Insightful kids story from Hindu mythology showing that words have power. Words can heal, and words can hurt.
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The silence in the house was suddenly shattered when the boys came squealing and chasing each other into Rosh’s room.
Josh jumped onto his father’s lap and leered back at Hosh, secure in the knowledge that he couldn’t be strong-armed here. Rosh smiled and hugged them both.
“You also said earlier that there have been many Hindu avatars,” Isha directed him back to their conversation. “Tell me more about the others.”
“Who are you talking about?” Josh asked, suddenly sensing a story.
“The Sanatan Hindu Avatars,” said Isha. “I want to find out, for example, what great things a sea-turtle could possibly have done, that made the ancient Sanatanis call it an Avatar of Vishnu?”
“That is an interesting question,” Rosh acknowledged. “After Matsya - the fish, in Satyug, the tortoise Kurma is remembered as the next avatar in the Dashavataar timeline.”
“There are at least two temples in Andhra Pradesh dedicated to Kurma, one in Kurmai in the Chittoor district and another in Srikurmam in the Srikakulam District. At least one other temple dedicated to this incarnation is in Gavirangapur, in Chitradurg District of Karnataka.”
“This Hindu story of Samudramanthan, a Sanskrit word literally meaning churning of the ocean, can not only be seen illustrated in murals at Hindu temples throughout India, but has remained one of the internationally better-known episodes of Hindu mythology for centuries.”
“That temple was originally built in the Bayon style in the 12th and 13th centuries as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university, but when the Khmer empire reverted back to Hinduism in the mid-13th century, its state temple was altered accordingly.”
“I’ve seen a giant Samudra Manthan sculpture at the Suvarnbhoomi Airport in Thailand too,” Isha agreed. “But what could a tortoise possibly do, for mankind to venerate it as a savior God?”
“Bhagavat Puran, Mahabharat and Vishnu Purana, talk about churning of the milky white ocean, the Kshirsagar,” said Rosh, “traditional abode of Vishnu, to extract vital commodities and to mine hidden resources.”
“Surs, the demi-gods, needed these to enhance their longevity and prosperity after they started getting their ass kicked by the Asur (Sanskrit: demons) armies of King Bali, who eventually defeated them and gained control of the universe.”
“How can gods be defeated?” asked Josh incredulously. “Aren’t they all powerful?”
“Demi-gods,” Rosh corrected him. “The mightiest elephant can be killed by the tiniest ant. Some Hindus attribute their losses to sage Durvaasa, supposedly an incarnation of Lord Shiv, who is said to have cursed Indra, the King of Devas (Sanskrit: demi-gods), to a life of ignominy.”
“How can anyone curse a demi-god?” asked Josh, even more incredulous.
“People curse God for their misfortunes all the time,” Rosh smiled. “It’s just that their curses don’t pack any power. But the Rishis were pure souls. Their words packed a mighty punch. And it kept powerful men and gods alike, in check and well-behaved.”
“In Abhigyan Shaakuntalam, famous Sanskrit play written probably around 5th century CE, Kalidas dramatized the Mahabharat story of maiden Shakuntala, who was so busy daydreaming about her lover, King Dushyant, that she failed to pay Durvasa due homage, when he arrived at her door as a guest. Enraged, he cursed her that her lover would forget her.”
“This is the same Rishi Durvasa you may have heard of, from when you went to see Akshardham temple (photo above) in Noida a couple of years ago. Followers of saint Swaminarayan believe that Narayan too, was once cursed by Durvasa, as a result of which he had to be born like a mortal (Saint Swaminarayan).”
“Local tradition in modern Azamgarh has it that Durvasa's Ashram, meaning hermitage, was situated 6 km north of the Phulpur Tehsil headquarters, at the confluence of Tons and Majhuee rivers, where many of his disciples went to study under him.”
“Despite his short-temper, Durvaasa was a learned sage. So, he was received with great reverence wherever he went. Grow up to be a man of integrity like him, and your words will have his power too.”
“Tongue is the strongest muscle in our body, you know. And although it may not itself be able to lift 1 kg, it can inspire others to lift a 100 kg.”
“The words it shoots out all day, have power. Words can heal, or words can hurt, regardless of who or where we are. We all have the power to move men with our words, just not the power to move mountains.”
“But build character and learn to control your tongue, and your words, like Rishi Durvasa’s, will become mightier than the sword. They will have the power to move mountains, and create history.”
“On the other hand, go around cursing people willy-nilly, being loose with your tongue, and your anger may even get you into big trouble yourself, like it did Durvaasa once with King Ambarish, in another Bhaagvat Puran story.”
Next Story: How To Handle Durvasas?