Let Go of a Part of You
DEVDUTT PATTANAIK brings you two unusual stories from Indic mythology on organ donation — one about a renunciate and the other, the story of a bhakta.
To donate an organ, two critical emotions are needed: Vairagya or renunciation and bhakti or devotion. The former is more intellectual in nature and the latter is more emotional in nature. While vairagya allows one to detach oneself from the organ and say, “That is not me,” bhakti empowers one to be generous towards another, saying,” He needs that more than I do.” These two aspects; these two emotions of giving of oneself are very evident in the stories of Dadhichi and Kannappa in Indic tradition.
The story of Dadhichi comes from the Sanskrit puranas. The devas or celestial beings were busy fighting the asuras who were led by one Vritra who was considered invincible and, therefore, was impossible to defeat. The gods needed a strong weapon and nothing was stronger than the bones of a sage called Dadhichi who had been practicing tapasya for hundreds of years. So Indra, king of the devas, went to Dadhichi and asked him to give up his bones. This would mean Dadhichi had to die so that his bones could be harvested.
Dadhichi agreed without a moment’s hesitation. He had attained kaivalya, Supreme Knowledge and so was not dependent on or attached to his body. He renounced his body through the yogic practice of samadhi and let the devas claim his bones. From these bones, the celestial artisan, Vishwakarma, created the weapon called Vajra or thunderbolt. Indra wielded the Vajra to defeat Vritra and the asuras.
Ever since, whenever there is thunder and lightening in the sky, people exclaim: There is Indra, striking the asuras with his Vajra, the weapon created with the bones of Dadhichi!
(FYI - Dadichi's Ashram is Here - http://goo.gl/maps/u99bm :)
The Eye Sage
The story of Kannappa comes from the Peria Purana, a Tamil collection of the works of Nayanars, poet-saints devoted to Shiva. Every day, Thinnan, a hunter of the Boyar or Gaddi community, would visit the shrine of the Shiva Lingam and share with the lingam all that he found during his daily hunt: water from mountain springs — which he would carry in his mouth, flowers from the trees that grew on the slopes that he carried in his hair, and the best portions of the game he hunted.
One day, Shiva decided to test Thinnan’s devotion. The Shiva lingam grew a pair of eyes; one of them started to bleed. Thinnan tried healing the bleeding eye with herbs but nothing worked. Finally, Thinnan cut out his eye and replaced the bleeding eye with his own eye. Then, to his shock, he found that now the other eye had started to bleed. Thinnan decided to offer his other eye as well, but realised that with both eyes gone, he would not know where to place the second eye.
So he placed his foot on the bleeding eye to help him locate the second eye of Shiva after he had plucked out his own other eye. Shiva was so pleased with this act of unconditional sacrifice that he named Thinnan as Kannappa or the ‘eye sage’.
While Dadhichi displays renunciation on giving up his bones, Kannappa expresses his utter devotion while giving up his eyes.
Visit - www.ileadindia.com and sign up today!