Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Kahoda - Father of Ashtavakra


Kahoda was a disciple of Uddalaka. Having pleased his Guru by his devotion, he won the hand of Uddalaka's daughter Sujata in marriage. He joined his father-in-law in teaching. However, he was not as skilled as Uddalaka, and made numerous mistakes in reciting the Vedas.

His unborn child had imbibed the Vedas, due to the fact that his mother Sujata used to be seated near the place where her father Uddalaka was teaching. When this child heard the mistakes made by his father, he began correcting them, even from the womb! Humiliated before his students, Kahoda became very angry. He cursed his son to be born a cripple. The child was born with eight deformations in his body, and was hence known as Ashtavakra.

To obtain more wealth, Kahoda journeyed to the court of King Janaka, where he hoped to win the debating contest. Unfortunately, he was defeated by Bandy, the court scholar. As a condition of this contest, the loser had to be drowned in the river. Like numerous other challengers before him, Kahoda was also cast into the river.

Meanwhile, his son Ashtavakra grew up in his grandfather's home, thinking his uncle Shwetaketu to be his brother and his grandfather Uddalaka to be his father. When there was a minor quarrel between Shwetaketu and Ashtavakra, the former revealed the truth.

Ashtavakra, though only a boy of twelve, journeyed to the court of King Janaka and challenged Bandy to a debating contest. After a hard faught debate, he was victorious. At this point, Bandy revealed that none of the Brahmanas who had been cast into the river were really dead, instead, they had been all this time been participating in a sacrifice being conducted by Varuna, who was Bandy's father. The sacrifice having reached its conclusion, all of them returned, including Kahoda, who was joyously reunited with his son.

Last Modified At: Sun Feb 6 19:23:11 2005