Mahadev Humbled

Mahadev Humbled

Mahadev and Parvati sometimes go on a stroll to talk to ordinary folks. Once on such a visit, near a village they saw a farmer planting seeds. Mahadev asked him why he was planting seeds when there were neither clouds nor any other signs of impending rain. He got into a long drawn conversation and bored Parvati went home to Kailash.

The farmer said signs or not he still expected rain in the night.

The two got into a heated argument. One said it will and the other that it will not rain. In order to prove that he was right Mahadev went to the rain god, Indra, and told him not to send rain in the night. Indra agreed but said if the frogs croaked he would not be able to restrain himself.

Mahadev went to the king of frogs and told him to order the frogs not to croak in the evening. He said, “I’d like to obey you, lord, but I cannot help it if the fireflies come and shine.”

Mahadev went to the chief firefly and asked her reign her tribe for just one night. She agreed and Mahadev was happy.’ Now the farmer will be proved wrong,’ he thought.

But wonder of wonders, black clouds came from nowhere and it began to pour. Mahadev was furious. He went to Indra and shouted at him for breaking his word.

“But I was helpless,” he complained. “The frogs croaked. What could I do?”

Mahadev went and called the king of frogs a cheat. “Why did you promise one thing and do something else?”

The king of frogs said it was not his fault because a firefly shone.

Mahadev complained to the chief firefly. She said, “Not a single one of us shined, I swear.”

Mahadev was puzzled. He went to the tree under which he had seen the farmer. He was sitting there holding a pole. The burned cloth at the top of his mashal (firebrand) had fallen off, but the end of the stick was still glowing. It is this that the frogs had mistaken for a firefly flash.

Mahadev admitted defeat and went home to tell the story to Parvati, his beloved wife.

January 22, 2005