Ahilya


As she rose majestically to her astonishingly beauteous form, Ahilya realised that her benefactor had arrived. The touch of his blessed feet had freed her from the curse bestowed on her by her husband Gautam Rishi. Cursed to sixty thousand years of penance, she had been waiting for the Lord to come and free her of her curse.

As she left the lifeless, cold, hard form of the stone and morphed into the warm human form of long ago, she looked at the three men staring at her in wonder. She thought of the other man, the man who had lured her into the act that had turned her to stone for a seeming eternity. The man who had treated her like a woman needs to be, a real living breathing woman. A woman with needs and desires. She had repented for her guilty pleasure for eons yet to be freed by another man. Was he man or was he a God! The man with the benign face and benevolent eyes. She knew instinctively that this was her saviour, her Lord Ram had finally arrived to free her from the curse.

She sprang into service with offerings of fruits and freshwater for her saviour. She must atone for her sins of adultery and infidelity by serving Lord Ram. Lord Ram, in his gentle way accepted her humble offerings. Sitting as he was, in her husband, Gautam Rishi’s, humble dwellings, he asked her to come sit near him. She shyly sat at his feet and with the palla of her saree wiped his feet, the very same feet that had saved her from her curse. His brother Lakshman and Guru Vishwamitra watched as the tableau unfolded and were not surprised by Lord Indra’s seduction of Ahilya. She was beautiful beyond belief, her ethereal beauty created by Brahma itself was beyond compare. They wondered at her restraint; to be created by Brahma in all her stupefying beauty and gifted to Gautam Rishi as a child. To be reared as a child by Rishi Gautam and to be gifted to him in marriage. To be so young and beautiful and married to a man much older than her who had no interest in Grihasta Ashram. Yet she had an inner beauty that no one could touch or defile. Her ministrations were consumed by bhakti and gratefulness. She had atoned for her sins as the shastras believe that everyone gets a chance to expiate for their sins. They are not eternal; they can be lived out and forgiveness will come to sinners too.

Maryada purushottam Ram, had forgiven her with his pious touch. The difference between guilt and pleasure versus guilty pleasure was the Lord’s deep understanding. He knew in his heart that she, guilty of a sin, had endured her penance. She was forgiven for being a woman, she was human with human needs. She was forgiven for her deviation from the path of fidelity because she had only but followed the demands of her flesh and body. Something that was a part of her in her human form. That is the understanding of Shri Ram that resonated in Ahilya. She knew her maryada had been crossed and she had atoned for her sin.

She realised that although the sin was committed, her intellect and self-knowledge had atoned for this sin. In her heart and mind, she knew that she had been a woman with desires and had since then pursued the path of redemption. She was now ruled by her intellect while earlier her bodily pleasures had ruled her. “Was it wrong to feel desire?” She questioned herself. “Not wrong but incorrect, and so what if she had slipped?” She had achieved the higher intellect of righteousness through her atonement”.

Ahilya felt the deep resonance of Lord Ram’s vibrations sitting at his feet and soaked in the flow of intellectual vibrations that flowed from him into her. She felt absolved of guilt for her momentary pleasure for in her mind she was not guilty anymore. Realization of the wrong comes from a higher consciousness of oneself.

| SHIVANI GIRI

Shivani Giri is a teaching professional, who likes to write, is a prolific reader of different genres of mythological texts. She is based out of Hyderabad.


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