A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chandra Tara & Adultery – Concluding Part

Earlier we have read how Tara decides to stay back at Chandra’s place and Brihaspati’s pleas of returning Tara go unheard, as Chandra feels that he had not forced Tara to stay back.

An angry Brihaspati went to Lord Indra and sought his help in retrieving his wife. When Indra sent his emissary to seek the release of Tara, Chandra sent him back with a mouthful. Chandra’s contention was that if a woman willfully left her home to stay with another man, then what was the fault of the man she chose to stay with? Also, family bliss was dependent on both the husband and the wife being happy, but if the wife was not happy, then how can one ensure the happiness of the family?

Tara was unhappy with Brihaspati not just for her reasons of sexual pleasure. She was also unhappy, because Brihaspati had forcibly made love with Mamta, the wife of his brother. He further went to ridicule Indra for fighting against supposed adultery, when Indra himself was known for many such escapades. Soon matters came to the stage of a war amongst the gods, with Chandra on one side and Indra on the other. However, Lord Brahma intervened and it was decided, without asking Tara of course, that Tara would have to return to Brihaspati. Brishaspati was happy and took Tara back with him.

But Tara was pregnant when she went back with Brihaspati. When a son was born, Brihaspati started making arrangements for his naming ceremony, but then Chandra objected to it, saying that it was his right to do so. Once again matters came to a war-like situation and Lord Brahma had to intervene in the claim for the son. Lord Brahma asked Tara as to whose child was it, since only a mother knew the father of her child. Tara said that it was Chandra’s. Chandra was happy and took his son away and named him Budh.

An interesting myth that is part of astronomical myths. Chandra as we know was the Moon, Tara represented the stars. Brihaspati is the planet Jupiter and Budh is the planet Mercury. The love of Tara can be seen till date when they come out twinkling when the moon is out!

The conversation between Chandra and Brihaspati and the emissary of Indra is quite interesting. Nowhere was Tara chastised for her decision of willfully staying on with Chandra and the latter misses no opportunity to ridicule Brihaspati for his inability to keep his wife happy. This myth is discussed in detail in the first book of Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, in Chapter XI, “Birth of Budh”. Some of these issues have been discussed threadbare and without any restrain.

In the war of gods, Tara does not face any defamation or retribution from her husband, Brihaspati. Chandra justifies by saying that Tara was with him out of her choice and would not force her to leave. Lord Brahma decides against Tara’s wish to stay with Chandra, but without any reprimand. The birth of Budh is also resolved in favour of Chandra. The entire dissatisfaction of Tara was based on physical aspects of looks and love-making skills of Chandra as against her husband. No aspect of emotion, love, etc. is discussed or brought out. Is this to say that these aspects do not have any bearing on a relationship? Is sexual satisfaction the driving force of maintaining a relationship or was this myth only implying that no matter what be the cause, a married woman belongs to the husband? (Refer to the earlier myth of Swetaketu)

Chandra is considered to be the first of the Chandra-vamshi, followed by Budh and then his son Pururava (This is Utkarsh Speaking: Urvashi and Pururavas). The heroes of the epic Mahabharat are all chandra-vamshis and surely go on to display their preoccupation with sex. To sum it, let me quote Prof. Satya Chaitanya, “The moon is the deity of the mind in both Vedic literature and subsequent Indian philosophy. And the mind is a slave to passions. In any case, a legacy of the moon god thus is one of powerful sexual longing – amoral or immoral – and this becomes the legacy of a vast number of kings in the lunar dynasty. King after king falls because he becomes a victim to unbridled sexuality.” And this as they say is history of epic proportions, as we see Yayati, Shantanu, Vichitraveer, etc. are examples of this.

The above myth is significant from the perspective that adultery is discussed in ancient scriptures threadbare. The intention of this article is not to be judgmental, but to relate a myth and its source for us to understand the position taken by each, irrespective of the resolution. What is important is not the outcome of the controversy, but the conversation that takes place.

If one opines that Tara, the woman is only a means to discuss the topic of adultery, then that would be an extremely myopic view. The way she exercises her choice, stays on with Chandra, and is not faulted ever, is significant in the narrative to bring out her position of a woman, who had a choice.

1 comment:

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