Tuesday 19 February 2013

A temple and memorial to a son

Who has not heard the moving tale of Dasaratha, the father of Rama-Lakshmana, and Shravana Kumara. The tale ends with Dasaratha, the King of Ayodhya accidentally felling Shravana with an arrow.
The place where Shravana was killed is claimed by both Karnataka and also Uttar Pradesh. If it is Unnnao in Uttar Pradesh, the place in Karnataka is Dasaratha Rameshwara, a small hamlet in Chitradurga district.
It is in Karnataka that a memorial, if that can be called so, was installed in memory of Shravana by both Dasaratha and Rama. The village, which is in Hosadurga taluk of Chitradurga district later came to be known as Dasaratha Rameshwara.
The temple too is called by the name Dasaratha Rameshwara and it is located in the midst of a beautiful forest. The serene surroundings and the beauty of the area makes it difficult to believe that both Dasartha and Rama grieved for the slain Shravana that they built a temple in his name.
 This is a very popular temple and both Dasaratha and Rama have installed  a Shiva Linga to atone for the sin of killing Shravana and also to ensure that Shravana’s soul rested in peace.
This site is mentioned in the Ramayana too.
Shravana lived during the time Dasaratha lorded over Ayodhya. Shravana was born to a Vaishya father and a Shudra mother.
One day his parents told him that they had become quite aged and they wanted to go on a pilgrimage.
Shravana placed his aged and almost blind parents in two baskets and carried the baskets on his shoulders. He came to the village here where Dasaratha was out hunting. Dasaratha heard the sound of someone drinking water from a lake. Assuming it to be a dear, he shot an arrow. The arrow killed Shravana who was at the lake drawing water for his parents.  
Shravana then asked Dasaratha to carry the water to his parents. Even as Dasaratha prepared to do so, Shravana died of arrow wounds.
When Dasaratha gave water and informed Shravana’s parents of the death of their son, they both cursed him saying that he too would experience Putrashoka or the loss of a son in due course of time.
While in the south, Dasaratha Rameshwara is believed to be the exact spot where Shravana died, Sarwara village in Unnao district also lays claim to be the very place.
Locals will show you the place at Sarwara where Dasaratha shot his arrow. An old memorial for Shravana stands on the bund of a lake.
The memorial consists of a statue of Shravana. If the locals are to be believed, the stone statue still years for water. They say if water is poured into the navel of the stone figure, the hole never gets filled up. Villagers from Sarvan and adjoining places visit the spot every Monday to offer prayers to Shravana, who is revered as a dutiful son.
The place where Shravana’s parents died or heartbreak is called Samadha. Thus if one place has a temple to India’s most dutiful son, another has a memorial. Both the temple and the memorial like in opposite directions-one in the South and the other in the North, perhaps a standing testimony to the devotion of a son to his parents.

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