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In Pursuit of Love
|by Dipankar Dasgupta|
I have to admit that I do not feel too confident about this thing I just discovered, but now that the Right to Information Act is supposed to be in place, I can't hold it back from you anymore. Those amongst you who haven't already heard about this could even send me to jail for suppressing information. And I hate jails, because I suspect that the toilets there bear an alarming resemblance to the ones the TV guys claim they found at the CWG venue.
Actually, it was Max Mueller who turned out to be ultimately responsible for the unenviable position I find myself in. You see, he claimed that the Sun is no other than Pururava and the end of the night is Urvashi. This piece of information got me hopelessly worried, since I didn't understand the venerable old man. What do I do? Keep it to myself or share it with the rest of the world? If I didn't then Right to Information would be after me, if I did people could simply put me inside a straitjacket and send me over to a loony home, or, worse, to the CWG itself.
Consequently, I stayed up all night burning midnight oil to find out what Max buddy was pontificating about. Well, it seems you see, that a guy called Moon had eloped with a woman called Star (Tara) who was already married to yet another guy called Jupiter. Doesn't look like Jupiter was particularly upset about the loss of his wife and let Moony carry on his Starry affair, which resulted in a child called Mercury. Mercury in turn married a woman called Ila and, this is where Max Muller comes in, because Ila gave birth to a son called Pururava.
So far so good though, because all the people involved appeared to be living in peace and harmony, including Jupiter himself, who could well have acquired several other wives after losing his beloved Tara. (If this was the same Jupiter they often refer to in Greek mythology, then he was quite a womanizer.)
Trouble started soon however, since before one knew what was happening, a female called Urvashi pierced out of Narayana's thigh [uru (=the thigh) + vash (=to dominate) + a (= active voice) + ee (= feminine gender)]. I am not exactly sure where Narayana comes in here. I mean it could have been anyone's thigh as far as grammar goes. I don't have the information, so the courts won't entertain you on this ground. Let me proceed therefore to reveal the rest of the events.
Well, anyone who is born the Urvashi way is likely to cause a good deal of problems. It appears that the King Pururava was once invited to Lord Indra's dance hall where Urvasahi was performing. "How come this Indra chap never invites me to these shows?" I asked myself feeling peeved you know. Pat came the answer. King P was a mighty handsome chap, so handsome indeed that Urvashi felt she was probably falling head over heels in love with him at first sight. Not only so, she even missed a step or two in her dance programme. And this made Indra far too mad to keep under control his cupboard full of curses. "I banish thee to Earth," yelled he at Urvashi, somewhat in the same spirit in which Hamlet had hit Ophelia with his "Get thee to a nunnery" speech.
Urvashi landed safely on earth, but a nunnery was the last place in her list of tourist spots. She went instead to the first one, viz. P's residence and demanded that he marry her. Recall though that she had only pondered over the possibility of falling in love with him. Even she didn't know if she was truly in love. The clever girl therefore demanded that he hug her no more than three times a day. (P could have hugged her only once a day and refused to un-hug you know. I am almost sure that she set a ceiling on the duration of each hug. Hmm... clever female.) The second condition she imposed was that he would not sleep with her unless she wanted him to. This was a bit of a torture, you've got to admit. And third, she absolutely refused to let him shed his clothes in her presence. The second and the third of her stipulations put together could make you wonder, but I won't proceed further in that direction. However, I do think her love was somewhat suspect.
Yes, P agreed of course and lived with his wife for many years and they didn't procreate, which is no surprise, given the contract. In the meantime, the Gandharvas in Heaven were getting impatient. They wanted Urvashi back where she belonged and ended up hatching a deep dark plan. It started with two lambs of all things, which they came over and tied to Urvashi's bed. Just imagine, she allowed two lambs in her bed, but not her husband. Poor h! The lambs were her darlings, not so the h. P shrugged patiently as far as I could make out. The G's, however, were less than patient. They managed to steal one of the pair of lambs in the middle of the night. Terrible! Buying a gift only to snatch it away! Urvashi was a light sleeper I guess and she found out about her loss in no time at all and pleaded with her husband that he retrieve her lost property. But P, though not sharing U's bed, was not wearing any clothes on that night either. In his hurry, he forgot all about this and chased the thieves in the same state in which Archimedes was supposed to have run Eureka-ing.
Ha! the G's were waiting for just this. They asked the clouds, which I guess were under Lord Indra's control, to loudly thunder and send down a piece of lightening to reveal to the whole world, not just to Urvashi I mean, that P was not only running amok, but he was doing so in a state of stark "unfrock".
The trick worked alas and Urvashi's ticket for the return journey to Heaven was ready. P's pleadings went in vain, which suggests, doesn't it, that U was not really in love? Besides Lord Indra must have been in league with the G's, or else, who issued U the visa to enter Heaven?
Anyway, P travelled far and wide till one day he discovered Urvashi in company with a few other Apsaras disguised as swans and floating on a lake. A man in love being a man in love, Pururava had no difficulty in spotting the right swan during this identification parade. Once again, having attained considerable expertise as a pleader by now, P began to plead. But Urvashi was hard to convince. (She had lost track of her dance steps, but not really her heart, don't you think?) Finally, after being treated to the choicest garnishings of coaxing and cajoling, sprinkled in profusion over plates full of pleadings, she agreed to see him once every year and kept her promise for seven consecutive years, each year giving birth to a son. And believe me or not, the Pururava Municipality even has a record of their names: Ayu, Amavasu, Vishwayu, Srutayu, Drirhayu, Valayu and Shatayu. All ending in u's notice. The naming could have been inspired by the fact that the whole affair began with a U too.
Ultimately though, the Gandharvas permitted them full husband wife status after performing a whole lot of other tests all of which P passed with flying colours. It seems they lived that way till the rest of eternity. So, unless eternity is over, you'll find them blissfully in each other's arms and don't ask me how many children they have produced in the meantime, leave alone their names. That information they have doggedly refused to reveal.
I would have been happy to have left them alone you know but for this Max Mueller guy. He claimed Pururava represents the Sun and Urvashi the early Dawn. With the rising of the sun, a poorly lit dawn gets absorbed completely by the sunrays. Urvashi is the last vestige of darkness and Pururava is the arrival light! The love tale of Pururava and Urvashi symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. If Max Mueller is to be believed, then it is Love alone that makes Life survive.
Well folks, I have not concealed any information from you at all. If any questions still remain, you have to find the answers for yourself.
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