Poor Devayani had to pay a heavy price for her love and kindness.
Everyone around was highly amused when a naïve, young wife of a dying husband refused to donate blood to her life partner very earnestly. After much goading for explanation, she spilled the beans albeit a little shyly. She said, that if she did donate her blood, she would soon share a ‘khoon ka rishta’ (blood ties) with her husband which would simply undo her conjugal vows.
When I heard this ‘joke’, I was amused initially but could not help feeling sorry for the young lass. If she had been an Egyptian of royal lineage, she would have given her blood more than willingly. After all sibling marriages were more or less the order of the day in that part of the globe for political reasons.
If she had read her fair share of John Donne, she could not have denied her hubby. Her reading of his naughty romantic poem ‘The Flea’ would have inspired her to pass on the ‘life saver’ without batting an eyelid. In this poem, the poet forbids his unrelenting ladylove teasingly not to kill the flea which sucked him first and then sucked her, by saying,
“O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage
However, the heroine of our subject had eons of Indian culture embedded in her genes which made her dismiss the idea vehemently. It was anathema to her.
She probably relived with the tragic love story of Devayani the daughter of the ‘asura’ guru Shukracharya, who fell hopelessly in love with Kacha the son of ‘deva’ guru Brihaspathi who had come to her father as his disciple to learn the art of immortality.
The ‘asuras’ who felt mighty insecure about Kacha killed him several times but he was invariably brought back to life by Shukracharya at the behest of his daughter by using the ‘Sanjeevani — the immortality mantra’. The demons who were sick of this disgustingly sick routine burned the body of Kacha, mixed his ashes in Shukracharya’s liquor and made the preceptor consume it.
This time around the teacher was foxed into teaching Kacha the invaluable mantra before restoring the latter’s life by allowing him to tear open his stomach.
Kacha, who emerged alive from his teacher’s belly brought his mentor back to life and went away, but not before rejecting Devayani’s love for he chose to look upon her as his sister as he had resurfaced to life through her father. Poor Devayani had to pay a heavy price for her love and kindness.
Perhaps this latent logic put off the young woman who could not bear the idea of losing her loved one in the name of co-sanguinity!