Father’s Day 2024: From Ravana To Dronacharya, Learning Valuable Lessons From Fathers Of Indian Mythology

Father’s Day 2024: From Ravana To Dronacharya, Learning Valuable Lessons From Fathers Of Indian Mythology

The stories of these fathers offer valuable lessons on fatherhood

Shloka ShuklaUpdated: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 11:46 AM IST
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Father’s Day is a zealous time when we honour the fathers in our lives, both present and past. Every culture has had its own set of myths and lores that have shaped the identities and the ethical standards established as the foundation of society. Every character found in these ancient narratives serve as moral and philosophical guides, reflecting the human experience and addressing fundamental questions about existence, morality, and the natural world. Same goes for the mythological father figures who, with their unique backgrounds and stories, provide perennial lessons on virtues, vices, and tendencies of the human mind.

Dronacharya

Drona, one of the finest gurus found in ancient texts, taught the art of warcraft to the pandavas and kauravas. Dronacharya’s story depicts a tug of war between conflicting emotions, filled with discipline on one side of the spectrum and deceit on the other; as we know from the tale of Eklavya.

As a father, however, Drona shows us the beauty of self sacrifice. The most significant act of altruism came during the kurukshetra war, when the Pandavas resorted to trickery in order to weaken their master’s unmatched skills. The false news of his son’s death shattered Drona’s will to fight. He laid down his arms, only to be subsequently killed by Dhrishtadyumna, fulfilling a vow taken by Drupada's son.

Ravan 

The primary antagonist of Ramayana is often remembered for his arrogance, lack of morality, and his obsession with material wealth which led him to believe that he was above the laws of dharma or righteousness.

Despite his flaws, Ravana was deeply devoted to his children. Meghnad, the eldest son of Ravan was skilled in celestial weapons and illusion warfare. Ravana recognised and nurtured Meghnad's gifts from a young age. He left no stone unturned in making sure that his son got the best training and experience possible.He provided him with guidance, imparting his knowledge of warfare, politics, and most importantly introducing him to Shaivism. 

Ravan was never interested in being a god. He was passionate about striving and achieving among humans. His grief at Meghnad’s death humanises him to a certain extent. Showing us a different face of his, beyond the ten heads and the villainous actions.

Shantanu

In the epic Mahabharata, King Shantanu was a compassionate and kind father. He exhibits the importance of going against one’s own vow in order to stand by what is noble and protect the well-being of your children.

When Goddess Ganga drowned their seven children, Shantanu could not remain silent, despite agreeing to her condition that he would never question her actions. This led to him violating his word of honour for the life of his son. As a result, Bhishma’s life was saved.

Dhritarashtra

The blind king of the Kuru dynasty was the indirect catalyst of the catastrophic war. Though often criticised for his moral weaknesses, Dhritarashtra’s role as a father striving to secure his children's future adds a layer of irony and humanity to his character. His biggest goal was to see his son, Duryodhana, inherit the throne of Hastinapura. This stemmed from a place of deep love and duty. 

His life story serves as a testament to the struggles of parenthood. The fear that his children will be mistreated just like him drove him to desperation. His emotional, subjective decisions often clouded his judgement. His legacy serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between personal affection and the demands of duty

Manu 

In Hindu tradition, Manu is revered as the father of humanity. He is credited with composing the Manusmriti, a foundational text in Hindu law and ethics. He made sure that his daughters- Akuti, Devahuti, and Prasuti, were learned in these texts. He paid special attention to their teachings, fulfilling his duty as a responsible father.

Though Manusmriti is heavily criticised for its rigid and conservative nature, outlining a strict social hierarchy and perpetuating social inequalities, it is important to understand his writings in order to comprehend the principles that govern our society today and bring about contention and reform if necessary. 

Conclusion

Mythology holds profound significance as it embodies the collective wisdom, values, and cultural heritage of civilisations throughout history. By preserving the beliefs and traditions of past societies, mythology fosters a sense of continuity and connection across generations, enriching our understanding of both the past and present. As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us draw inspiration from the virtues (and vices) of these mythological fathers and honour the timeless impact on our culture.

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