकी आमाले ठेकुवा (छोरा) लिएर राजेन्द्र साहुसँग पोइल गएपछि कथा सुरु भएको छ । उसको विगत बुझेपछि उसले लिएको कदम ठीकै लाग्छ । तर पछि उसले गरेको गल्तीले ल्याएको वियोगान्तले रुवायो ।

‘ती दिन कहिले आउलान ?’ लेखनको दृष्टिकोणले अनौठो छ । यस्तो किसिमको कथा पहिले पढेको थिइनँ । पात्रहरूको नाम नदिई संवाद मात्रै दिइएकोछ । कसले बोलेको भन्ने बुझ्न चाहिँ बुलेट पोइन्ट हेर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । कुनै आन्दोलन या द्वन्द्वकालको अवस्था छ भन्ने बुझिन्छ यो कथाका संवादमा तर पात्रहरूसँग कनेक्सन नभएकाले खासै मन परेन ।

चौथो कथा ‘उनीहरूले कहिले गीत गाए?’ म पात्रले सानैमा गरेको सोही प्रश्न र उमेर ढल्किएपछि पाएको प्रश्नमा केन्द्रित छ । यसले सामान्य कुरा देखाएर गहिरो भाव बोकेको छ । अर्को कथा ‘साँघु काट्नु’ले क्रान्तिकारीहरूले साँघु (पुल) काटेको कुरालाई एउटा बच्चा ले कसरी बुझ्छ भन्ने कुरा देखाइएको छ ।

‘भो छाड्नुस् ती पुराना कुरा’ले एउटी महिलाका निर्णयहरू प्रस्तुत गरेको छ । यद्यपि पात्रहरूको विकास राम्ररी गरिएको छैन । घटनाहरू कथाकै लागि मात्र भएजस्ता लाग्छन् ।

‘इस्कुस’ कथाले अनौठो यौन मनोविज्ञान समेटेको छ । बिहे गरेको छ महिनापछि श्रीमतीसँग भेट्न हिंडेको ‘म’ पात्रले इस्कुसलाई ‘विशेष’ देखेको कुराले हास्या सिर्जना गरेको छ । ‘विश्वास’ कथाले भने वर्षौंदेखि सँगै रहेका जोडीले पनि कसरी एकअर्कालाई शंका गर्न सक्छन् भन्ने देखाएको छ । यो कथामा शंकाले लंका जलाउँदैन । यो कुरा मनपर्यो ।

जातीय भेदभाव सानै उमेरदेखि कसरी सुरु हुन सक्छ भन्ने कथा हो ‘एउटा सानो केटो’ । ‘म’ पात्रले एउटा ब्राहमण केटोलाई कसैलाई पनि भेदभाव गर्न हुन्न भनेर सिकाएको यो कथा ठीकै लाग्यो ।

‘मह’ कथाले सोझालाई बाठाले कसरी झुक्क्याउन सक्छन् भन्ने देखाएको छ । त्यस्तै माथिल्लो पदका कर्मचारीको मूर्खता र सफाई गर्न पनि तल्लो पदका कर्माचारी पर्खिनै पर्ने “बाध्यता”लाई व्यङ्ग्य गरेको छ ।

‘मास्टरबाबु’ पनि मन परेको कथा हो । यसमा बाहिर एउटा र भित्र अर्को रुप भएको एउटा पात्रको बयान छ । यसको आश्चर्यजनक अन्त्यले मास्टरबाबुप्रतिको हेराइ नै परिवर्तन हुन्छ ।

संग्रहको अन्तिम कथा ‘बसकी केटी’मा बस यात्राका दौरान ‘म’पात्र र उसकी छेउमा बसेकी एउटी केटीको बारेमा छ । ‘म’पात्रका मनमा खेल्ने कुराहरूमा पुरुष मनोविज्ञान देखिन्छ ।

समग्रमा, ३.५/५

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