Kevat

All humanity is joined by a common conscience, morality and psyche which has remained unchanged. The purpose behind our paths crossing is divine providence or niyati. It shall happen for a purpose even if the purpose is unclear to us mortals. Thus crossed the paths of the Kevat and Lord Ram.

Ram, Lakshman and Sita were delayed by the extended and tearful farewell of the family and people of Ayodhya. It was imperative that they cross River Ganga before nightfall. They reached the banks of Ganga and were anxiously awaiting a boatman to ferry them across the Ganges. Kevat (a boatman) heard of his Lord Ram seeking his services and rushed into his presence. He bowed low and humbly asked Lord Ram to take his boat. He proclaimed his devoutness to Ram and conceded that he began and ended his day with the name of Ram on his lips. Lord Ram watched him with a smile on his face and agreed to take his boat.

Guha, Ram’s servant, told the Kevat that he would wash the Lord’s feet after he sat in the boat. The Kevat insisted on washing Lord Ram’s feet albeit before he sat in the boat. This angered Guha but Lord Ram asked the Kevat curiously as to why not in the boat and why outside. The Kevat replied innocently in the tone of the very naïve that Lord Ram’s feet were famed to turn a stone int a woman (Ahilya). He was worried that if he washed the Lord’s feet in the boat, his meagre boat made of many planks of wood would each turn into a woman. He said he was very poor and could barely feed his family, he didn’t have the resources to feed so many women.

Lord Ram, in his endless benevolence smiled and allowed Kevat to wash his feet. With great care and devotion Kevat washed the Lord’s feet and helped them board his boat. He asked the Lord to step on his hand so that he may help him onto the boat. He explained that if Lord Ram steps on his hand, he will be blessed and will wash off all his sins and attain Moksha. Thus, Lord Ram after many ministrations found himself sitting in Kevat’s boat with Sita and Lakshman heading to the other end of the Ganga.

Once there, Sita gave her ring to Lord Ram and signalled him to give it to the Kevat. The Kevat shook his head and refused to take the ring. The Lord asked him the reason for his refusal and he blithely said that people of the same profession do not pay each other for services rendered. Lord Ram was confused and questioned Kevat saying that their professions were vastly different so how could he, a Rajvanshi have anything in common professionally with a boatman. Kevat replied that both their tasks were to ferry people across, he himself ferried people across the Ganga, sometimes peaceful sometimes turbulent and the Lord ferried people across the ocean of life, Sansaar.

This is the Niyati of life – transactions. We transact continuously in life. But who are you? A Kevat or Ram, a giver or taker? Who is the giver and who is the taker? Would Ram have been able to cross Ganga without the kevat? Would Kevat have been able to find Moksha without Ram? The role is for you to decipher. We are all Kevat’s and also Ram’s. Every small transaction in life has meaning. Every person that crosses your path has a meaning. We give and so does he. There would be no food without the vegetable vendor, he is your Kevat, he feeds your family and you feed his. Thus, if you pay for a transaction, you are also a recipient in it. If you are in a position of generosity, don’t hold onto it, pass it on because you are as much the Kevat as you are Ram.

| 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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