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Story of Ruru: Mahabharat Katha

We all know the pop­u­lar sto­ry of Sav­it­ri who went to Yama’s abode to bring her deceased hus­band back to life. The sto­ry is so pop­u­lar in the house­holds of India that we assume that only a woman is capa­ble of such a sac­ri­f­ic. Lit­tle is known about the sac­ri­fice of Ruru as told in the Mahab­hara­ta. Ruru was a Rishi in the lin­eage of Bhrigu Muni. Bhrigu had a son by name Chya­vana. Chya­vana had a son Pra­mati and Ruru was born to Pra­mati. Ghri­tachi the celes­tial dancer was Ruru’s moth­er.

Pra­mad­vara was the daugh­ter of Rishi Sthu­lakeshu and she lived in a her­mitage in the for­est. She was a woman of great beau­ty and calm­ness. Charmed by her beau­ty and atti­tude, Ruru expressed to Sthu­lakeshu, his desire to mar­ry her. Close to the day of the wed­ding, Pra­mad­vara was bit­ten by a snake when she was play­ing with her friends. She fell on the ground uncon­scious and died due to the snake’s ven­om. Sev­er­al holy men includ­ing Swasty­a­treya, Maha­jana, Kushi­ka, Sankhamekha­la, Uddala­ka, Katha, and Swe­ta of great renown, Bharad­wa­ja came to the spot to mourn her death. Unable to bear the loss, Ruru wept in pain and cried aloud “if it is true that I have per­fromed penances, let Pra­mad­vara come to life through the fruit of that”. A divine mess­nger came from heav­en and offered Ruru a boon. Ruru offered a half his life­time to Pra­mad­vara. The mes­sen­ger car­ried this mes­sage to Dhara­ma­ra­ja and Dhar­mara­ja answered “O mes­sen­ger of the gods, if it be thy wish, let Pra­mad­vara, the betrothed wife of Ruru, rise up endued with half of Ruru’s life”. Pra­mad­vara came back to life and Ruru’s lifes­pan was reduced by half. Rishi Sahas­ra­p­ath who was cursed to be a ven­om­less snake was also brought back to life by Ruru. Ruru and Pra­mad­vara were mar­ried and led a life of sin­cer­i­ty and hap­pi­ness. Mar­riage is but the shed­ding of a part of one­self to accom­mo­date the oth­er.


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