In the previous episode, we had witnessed Chitra-Rasa narrating an important accord to Arjuna and Co. as they prepare themselves to cross over the River Ganges to reach Paanchaala Desha. Chitra-Rasa started with the birth story of Sage Paraashara. We’ve witnessed this accord in the last episode, wherein Sage Vishwamitra and Sage Vasishtaachaarya were in a perennial fight mode with each other. Sage Vishwamitra wanted to somehow get an upper hand over Sage Vasishtaachaarya and obtain the “Brahma-Rishi” tag, and he did all whatever he could to stem the growth and popularity of Sage Vasishtaachaarya. Sage Vishwamitra wanted to abduct the “Kaamadenu” cow of Sage Vasishtaachaarya and with this, a huge war broke out between the two. Sage Vishwamitra was made to run for his money by Sage Vasishtaachaarya, however, Sage Vishwamitra never relented. He sent Kalmaasha-Paada to fight Sage Vasishtaachaarya and at the end of the day, Kalmaasha-Paada ended up “eating” all of Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s sons, including Sage Shakti. This happened at a time when Sage Shakti’s wife was carrying and eventually she gave birth to a child within the stomach of Kalmaasha-Paada itself. Since this child was steadfast in attaining “Moksha” right from day one of birth, it obtained the name called “Paraashara”.
With this, we’ve witnessed the complete lineage of the famed set of sages – Sage Vasishtaachaarya, Sage Shakti, Sage Paraashara and Sage Veda-Vyaasa. It is to be remembered that Sage Veda-Vyaasa is none other than the son of Sage Paraashara. Thus, Chitra-Rasa is narrating this accord as he commences his story narrative to Arjuna. We might wonder why is Chitra-Rasa is telling something completely out of context now, at a time when the Paandavas were proceeding for an important “Svayamvara” event. There is a connection here. Let us see that today. We’ve already witnessed someone called Tapati, who was the daughter of Soorya-Bhagawan. Tapati was in love with King Riksha’s son, Samvarna. Upon praying to Sage Vasishtaachaarya, he helped Soorya-Bhagawan to give his daughter, Tapati, in marriage to Samvarna. The child that was born to this couple is none other than “Kuru”. We’ve witnessed this Kuru multiple times in the past, but till now we’ve not really witnessed his background in much detail. However, readers might remember that it is in the family lineage of “Kuru” were the “Kauravas” (Duryodhana and Co.) were born.
Now for the reason behind Chitra-Rasa narrating all this to Arjuna – As the Paandavas were fast proceeding towards the Paanchaala-Desha, we’ve witnessed Chitra-Rasa explaining the reason behind him picking up a fight with Arjuna. Since the Paandavas were “Kshatriyas” by nature, the “Kshatriya” in Chitra-Rasa mooted him to fight against Arjuna. However, if the Paandavas would have proceeded with a “Brahmana Rishi” along with them, Chitra-Rasa wouldn’t have picked up this fight. This is where Chitra-Rasa suggests that the Paandavas take Sage Dhoumya along with them, so that if a Brahmana Rishi is around, nobody on the way would pick up fights with them, and they would reach the Paanchaala Desha safely. While saying this, Chitra-Rasa uses the word “Taapatya” to address Arjuna, which refers to this Tapati, about whom we’ve witnessed above. This word “Taapatya” means, “Son of “Tapati”. As Arjuna hears this, he has a doubt. He asks Chitra-Rasa back thus, “Oh Chitra-Rasa! Why are you mentioning me as a son of Tapati? Who is this Tapati? I’m the son of Kunthi Devi, who is standing right next to me. How can I become the son of someone else if my mother is near me here? All people around me would refer to me as “Kaunteya” or “Paartha”, but why are you referring to me in a different manner?”
As Arjuna asks such a question, Chitra-Rasa replies to Arjuna thus, “Oh Arjuna! It seems that you are not aware of your ancestral history. I shall highlight to you as to how you are born in the family lineage of Tapati, who is Soorya-Bhagawan’s daughter. Tapati’s son was Kuru. Kuru’s son was Pradeepa. Pradeepa’s son was Shantanu. Shantanu’s sons were Chitraangatha and Vichitraveerya. After this generation came King Dhirdiraashtra and your father, Paandu. You were finally born to King Paandu, aren’t you? Thus, you might be able to observe here that all of you belong to the great “Kuru-Vamsa”. Since Kuru’s mother is Tapati, you belong to the “Tapati-Vamsa” ideally, and this is the reason why I addressed you as “Taapatya”!”
As Arjuna listens thus, it is only now he understands his own ancestral history! Till now he was only knowing his mother and father, and maybe King Shantanu onwards to an extent. Beyond this, Arjuna wasn’t aware. Even in our case, beyond our grandfather or great grandfather’s generation, would we even know who existed? We might not know unless and until somebody comes and tells us all the stories! This is simply because we’ve not seen them with our own two eyes, isn’t it? This is exactly the case with Arjuna as well. Thus, it is through Chitra-Rasa, Arjuna comes to know his ancestral history. So for today, let us understand until this point, and from here, we’ll witness a more detailed accord on Tapati, as narrated by Chitra-Rasa in the next episode. So far, I’ve only narrated a brief of the story, for us to understand where this context fits in. Stay tuned for more updates! 🙂