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Updated: March 8, 2010 19:14 IST

On the seashore

KALA SAMBASIVAN
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A long time ago, when gods and demons walked the earth, Banasura, king of the demons, spelt trouble to both the gods and people. How could they get the better of him?

Your langur storyteller has a story and some advice for you today.

You must understand that all you hear and see may not be true. Be alert and careful. According to mythology, even the gods have sometimes been deceived. Do you enjoy mythological stories? Here is one on how a trick was played on Lord Shiva..

At the southern tip of the Indian peninsula is a temple to Goddess Kanyakumari or the “Maiden Goddess”. It stands on the shores where the waters of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea meet. It is a place of tranquillity and beauty.

The story I am going to tell you is an enduring legend of how the goddess came to be worshipped here.

The temple that stands at Kanyakumari is over 1000 years old but our story goes way back when gods and demons walked the earth.

Banasura was the king of demons. He never tired of troubling the devas or the lesser gods. So, in desperation, the poor victims begged Goddess Parashakti to help them. She agreed and took the form of a beautiful maiden. On the serene shores here, she started her penance to gain powers to destroy evil.

At Suchindram, about 10 km away, resided Lord Shiva. When he saw the enchanting girl he wished to marry her. Preparations soon began for their wedding. This alarmed the devas for only a maiden, an unmarried girl, could kill Banasura. So, they hatched a devious plot to stop the marriage!

The wedding was to take place at midnight of a chosen day. Lord Shiva and others of his wedding party set out the evening before. On the way, they heard the “crowing of a rooster”. How could that be? The cock crows only before dawn. Agitated that they had missed the auspicious time, they turned back home. The wedding never took place.

The devas' trick had worked. But Kanyakumari was furious. She cursed that everything prepared for the wedding turn to sand and shells. That is why even today the beaches at this place have multi-coloured sand and sea-shells.

The legend ends on a happy note though. Shakti killed the asura and at the request of the people, she stayed on there to protect men and gods from evil.

Now do you not agree that it is our mind, our own perceptions that deceive us? What do you think is the moral of this story?

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