Growing up on a steady diet of ‘Amar Chithra Katha’ and ‘Chandamama’, I was always intrigued by the character of Narada, his buttery eloquence, his perpetual nosing into others affairs, his insatiable curiosity,his gossip mongering, his devotion to Lord Vishnu and his ability to travel to all the three worlds at the speed of  ‘mano vega’ ,’the speed of thought’.

The agony laced anticipation of his hosts who could never turn him away, considering his scholarly achievements and his closeness to the higher ups- the trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and their unhappy hosting of narada is fun to read about.

Narada, however desrves some credit for being the first journalist ever ‘yours truly, reporting from all the three worlds viz The Swarga Loka, the heavens, The Earth and the Patala Loka or the nether world’. He is also an expert in communication and management and has with his timely intervention and sage counsel benefited many.

Here’s a story of Narada advising the king Barvis, an adaptation from Cherkil Govindankutty Nair’s Kuttikalude Shreemad Bhagavatham.

Once upon a time there was a king by name Puranjan who had a friend, who neither had any name nor any identity. The king did not bother about this friend as he was in search of a better life and managed to reach a city. Amidst the city, he saw a beautiful palace and in the garden of that beautiful palace was a beautiful woman who welcomed the king endearingly. Intoxicated by her beauty, the king inquired who she was. The woman said that she did not know who she was but was waiting for a true lover and has found the same in the king. The king was elated and he led a happy life in the palace with his wife now called Puranjani.The beautiful palace in which they lived had 9 doors, 2 below and 7 above. The palace was guarded by a fierce five-hooded serpent called Prajagaran.

Puranjan got what he wanted but in the process of seeking pleasures he was enslaved by them and lost what was dear to him, his identity, his personality, he was a mere slave to his wife.The couple led a blissful life and often went out for trips and tours on their chariot which had 5 horses(representing the 5 senses), thus making their lives more pleasurable.

Once when the king returned home after hunting in the wild, he was shocked to see his palace enveloped in a pall of gloom. He asked for his wife and was told that she has retired to the anger room where she was lying on the floor with her hair astray and devoid of any ornaments.

The worried king rushed to his wife,embraced her, consoled her and promised never to leave her alone. The couple lived for 100 years and had 1100 sons and 110 daughters who were married off at an appropriate time.

While living in such prosperity, their palace was attacked by a Gandharva called Chandavegan. Though the five-hooded serpent,Prajagaran tried his best, a lady called Kala Kanyaka along with her siblings burnt the entire city of Puranjan to ashes. Puranjan died craving for his wife. Even when he was dying he could not think of his friend,the one who had no name or identity.

In his next birth Puranjan was born as a princess, Vaidharbi. Vaidharbi  grew up to be married to a man of values and morals called Malayadwajan. They had 2 children and having completed the duties of grihasthashrama the couple decided to retire to a forest for a more peaceful life. Malayadwajan, however did not live long and upon his death, consumed by sorrow, the lady, Vaidharbhi too wanted to kill herself. When she was about to jump into the funeral pyre, a brahmana, stopped her crying,’ Hey, remember you are neither man nor woman. In your last birth you never remembered me but in this birth you have lived an austere life and hence you can join me in heaven.’

Narada further explained the characters of this strange story. Puranjan is nothing but ‘life’, his friend being the ‘supreme power or almighty’. The serpent guarding the life is ‘prana’ or ‘life breath’. The palace with nine doors is the human body and the lady Puranjani is ‘intelligence’. In the pursuit of pleasures the true friend who has neither , name nor identity, ‘the supreme power’ was forgotten. The gandharva called ‘Chandavegan’ is time and his friends are the days. The attack of the gandharva represents old age. The lady called ‘kala kanyaka’ stans for the ills of old age. Her siblings are the fears and diseases associated with it. When time and old age attacks, the body guarded by serpent of prana crumbles and puranjan i.e life ends. Puranjan is able to meet the lotus feet of god only when he pursues the path of dharma in his next birth as Vaidharbi.

Impressed by Narada’s sage counsel, the king Barvis puts an end to his futile search for glory through the many sacrifices and decides to go the forest for penance.

