Indra’s conversation with Surabhi

Posted on August 28, 2011


Once Indra found Surabhi, the mother of the cows, weeping in the heavenly regions. Overcome by compassion, he approached her and enquired about the reason for her despair.

Surabhi replied, “I am depressed on account of my son who is made to bear the excruciating load of the plough. The stronger of the pair is able to bear the weight, but the other one is lean and weak. He is barely able to bear it. The farmer is beating him with a wooden stick, because of which he is inching closer to his death. It is for him that I am grieving”.

Indra asked, “You have a thousands of sons who are oppressed everyday. Why is it that you are grieving for this son in particular?”.

Surabhi said, “It is true that I have a thousand offsprings. But I feel greater compassion for the weak and innocent”.

Indra, surprised and moved by her words, realized that a son is dearer to one than one’s own life. He unleashed a heavy torrent in that place and obstructed the farmer’s work. Surabhi, relieved by this, addressed Indra, “O King, may your affections flow equally towards all your sons. But let them be greater towards those that are weak”.

* * *

Vyasa narrated this story to Dhritarashtra and told him, “O King, Just as Pandu is my son, so are you, and so is Vidura. I am speaking these words out of affection. You have a hundred and one sons, but Pandu has only five. But they are spending their days in sorrow, and their plight continues to agitate my soul. O King, let your son Duryodhana make peace with the Pandavas

(Source: Mbh Vana Parva, Chapter 9)