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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Conquest of Fate"

The Conquest of Fate

Jñânanidhi had a desire to visit the source of the Tuṅgabhadrâ, but his wife was eight months advanced in her pregnancy. So he could not take her; and to take care of her he had to leave behind his disciple, Subrahmanya. Thus after commending the lady to Subrahmanya’s care, and leaving for female assistance another sage’s wife, whom he had brought from a distant forest, Jñânanidhi went his way.

Now, there is a strong belief among Hindus that Brahmâ, the great creator, writes on everyone’s head at the time of his birth his future fortunes in life. He is supposed to do this just at the moment of birth. Of course, the great god when he enters the room to discharge his onerous duty, is invisible to all human eyes. But the eyes of Subrahmanya were not exactly human. The supreme knowledge which Jñânanidhi had imparted to him made it easy for him to discern at once a person entering most impolitely the room in which his master’s wife had been confined.

“Let your reverence stop here,” said the disciple angrily though respectfully.

The great god shuddered, for he had been in the habit of entering hourly innumerable buildings on his eternal rounds of duty, but never till then had a human being perceived him and asked him to stop. His wonder knew no measure, and as he stood bewildered the following reprimand fell on his ears:

“Hoary Brâhmiṇ sage (for so Brahmâ appeared), it is unbecoming your age thus to enter the hut of my master, unallowed by me, who am watching here. My teacher’s wife is ill. Stop!”

Brahmâ hastily—for the time of inscribing the future fortune on the forehead of the baby to be born was fast approaching—explained to Subrahmanya who he was and what had brought him there. As soon as our young hero came to know the person who stood before him he rose up, and, tying his upper cloth round his hips as a mark of respect, went round the creator thrice, fell down before Brahmâ’s most holy feet and begged his pardon. Brahmâ had not much time. He wanted to go in at once, but our young friend would not leave the god until he explained what he meant to write on the head of the child.

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