Child Prodigies in Indian Mythology (Premium Content)
- April 11, 2022
By Srinidhi Murthy
Indian Mythology has interesting stories of child prodigies, whose devotion and determination made it possible for them to reach new heights. Here are the fascinating legends of some such children who achieved seemingly impossible tasks.
Ashtavakra was the son of Sage Kahoda and his wife Sujatha. One day, when Kahoda was teaching his disciples, he was interrupted by a voice that came from his wife’s womb. The voice corrected the chant that was mispronounced by Kahoda. Angered at being humiliated in front of his disciple, he cursed his unborn child to be born with eight deformities. As the date of his son’s birth approached, Kahoda went to King Janaka as he needed money for the birth of his child. Janaka told Kahoda that he would reward him if he defeated Bandhi. Bandhi was a scholar who remained undefeated in debates. The king also added that the sage would be drowned if he did not achieve success.
Unfortunately, Kahoda was no match for Bandhi and was defeated. Soon after this event, Sujatha delivered a son. The child was named Ashtavakra due to his eight deformities. When Ashtavakra reached the age of twelve, he wanted to avenge his father by defeating Bandhi. Seeing the confidence and intelligence of the boy, Janaka permitted him to have the debate with Bandhi. To everyone’s surprise, Bandhi was easily defeated by the boy. Bandhi then revealed that he was the son of Varuna and that the true purpose of his challenge was to send sages from earth to perform a yagna for his father and not to drown them. Hearing this, the king and his courtiers rushed to the river where to their surprise, they saw all the sages emerge alive and well from the water. There, Ashtavakra had a joyous reunion with his father, who was overjoyed by his son’s success and cured his deformities.
Script: Shailaja Ganguly, Malati Shenoy; Illustration: Ram Waeerkar
Dhruva was the son of King Uttanapada and his first wife Suneeti. Unfortunately, Uttanapada loved his second wife Suruchi more than his first wife and son. One day, Dhruva saw Uttama, the son of Queen Suruchi, sitting on his father’s lap. Filled with excitement, Dhruva ran toward his father to join his brother but Suruchi stopped him on his way and told him that he had no right to sit on his father’s lap. She also added that Dhruva should pray to Lord Narayana to be reborn as her son if he wanted to enjoy the same rights as Uttama. Hurt by the harsh words of his stepmother, Dhruva became determined to gain the favour of Lord Narayana. With his mother’s blessing, he reached Madhuvan forest and started his meditation by chanting the name of the Lord. Moved by the determination of Dhruva, Lord Narayana appeared before him.