[Advaita-l] What we could learn from Mythology

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Feb 20 03:04:04 EST 2018

This message was received by WhatsApp group: ( As written By Devdutt

One of the most disturbing stories that we find in the Puranas is the story
of Krishna's son Samba, whose mother was the bear-princess, Jambavati.

He dupes his father's junior wives by disguising himself as Krishna and is
cursed by Krishna that he will suffer from a skin disease that will enable
his wives to distinguish father and son. Samba is cured after he builds
temples to the sun. All sun temples in India, from Konark in Odisha to
Modhera in Gujarat to Markand in Kashmir, are attributed to this son of

Samba also attempts to kidnap Duryodhana's daughter and this leads to war
between the Kauravas and the Yadavas. Peace is restored, and the marriage
is solemnised, only after Balarama, Krishna's elder brother, and Samba's
uncle, in a fit of fury threatens to drag Hastinapur into the sea.

Then there is the story of Samba pretending to be a pregnant woman and
duping sages who were visiting Dwaraka. They sages were not amused and
cursed Samba that he would give birth to an iron mace that would be
responsible for the end of the Yadu clan.

Must not Krishna's son be as noble and divine and wise and loving as
Krishna? But that is not so. Samba comes with his own personality and his
own destiny over which Krishna has no influence. Or does he?

Can we wonder if Samba was a product of his father's neglect? For was not
Krishna spending most of his time with Arjuna and the Pandavas and in the
politics of Kuru-kshetra?

There are hardly any stories of Krishna as father. He is friend,
philosopher and guide to Arjuna, but the only stories of father and son are
of tension, rage and violence.

In conversations about corporates, we often forget about the other half of
our lives, the personal one. As more and more people are working 24x7,
thanks to Internet, and smart devices, the lines between professional and
personal, work and life are getting blurred. In fact, people feel noble
when they sacrifice family for work and guilty when they take a holiday to
take care of their family.

Family is not seen as achievement. Children are not seen as purpose. They
are seen as obligations, duties, by-products of existence, even collateral

We admire leaders who sacrifice family for a 'larger' cause. Like freedom
fighters who neglect their wives and children. Like business men and
entrepreneurs and consultants who spend most of their time in office.

With the rise of feminism, women are also working. Parenting has been
outsourced to maids, teachers, computers, videogames and grandparents.

Women who work in the office have not been compensated by their husbands
spending more time at home. Instead women are made to feel guilty for not
being good mothers. No one questions men for not being good fathers.
Eventually, the office wins. Absent parents rationalise how office is more
important than the children: we need the money, the children eventually
grow up, surely our needs are also important.

Many great Krishnas in the workplace discover that they have nurtured Samba
at home: sons who either follow destructive paths as they seek attention,
or sons who make their way away from parents, as they have grown used to
not having them around. Who wins?

Corporates were supposed to create wealth for the family. Now families are
creating only workers for the corporates.

We have many more Krishnas in this generation and maybe many Sambas in the

As written By Devdutt Pattanaik............

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