Luckily for him, that night, while his parents were about to sleep, Bha:ravi’s mother asked his father, “When the entire world praises our son, why don’t you praise him ? Don’t you know how much he craves for your applause? He is much disturbed at your silence.”
The loving father replied, “O dear! Won’t you agree with me that parents who desire their children to progress do not praise them! If I praise my son, he will not grow up further. That is the reason why I don’t praise him. I keep to myself all the joy of his greatness!
Bha:ravi heard these words. He was stunned. He realised how inappropriate his decision was. He jumped down the attic, fell at his father’s feet and begged for punishment. At first, his father was surprised. Later he smiled and said, “Stay at the house of your father-in-law for six months. That is the punishment I give you.”
Bha:ravi was perplexed ! He did not understand how this was a punishment. Poor Bha:ravi ! He did not know that a son-in-law is treated well only for a certain period of time. There is a popular Sanskrit slo:ka which runs thus:
svasura gruha niva:saha svarga tulyo nara:na:m
yadi vasati dina:ni thri:niv:a pancha saptha |
madhu dhaddhi ghrutha dha:ra: kshi:ra sa:ra prava:haha
tadupari dina me:kam pa:da raksha:praha:raha ||
The slo:ka is pretty straightforward!! A sonin-law would feel at heaven when goes to his inlaws’ house. He gets honey, curd, streams of ghee and torrents of undiluted milk. However, all this will not last longer than three or five or seven days! Any prolonged stay will bring him blows of slippers!
Bha:ravi experienced exactly the same. He was honoured for a week and when he decided to stay further, he was promptly sent to work at fields! It was hard to work at fields. Yet, the poet persisted. He was now a new man. He gracefully underwent the punishment. The creative genius in him realised that work was sacred whether it be writing poetry or tilling the land. One wonders if this period gave Bha:ravi a different exposure to nature and human life!
Meanwhile, it was ‘vara lakshmi: vratham’ in the month of sra:vana. The women in the household were preparing for the worship of Divine Mother Lakshmi. The ladies of the household began teasing Bha:ravi’s wife. They would say, “Your husband is here since several months! Ask him which jewels and sarees he would get !!” Very soon these taunts became words of humiliation.
How many times our hasty words hurt others! How much introspection is needed to speak sweet, good and in a limited way!! Bha:ravi’s wife was unlucky. Her own people hurt her by speaking in thoughtless haste. With tears in her eyes, she approached Bha:ravi who was working in the field.