Saturday, April 4, 2015

D for Dalliance



What leads people to a dalliance? Is it lust, is it unfulfilled desires, or a combination of both?

This is a tale of lost love, lust, and unfulfilled desires, all of which led an unsuspecting woman to dally and finally led to her destruction.

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 Ahalya, the daughter of Lord Brahma, was indeed one of the Lord’s most beautiful creations. While gods, demigods, and men alike vied for her attention, Lord Indra, the king of the gods, was secretly in love with her and nurtured the dream to marry her one day. Ahalya was in love with Indra as well and hoped that he would win the challenge at her Swayamvar and take her hand in marriage. But it was Rishi Gautam, much elder to Ahalya and devoid of desires for worldly pleasures,  who fulfilled the challenge of crossing the three worlds in the shortest time, and thus was married to the beautiful Ahalya. Indra was devastated and he craved to be united with his beloved.

One early morning, Rishi Gautam had gone to the river Ganges to take his bath. Sensing an opportunity, Indra mounted his royal white elephant, Airavata, and descended down to earth. He quickly took on the guise of Rishi Gautam and knocked at Ahalya’s door.

“Swami, did you not just go to the Ganges to take your bath? Why are you back so soon? Did something happen?” asked the beautiful Ahalya.

“As I walked to the Ganges, my mind was full of your thoughts, my beloved,” said Indra disguised Rishi Gautam, “The fragrance of your hair, the fullness of your lips, and the depth of your kohl-lined eyes, have brought me back to you, my love.”

Ahalya was surprised to see her husband talking thus. The usually reticent sage was bestowing her with praise and extolling her beauty and she was overjoyed. She blushed, her cheeks flushed pink, and she lowered her eyes, lest her husband read the longing in her eyes.

“I cannot wait another moment for our bodies to join together in conjugal bliss,” he teased her, lifting her face to enjoy the coyness in her eyes.

Ahalya was taken aback. She remembered her husband refusing her the night before saying she was not in her fertile period. What could have made him change his mind? And why was he speaking to her so seductively? He had never done so before. But she had been longing for the sage’s attention and affection for so long, that she decided to put her doubts to rest and enjoy the moment instead.

As Indra embraced her, tenderly kissed her and ignited the flame of desire in her, she suddenly smelt Indra’s celestial fragrance and recognized the impersonator. But by then, she was so engulfed in the throes of passion that she chose to ignore the deception and continued to enjoy the dalliance.

A dalliance that would later leave them both cursed; she cursed into turning into a stone for many years, till Lord Rama blessed and set her free and Indra cursed with a human birth with a thousand eyes on his body, being born as Sahasraksha.

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Could Ahalya be faulted for dallying? As a woman, is she not entitled to fulfill her own desires? Must she repress her feelings because she is a woman? Or did she indeed commit adultery? What do you think?

Linking back to the A to Z challenge

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This day...Last year...D for Dream



45 comments:

  1. I'm totally with you! The idea of a 'swayamvar' where the bride is not actually in control of choosing her groom is itself just wrong!

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    1. How manipulative parents could become, no?!!

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  2. Poor Ahalya, she's in a losing proposition however you slice it, isn't she? But true love found a way--even if they did both end up cursed!

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    1. Yea right! it was a lose-lose situation for her indeed!

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  3. I had heard this story before but didn't know that Ahalya knew it was Indra! Well, now we cannot blame her, can we? She should have got the liberty to choose her groom!

    Double Jeopardy

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    1. She did realise that, albeit a little late! wonder what she would have done if Indra had come in his true form...

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  4. Whichever way you look at it, Ahalya was in a losing situation. Fate can be cruel sometimes. Enjoying your posts.

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzy! Poor lady, Ahalya!

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  5. I have heard this story before but loved the way you have narrated it. Ahalya's wishes were not taken into consideration during her marriage. Poor woman she was duped by Lord Indra himself.

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    1. Thanks, Prassana...It is sad how men can take a women wishes for granted.

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  6. Don't know whether the woman is guilty... But who are we to decide, na ...

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    1. Yea..that is also correct...we cannot stand in judgement of another..

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  7. One can not blame Ahalya completely. Had she been allowed to marry on her will, things could have been much different.

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  8. Another lovely, but sad story. I have to say I love the names of the characters in your stories. I am from Canada so I find these names so much more intriguing than the names I am used to.
    To answer your questions would be very complicated, but I will say that I am fully in support of women fulfilling their desires!
    Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings

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    1. Thanks Brandy for your thoughts! These characters are from our epics, the Mahabharata, Ramayana etc...and are common Indian names, so I cannot stake claim to the originality... I have taken these lesser known tales and tried to write it, as it seems from my point of view, constructing the emotions and feelings the protagonist might have gone through..

