“Abhor O’ Ahilya. You relinquished your chastity, your virtues and your values for something so momentary. Your majestic form, timeless beauty and unmatched grace have doused you in hubris and arrogance that made you commit such a grave sin. May your form is lost, your grace is perished and your beauty is reduced to a lifeless piece of rock which is devoid of any existence. Your existence will only be confined to yourself and for the world you will become insignificant and invisible.”
Those thunderous words of Sage Gautama still haunt my conscience as my inner self continues to burn in the fire of penance. I have now lost the count of the years that have elapsed ever since that catastrophe struck me turning the most beautiful lady on the planet to a lifeless piece of stone. Many years have passed and I have been lying here in this hermitage all alone with no one to share my grief, my repentance. The journey of purification which I had undertaken thousands of years ago still awaits its culmination. While the look back at the prolonged period that has elapsed comforts me that I have already traversed the realm of time bringing me closer to my moment of absolution, the blind realm that lies ahead further puts me in despair…only if I could fathom the depth of the time ahead.
When my creator, the Lord Brahma, created me as the most beautiful being in this world of his – both by beauty and virtue, little did he knew that the destiny would reduce his priceless creation to an insignificant piece of rock whose identity would be lost one day in the multitude of timespans that has passed. Does anyone still remember my existence on this planet? Do my memories still remain alive in the pensive corner of my husband? Has the time gone blind to my condition? Has the ever gracious and ever compassionate Vishnu overlooked my plight to absolve his child from the committed sin?
Such was the divinity of my beauty that it attracted the attention of all Devtas (Gods / Angels) and Asura (Demons). The level of attention I received from all the Gods always pleased me and I felt content with my creator’s work. I still remember the day when Lord Brahma announced to the world, “Ahilya, my most prized creation till date, has grown with the best of the virtues, sanity and chaste, she has a profound intelligence and unmatched beauty. I am now contemplating her nuptials.”
All the gods listened with utmost attention as He continued, “I thought hard about her match and when couldn’t reach any concrete solution, I devised a competition to decide the same. I would marry Ahilya to the one who travels around the Earth and come back first. Let all who wish for her race and may the best one emerge to win her hand.”
All the sages, angels and demons embarked on the race each trying hard to outsmart the other in a bid to win my hand. The King of Gods, the Indra, outsmarted others by virtue of his magical powers and completed the journey much before the others.
He ecstatically proclaimed, “Oh lord of the lords, I have completed the challenge foremost and thus I present myself to thee as the most suitable groom for your unparalleled creation, Ahilya. Oh majestic creator of this world, bestow her to me, for it’s me, who has rightfully won her basis my impeccable persona and courage outshining all but none.”
Lord Brahma was truly the lord of lords, basis his meditation powers and foresightedness, He discerned that there was someone else too who completed the challenge, much before the Indra. ‘Oh, the King of Gods, that your courage and person is unmatched is known to all, which why you are the one who is crowned to rule the ones who rule the world. However, I cannot marry Ahilya to you as you have been preceded by someone else who has also completed the challenge and that too in a much shorter span than you”, Lord Brahma said.
“Sage Gautama”, He continued, “while going back from here witnessed the birth of a divine cow ‘Kamdhenu’ and circumambulated around the cow and a shiva lingam. The birth giving divine cow is equivalent to earth with seven islands as per the sacred texts and to move around it is equivalent to travelling around the earth. Thus, Sage Gautama completed the challenge before you and it is he who deserves to be married to Ahilya.”
Lord Brahma was happy and satisfied with the patience and virtues of Sage Gautama, who earlier handled the responsibility of my upbringing with great solemnity. I was married to the sage and we arrived here at Brahmgiri to lead our life.
My husband was a divine soul having profound knowledge of all the Vedas and the intelligence which was unmatched for anyone in human form to attain. Gods were surely jealous of him and Indra, in particular, found it hard to let me go from his hands. He kept stalking me and followed me in different guises stealing a chance to gaze and enjoy my beauty & form.
When his lust went beyond his tolerance level, he hatched a plan to attain me and satisfy his crave. As he witnessed our lives closely in one form or the other, he got all the knowledge about my husband’s daily routine and prayers. He observed that the sage had the daily habit of rising early in the wee hours of the morning and proceeded for the holy bath followed by the series of prayers which consumed the early hours of his morning. Indra sought Moon’s help to take the form of a rooster and wake the sage hours before his normal routine. The moon obliged and crowed much before the wee hours which prompted the sage to wake and leave for the holy bath. Taking advantage of the situation, the Indra disguised himself as the sage and entered his hermitage.
