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Friday, September 12, 2014

The Story of Prabhakara

The Story of Prabhakara
Prabhakara was a bright boy, spending his childhood and early youth under the tutelage of a very leaned guru, in his gurukulam.. By any yardstick, this boy was head and shoulder above all other inmates. Even as it took hours and hours for the guru to explain and teach the meaning, grammar and etymology of Kavyas, to other students, the guru would ask Prabhakara to read the material once, and leave the matter to be grasped by him in his own way.. The boy would have doubts on rare occasions alone, and he would get clarifications from the guru only on rare occasions.. He would have to learn everything almost by himself, but the guru would put to him the most difficult questions and would not condone even the slightest slip.. While the guru was patience personified while dealing with the other disciples, he was always angry and savvy with his cane when it came to Prabhakara.. But the boy knew the guru was learned, and loved and worshiped him.. And never felt bad about the open insults and incessant thrashing he received at the hands of the teacher.
But human flesh has its own ways. One day, the guru gave him a thorough tongue lash and also severe thrashing which made the boy bleed all over the body. Earlier, the boy used to stand receiving all the admonitions and play of cane with great patience and forbearance.. But this time the pain was too severe and he ran away.
Much against his own will, he started to think by himself. “ The master knows that I am doing very well in my studies. He knows that I am better than all other boys around here. Still he has never uttered a word of praise or encouragement for me.. When it comes to me, he knows how to administer his cane alone in the most efficient manner.. He is prejudiced against me and he hates me. How lucky I would be if I get an opportunity to kill this cruel person”
With intended murder in his mind, Prabhakaran hid himself in the attic of the room occupied by the Guru and his wife..
That day, the guru was feeling tired and drained out, and did not have any appetite. He retired to bed without taking any food.. His wife came and enquired about his lack of enthusiasm..
The guru said. “I beat up and insulted that boy Prabhakaran too cruelly today, and he was bleeding all about and ran away in great pain. Usually he would take all punishment without a murmur.”
The wife said.. “ I was observing for years that you treat that boy unfairly.. I have never seen a more studious, more obedient and more intelligent child in my life.. I was feeling very sorry for him, but I never asked you about it because I did not want to make you angry further.. But your action today was beyond all limits..”
The guru replied.. “ I know that.. My heart is broken only because I punished that child so brutally.. Right from the day one he came to my school, I knew that he was the best among my students, and that great fame and glory is awaiting him.. I made him study things for himself because he had the potential to do that.. I never praised him, nay, I insulted and thrashed him always only because he should never get arrogant of his knowledge and lose his thirst for excellence.. My love for him was more than my own children. Today, the boy has run away, and I am not able to bear that sorrow”Prabhakaran was overhearing the conversation and was stricken with remorse.. He was planning to murder his beloved guru who loved him so much.. He knew how great a sin he has committed.
He jumped down and fell on the feet of the master and his wife.. He was honest enough to confess that he had hidden there with murderous intentions. But the Guru took the matter very lightly..He said that the disciple had been tortured beyond endurance limits, although with noble intentions, and his rebellion was understandable. The guru and his wife readily pardoned him.
But Prabhakaran would not forgive himself.. He approached the assembly of learned Brahmins and confessed that he had intended to murder his Guru and the appropriate punishment should be pronounced.. The learned sadas decreed that disrespect and rebellion against guru with murderous intention would have to be expiated by burning one’s own body gradually in the slow fire caused by burning husk of paddy..Accordingly, Prabhakaran dug up a deep pit and lighted husk and entered it with his whole body submerged with only his head showing out. The fire started to burn from the bottom and his body was being consumed by slow fire from the region of his feet and upaward..
While so burning, the thought came over him that all his learning over the years would go waste and therefore he should create a Kavyam before he was fully burnt out.
Thus he started uttering the stanzas of the Kavyam scribes recorded it.. The Kavyam related to the birth and playful activities of Krishna.. SreeKrishnavilaasaKavyam..
But while he was giving words to the twelfth chapter, the fire burnt him upto his neck and his head also collapsed into the fire.. The kavyam stopped abruptly.
Legend goes that Kalidasa heard about the greatness of this Kavyam and was thinking of completing it. But then it is said that he heard a voice for heaven, pattucharadinodu vaazhanaaru cherkkan nokkanda..(പട്ടുചരടിനോടു വാഴനാര് ചേര്ക്കാeന്‍ നോക്കണ്ട) you do not attempt to add a string made of the stem of a plantain tree to a thread of pure silk existing already..
Therefore Kalidasa abandoned the idea.
Prabhakara, who earned the name of Sukumara for his beautiful form as also the beautiful Kavyam, burnt himself to ashes to expiate the sin of showing disrespect to his guru .but he has attained immortality through his great work.. Sreekrishnavilaasakavyam..

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