[Short Story] The Teachings of the Snake Mother
Oh how magnificent Vinata was, with her wings spread out wide, her long flights in the air. Once Vinata kept on and on about her long jump towards the sun. Oh how jealous Kadru was. Kadru made a vow that day, that one day, Vinata would be her slave.
Vinata however waited for long time but both her eggs would not hatch. It was difficult for nature to fulfill her boon and do that soon, so both the child took time in development. Kadru laughed, laughed at the misery of her sister.
Everyday she mocked on her sister, oh how fast her kids were growing, said Kadru. Shesha could now defeat the entire mountain, she said. Vasuki could beat Indra in the game of dice. Vinata got angry and broke up one egg.
Out sprang her eldest son, Arun, who would later be the charioteer of sun and help all creatures with energy. But because he sprang too soon, his one wing was deformed. Consumed with guilt Vinata vowed she would wait for the second egg to hatch.
In the meanwhile, things were changing in the newly formed earth. The Devas and the Aruras where going head to head against each other in their battle. Finally Kadru’s son, Vasuki meddled with the two clans and offered them a respite. They would both churn the ocean and distribute the gifts that the nature has to offer. Vasuki himself offered to be used as a rope for this churning. Kadru was angry, she felt betrayed. She instantly disowned Vasuki and proclaimed that her true son was Shesha who was true to his clan.
But with the churning of the milky ocean provided her with an opportunity to enslave her sister,
“Oh Vinata,” she said one day casually, “Have you heard of Uchchaisravas? the magnificent king of horses who sprang from the milky ocean?”
“Oh sister, who hasn’t heard of him,” Vinata mentioned, “I hear his tail hair is the purest white in color, even whiter than your son Airavat….”
“No, my sister,” Kadru said, “No one is whiter than Airavat, I have heard he is of color black. Lets have a bet on it, shall we?”
Vinata smiled, she had no idea Kadru was talking seriously when she said, “If the tail of the horse is black, you will have to be my slave forever, but if it is white in color, Ill be your slave forever.”
“Oh sure,” said Vinata playfully, she will later regret this bet as Kadru would actually chain her to the ground in front of all the snakes, for a hundred years, until rescued by her elder son, Garuda.
Kadru instantly called her sons, the powerful Shesha and the magnificent Airavat. She asked them to hide in the tail of the horse so that it will appear black instead of white, “I want my sister as my slave. Go my sons, follow the teachings of your mother….”
She was in for the shock when Shesha replied, “No my mother, we won’t go and help you with your diabolical plan.”
“How dare you defy your own mother?” she asked.
“We do not defy you mother, we obey the same teachings you taught us. You taught us poisonous fangs and their use, you taught us how to hide from others. You taught us how to build the own nest, but above all these teachings,” Airavat said, “You taught us treachery."
“By planning a diabolical plot against your sister, you are defying your kin as we do ours. We are just following your teaching…” said Shesha, smirking, walked away with his siblings.
Kadru was left fuming in anger.
P.s. The story is based on the original characters from the Hindu Mythology of Snakes and eagles. The story is also true, the author has taken the liberty to fictionize the story.