In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Jarath-Kaaru putting forth two “nearly impossible” conditions for his marriage to happen. Sage Jarath-Kaaru wanted his wife to be of his same name and that, he wouldn’t go in search of her. She has to come searching for him and only then would he marry her. As Sage Jarath-Kaaru expressed his conditions thus, the “Pitru Devatas” were puzzled and taken aback! As this was happening on one end, we switched scenes to enter into Snake Vaasuki’s story. Towards the end of this story, we would tie the knot with the story of Sage Jarath-Kaaru and how he got married. Snake Vaasuki’s sister was also named “Jarath-Kaaru” incidentally. It is this woman, Sage Jarath-Kaaru is going to marry. But before that, there are a few interesting events that we’re going to witness. We know the brief background of Snake Vaasuki and how he helped the Devas obtain the divine “Amrita” (Nectar) from beneath the floor of the ocean. Snake Vaasuki’s mother was Kadru. In fact, this Kadru is the mother of all the snakes that formed the Naaga-Lokha. This Kadru was none other than Sage Kashyapa’s wife.
Sage Kashyapa had many wives, including Aditi, Diti, Kadru and Vinata. I’m mentioning the names of Sage Kashyapa’s wives who are important. Apart from these four, there are many others. Diti’s sons were none other than the Raakshasas, inclusive of Hiranyaksha, Hiranya-Kashibu and the others. Aditi’s sons were none other than the Devas, inclusive of Indra, Surya, Varuna, Vaayu, etc. In fact, Bhagawan Vaamana (Bhagawan Vishnu’s yet another incarnation) is also the son of Aditi and Sage Kashyapa. We’ve witnessed this story as part of our Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and readers can recollect it. As this was going on, Sage Kashyapa married Vinata and Kadru, and both these wives were experts in fighting and playing politics! Already there was lot of infighting between Aditi and Diti as both were mothers of the two rival camps – Devas and Asuras. Hence, the fight between these two is perennial in nature. In addition to these two, now Kadru and Vinata have their own agenda and their fighting within each other is running in another direction!
As we witness this, we might immediately think thus, “Oh! Wherever we look into this Mahabharata text, everywhere there is only fighting, fighting and fighting! Why are all these people fighting every time? Can’t they live happily and peacefully?” As days pass by, Kadru has children. Vinata too gives birth to many children. Kadru gives birth to all the snakes as we’ve witnessed earlier, and Vinata gives birth to Aruna and Garuda. This Aruna and Garuda are eagles and as we know already, eagles are great enemies of snakes! Aruna was the charioteer of Surya Bhagawan. Bhagawan Surya’s rays that fall on the earth are extremely powerful and dangerous too, isn’t it? Even according to today’s science, we see that the sun’s rays contain ultra-violet components that are extremely harmful to living beings, isn’t it? So as to protect the world from these harmful rays, Aruna is acting like a shield to filter out all these harmful components. This is what we call today as “Ozone” layer in the earth’s atmosphere. It is only because of this ozone layer, is earth supporting life.
If we go to Puri Jagannatha Kshetra, we would be able to witness something called “Aruna-Sthamba”. This is a “Sthamba” (Pillar-like structure) that is almost 32 feet tall. Aruna sits on top of this “Sthamba”. This Sthamba has a history – When the Britishers invaded India, this “Sthamba” was at Konark Sun temple. All of us might know this place too. Puri and Konark are places in the Indian state of Orissa. Thus, Aruna-Sthamba was part of the sun temple at Konark. Thus, Aruna was on one side and Kadru’s sons were on the other side. One of the snakes was none other than “Aadi-Sesha”. So for today, let all of them be near Surya Bhagawan! We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode too. Meanwhile, readers should take notes of all these names as these might be confusing as we move on. We shall wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