Why Love is Blind
‘So now, what’s next on the agenda?’
The voice at his side was soft when the answer came. He had warned all his assistants not to startle him with sudden loud noises; it could have disastrous consequences for all involved. Accordingly, the young man at his side spoke slowly and softly.
‘The destiny of the Principal of St. Mary’s Convent in Agartala, sir.’
‘Hmm. What has his record been like? All good, I hope?’
There was a fluttery sound as his assitant riffled through the papers he held, no doubt, pinned up in a clipboard.
‘Aside from the usual transgressions of petty lies and minor deceits, he has not committed any major evil deeds, sir.’
‘Well then, I think we can afford to award him some happiness. Let the last ten years of his life be spent with friends and family, with whatever small material comforts are due to him.’
‘And make a note – we’ll have to make sure he goes to Swargam, instead of Narkam. Tie it up with Pushan’s assistant. My brother won’t remember it himself, he’s too busy.’
Satisfied, he nodded the assistant away as he leaned back in his chair. As the ancient god of wealth and destiny, Bhaga awarded human beings the fruits of their actions when on earth. As befitted a god of destiny, Bhaga took his duties very seriously, spending most of his morning listening to his assistant recount the deeds of each human he was to judge.
When people on earth wonder why good things happen to bad people, why the corrupt retain their money while the poor suffer – you can be sure that destiny will eventually claim its own.
Bhaga makes sure of it.
He also made sure that the necessary paperwork was filed to ensure that the people who deserved Hell, or Narakam, would be conducted there by his brother, Pushan.
Most Hindus would be surprised to know that while Shiva and Yama had their place as the Gods of Destruction and Death, respectively, the truth was that the gods were arranged more like a hierarchy within their respective domains. At the very top of the Death and Destruction Department was Shiva, and under him was Yama. Under Yama, of course, was Pushan, who conducted departed souls to the next stage of the journey in their many lives – Narakam, or Swargam, according their actions while on earth.
Though Bhaga didn’t have much to do with the DDD (the Death and Destruction Department, as it was known), he found that as god of destiny, his actions were usually linked to a human’s destination after death. As such, it made sense to tie up with the DDD whenever he decided a person’s ultimate destiny.
It wasn’t much better as a god of wealth, come to think of it. There were so many of them nowadays that they all had to check the worksheets to see that they weren’t granting repeated requests to only one human – no one wanted a repeat of the Harshad Mehta scandal, thank you very much.
Bhaga usually had to spend his whole afternoon typing away at worksheets hunched over a little computer screen. The gods weren’t afraid to adopt human technologies, not when it worked so well for them, and it was truly a godsend – for him, anyway.
It took Bhaga the better part of the day, painstakingly tallying up everything, using the text to speech system, straining his hearing and his concentration power, trying to make sure that wealth flowed to the deserving. There was only so much wealth in the world, after all. Money could neither be created, nor destroyed, it could only be moved around – from banks to people to criminals to police to swamis to banks again…it was enough to make your head spin, if you weren’t a god.
By the time he was finally done for the day, Bhaga was frazzled, and had gone through at least five little cups of soma. This was an addition to the offices he had been particularly been proud of – his assistant had told him about the human habit of office goers drinking cup upon cup of chai or coffee, and he had wondered – as it is on earth, why not let it be in heaven?
The soma boys had started delivery soon after. Some of the souls of humans who had been chai boys and waiters on earth had opted to serve in Swargam in place of suffering in Narkam for their sins.
It had been one of his best ideas, Bhaga often thought. Certainly the praise from his fellow gods reinforced that opinion.
As Bhaga downed his last cup of soma for the day, he sighed. Now came the part of the day he dreaded. With another sigh, he pushed his chair away from his table, and grabbed his cane.
As he tapped his way to the window that looked out over the portal, Bhaga’s assitant rushed to his side. Bhaga could feel the hand that hovered over his elbow for a moment before withdrawing, and he scowled. He had categorically instructed his assistants he never needed help to walk, but some of them still forgot occassionally.
With his left hand, Bhaga felt around for the window sill, and then laid the cane against it. His assistant’s hand brushed against his, and his fist closed around the bow that was handed to him. Into his left hand, his assistant pressed an arrow.
This was the part of his job Bhaga hated. He could never be sure whether he was hitting the right target, or even whether his arrows fell close enough to hit a target. As he drew back the string and nocked the arrow in place, Bhaga cursed his blindness for the thousandth time.
He had been young back then, full of the arrogance of youth, and he had paid the price for it. Veerabhadra had been another aspect of Shiva, after all, but Bhaga had been foolish enough to think he could go up against him.
The injuries Bhaga had received in the fight had blinded him. No amount of healing by the Ashwini twins had been able to help; Bhaga remained in eternal night.
‘A little to the right, sir,’ his assistant murmured, sotto voce, and Bhaga nodded, correcting his aim before letting the arrow fly.
It had been many years since he had been blinded, but he still remembered the time when he had been blessed with eyesight, and in his mind’s eye, Bhaga saw the arrow fly straight and true, out of the window, into the portal that led to the earth, through the starry night, until it struck its target, a human male.
‘Ready, sir,’ his assistant murmured, and Bhaga took up another arrow, the one that would call to the first.
Every night, Bhaga released arrows into the portal, where they struck humans while they slept, the arrow heads sinking into their consciousness, taking root when they woke and affecting their fate from there on. The arrows would call to one another, and when two persons who had been struck by an arrow on the same night would meet – well, the rest would be history, as the humans said.
And therein lay the rub. The effect of the arrow was not permanent, but neither could it be avoided or ignored. With his blindness, Bhaga had no way of knowing who each arrow would hit, or how their life would turn out, and none of his assistants had the skill or power necessary to look into the future.
As Bhaga, god of marriage, released his third arrow, he hoped the unions he was setting up on earth would bring only happiness and joy, but then – he had no way of knowing for sure.
A/N: In Indian mythology, Bhaga was one of twelve the Adityas, a god of wealth and marriage. Virabhadra, an aspect of Shiva, once blinded him. Bhaga also supervises the distribution of goods and destiny to each man corresponding to his merits.
-Yeah, one of my stranger ones. Which involves no killing or blood! (gasp)
-The Greco-Roman gods had a similar explanation for why love works the way it does. Cupid (or his Greek counterpart, Eros) were said to be blinded (or blindfolded, in another version) which explains why his arrows sometimes go awry of their marks.
- Another entry for the ‘Love ya Arranged Marriage ’ contest on Indiblogger.
Your comments and criticism are appreciated, thanks.
Image is from Morguefile, with thanks.
[music| In my head - Sinnerman: Nina Simone]