Tears of Destiny

Princess Pritha, as a young mother, feels compelled by circumstance and destiny to abandon her newborn child. She is filled with fear for his future life.

With a heavy heart she appeals to the gods for his safety and tearfully blesses him as she sets him afloat down the river in a basket.

(Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Book 3: Vana Parva, translation by K.M. Ganguli) Section CCCVI:


samutsṛjantī mañjūṣām aśvanadyās tadā jale
uvāca rudatī kuntī yāni vākyāni tac chṛṇu
Do thou listen to the words Kunti weepingly uttered,
while consigning the box to the waters of the river Aswa
svasti te ‘stv āntarikṣebhyaḥ pārthivebhyaś ca putraka
divyebhyaś caiva bhūtebhyas tathā toyacarāś ca ye
O child, may good betide thee at the hands of all that inhabit the land, the water, the sky, and the celestial regions.
śivās te santu panthāno mā ca te paripanthinaḥ
āgamāś ca tathā putra bhavantv adroha cetasaḥ
May all thy paths be auspicious! May no one obstruct thy way! And, O son, may all that come across thee have their hearts divested of hostility towards thee:
pitā tvāṃ pātu sarvatra tapanas tapatāṃ varaḥ
yena datto ‘si me putra divyena vidhinā kila
And may, O son, that best of those that impart heat, viz., Surya, thy father, and from whom I have obtained thee as ordained by Destiny, protect thee everywhere!