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Black or White?

April 1, 2010

A useless rant which many of you might find boring. Read only if you have nothing better to do, else skip.

Indian mythology has always had many heroes. Some celebrated, some not so much. Many such characters have not been given their due recognition. One among such characters is Dashkhandara.

Dashkhandara was the son of Vishrava, a sage, and Kaikesi, a daitya princess. He was considered to be a great scholar, and his knowledge was surpassed by none. His devotion, determination and resilience made him an immensely respected personality. Dashkhandra was the half-brother of Kubera, the lord wealth according to Hindu mythology.

Dashkhandara mastered the Veda’s and the Upanishad’s, and was even believed to have written 6 Upanishads himself. It is believed that no one could match Dashkhandara in his understanding of the Veda’s. Dashkhandara was also a great warrior, and practiced the craft of Kshatriya warfare.

His grandfather, Pulastya, was a mind-son of Lord Brahma, or one among the among the ten Prajapatis. Dashkhandara set out to please Lord Brahma, and started a penance for a very long time. He was not rewarded immediately, though. Dashkhandara, in a fit of rage, he chopped of his own head, and each time he did that, a new head arose. Brahma, pleased with his resilience, appeared, and granted him a boon. Dashkhandara was given the nectar of immortality (Amrutam). The Amrutam was stored under his navel, and he would remain immortal till the Amrutam was present in his navel.

Dashkhandara loved his sister Meenakshi immensely, and never really had cordial relations with Kubera. Dashkhandara was known to be a womaniser, and had several consorts. Dashkhandara was a very able king, and was one of the most powerful rulers of his time. He ruled over the city which was given to him by his brother, Kubera. He spread his kingdom wide and far. His kingdom was considered to be very prosperous, and no one ever suffered from poverty or hunger.

During one his conquests, he came across Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. Upon his whim, he decided to uproot the hill. This angered Shiva, and he promptly punished Dashkhandara. He kept him captive under that the Kailasa Hill. When Dashkhandara learnt that he disturbed the abode of Shiva, he was deeply repentant. He started a deep penance and began to sing songs praising Shiva for several years. Shiva, pleased with his devotion, releases him from bondage, and presents him with a weapon, the powerful sword, Chandrahas.

One day, Meenakshi came across a group of people who were staying in a forest. She fell in love with a young warrior in the group. When she approached him, the warrior informed her that he was married, and asked her to take her preposition to another young warrior who was also his brother. When Meenakshi approached him with the preposition, the warrior ridiculed and humiliated her. When she realised that the two brothers were making fun of her, she rose to attack the wife of the warrior. She was stopped by the younger warrior, and he cut her nose. Meenakshi went straight to her brother, and narrated the incident. Meenakshi went on to praise the beauty of the warrior’s wife, and opined that she’d be a worth match for Dashkhandara. What he did not know was, Meenakshi was plotting against Dashkhandara for killing her husband, Dushtabuddhi. Dushtabuddhi was convicted for treason, and plotting against Dashkhandara. This made Meenakshi scheme against her own brother. When she finally saw the two warrior brothers, she realised that they were the right people to overthrow Daskhandara. And, Dashkhandara, despite pleas from his advisors, decided to abduct the wife of the warrior, to avenge the insult his sister faced.

And as you’d have guessed by now, Dashkhandara was Ravana.

The point of this uber long post is, we are so ridden by perspectives. We are given a perspective, and we simply follow that. We do not question the veracity of that version, and blindly forget that there are two sides to a coin. We must try to learn everything about anything, and form an objective opinion, rather than take sides based on an account narrated to us by someone else. Let us not judge people based on face value. History, specially, is distorted according to the whims and fancies of its keeper.

To think of it, Rama was a great warrior who doubted his wife.

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