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  9. Uhmm! We are talking of a period which is BC. That being the case, am not in favor of extra marital affairs. Extra marital affairs can bring in so much anarchy, if at all the outcome is looked into. The protagonist if were male too, my reaction would be the same.

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    1. BC or AD, things have remained the same...feelings, have remained the same..and yes extramarital affairs are not really worth the emotional drain they cause, but don't you think, Indra was to blame for causing the deception, Gautam rishi was to be blamed for neglecting the desires of his wife and even Lord Brahma was to be blamed for not considering his daughter's wish before getting her married...Why blame poor Ahalya alone!

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  10. Women have been forever used as pawns in the greater scheme of things...disgusting.

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  11. i don't want to get into any kind of controversies by saying people should be allowed to choose their partner (because it's often misunderstood as advocating for oneself ). Don't get me wrong but even Ram asked Sita for Agni Test on trusting someone's else words (and i have strong reasons to not idolize someone for everything .. because i see people saying it proudly that it was done to set example .. God only knows what kind of example that was supposed to be (for me it was lack of trust ) ) .. !

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    1. I agree with your view that one must be allowed to choose their partner...(controversy or no controversy!) there is no guarantee that being in control of ur life means being right ...but at least you have no else to blame for ur decisions.

      The part about Lord Rama is a little complex for my understanding too...But maybe there are some aspects that I am not aware of.. that I will have to read.

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  12. Was not aware that she knew that it was Indra and not her husband! Interesting!

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    1. It seems she did realise... though it was too late to do anything about it!

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  13. Sometimes infidelity can be somewhat understood and excused, if it comes from a place of being ignored, neglected, and taken for granted. We all have needs and desires, and sometimes the urge is too strong to stay faithful when the existing partner hasn't been doing a good job.

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    1. You said it! momentary lapses do happen, and circumstances are to be blamed for it.

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  14. Her needs clouded her judgement. Everything we conclude is situational in nature. Beautifully written.Happy weekend.

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    1. Thanks for reading Lancelot! Such is human nature...

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  15. Well, this game was kind of rigged from t he start, since they married her off to someone who didn't want her and whom she didn't want either. Technically it was adultery, but I'd say good for her... except for the curse, of course. Women just can't win in mythology, can they...

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

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    1. I guess epics are full of stories where women have had to submit to external pressures, and yea...very few have actually been at the commandeering end!

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  16. But still at last she ignored it! That was something not good! Btw never heard this story before and glad I read this here!

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  17. The Syamvar thing is something imposed on women where they have little choice and first time, reading the legend. Very well said in a powerful manner:)

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  18. This is one of the reasons I hate India so much. People here don't even have the right to marry the person they wish to. "Others" make this decision for them. Just like "others" decide what we study, what career we go in, and what clothes we wear! Now, apparently, some "others" also want to decide how many kids we should have!

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  19. Simplistically composed and delicately rendered...enjoyed reading it through-out. Loved the questions raised as a part of epilogue. Glad I visited :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Manish! means a lot to hear that from wonderful writers like you!

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  20. Ah! The Ahalya-Indra being in love part is not part of the various versions I have read of that tale. She was so beautiful that ALL the demi-gods also wanted her, I remember. Ahalya, though, would have not been too keen on Indra for a husband, since he was already married to Indrani and, thus, she would have been secondary to him though, yes, the Rishi would probably not have been her first choice. :)

    There is certainly a version, though, where she sees through Indra's disguise, calls him on it but yet dallies with him out of curiosity. I think THAT was the original version. AND she WAS counted as one of the seven satis - so, it would appear, that in the days of yore, physical infidelity was not given as high a prominence as it has now.

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    1. The Indrani angle seems plausible...I will buy your argument...though I am not sure if Indra was already married by then. The change in my version is that she takes a little longer to see through his disguise and yet ignores the deception...there are minor changes in different versions...
      hmmm....in fact the panch kanyas Ahalya, Draupadi, Tara, Mandodari and Sita...all have some kind of doshas against them and yet valued highly...like you said, what constitutes morals now, definitely was not on the criterion list those days!

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    2. Ah! Yes! The Five satis is what I meant - Panchkanya. This number seven keeps creeping in even where you do not want it :)

      As for Indra being married, the most popular version is of Ahalya being created by Brahma to break the pride of Urvashi. She herself was the creation of Nar-Narayan,a tale that occurs AFTER the Daksh Yagna. Since by the time of the Daksh Yagna, Indra and the other demi-gods were already Daksh's sons-in-law, Indra must have been married before Ahalya was created.

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    3. Ah! Yes...the epics are so interesting to read and discuss...thanks for sharing :)

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  21. Don't know why the hell Rishi Gautam had to attend the swayamvar in the first place! Destiny I suppose! I always felt sorry for Ahalya being turned into a stone. That was so mean and no fault of hers. Beautifully written Little Princess. Loved reading it :)

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  22. She should not be judged..she has the right to choose..

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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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