“Oh Ahilya, the grace embodied, the beauty personified, the impeccable creation of Lord Brahma. The creator has created you with the best of the body and form. Your aura and radiance is such that even the brightest of the ray of the Sun will appear bleak. Your beauty and charm is such that even the most enchanted spell of all the Gods will fall flat. I am completely intoxicated by your beauty and want to completely drown in that. I desire to experience your body and copulate with you to have the eternal bliss”, the disguised Indra said.
At the outset, I was surprised at such behaviour of my revered husband. It wasn’t that he was asking something wrong or unmoral, but I never remembered seeing him in such a state of mind. I, being a wife of a powerful & accomplished yogi, had developed spiritual powers by virtue of severe asceticism practised all through the years along with my revered husband. And thus I was able to lift the veil and see through that the person in front of me was none other than the King of the Gods, the Indra.
I was bemused at my existence and thought, “So blessed are you Ahilya, that the King of the Gods is himself soliciting me for favour. He is the great Indra who can have anyone he desires at his footstep and who is always surrounded by the most beautiful nymphs & women in his palace, but he has still not able to get over me and feels enchanted by my beauty spells.”
“Oh doe eyed divine beauty I have waited for eternity to have this moment of love, to experience this velvety touch of your body, to feel that warm fragranced breath of yours. Please shower me your love and end that wait of mine”, the disguised Indra continued to seduce me with his sweet talks.
I smiled and thought, “When the King of the Gods himself is the one who is proposing, who am I to dispose.” Taking my smile as an affirmation, he advanced further and the two of us sinned. But much before the ecstasy of the physical pleasure could fizzle out the remorse of being indulging into unforgivable sin overtook my conscience.
|Sage Gautama cursing Indra (Source: Google)|
“You must leave now lest my husband catch us red handed”, I spoke. Indra was terrified at this thought and scared from the wrath of Sage Gautama, he hurriedly started to left the hermitage. As luck would have it, my husband came just in time and it didn’t take him longer to grasp all that had happened there. His spiritual power enabled him to have the knowledge of all that transpired and all who transpired. Spotting Indra disguised as him, he thundered, “Indra, you shameless soul, you call yourself as the King of the Gods when your deeds are one of a swine. In your lust and crave, you have crossed all the lines of ethics and morality. May all your body which has caused this sin be covered by what you sought in my wife and may you lose all that’s required to attain unity with that.”
As the sage uttered these words, the Indra got castrated with his whole body covered with female marks. He then turned to me, “Abhor O’ Ahilya. You relinquished your chastity, your virtues and your values for something so momentary. Your majestic form, timeless beauty and unmatched grace have doused you in hubris and arrogance that made you commit such a grave sin. May your form is lost, your grace is perished and your beauty is reduced to a lifeless piece of rock which is devoid of any existence. Your existence will only be confined to yourself and for the world you will become insignificant and invisible.”
“And you the moon in the sky,” he continued, “You are an equal partners to these two in their heinous crime. It is this ivory texture of yours which has prompted you to resort to such fallacies. May this silvery face of yours is forever tarnished reminding you and the world of the consequence of the acts done in vanity”.
Such was the radiance, power and efficacy of his asceticism that the moment my husband uttered these words, the Indra was reduced to eunuch bearing thousands of female marks on his body, I fell at the same place as a lifeless piece of rock and the moon got a mark on his face.
“Mercy, my Lord,” I implored, “I beg of you O’ my revered and spirited husband. Please have mercy on your wife. Pity me recalling those years of ascesis I have indulged with you without even blinking an eye, those years of togetherness when I have discharged my duties of wife to the best of my capabilities. I throw myself on your clemency my lord. If during the last many years, I have been truthful to you, to my duties and deliverables & have practiced chastity, please don’t punish me so hard…don’t leave me.”
My screaming arrested the departing steps of my husband which stopped and turned towards me. “There is no denial that the sin you committed is unpardonable. But then this is also true that you have stood beside me like my shadow all through the years, the service you rendered was indeed remarkable. That is why perhaps, this whole act pained me much”, he said.
His eyes shone with teardrops that refused to part with them. I knew I had pained him beyond tolerance but those pearls in his eyes provided me comfort that I still command love, respect and place in his heart. I longed for the humane form so that I could touch those revered and pious feet of that enlightened yogi so that the pinching self-reproach within is reduced to some extent.
