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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Manthara's Mantra

MANTHARA; insidious, devious, amoral, unscrupulous and what not, words that come to our mind with a certain rage in order to define her vicious character whose trickery turned the tables overnight and the virtuous son of Ayodhya was enforced for exile. Such an evil woman was she; but wait, I mean if she hadn't been "the bad", then Shri Ram would have been coronated. Sweet, an ideal king would have ruled Ayodhya, but what difference could it made as Dashrath was also a great king by all means. How would have he became 'the one', the installer of dharm, annihilator of Raavarn, the very motive of Shri Ram's descent.  In fact, why would I have been be sharing my views with you as there wouldn't have been any epic created.
So, whatever happened due to Manthara; was it good, was she a moral woman who sacrificed herself only to be remembered as we recognize her at present. First, we should know what our legends tell about her:
  • Manthara, a native of Kaikeya kingdom(present day Pakistan, to an extent), maid to the royal family. She was appointed as Kaikeyi's governess where they both found a mother-daughter affection towards each other.
  • Her appearance was pretty unusual; hunchbacked and quite ugly.
Manthara, corrupting Kaikeyi's mind
  • When Kaikeyi was married to King Dashrath; maids and servants were sent as dowry. Manthara also accompanied Kaikeyi due to the bond they shared and to guide her for her new responsibilities.
  • She loved Bharat like a grandson and always aspired kingship for him. When Shri Ram's coronation was announced, she was fumed with rage and jealousy and thus brainwashed Kaikeyi's mind deviating her to enforce expulsion for Shri Ram.
  • According to a theory, King Dashrath had promised King Ashwapati(father of Kaikeyi) that the son born from his daughter would be the heir apparent of Ayodhya, as Kaushalya; the senior queen failed to produce any son. But when Kaushalya gave birth to Shri Ram, being the eldest, he was announced as the future king. This was unacceptable to Manthara as it was unjustified the King breaking his promise.
  • Manthara also saw it as a threat(unfounded), as the coronation of Shri Ram would devalue kaikeyi's position ultimately affecting her grounds.
  • Post Dashrath's demise; when Shatrughan found the horrids that Manthara plotted, he decided to execute her for the offence she committed. It was then Bharat who interfered and saved her life.
The role of Manthara had been very critical and always has created curiosity among the minds of the curious'. She is considered to be the stimulus who actually triggered the whole set of events that proceeded afterwards and made the legend presumable. The above mentioned facts belong to different theories or sources, one theory also states that after Shri Ram's coronation was announced, Indra(king of the devas) requested her to corrupt Kaikeyi's mind in order to banish Shri Ram for the woods. But this theory along with the Ashwapati story described above are not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan, hence authenticity is doubted. According to V R, Manthara was a canny maid who was filled with jealousy and insecurity and hence fomented Kaikeyi. It doesn't matter much, whether Dashrath made any commitment or Indra requested Manthara, what matters is, a divine motive was accomplished in her guise. May be she was negative for planning the exile conspiracy, but her loyalty towards Kaikayi and Kaikeya can't be questioned and through that perspective, she was doing her job, where she went wrong? Well she went too far and conspired putting all the ethics aside that ultimately took the king's life. I say all this to present an open picture, where we can see as well as put our point of view.

Like I said once, destiny will happen no matter how impossible the conditions may look. Manthara was a maid, but a divine inspiration and her affection towards Kaikeyi pushed her to dare what even she had not imagined. Now consider the following incidents; association with Guh and the Vaanars, annihilation of the evil rakshasas in the dandkaranya, upliftment of the sages, redemption of Sugreeve and Vibhisharn, annihilation of Raavarn and unification of civilizations(arya and non-arya; humans with vaanars and rakshasas) all these that I have been discussing about in my blogs initiated here, from this incidence. You can now see how things are interrelated and hence the actualization has arrived.

Today we are celebrating Deepawali, Shri Ram's arrival after completing the exile; festivals of lights, luminosity everywhere where there would be no scope for dark. Take one more step and spread this cheer out of your circles, try to bring smiles to those who are not fortunate enough to do so themselves and the feel great will do the job for you. Remember, even a small diya can eradicate complete darkness, like the small episode of Manthara lead to the installation of righteousness.

नमोस्तुते श्री राघवम्, जिनकी माया से चराचर जगत मंत्र-मुग्ध है 
"your one small step can turn out to be an accomplishment, if your heart is at the right place and the timing of your attitude is right"

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