Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This Place, Without You…

The Yaksha was married only a few months ago. Those were the early days of his married life. He had everything he desired in life at that point in time. He was in the service of the Lord of Wealth, Kubera. He had a rewarding job and a beautiful house, with all other perks that came with serving the Lord of Wealth. He was fond of his beautiful bride and naturally wanted to spend as much time as possible with her. Days were flying and he was floating in a dreamy world.  

Yaksha’s job requirement was indeed simple. He had to collect all the different heavenly flowers of various colors and fragrance, and make a fine garland for the Lord. It should be delivered in the morning before the Lord gets ready to go out on his daily routine. The Lord would wear the garland on his body as if it was the final item of jewelry. The fragrance of the flowers always preceded him as he moved around and stayed behind even after he left. Yaksha spent considerable time in finding the right flowers and making an attractive garland out of them. But he never failed in his duty and promptly delivered the garland as per schedule, without fail.

The early days of marriage were indeed difficult as his desire to stay with his wife clashed with discharge of his duties. His preoccupation with home life put additional pressure on his time. He somehow managed to deliver the garland at the desired time. Having seen the beautiful garland, his wife wanted to try it once on her body. It was indeed difficult for him to avoid her doing so. But he stuck to his duties. He had to prevent her from trying to put on the garland day after day. One day she begged him and said that she would put it on only for a minute and return immediately so that he can quickly deliver it to his Lord. It happened so suddenly and he managed to reach the Lord’s palace and give the garland in the nick of time. The Lord picked it up and was about to put it on his body when he saw a long hair clinging to the garland. 

The Lord could surmise what had happened. He became furious. Yaksha’s dereliction of duty was due to his deep attachment to his new bride. Hence the punishment should be separation from his wife. Kubera banished Yaksha from the capital city, Alaka, for a period of one year. Yaksha had to bear the punishment and wandered away from there and finally reached “Ramagiri”, a hill to the north of present Nagpur.
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Kalidasa’s "Meghadootam" begins with the Yaksha standing on the hill of Ramagiri and spotting a cloud on the first day of the “Aashada” month. Yaksha tries to send a message to his wife through this cloud. The poet beautifully describes the various places and scenery on the way to be seen by the cloud during its journey to Alaka Nagari. The reason for Yaksha's banishment from Alaka is not clear. The above is a story told to us by a teacher in school. It appears very reasonable when one considers the other aspects described in the epic. Another version of the reason for banishment is that the Yaksha was the caretaker of Kubera’s garden and due to his carelessness Indra’s elephant, Iravata, entered and destroyed the garden. Kubera realizes that the dereliction of the duty by the Yaksha was on account of his preoccupation with his new bride and banishment for one year is the punishment to keep him away from her.
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Yaksha describes various places on the way to Alaka to guide the cloud to reach his house in Alaka Nagari. He explains the location of his house and its surroundings before giving details about identifying his wife and the message to be given to her. There was no Google Maps in those days and yet painters have been able to paint a series of pictures to bring the scenery before us. Yaksha mentions, among others, the direction of his house being to the north of Kubera's palace, which can be easily identified as a landmark of the city. He describes the beautiful water pool with its golden lotuses and intricately laid steps with precious stones. There are Swans in the pool having made it their permanent abode, ignoring their natural habitat of Manasa Sarovara. He describes the small hillock in the garden with golden banana plants. There is also a golden pole on which his brides's pet peacock stands and dances to the rhythm of her clapping. The young Mandaara tree is full of flowers that can be plucked while standing on the ground. The Red Ashoka and Kurabaka trees in the garden are very fond of his bride. They flower even in unseasonal days when she kicks one with her left leg and throws wine from her mouth on the other! The description of the house and its surroundings thus goes on......

The explanation for finding the right house ends with a wonderful symbol of identification. It is not anything precious that was or is there. It is something which is not there. Identification of a place is not just by what can be seen there, but also something that is truly missing. While concluding the description of house the poet says:
क्षामच्छायं भवनमधुना मद्वियोगॆन नूनम् |
सूर्यापाये नखलु कमलः पुष्यति स्वामभिख्याम्  ||

Kshamacchayam bhavanamadhunaa madviyogena noonam
Sooryapaaye na khalu kamalah pushyati swamabhikyaam

"The house now appears deserted despite all the above delightful things. My absence has rendered the house lose all its glitter. Just as the Lotus loses its existence when the sun is not there, the house has lost all its sheen. You can identify the house very easily due to this factor alone".

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Mere fittings and decorations do not make a house or an office. It is the persons that occupy these precincts that mark and make their presence and existence. The absence of key individuals robs these places of all their glory. Their presence define their purpose and enhances their existence.

This truth is fully realized only when such persons are missing from the scene, even if temporarily, due to exigencies. All others in the vicinity will be longing for them to return and take their place. 

This place, without you, ......  

17 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. As they say in Scotland this is what distinguishes a home from a house.

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  2. Very nice! Despite all the technological advancements, you still cannot replace love and care that physical presence provides for.

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  3. Thanks for the pre-independence special Mr Keshava Murthy. in fact, every time I read your blog I get fresh insights. You have your own way of energising people like us.
    Regards
    Rajshekar

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  4. Even though it was a known story, still it was like reading a fresh story, applause for the way you render it.

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  5. Very nice article, Our Interior designers,and Architects may envy the descriptions of this article.

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  6. Beautifully described, enjoyed the write up !!

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  7. Sir. This is beautifully written. And expresses our sentiments so vividly.

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  8. Nice article sir, felt refreshed by reading ur words on my way to my hoMe town. Wish that I will turn it into a home with my presence. Thanks for reminding the importance of my presence in my family/home.

    Regards
    Anand Sagar
    Smsb 2B

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  9. Very nice story sir...there are some people without them...the same thing looks nd feels differently...

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  10. nice article once again from our armoury. Thanks

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  11. Nice one. Without the members of the family, home is just one more place

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  12. Kalidasa’s "Meghadootam" takes back to our school days and the stories we were all told & blessed by our elders.
    Nice - - - -

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  13. The value of relationship and love to each other is so well depicted with a very interesting story.

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