THE TRAGEDY OF A STYGMATISED FEMALE CHARACTER FROM HINDU MYTHOLOGY
It was another tranquil evening in Dankaranya. After the sunset, birds were quiet…. the forest did not betray any movement. Mild fragrance of wild flowers hung heavy among the trees . The river
This evening , a young woman was reclining on a flower decorated divan. placed on a raised platform adjacent to the river’s bank. Her supple athletic body betrayed slight tension. Her companions had lit up the platform with decorative lamps and placed incense sticks in its four corners . One of them was playing a stringed instrument softly. Her favourite masseur was ready with lukewarm oil, mixed with herbal ingredients and bowls of warm water, waiting slightly impatiently for the touch of her sensuous body his deft fingers would get during this chore and the pain of his ever-unfulfilled arousal. Her favourite snacks and drink were ready on a silver platter placed near her divan. A perfect set-up for relaxation of this special woman who spent the day riding through the forest on horse-back and hunting.
One of her companions came near her with slow-burning camphor, soaked in aphrodisiacs. She informed her that three young satraps of this forest were waiting in her pavilion .......invited to join her for a sumptuous dinner and later a session of wild revelry and dance to the tune of orgasmic drum-beats .
But, her mind was wandering far away from this set-up and another evening of heightened pleasure. She was staring at the flicker of light coming from a distance through trees of this forest. She was intrigued by the dwellers of the sprawling cottage where the light was coming from. This cottage came up after she last visited this favourite hunting place of hers. She was , therefore, naturally curious about the dwellers of this cottage. She found there were three persons in this cottage. Two young men, one practicing archery and the other repairing the thatching of the cottage….. and a veiled beauty, humming and watering the creepers on the fencing. One thing she noticed : They were so different from all the people she knew in the power circle she belonged to.
This woman was no ordinary person. Her father was a very respected sage, her eldest brother a very powerful king, dreaded for his exploits of kingdoms and women, and her half-brother the richest person of the universe. Enlightened and sophisticated woman she was, with huge resources placed at her disposal. Her prowess has attracted many virile men to her inner circle. But, for the first time in her life, she felt attracted to a man, in a way she could not fathom herself.
These three persons staying at the distant cottage were no ordinary persons either. But, they were busy with their lives, having no idea what would befall upon them the next morning , when their neighbour would walk into their cottage with an unexpected request. The course of event would change not only their lives for ever but those of thousands whose existence they were not yet aware of.
This was the night before the start of a war Gods would watch with trepidation. One of the greatest poets of
She is Soopananakha, grand-daughter of sage Pulastya, daughter of Visrava and Kaikasee, sister of Ravana and half-sister of Kuber. Next morning, she would put on her best dress, jewelry and demeanour , and offer herself to the archer she saw from a distance. The other young man , the archer’s younger brother, would jeer at her dark skin , taunt her for her amorous advances and throw her out of their cottage . Losing her cool, she would turn blind with rage and create a ruckus. In a cruel act of retribution by the younger brother, she would be disfigured permanently.Her bodyguards would be killed. Soon, her eldest brother Ravana would abduct the veiled beauty to avenge this insult. A devastating battle would engulf her country bringing in immense tragedy into the lives of the all the valiant relatives of Soorpanakha as well as to the person she wanted to allure into her life.
This is a tale of
A conventional portrayal of Soorpanakha under attack - Jorbangla temple ,Bishnupur