Ahalya : Purushartha, Svartha, Paramaratha

For the agricultural interpretation of the Ahalya story , refer to Gautama Maharshi (Part 1)Gautama Maharshi (Part 2).

In this post I look at ahalyA as the embodied puruSa: with the three purposes: Purushartha, Svartha, Paramaratha

Her father Brahma gave her in marriage to the holy Gauthama Maharshi.

Hindus accept four Purusharthas or Human Goals.  The first of these is Dharma.

As per this Dharma, Ahalya lived with Gauthama as a chaste and pious wife, loving and devoted.

The most handsome Indra, loved  her from the minute of her creation and was very disappointed by Brahma’s decision. So one day, when Gauthama had gone off for prayers, he came to Ahalya. Some accounts say that she was tricked because he was in the guise of Gauthama Maharshi.  But Valmiki says she was tempted and wondered what it would like to be with Indra.

That was her svArtha or Self-Interest, when she thought of her feelings above that of her Dharma. I think if some sheltered housewife was propositioned by Hritik Roshan, might she not be tempted? And what if he who proposed was the King of Gods? Devendra? Would not some women be tempted? Is everyone like Anasuya, the wife of Atri,  the mother of Dattatraya?

This decision was followed by immediate and painful discovery after which she was abandoned alone in the As’rama. All the years of sticking to her  dharma puruSArtha being wiped out in a moment of svArtha.

Some people says that she lived frozen as a stone. ThyagarajaSwamy says “daarini silayai, taapamu taalaka dhaaraga kanneeru kaarchaga” –  “As a stone on the path, unable to bear her suffering (burning, tapa), as she shed tears as a stream.” Valmiki says that she lived as the very air in that Asrama, never going out, never being seen, living on air alone.

What did Mother Ahalya think about at that time? About her error? her misfortune? her loneliness? her punishment?

And then One Wonderful Day, there were the footfalls of that maryaada purushottama Rama श्री राम, the personification of paramartha : the ultimate purpose and meaning, the embodiment of peace, love, forgiveness, compassion, perfection.

The Parama Purusha Sri Rama in whose presence, sin and virtue look like trivial meaningless egoistical terms, where worthiness is as meaningless as unworthiness, whose love and compassion falls alike like sunlight on those who think they are good and those who think they are not.

In the presence of Parama Pavana Sri Rama, who is impure and what is impurity? That’s why Gandhiji called him Patita Pavana, the one who purifies the fallen. Ahalya in that flash was moved into that state of  realizing Paramartha.

Could father gautama turn away from a mind so radiant with para tattva, as mother ahalyA’s had become? He was happy to take her back.

Luckily he was no king of Ayodhya bound by silly rules of silly subjects. He was just a Divine Rishi immersed in knowledge of divinity, his heart gladdened by the presence of Sri Rama and he was glad to have his loving wife back! So mother Ahalya did not have to suffer as mother Sita Devi सीता देवी did. (See : Kusa, Lava)

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

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