Today we are seeing a very rare sculpture which takes us back to the very beginning of the Ramayana. Its a subtle reminder that the you are accountable for your acts, irrespective of whether committed knowingly or unknowingly - the consequences have to be faced.
When Dasaratha (father of Rama) was a young Prince, he reveled in all sport. He is a charioteer unparalleled but so are his archery skills. His skill is so great that he could put an arrow from just the sound of an animal moving. But this very skill proved to be his undoing. Yes, we are going to see the legend of Shravana Kumara from a rare sculpture from the Hazara Rama temple in Hampi.
updating with anotehr view ( thanks to Manju)
The story goes thus. In his youthful jest, Dasaratha is hunting in the forests adjoining the river Sarayu. But despite his best efforts, he is not able to bag anything till late in the evening. Just as the Sun, was setting, as he was hiding behind tree cover, he heard a familiar sound of elephants drinking water in the river. Impatient to get his prize, Dasartha relies purely on his skill and lets loose a deadly arrow, guided purely by the sound. But as it found its mark, he was shocked to hear a man scream in mortal pain.
Can you spot the above plot in the sculpture.
As he rushed to the spot, he found that he had mistakenly shot a young boy filling water in a pot.
The boy is actually Shravana Kumaran, the dutiful son - who takes such good care of his aged and blind parents - that he transports them on a sling balancing on his shoulders. His parents are totally dependent on him. As he was passing through the forest they had asked him to fetch some water as they were thirsty and it was in this act that he was felled by the fateful arrow.
The young boy, despite his mortal wound, is still thinking about his parents.Dasartha begs for his forgivness, but the boy requests him to take the water to his parents. He also tells him to disclose the bad news of their son’s death after their thirst is quenched! such a noble soul. So requesting he moves to realm of the heavens.
Dasartha is all remorse personified as he goes to the place where the aged couple are resting. Just as he approaches they realise from the sound of his footsteps that its not their son and insist Dasartha to tell them the truth. Dasartha tries his best to dampen the blow, by offering to be their Son - but on hearing from him that their dearest son is no more, the mother falls down dead. The father is filled with great anger that he curses Dasartha thus :
” you too will suffer this pain of separation from your loved son and die of that ”
The rest - well is history