Thus ends the rather long story as told by Sage Narada, the naughty, some times wise and some times cunning sage.a2z-h-small

Mothering – To find an equal voice in an unequal world

Wishing for her strength, courage and success

I be bold for her, my love

I get up to stand


a voice whispers fear

a voice  murmurs doubt

a voice calls out ‘over weaning ambition’

a voice shouts ‘immaturity’

then shudder, tears, tremors

paranoia, break outs, sweat outs

pants, shivers, faints

Then from nowhere there is another voice

hesitant, growing bolder by the micro second

a voice that cooes success

a voice that asks to dream

a voice that prompts to dare

a voice stronger than myself

a voice that compels action

a voice that overcomes fear

a voice that says Do IT NOW

then a faint smile.

Asifa, Nirbhaya, Sharanya,Shruthi,

Katharine Switzer,Aruna Shaunbag

and many unknown martyrs

pay the price of being women

to the freedom of living

to the freedom of being

to the freedom of earning

to the freedom of dressing

to the freedom to speak for another

to the freedom of public places

to the freedom of one’s own room

to the freedom of having a voice

to the freedom of expression

to the freedom of learning.

Half the world’s population

yet the struggle to be, just be!

Mayasura- The Architect

Mayasura was a well-known architect, so renowned that even to this day his magic works for companies specializing in design & architecture. See the links above!

After securing an alliance with powerful Drupad, the King of Panchal through the wedding of Draupadi, the Pandavas were indeed powerful. Sensing this change of equation, the King Dritharashtra, upon the advise and sage counsel of Bheeshma, Vidura, Drona and others invited them to Hastinapura.

The blind king, Dritharashtra knew that it was impossible to have peace at home with the arrival of Pandavas and the rising jealousy of his sons at their prosperity. He therefore advised the Pandavas to build their own kingdom in an area called Khandavaprastha.

Yudhisthira knew that Khandavaprastha was an arid, infertile land which cannot be populated, yet he took the challenge and accepted his father-like Dritharashtra’s order. In Khandavaprastha lived a talented and skilled Asura architect called Maya. To make the Khandavaprastha habitable, Arjuna invoked the fire god and burned the forests down , and while the serpents led by Taksha who inhabited the area were destroyed, Maya, a skilled asura architect was saved from death. Grateful for his life, Maya offered to  build the Pandavas a palace, unlike any other in that god-forsaken jungle. The Pandavas accepted the offer and the Asura immediately set to work.

Mayasura built a palace of such unparalleled beauty that it left the Pandavas awe-struck. With swiveling doors, decorated halls, ponds embedded with precious gems, changing colors and contours of the walls,floors so shining that it looked like a pond and ponds that deceived the eye to seem to be of solid ground and with fragrant manicured forests around the Pandavas got much more than what they had bargained for from their uncle, Dritharashtra and were obviously, delighted to inhabit  the Mayasabha, named after the maker,which, eventually came to be known as Indraprastha.

The Pandavas in their new found glory decided to invite their cousins the Kauravas to visit the palace and the Kauravas, promptly accepted the invitation more out of their curiosity to see the majestic residence of their rivals.

While entering into the magical palace of Indraprastha, Duryodhana was dumbfounded by its beauty. He could not make out where to step his foot, what looked like floor turned out to be water and what looked slippery and shining like water was solid ground. Watching Duryodhana’s antics, the queen of Indraprastha, Draupadi could not hold her laughter. She laughed out in derision when Duryodhana ended up falling into a pool of water and became all wet. While Duryodhana had hoped that no one had noticed him Draupadi’s laughter ringing out aloud in the palace halls, angered him and he feeling humiliated and spurned, decided to avenge his honor. A friendly visit thus sealed the rising animosity of the Kauravas to Pandavas.

Though I cannot recollect the exact title, I remember reading about this incident in the amazingly powerful satire of Shri Kunjan Nambiar, that poet who had the courage and the gumption to ridicule the pomp of aristocracy in his times. I have to make continuous attempts to improve my grasp of the richness of Malayalam literature, the glimpses of which I got through my Malayalam text books prescribed by the State Board of Education,  thanks to the wisdom and greatness of Dakshayani teacher at LSN Convent, Ottapalam, who will stay alive for ever in my heart.

So, here ends the tribute to the marvel of Maya, the asura, the super skilled architect!

Isn’t it what life is, what seems to be is not what it is and Mark Zuckerberg just proved it, facebook is not just a hang out site, it is a psychological profiling site, to surreptitiously gather data of individuals to dictate their social, political and behavioral patterns.

Well, I am still addicted to the Maya of the FB!