Friday, May 31, 2013

The story of 'Pataachaara', Avissawella, Sri Lanka.

'Pataachaara' living at the time of Lord Buddha, was a girl who eloped with her boy-friend as there was objection to her marriage by her parents. She had two children when her husband dies. She ventures back to her parents home with her two infants. On the way she has to cross a river swollen by flood waters. She leaves the elder toddler on the bank of the river and had crossed the river and placed the swaddling on a high ground and was returning to fetch the toddler. Halfway through the river she sees an eagle carrying away her swaddling. She raises her hands to shoo away the eagle which flies away carrying the infant. The toddler on the other bank seeing the mother interprets the raised hands of the mother as a signal to beckon her and jumps into the river and gets carried away by the flood waters. The distraught mother goes to her parents home and finds the house collapsed as a result of the recent storm and the parents dead inside.The tragedies were too much to bear and Patachara loses her senses. She is brought to Lord Buddha who consoles her and takes her into His fold.
The above 'Jathaka' story has been depicted in varioous 'Pandals' during Wesak in Sri Lanka for ages.
I took a picture of a reconstruction of the scene at a 'pandal' in Avissawella. The first photo shows the mother raising her hands and the toddler being carried away by the flood waters. The eagle is depicted carrying the child and flapping its wings in the second photo taken by me.