Which of us would not like to succeed and enjoy our name, fame, money and the status that comes along with it? The desire is but only natural and perfectly legitimate as long as we do not swerve from the path of truth and take to undesirable methods to achieve our goals. True, it is a tough proposition and sometimes it becomes very tempting for us to take up shortcuts to success. If we are under the impression that the said syndrome is the weakness of the human race alone, we must stand corrected.
The Markandeya Purana records a discord among the trinities on this count. Once it so happened that MahaVishnu and Brahma got into an unexpected argument. Each of them felt he was superior to the other. Shiva who was a witness to this altercation offered to find a solution to this issue. Accordingly, he metamorphosed into a linear flame and instructed the two discontented gods to find his beginning and the end. Brahma turned himself into a swan and flew upwards. Maha Vishnu bored into the bowels of the earth in the form of a tusked boar. Though both of them began zealously in right earnest, they were unable to reach their destination. After a considerable amount of effort and time, the two of them returned. Brahma said he had seen the tip of the Shiva Linga and handed over a Ketaki flower to lord Shiva saying that he found it on top of the Linga. MahaVishnu gracefully conceded that he could not fulfill his task.
Even as Brahma braced himself to be accolade for his achievement, lord Shiva pronounced a curse on the creator saying that he will not be included for idol worship on earth. He also vowed that he would not accept the Ketaki flower in his worship.
This tale holds a fivefold message that can be guiding forces to help us lead a successful life. We must steer clear of the one-upmanship game. Honesty is the best policy. There is no shame in accepting our shortcomings or failure. Faked success can burst like a bubble at any time and damage our self esteem and our image forever. The expanse of any subject is infinite like the supreme soul Shiva; we can explore it to the best of our ability but never gain complete access over it.
Fatima a senior citizen remembers her teenage days which were spent in a heavily veiled paternal home. She studied in the local government girls school in fifteenth cross Malleswaram up to the fifth standard and knew a smattering of English and Kannada. Though she could not read much she remembers having a fondness for the Illustrated weekly of India which used to have blow ups in the center page. Though she could not read the magazine she remembers spending a good deal of time looking at the glossy pictures till the next weekly edition came along. Then she would save some pictures for her personal treasury and use some double sheets to wrap the books of her school-going siblings. Her only window to the world was aborted when she tied the knot early and left her paternal home at the tender age of fifteen. Her husband worked as a tinker in a garage and had a small transistor which gave him company for most of the day. Somehow the elders in the household did not encourage playing the radio at home for they thought it was a veritable distraction. Fatima distinctly remembers how she found ever so many excuses which were far and few to go to the garage which was only next door to her home to call her husband for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hope of listening to a snatch of a song.
It was after a span of two years and one child, her husband realized the claustrophobic existence his wife was leading and took the bold step of bringing the transistor home and allowing his wife to listen to Vividh Bharathi in the privacy of their room during late evenings. Even this small pleasure could not be savoured in full measure because Fatima had to attend to cooking dinner and various household chores. Yet she would drop into the room intermittently and catch up with whatever she could Just when she resigned herself to the life of a thorough homemaker without any window to the world, her husband’s penchant for listening to film music breezed some enthusiasm in her life. In spite of all the restrictions she worked out a way with the help of her husband to listen to the famous Binaca Geet Mala broadcast by radio Ceylon on Wednesdays. Each Wednesday she would come up with a creative idea to keep her rendezvous with Ameen Sayani even if only for ten or fifteen minutes for the next few years. Then she would spend the rest of the week trying to associate some of the names he dropped over the show with the pictures at random she had seen long ago.
Today her home is filled with electronic gadgets, she has ready access to all varieties of media and absolutely no restrictions laid by her family members but they do not appeal to her anymore. Her zeal for film music has dwindled over the years. She admits that whenever she hears the strains of some old melody which she managed to listen to crossing great obstacles bring back a flood of memories in her which leave her cheeks wet.