In the previous episode, we had witnessed a more detailed accord on how Sage Vyaasa warns King Dhridiraashtra of disastrous consequences in the future, if he doesn’t mend Duryodhana’s ways now. Sage Vyaasa slams King Dhridiraashtra for his excessive “Putra-Vaatsalya” towards his son, and tries to make him understand how this is going to lead him only to mass destruction. Even as Sage Vyaasa explains to him, King Dhridiraashtra is still in two minds. He replies back by saying that he has tried enough and more to convince Duryodhana, but in vain. Instead, he puts the ball back on Sage Vyaasa’s court to try and convince Duryodhana to change himself! For this, Sage Vyaasa says that he cannot do all this, and instead, he would send Sage Maithreya for this.
As Sage Vyaasa is about to leave, he narrates a small story to King Dhridiraashtra. We shall witness that story in brief here and shall later link the story to the context that we are discussing. This story is all about an interesting conversation between a divine cow by name “Surabhi” and Indra. Here, Surabhi is feeling bad about how her sons and daughters are suffering in the world. Surabhi once talks to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! As a mother, I feel heart-wrenched sitting along with you in this Indra Lokha!” As Surabhi says thus, Indra did not understand what she was trying to say. He replies back to Surabhi thus, “Oh Surabhi! What happened to you? Why are you feeling heart-wrenched? Is there any problem that you are facing in this Indra Lokha? Did someone do something to you that was a sinful act? Let me know. I shall take stern action against those people who tried to harm you or your children here!” As Indra says thus, Surabhi replies back, “Oh Indra! I never said that I face any hardships or hurdles in the Indra Lokha. Just look downwards towards the “Bhoo-Lokha” – How all my sons and daughters are being beaten up and used by the people for their farming purposes. As a mother, how can I see my children getting beaten up like this by another person? My heart melts towards them. I somehow want to protect them from this harsh treatment that is meted out to them for no fault of theirs. Moreover, some of my children are even used to plough the field in a disastrous way, which I can’t even see! Also, for all the hard work that my children are doing, people aren’t giving them proper food and grass. Worst of all, my children are not even getting sufficient water to drink! How can a mother tolerate all these harsh treatments meted out to her children?”
Saying thus, Surabhi cries bitterly! Tears are rolling out of her eyes like a river. As Indra sees Surabhi’s pitiable condition, he replies to her thus, “Oh Surabhi! I understand the pain that you’re undergoing currently. But show me where such a thing is happening in the “Bhoo-Lokha”. Let us go and practically see it for ourselves!” As Indra requests Surabhi thus, Surabhi points out to two cows – One that is well nourished and the other that is just skin and bones. Both these cows are being beaten by a person who is trying to use these cows for his ploughing purpose. Especially the cow that was merely skin and bones bore the brunt of the person’s beatings, as it is already under-nourished. Upon seeing this, Surabhi couldn’t hold back her tears.
As Indra sees Surabhi’s pitiable condition, he asks back thus, “Oh Surabhi! I understand your pain and suffering. However, tell me one thing – Isn’t it a usual practice of beating the cow / buffalo by people for guiding them through their way in the field? What is the big deal in this?” As Indra asks thus, Surabhi replies back quickly, “Oh Indra! You’re right. I do not have any problem with healthy and well-nourished children of mine being beaten and made to work. My problem is with the under-nourished children of mine wherein they are not being fed adequately and still they’re being put to such a daunting task. Oh Indra! Please imagine this – If a mother has two children – One well nourished and the other under-nourished – The mother wouldn’t mind much if the well-nourished son is put to task heavily by the teacher / employer. However, if the under-nourished and the weaker child is put to such harsh treatment, won’t the mother have the urge to protect the weaker child? It is only upon seeing my weaker children, my tears are rolling out!”
As Surabhi replies thus, Indra is also vexed. He is also upset. So for today, let us also join Surabhi in sharing her pain as a mother. We shall wait till the next episode to find out where this conversation goes, and how Sage Vyaasa links this to the context of King Dhridiraashtra and Duryodhana! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