The malformed child of Vinata that was born with anger because the mother was unable to wait patiently for the egg to hatch at the right time, cursed her of slavery. Yet, he intimated that if she waited patiently for another 500 years, the other egg would hatch and that glorious offspring would remove her from all bondages and troubles that were presently assailing her. He exhorted his mother to take loving care of the other egg. Saying this, the child assumed a red form and rose to the sky. He became Aruna, the charioteer of the sun.
Aruna is the name used to indicate the early dawn—Arunodaya—the deep orange sun that precedes the bright yellow morning sun. In course of time, 500 years went by and Garuda who ate snakes for his meals was born. No sooner was he born that he left his mother Vinata and took a flight to fulfil his hunger, looking out for food that the great provider of the universe had stowed away for him.
It was at this time that Vinata and Kadru saw the horse Uchchaihshravas. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says, ‘Uchchaihshravasam ashwanam—among horses, I am the Uchchaihshravas.’ He was born when the ocean of milk was churned by the gods and demons. The horse had a divine beauty radiating through its form.
When problems come in life, it can happen for the silliest of reasons and we get trapped with silly questions, debates or betting. This betting began at the time of Mahabharata. Kadru asked Vinata, “O auspicious one! Please tell me what is the colour of this horse, Uchchaihshravas?”
She could have said, “How does it matter, what colour it is?” She fell into the trap and said: “Why, what do you think, Kadru, is the colour of the horse? May we have a bet?” And so the great delusion began.
Kadru said, the tail of the horse was black. So the bet was, the one whose answer is wrong will become the slave of another. Of course, when there is a curse hanging on our head, we can’t escape it, can we? Vinata’s curse by Aruna, her half-born son, was that she would be a slave. So agreeing to the bet, they went back home to check out the colour of the tail. The one who lost became a slave of the other.
Kadru was vicious. She directed her 1,000 children to get together and appear like beautiful strands of hair. Well, they were snakes and so they could fake it. She ordered them to cover the horse’s tail. They refused to be party to the cheating game and she cursed her own children saying the snake sacrifice of King Janamejaya, coming in the lineage of the Pandavas, would see the end to them all. What a mother? You may think. Nothing in this universe, however, happens without a purpose. What was behind this curse?
The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi;