Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A for Agape (unconditional Love)

Agape-  An unconditional love, so committed, that it sees beyond your beloved’s flaws and shortcomings. It is about loving someone very deeply and yet expecting nothing in return.

Today’s tale is one such story from Mahabharata, that tells us about unconditional love. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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“It is time for all of us to give up this earthly body and begin our ascent to heaven,” announced Dharma Putra Yudhistir to his brothers and their common wife Draupadi.

The four brothers and Draupadi nodded their heads dutifully and followed him as he led the pathway to heaven atop the Meru mountains.  As they began climbing, Yudistir warned them, “If anyone of us falls down or is unable to climb higher, the others must not look back. They must continue climbing the peak. However, if you look back, you will forfeit your own position in heaven and will perish too.”

The Swargarohini peak on Mount Meru was steep, and the snow made it even more difficult to climb. As they climbed higher, Bheem looked at the beautiful Draupadi. She was an epitome of grace and beauty. She was fiery, courageous and strong. Yet she could be incredibly child-like and stubborn. He had fallen in love with her at first sight. But he had never told her that, for he knew, that she loved Arjuna the most. Now as they took the last strides of their lives, he was filled with a desire to know if she had loved him as much as he had.

He had always fulfilled her every wish, her every desire, be it bringing her flowers from the garden of Kuber or ripping open the heart of Dushasana and bringing her his blood  so that she could wash her hair with it. He had torn apart Keechaka for casting his evil eye on her with the same ease as one would tear a piece of cloth.

He had loved her all his life, unconditionally, unquestioningly and unwaveringly. It had never mattered to him that she did not reciprocate. She was his wife too, and he did not suspect her devotion towards him even for a minute.

Suddenly there was a sound. 

Draupadi had fallen. 

Bheem’s heart sank the minute he realized this. “Parth,” screamed Draupadi as she fell, calling out to her beloved Arjuna. 

But oblivious to anything around him, Arjuna continued climbing. Tears filled Draupadi’s eyes as she saw Arjuna, her husband, whom she had loved the most, walk away without even a glance.  

Hearing Draupadi’s cries, Bheem could walk no further.  “How can I walk away when my beloved in is so much pain, can I let her die before my very eyes?” 

Unheeding of his brother’s warnings, he turned back and walked towards her and picked her up in his arms.

Nesting in his strong arms, Draupadi looked at her four husband’s walking further away from her and then she looked at the mighty Bheem. His eyes were full of love for her. She had been so overwhelmed with her feelings for Arjuna that she had never recognized Bheem’s love for her. She thought of all the times Bheem had stood by her fulfilling her every command. He was the only one who had roared like a lion when Duryodhana had attempted to outrage her modesty, even as her other husbands sat with lowered heads. She had seen his monstrous and unrepentant side when he avenged her humiliation by slaying Keechaka, but she had also witnessed his soft side that been torn and in pain and had shed tears when Draupadi had to serve as a maid to the queen of Matsya. He had indeed loved her the most.

As she gasped for breath, she whispered, “Oh Bheem, I have never told you how much I love you, but at this very moment, I love you the most.” And then she signaled for him to leave, “Go, and join your brothers.”

Not willing to leave her behind, Bheem carried her in his arms, even though he knew she was dying. He tried to climb again, but he collapsed soon and died holding his beloved Draupadi’s hands till their very last breaths.

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 Hope you enjoyed reading this little-known story from the great epic. Have you experienced or heard of such unconditional love? Do share it here.

Linking back to the A to Z challenge

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This day, last year...A for Appreciate.

42 comments:

  1. Love really does hold no boundaries. What a great theme to choose! A very sad, but lovely story.
    Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings

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    1. Thanks for visiting Brandy..Do come back for more!

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  2. Touching story from the great Epic. Truly unconditional love is quite a rarity! Great start :)

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    1. It is Vidya..and blessed are those who receive it!

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  3. Didn't know of this tale in the Mahabharata, Titli :) Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Oh! Wow! This made for a very interesting read! Was not aware of this story! Thanks for sharing, S! And a great start to the challenge! :)

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    1. Thanks Shilpa! it is one of the lesser known stories!

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  5. Wow, that's a superb story. Mahabharata is full of such gems. Sometimes we are blind and cannot recognize true love, even though that person keeps sacrificing in the hope of reciprocation. Awesome start to the challenge

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    1. Thanks Prasanna...you are right, and then some people give up and some go on like Bheem...

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  6. Bheem is known for his strength, but you brought out the feelings of love in him so beautifully. Well written :-)

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    1. you are right Amrit...maybe this shows that people are not actually what they seem like!

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  7. Lovely story - very melancholy. I love your blog and will return!

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  8. That's true love...didnt know this part of Mahabharata... thanks for sharing :)

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  9. Nicely told tale, Titli. Bheem's love for Draupadi was indeed very special. And if we think deeply about the symbolic meaning in his expression of love as compared to the expressions of other four brothers we will get a fuller picture of how human love is and can be expressed in different ways depending on the dominant character of human nature. My understanding is that each of the Pandavas loved Draupadi in their own special way.

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    1. yes they did indeed love her in their own different ways, and each of their expression of love was different. a few of them might find their way into the challenge!

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  10. Awww, such a beautiful story! And from one of my favorite epics, too :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. It is? then hold on for there's more to come!

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  11. Never knew this part of Mahabharatha. Touching story indeed.

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  12. I discovered the Mahabharata when I read Devi Vanamali's wonderful book about Krishna, The Play of God, in 2002. There are so many beautiful, inspiring stories in it. I wish it were better-known in the West.

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    1. I am glad you have read about it before...that would make understanding these concepts easier..I would also recommend a book "God talks to Arjuna" by Sri Yogananda Parmahansa...the light it throws on our understanding is vast.

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  13. There is no selfless reason to love and insightful about the Mahabharata. Very well written, Titli:)

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  14. Agape. One of my favorite words in the World and in the Word! And thanks for participating in A to Z!

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    1. Im having fun too Stephen..and thanks for visiting!

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  15. Thanks for writing this post, it is enlightening. Mums love is selfless, unconditional, isnt it?

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    1. bang on Arpita...i have always felt that a mom's love is the most selfless love in the whole world!

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  16. Bheema is one of the characters besides Karna that has always intrigued me. Have you read The Palace of Illusions? A beautiful book. That was where I read this story of Bheema first. You have narrated it so well :)

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    1. I first heard this story as a part of a pravachan and it was narrated in a different context but i felt this part does justice to the unconditional love of bheema for draupadi..
      no I havent read the said book..will do.. thanks!

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  17. Oh how beautiful. Glad Draupadi finally acknowledged Bheem.

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  18. This incident never happened in the epic, since Bheem too kept on walking by Yudhisthir's side without turning back for Draupadi. However, its a good piece of imagination.

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    1. While most books say that Bheem was the last to fall, the essence of this post is to talk about the love between Bheem and Draupadi, which though one-sided for the most part was largely unconditional. My theme for the challenge is different kinds of love...do come back to read more!
      thanks for reading Sweety!

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  19. OMG! What a lovely story. Mahabharata sure has so many interesting tales, still unexplored. Thank you for sharing this one :)

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  20. How lovable and commendable of Bheem to stand by her even when others have left her..sign of true love,dedication.

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At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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