Monday, April 30, 2012

Mahabharata/Jaya - Arjuna performs Durga Puja

"I am ready to scarifice myself for the war. But I would like to be married first and my widow should cry just like a wife cries on the death of her husband. Then I would like to see the entire war." Thus spoke Iravan to Krishna to receive his boons.

Iravan is the son of Ulupi and Arjuna.( When Iravan realizes he is the son of Arjuna, he takes the unwilling consent of his mother and joins the war to help the Pandavas win.

In the northern versions, Iravan fights the war and dies a heroic death. But it is the Tamil version which I find interesting. 

Krishna instructs Arjuna to perform the Durga Puja as per astrological predictions made by Sahadeva. For this puja to be successful, a perfect man needs to be sacrificed. Only Arjuna, Krishna and Iravan has the essential marks which certified them to be perfect men (physically). Krishna decides that Iravan is the best choice for this human sacrifice.

That is when Iravan spells out his wishes/boon to Krishna. It was a big problem to find a wife for Iravan as no one would want to be a sure-shot widow. Since no one was ready, Krishna himself takes the form of a woman (Mohini Avatar) and marries Iravan. In some versions, they consumate their marriage. But then, Krishna cries like a woman the next day after Iravan dies.

This event is still celebrated by the trangender community. The men dress themselves as woman and marry Iravan. Then the next day they break their bangles and cry like widows.

It makes me wonder if transexuality, transgender and same sex marriage/sex was accepted during those times in southern India. India (concept and culture) always holds a great deal of mystery due to it's varied instances of folktales and stories. This is one of them. 

Krishna becoming a woman and marrying Iravan shows that man-woman, same gender marriage/sex were all the same in his eyes. He really was the all encompassing divine personality out there. India of those times would surely have been more open and liberal. 

I have heard that Krishna is the measure against which one's life need to be measured. It is true. Maybe, I will develop a habit of analysing the same through those thoughts before judging others. Maybe.

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