“The Vedas assumes the wife as the only friend of her husband; their comradeship is strengthened as they spend years of togetherness. Husband and wife are complementary to each other and thus each follows the other in good or bad, welfare or hardships, pleasures or pain. You are my wife and the righteousness doesn’t allow me to leave you alone in this hour of grief. It will not be only you, who will suffer in this fire of repentance. I will also offer myself as oblation therein and thus we together will perform the act. You will practice the penance in this form until Lord Vishnu himself arrived here and absolves you from your sins by the touch of his feet. It is then you will again gain my proximity and we will live in unison again. Till then I will dwell in the Himalaya and practice the strictest of the asceticism as an act of atonement on my part”, the sage left the place with these words.
The parting words of my husband left me with the strength to undergo the penance in anticipation of the final union with my lord. I don’t even remember how many years have elapsed since then but perhaps my absolution is not yet reached. “O’ compassionate Lord Vishnu, please bless and absolve me from my sins. Please rescue me.”
“What is that hustling sound that is piercing the gloom and silence enveloping this desolate cottage? It’s been so many years since this soil has kissed the feet of any living form, who can it be now treading the forgotten path to this abandon place.” As I ponder about the sound of footsteps approaching towards me, some radiant glow enchants my sight and all I can see is the bright streak of lights emitting from the ground. “Is this some kind of fire or has the Sun God himself descended to this part of earth.”
Enchanted by the divinity of the radiance enveloping the otherwise dark surrounding of the hermitage, I hear some conversation. “Rama, you are compassion personified. There is a purpose you have been descended here - to uplift the down trodden and to heal the grievers. Ahilya has been awaiting your arrival since long and the time has come to atone her and bless her with her divine form again. The story of Ahilya and Gautama needs you to culminate in a happy affair.”
“Gurudev, my parents have brought me in this world but it’s you who has imparted the understanding and knowledge of good and bad to me. My entire courage, wisdom and knowledge find their origin in you. I owe you my life to you and your words are my command.”
“Are my ears hearing the right words? Is my period of being destitute about to end?”, I beam with joy as I figure out that it’s the great Sage Vishwamitra along-with the princes of Ayodhya – Rama & Lakshmana. Hearing those last words of Rama, I eagerly await the blissful touch of his feet which will grant me the absolution I waited so long and will unite me with my husband.
|Lord Rama blessings Ahilya (Source: Google)|
Lo and behold, the moment arrives. The divine touch of Raghuveer (used to refer Rama), transforms me back from the lifeless piece of rock to the vibrant humane form. “Mother Ahilya, your grace and divinity has evolved further from your years and years of ascesis. It’s our good fortune and divine omen that we are blessed to witness your divine form. Please accept our prostration in your holy feet”, Rama said.
“Your humility moves me, Rama. The grace and divinity which you have mentioned was shrouded hitherto under the remnants of the history which was witnessing its demise with each passing day until you brought it back to its current form. I am very elated at your humbleness and reverence. May the wisdom, erudition and enlightenment be always at your service”, I said.
The words touch the strings of my soul, I can feel the warmth and fragrance of the spiritual energy of in the vicinity. I can sense the mirth and merriment dancing around the otherwise desolate cottage. I can witness the transformation in the surrounding from an abandoned, barren and desolate piece of cottage to a vibrant, sacred and spiritual abode. There is an energy in the air which otherwise appeared devoid of life, the melancholy around has changed to the symphony of divine chants whose aura is dispersing all the negativities away. The sterile soil which boasts of nothing but stones and pebbles is suddenly giving birth to the best of herbs and floras. The aridness in the environment has given way to the fruits of conjugation and union – I know my husband has arrived.
I prostrate him as the tears from my eyes wash away the dirt on his feet taking away all the agonies and pain the two souls have endured in the past for this small moment of ecstasy overtakes the years and years of sufferings.
Rama and Lakshmana prostrate the resplendent Sage Gautama who blesses them and says, “Rama, I express my gratitude to you to substantiate my solemn remark and gracing Ahilya absolving her by your divine touch.”
The Princes and Sage Vishwamitra move ahead in their journey to Mithila after a brief halt in our hermitage. And I am united again with my husband partnering him in his quest and journey; as Vedas say, “I am He, you are She, I am Song, you are Verse, I am Heaven, you are Earth. We two shall here together dwell, becoming parents of children.”
(The above episode is a part of the epic Ramayana and has been written with a mere purpose of retelling the story in my own words, basis my own limited understanding and bounded knowledge of the scripture. Accordingly, the description, the conversation and the setting of the story, characters and circumstances may have been fictionalized to some extent without any intent to hurt anyone’s sentiments)
~ Shubh Life . . . OM Sai Ram
© 2015 Manish Purohit (Reserved)
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