Sunday, 9 September 2012

19. Diti seeks for a son to kill Indra.

     "So great was the extremity of her pain and anguish for her dear sons who were  killed, Diti wanted to take revenge very badly." Vishwamitra continued his narration.
     "She peremptorily told her husband  'I am very much bereaved of my dear sons who were killed by the sons of your second wife Aditi.  I, therefore, want to get a very mighty son, who will annihilate Indra.  For that I want to do a penance for a son who will completely obliterate Indra and his clan, and who shall be the ruler of worlds.  It won't be inappropriate for you to permit me for the penance, and to get such a son through you.'
     COMMENT: A sage's wife requires permission of her husband if she wishes to undertake an individual asceticism, because she will be receiving her own share of merit from her sage-husband's penances and practises, as he is her life-mate.
End Comment.
     On hearing her request, sage Kaashyapa, the son of Sage Mareechi, said  'I will agree to your doing the penance subject to the condition that you agree to do the same by strictly following the rules and abide by the propriety of the practices of the same.  If you can complete a thousand years of asceticism punctiliously, then by my grace you can deliver a son who can be a master of three worlds.'
     COMMENT: In some other versions, the word 'trailokya hantaaram' is carried forward from earlier verses of Diti, into the speech of Sage Kaashyapa also. Some have it as trailokya bhartaaram 'a husbander of three worlds...' Diti may have desired for a 'killer.' But Kashyapa, as a father of both gods and demons, cannot term the issuing son as an exterminator of three worlds, because the three worlds are in vogue at Kaashyapa's grace. Some attach this adjective to Indra but not to the forthcoming son of Diti.
End Comment.
     "Saying thus the sage patted her.  The touch of the great sage consecrated her.  Sage Kaashyapa then departed for his ascetic practices.   And Diti went and reached the sacred place called Kushaplava, on which the present City of Vishaala was established later, and started a highly rigorous penance.
     "God Indra started rendering quite a lot of services to her, like making available fire, firewood, water, the sacred Kusha grass, fruits and like that tubers, and whatever other items she required in her ascetic practice.  All the time Indra was serving Diti(his maternal aunt), like by massaging her body, and other means of removing her bodily strain resulting from her arduous practices.  When reached less than ten years of the thousand year target, Diti was highly rejoiced as her ambition was going to bear fruit in just about ten years.  She spoke to Indra  'My dear valiant Indra, in less than ten years you will be seeing your new brother.
      "'I am bringing him up for your sake.  I will bring him up as an enthusiast for your victory, and son Indra, along with him, conquer the three worlds and enjoy them, without any fear from your enemies.'
     "In some other time she would say 'Oh, son Indra, your brother whom I am now bringing up, will be enthusiastic in conquering you, but somehow I will manage him by telling that you are after all his brother, and no harm should be done to you, and oh, son Indra, if you join him you will get rid of your fear, caused by his emergence, and then you two can conquer all the three worlds'.
     "In one of such occasions when Diti was saying things like this to Indra to dissuade him from guessing the real reason for her child, she fell asleep due to the very hot sun.  And she slept  keeping her feet headward.
    COMMENT: This 'keeping feet headward' is variously inferred. While sitting she leaned on her knees and her braid touched feet, thus she became impious.  She slept with her head neither towards east nor to south.  The ancient cots in India used to have head-side and feet-side finishing.  Then she placed head at feet-side and feet at head-side.  Even if a cot is not there, though slept on ground, the head shall  be positioned eastward or southward, but not to north or west.  Finally, she slept at noontime, and for a person under a vow, noontime sleep is prohibitive.  Hence her meticulousness is defeated.
End Comment.
     "Seeing that she had become impious by placing her head at feet-side and braid falling on feet, Indra happily laughed at her failed asceticism.  Indra, then entered the body of Diti through her vaginal aperture and started cutting her foetus asunder into seven fragments.  The foetus wailed clamorously while being sliced with Thunderbolt that has hundred cutting edges, and then Diti woke up.
      "Indra was coaxing the foetus  and despite the fact that foetus was screaming piteously, Indra went on fragmenting it.
     "Diti was raving  'Don't kill my foetus...'.  Indra then fell out of the womb honouring his stepmother's entreaty.
     "Indra humbly folding his palms that are still handling his bloody Thunderbolt spoke to Diti, 'Aunty, you had become impious when your braid touched your feet when you had gone to sleep in midday, and your vow was thwarted.   I therefore, exploited the chance to eliminate him who can eliminate me in a battle.  But instead of killing, I fragmented your foetus into seven fragments.  You, therefore should be happy for my benevolence and pardon me for that kind act of mine.' "

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