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Chapter 2 - Kunti learns a Mantra


Preparations for the arrival of Durvasa were in full swing. The Brahmins were busy perfecting their intonations and enunciations. (Usually they could get by with many mistakes and even chanting the wrong mantras but Durvasa and his retinue would spot it in an instant.) The preparation of the food, lodging arrangements were supervised by Kunti in name only. The king had ensured that his entire advisory was on the task and that Kunti merely knew what was going on. He was after all trying to do what was best for the kingdom.
Sage Durvasa and his retinue finally arrived. They were spotted by the tower guards and information was relayed across stating that a band of safron wearing mendicants has been seen. Durvasa of course was the leader of the pack. He was the only one sporting a beard while the rest were bereft of hair from head to toe. (These brahmins never did anything by halves, either they had beards upto their feet or they had nothing, Tapasya(meditation in plain english) was the the stage in between).
The king greeted them with the warmest regards
"Sage Durvasa, the greatest among the Rishis, thank you for gracing us with your presence". As Kuntibhoja was continuing to speak Durvasa interrupted him almost rudely. 
"KuntiBhoja, spare us the formalities, we have travelled a long way and are hungry, lead us to our baths and put some food in our bellies". Kunti suppressed a barely hidden chuckle at this.
This scared the king for an advisor of his had asked him to keep going as long as possible as they did not have enough bathing rooms setup. They had severely underestimated the size of Durvasa's company.
The king though seething could not do anything except talk which he was stopped from doing. Kunti overheard as she was right beside and she had an idea. Before the king could speak again she said
"Maharishi, if you and your retinue would follow me I shall lead you to the river close by. It would serve as your bathing station and allow you to pray to the river goddess as well".
At this Durvasa nodded his assent and lead his troops behind Kunti. While the troop was having a bath she told the king that she had arranged for more food than necessary because she had thought that more people than expected might come along. Kunti had reasoned that Sage Durvasa must have the most disciples because he was a picky guest and his being picky would ensure that the disciples got better treatment than if they went with other sages.
Kuntibhoja was more relieved than pleased at this point. The party took its bath and was refreshed. They desired a meal and Kunti ensured that everyone was served taking personal care of Sage Durvasa.
The yagna was due to begin. Durvasa and Kuntibhoja sat beside each other and Kunti was nowhere in sight. This Kuntibhoja decided was a good time to ask him
"Maharishi, I couldn't help but notice that you informed me in your dream that you would like Kunti to take personal care of you and your camp. She is but a girl not used to hard labour. I will put my finest concierge at your service for the duration of your stay if you will but stay this request"
"My good king, I was quite clear in my request. Do not presume to think that I perform my actions without thought. The reasons you mention of her not carrying out her task are precisely the reasons that she should do them. This brooks no discussion unless of course you would like us out of your kingdom. Did you not see that she led us to the river when the baths were underprepared. She has a presence of mind which can only increase."
The king thought that he would gladly have thrown them out but to cast a man of learning would doom his kingdom and race forever, hence the discussion ended.
While the yagna was going on Kunti had wisely supervised the shifting of the lodging near the river. This way she reasoned all the bodily functions could be taken care of with far greater ease and being closer to nature would keep the whole party calm.
Durvasa stayed in the kingdom of Kuntibhoja for a year. In that time they scarcely had a cause for complaint. Everyday Kunti grew in confidence. There was a spring in her step and a command in her voice that wasn't present before. The king's advisors who had guided her before now took her orders calmly trusting that she knew best.
Now the task before Kunti wasn't hard in the usual sense but to take care of a band of people for a year is a hard task but one that she got used to and one she enjoyed. It was more a matter of persistence and thoroughness. She found Durvasa to be rather like a grandfather, one who is impetuous in his youth but mellows with age and in turn Durvasa looked up her as a daughter. Durvasa and Kunti got on surprisingly well.
When she got to know him well she even dared ask him
"Maharishi, I had heard such stories about you and yet our kingdom is as before, I know many occasions where I breached protocol but the land still stands" to which Durvasa replied
"My child, the threat often causes more fear than the thing itself. I did turn someone to stone in my youth but those were different reasons. Stories about my temper spread. I let them stay because they ensured I was treated better and they got me a reputation. Not even Sages are immune to a little vanity."
The time for departure came sooner than expected and Kunti was surprised to feel a twinge of sadness to see them leave. While the farewells were taking place he suddenly had a vision in which he saw Kunti being married to an impotent. He knew that there was nothing that could be done about this because such was destiny and that he should simply leave. Unfortunately Durvasa had developed a fondness for the child and asked her to remember a Mantra which would enable her to invoke any god she wished and have a child through their union.
Thus did Kunti learn the Mantra that would change everything.

Comments

Abhinav Mittal said…
Awesome read...mast hai...aur likhiye...
Kartik Kaipa said…
likhte hai likhte hai dekhte hai kya hota hai :)
Unknown said…
Can someone give me exact sanskrit version of the mantra
You should go through Atharvaveda. That is the best option. I can give you mritsanjeevani mantra but for kunti mantra even i want to go through Atharvaveda.

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