Pauranic Sibling Rivalry

Hey again my lovely family, I’m Soups back with a new write up!
Hope you’ll like this! And as I’ve said before….please please criticise me if I’m wrong! I still need to Learn a lot! And any extra thing you would like to add on…please feel free :) and if I’ve hurt you, please please forgive me…I shall apologise from the bottom of my heart.
Happy Reading…and a Very happy Vishu and New year to all :)

Siblings have a lot to do in our lives. Be it happiness, anger, jealousy or anything…we usually share it with our siblings. Today I would just like to put forth my views on only Sibling Rivalry and not on love between siblings.

Our Puranas are a proof to what sort of sibling rivalry and love existed among different creatures of the world. The greatest ever sibling rivalry anybody can think of is that of the Devas and Asuras. Born out of the same father, Sage Kashyap, their rivalry continued from the source being the rivalry between their respective mothers, Aditi and Diti( mother of Daityas), daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Actually,the competitive feeling did not exist only with Aditi and Diti, it also extended to many of the Prajapati’s daughters like Vinata (mother of Garuda and Aruna) , Kadru (mother of Nagas), Danu (mother of Danavas).
The sons of all these mothers continued the rivalry….till today when siblings from the same mother fight for reasons very big. If it is for just a chocolate or a pen, it’s fine..but siblings even fight for property, rights of the house etc. At least in Puranas, children of the same mother always stood united.

Some of the famous examples of sibling rivalry in Pauranic times are that of Birds (Garuda) and snakes (Nagas), Devas and Asuras, The Hiranya brothers (Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha) and Vishnu(in Vamana avatar he is born to the Devamata Aditi and hence a sibling of the gods), Rakshasa twins Sunda and Upasunda (who shared everything with each other but went out to kill each other for an Apsara Tilottama. Thus they fulfilled the boon that they received from Brahma that they could be killed only when they turned against each other), Ravana and Kuber and many more. Of these, we can find a similarity in the ideas (not really sibling rivalry) in both Ramayana and Mahabharat. This is that of the trio in both epics,
Ravana-Kumbhakarna-Vibhishana and Duryodhana-Vikarna-Yuyutsu respectively.

Ravana can be considered the source and path of evil and Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana can be taken as Humans who need to choose right paths in their lives. Both protest against evil and are against it. Kumbhakarna who was entirely against the idea of Sita’s kidnapping, knowing that his elder brother is wrong, chooses to support him for he loved him equally too. But Vibhishana who was also against Ravana, was so disgusted at the idea of Ravana’s thought chooses to abandon him upon his (Ravana’s) order and chooses a path towards attaining goodness. He joins Lord Ram and is known for his righteousness, but is always pointed out for his treason with his family, people and country. People in right in both views, he chose Dharma and was right but was wrong for having betrayed his family. For that matter, even Ravana can be considered right for his actions. If Lakshmana had not cut of Shurpanakha’s nose and she hadn’t complained about it to Ravana, I don’t think he would have kidnapped her. He was taking revenge for his sister more and less for his humiliation at Sita’s Swayamvar.

Duryodhana on the similar lines took revenge from Draupadi for her insulting him and his father, when he fell into a water pool in the magical palace of Indraprastha. The fact that he was compared to his blind father hit his point of anger, arousing it towards Draupadi for revenge. But here, he decided to attack Draupadi emotionally by getting her disrobed. Here too, two of his brothers, own and step brothers protested against this act and considered that insulting a woman’s honour was equal dying a coward’s death. They actually looked away and shut their eyes when Draupadi was being disrobed. They decided to make up for their inability to protect a woman’s honour by fighting on opposite sides in the war of Kurukshetra. Yuyutsu like Vibhishana joined the Pandavas at war to make up for his mistake, by supporting them while Vikarna like Kumbhakarna decided to fight from the Kaurava army, considering the fact that his punishment of his inability to turn his elder brother against the malpractice of insulting a woman, would be to die an honourable death at war, by the hands of Bhima. And they did exactly the same, though I don’t think Bhima treated him that badly for Vikarna spoke for the fact to save Draupadi’s self respect. But he died a painful death at Bhima’s hands. Unlike the Ramayana, in Mahabharat, I’ve never come across anyone who was against Yuyutsu like how some people find Vibhishana’s act treasonous.
One thing I find common in both these stories are that the entire concept of revenge starts with a woman. In the Ramayana there are two women (Shurpanakha who plots for revenge and Sita who becomes victim of Revenge) and in the Mahabharat, the feeling of Revenge aggravates thanks to Draupadi.

I think, our Puranas teach us everything we need to know, from the basic qualities of love, generosity, patience etc. And sibling rivalry is for us to learn as to what can happen if you are at peace and happiness with your siblings or at vengefulness with them. Sibling rivalry in the form of stories, teaches us how just due to one wrong feeling, an entire family can be wiped out. And the most hurt are the elders of the family. I can see this in both Ramayana – that Kaikesi, mother of Ravana is hurt because she wanted him to defeat his step brother Kuber and establish his Kingship all over the world and she lost her entire family; Mahabharat- Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Kunti and Vidura lost their whole family in the dreaded Kurukshetra battle.

What is Said of Mahabharat is completely true and I agree with it
“Yat iha Asti tat anyatra
Yat na iha asti na tat kvachit”
Which means, what is in the Mahabharat is found everywhere, and what is not found here is found no where at all!
I believe this is true of all Puranas, Shastras and Epics!

Jai Siya Ram
Jai Radhe Shyam :)

Pauranic Sibling Rivalry


Pauranic Sibling Rivalry


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