Monday, March 8, 2010
A perfect woman
This woman's day, I would like to take the opportunity to glorify one of my favourite women, a lady who was a perfect daughter,mother and wife and one of the greatest devotees of all time-Queen Kunti.
Queen Kunti was the daughter of Kuntibhoja, and King Vasudev's cousin sister. As a young girl she was very humble, patient and obedient. When Durvasa Muni visited her father's kingdom,accompanied by his 10,000 disciples, she served him personally and pleased him. Durvasa muni had a very difficult nature. He was highly eccentric and short-tempered. For eg. He would demand that food be cooked for them all, at very short-notice, at odd hours and then not eat it. Inspite of this, Queen Kunti took it upon herself, to personally serve him, and succeeded.
Durvasa Muni blessed her with a mantra, by invoking which, Kunti could obtain a child from any demigod. He had great foresight, and knew that Kunti would require this mantra in the future.
Queen Kunti was beautiful, intelligent and well-versed in all the fine arts. Hence she was chosen to be the bride of King Pandu, the ruler the earth. However, Pandu was cursed by a sage, that he would lose his life if he ever begot children. The throne was now in jeopardy as there was no heir. So Kunti invoked the mantra and was blessed with Yuddhishtira, the son of Yamraj, Bheema the son of Vayudev, and Arjun, the son of Indra. She was so compassionate and non-envious, that she taught the mantra to her co-wife Madri too, who begot twin sons, Nakul and Sahdev from the twin Ashwini gods.
Unfortunately, by the plan of the Supreme Lord, Pandu lost his life in a moment of weakness. In ancient times, if a woman felt that the pain of living in separation from her husband is greater than the pain of death then she would voluntarily commit sati. But Kunti was so self-sacrificing and strong that she chose to live as a widow for the sake of the children. Madri committed sati, and Kunti accepted even Madri's children as her own and loved all the five Pandavas equally.
Kunti raised her five sons in her brother-in-law, Dhritrashtra's house. She instilled in them all the virtues that the Pandavas are famous for. She taught them to be just, selfless, courageous, tolerant, equinamous, compassionate and truthful by her own behaviour. But most importantly, Kunti taught her sons about the glories of Lord Sri Krishna, and ensured that they too loved Him and served Him as deeply as she did.
Externally, Queen Kunti was Lord Krishna's aunt(His father's cousin). Yet she was fully aware of His true identity as the Supreme Father, the cause of all causes.
At the end of the Mahabharat, when Lord Krishna is about to the leave the Pandavas and return to his own Kingdom, Kunti Maharani offers some beautiful prayers to Him. These prayers have been immortalized in the Bhagvat Purana and are studied and recited by scholars and devotees alike.
These prayers reveal the depth of her spiritual understanding as she glorifies Sri Krishna and deeply regrets his leaving them. For eg. in one prayer, she describes how the Lord has been with the Pandavas through all their difficulties and then she says, "May we face these sufferings again and again so that we could see You(Sri Krishna) again and again". She shows us how problems only take us closer to God. In another beautiful prayer, she attributes the success of her entire family to Krishna. She says,"If you do not look upon us, all our fame and activities will end at once." She reveals, that success comes if there is both, endeavour on our part and the grace of God.
Queen Kunti, through her life and teachings, reveals what it means to be a true instrument of the divine. She inspires me to remain firm about my principles in all of life's different situations. What I have described is but a tiny drop of her many glories. I can only pray that I am able to follow the path shown by her.