In Pursuit of Krishna

One morning I sat in my room, sulking. I don't remember why. I probably didn't know why I was sulking when I was sulking. My aunt noticed this and said, "Go to the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple and find the answers to your questions."

So I caught  a bus to Tiruvanmiyur bus stand and from there I caught a share-auto to the  ISKCON.  This auto driver drove on and on. I began to wonder if he was taking me to ISKCON or to Vaikuta (Vishnu's abode).

At one point I got off the auto although not at the destination. I confirmed the direction towards ISKCON and got onto another share-auto. I finally reached an arch which I'd never seen before in my life.

I entered the arch and walked on and on up the road, and finally a temple structure emerged.  This was NOT the ISKCON I'd been to before.

I rang up my ISKCON friend and said "I think I reached the other ISKCON."

But what did it matter, ISKCON is ISKCON, Krishna is Krishna. I paid my obeisance to the deities, took the prasadam and headed for the ISKCON restaurant (lunch time).

The moment the waiter approached me, he said "Thali?" Like it was written all over my face.  I finished a delicious lunch and left.

Lazy as I was, I caught an auto to the nearest bus stop(which turned out to be just on the main road.) From here I caught a share-auto to Tiruvanmiyur bus stand (a very painful journey as I'm tall and my legs are very long.) Then an auto to the ISKCON I knew.

I reached the Tiruvanmiyur ISKCON temple and rang up my friend. We sat at the reception and spoke for quite some time. I tell you, Vaishnava teachings can be scarier than Christianity sometimes.

Finally, I returned home by a direct auto as I was completely broke by now.

The Poisoning of Bheema

Sibling jealousy is not new to our age. It has been there since time immemorial. Right from the very beginning of time, even the gods have shown signs of immense jealousy towards the demons and and other gods.

More than five thousand one hundred years ago, the Kaurava, the jealous princes of Kuru clan, lived with a bitterness against the Pandava, their five pious cousins.

The Pandavas being the sons of Pandu, the rightful king, were thus the rightful heirs to the throne. Pandu accidentally killed a couple of hermits (ouch) disguised as deer while mating  (double ouch) and incurred a curse that he'll die likewise. Thus his wife Kunti, by virtue of sage Vyasa's foresight, blessing and boon, invoked five gods to bestow upon her and Maduri, his other wife, five children possessing their characteristics.

Thus were born the eldest Yudhishira (son of Yama Dharmaraj, god of death, time and righteousness), Bheema (son of Vayu, wind), Arjuna (son of Indra, king of all gods) and, Nakula and Sahadeva (sons of the Ashwini Twins, gods of health).

The Kaurava were the sons of the blind king Dhritharashta, who was a caretaker during Pandu's self-imposed exile, and the blind-folded queen Gandhari, who was so jealous when Kunti had children before her. (What an idiot! No wonder the Kaurava were later so messed up.) This resulted in Gandhari's pregnancy being divided into a hundred and one children.

Dhuryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, brayed like a donkey when he was born. Thunder sounded and lightning flashed, and wolves howled. Vidhura, Dhritarahtra's brother and son of a maid servant, warned the king that these were ill omens and to kill the child ASAP!!! But the blind king was too blind to listen. (I suppose he was both blind and deaf to the truth.)

One day, Dhuryodhana poisoned a bowl of pudding and offered it to Bheema. The latter, being young innocent, naive and ever ready to eat, accepted it without suspicion.  The poison rendered Bheema unconscious and Dhuryodhana rolled him into the nearest river.

Deep down in the river, poisonous snakes bit Bheema and sucked out all the venom from his body. The they escorted him to their palace.

"Who are you?" Asked the king.

"Bheema, son of Kunti!" Said Bheema, proudly.

"Is that so?" Said the King and gave Bheema another drink. "That makes you my nephew."

This drink gave Bheema, the unmatched in strength, even more strength - the strength of  a thousand elephants. When Bheema returned to his brothers, he told them about what had happened.

"Dhuryodhana is your brother. Don't speak ill of him." Yudhishtira, the eldest Pandava said.

"Alright then, the poison was wonderful." Bheema said, sarcastically. "May I have some more?"