Big Gora Learns Hindi

Big Gora Learns Hindi

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ramayan update: even more किस्मत!

In episode 22 of the 2010s Ramayan, I've encountered yet another layer of किस्मत [kismat/fate]! It turns out that literally ages ago, when the world was much younger, Vishnu committed a grave sin. There was a huge war between the gods and the demons; the gods, as I'd naturally expect, were routing the demons. A party of stragglers ran to the house of Sage Bhrigu, where Bhrigu's wife Khyati gave them shelter. As we all know, Indian people consider a guest a god, and in this case the fact that they were demons didn't deter her. (Such hospitality!) Khyati forbade the gods entrance, and they stayed outside. (At some point I must comment on this, to me, mindblowing aspect of Hinduism: even the gods can be compelled if humans perform the right penances or prayers. See Raavan, for example.) Vishnu arrived on the scene, and like the other gods, told Khyati to give up her demon guests. She refused, citing the cultural rule I mentioned. Vishnu destroyed them anyway--and Khyati too! The horror! Then Bhrigu returns home to find his beloved wife dead, and is carried away by grief and anger. "I loved her so dearly!"


Like many other figures in the Ramayan and Mahabharat, he expresses his overwhelming emotions in a powerful curse: "May you, Lord Vishnu, be forced one day to reincarnate as a mortal; and may you then suffer the horrible pain of being separated from your wife." The curse lands full force. Here's one more reason, then, that Ram, incarnation of Vishnu, was from ages ago fated to come to earth and live as he did. And Sita--well, we all know what's about to happen at this point in the story, and the recounting of this curse reminds us...

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