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A Tale – Four Levels of Interpretations | Flax-Golden Tales
A Tale – Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, Nepal (1914-1982)
The story “A Tale” by B.P. Koirala is a very ancient story. At the time human beings were in competition with the gods. People wanted to win supreme knowledge and godhood. Once, a man gives up the worldly life and goes to the forest for penance. After much labor, he conquers his flesh and mind. The penance of the sage threatens the heaven. Indra, the king of the gods sends the most beautiful nymph to break the penance of the sage.
The nymph comes near to the sage. The sage is attracted by the beauty of the nymph. The sage breaks his penance. They get married and build up house in the society. And there they start living a simple domestic life. They have also two sons and they help their neighbor. But the neighbors do not look them positively. Rather they think the nymph as the cause of the downfall of the sage. Anyway, the sage experience the better ecstasy (happiness) in his domestic life, than being alone in the remote jungle.
This story challenges the Hindu notion of achieving supreme knowledge and godhood. It is not necessary to totally give up the domestic life for the ecstasy. People can experience the ecstasy even in domestic life. Though neighbors never look them positively; the sage and nymph enjoy their life. This story also shows that domestic or social life is far better than lonely life. We get better happiness and pleasure when we live in society and fulfill our social and domestic responsibilities.
The story focuses on the importance of domestic life. It timely shows that we can never achieve godhood and ecstasy through penance, lonely life and by living like the life of the sage. But true happiness and the essence of life can be achieved in social domestic life. Similarly, the story rejects the idea that love, friendship, and sex are the major obstacles on the way to godhood. However, some ideas are questionable in the story. Does God really exist? Are Gods jealous? How could a nymph from the heaven live in this physical world? He could the penance of the sage threaten the king of heaven?
While reading this story, I remember Susmita. Susmita is my friend. She always wants to go to the temple. She is always fond of worshipping. For her, worshipping is only one way of getting happiness and pleasure in life. She thinks that the relationship, marriage, sex etc. are useless. She even does not like to talk about them. I think she is wrong in her ideas. It is because I have understood that real happiness and the essence of life can be achieved through relationship, marriage, sex, domestic and social life.
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