Mudhaladiyai Petreno Agaligaiyai Pole
Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 10
Was I blessed by the Lord’s feet like Ahalya?
“Swami, was I blessed by the Lord’s feet like Ahalya?”, continued Thirukolur Pen Pillai as Swami Ramanuja gently coaxed her to go on. Who is Ahalya and why was she blessed by the feet of the Lord?
Ahalya was the beautiful creation of Lord Brahma. Her stunning form attracted both Indra and Gautama Muni who both wanted her hand in marriage. There was a competition held between the two suitors to select the best match for Ahalya. The rule of this competition was that, the one who could traverse around the world and get back first would be the one to marry Ahalya. The ever fervent Indra immediately set off to make a trip around the world. Poor Gautama felt disappointed as he was not equipped to achieve this task.
He consulted Narada on his predicament. Narada advised him to circuit around a two headed cow in a clockwise direction, which would equal the effect of traversing the earth. “Where would I find a two headed cow?” cried Gautama in despair! “Worry not, Gautama! What you need to do is to find a cow in labour. While the baby calf is making its exit from the Mother Cow’s womb, you would be able to see the head of the calf as well as that of the Mother Cow!”, explained Narada. Thankfully, Gautama found a Mother cow giving birth just nearby and he did the needful!
The marriage of Ahalya and Gautama took place, and the couple lived happily and in unity. The jealous and infatuated Indra could not forget Ahalya and was not happy that Gautama won her hand before he could return from his orbit around the world! One day when Gautama went out to perform his morning rituals, Indra took on Gautama’s physical form and approached Ahalya in their hut.
Ahalya looked at her husband surprised, thinking to herself “Did he not just leave for his morning prayers? He is back so soon? Perhaps he has forgotten something”. However a split second later and upon a closer look, she found out that it is in fact Indra who has taken the form of Gautama to spend some time with her. For an instant Ahalya’s mind drifted, “The mighty Indra himself has been enamored by my beauty! How attractive I must be”. She quickly felt a pang of guilt at her own arrogant thought.
Meanwhile, Gautama sensed something amiss and rushed home after his morning prayers only to find Indra at his hut! “Have you come to my hut while I was away, and that too, taking my form?” and with this cursed Indra. Turning to Ahalya, Gautama said “Ahalya, your mind went wayward, even though it was for a split second. As repent for this sin, you should turn into a rock. Keep meditating on Sriman Narayana. He will Himself visit our hut at the appropriate time. When the dust from His Holy Feet touches you, you will return to your original form.”. With this Gautama left for Himalayas to perform penance and to make up for this sin!
Ahalya turned into a rock while patiently meditating upon Sriman Narayana and waiting for the day she would meet the Lord and regain her form. Meanwhile several miles away, Lord Narayana descended upon earth taking the avataram of Rama, the eldest prince child of Dasaratha, King of Kosala.
Once, Rama and Lakshmana set out with their guru Vishwamitra to his Ashram from their palace. They were tasked to destroy the Rakshasas who kept disturbing the yagna of Vishwamitra and other Rishis. The young and valorous brothers of the Ikshvaku clan effortlessly destroyed Tataka and other gruesome Rakshasas, enabling the yagna to complete smoothly. The pleased Rishis praised and blessed the children. From there, Vishwamitra, Rama and Lakshmana proceeded to Mithila to take part in the Swayamvara held by King Janaka. Enroute, they came across the old and dilapidated hut of Gautama.
Rama wondered, "Whose hut is this Sage Vishvamitra? It looks like this was a noble ashrama earlier." Vishwamitra replied, "You are right Rama. This ashram was once a lovely abode to a Dharmic couple and now it awaits your presence. Lets go in."
No sooner had Rama entered the hut, than the aura of the entire area transformed. Flora started to flourish, and the whole place lit up. Eventually the dust from Rama’s feet touched the rock. Ahalya returned to her original beautiful form. By then Gautama too returned to his hut. The couple treated their guests with hospitality and received bounty blessings from the Lord Himself!
“Swami, tell me now. Have I been blessed by the dust of Lord Rama’s feet like Ahalya? Why then do I deserve to stay here?” cried the little girl of Thirukolur. Ramanuja looked at her soothingly and curiously hoping she would continue relating yet another charming tale!