Faith

Human nature explained

The Puranas help us to understand the workings of the world and also the infinite variety in human nature and tendencies, pointed out Sri Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse. For instance, Sage Kashyapa is the father of both the asuras and the devas, who are born of his two wives Diti and Aditi respectively. This is symbolic of the good and evil inherent not only in nature and the external world but also within each individual. All beings are bound by Prakriti that is constituted of the three gunas, Satva, Rajas and Tamas.

Once Diti is grief stricken that her sons are killed by Indra during the constant strife between the asuras and the devas. So, she nurtures antagonism towards him. She tells Kashyapa of her desire to beget a son who would destroy Indra. Though the sage appreciates her idea for a worthy son, he is unhappy over her intention. Anyway the sage advises Diti to observe the Pumsavana vrata which she does in earnest. Indra is aware of this and as a matter of self interest, offers to do her service. He hopes that in the course of the vrata, Diti might slip from the austerities that are to be observed. When once this happens, Indra enters her womb and cuts the infant into seven pieces with his Vajrayudha and then each of these pieces is again cut into seven pieces. Indra then seeks her pardon. He also gives life to the forty nine pieces and converts them into devas. This is how Diti becomes the mother of 49 worthy sons who are known as the Maruts. In contrast and in keeping with her good nature, when Aditi, the mother of the devas, is unhappy that her sons are rendered homeless by Bali’s might, she too wishes for a son who would protect the devas. But she has no overt intention to destroy anyone.


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Printable version | Oct 14, 2021 9:01:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/human-nature-explained/article29683316.ece

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