Friday, June 12, 2015

A cat started the Mahabharata war!


A regional version of the Mahabharata in Kumaon, states that a cat caused the Mahabharata war. According to the story, the Kauravas and Pandavs lived in two adjacent places in Kumaon. The Pandavas had a cat named Lomasha, while the Kauravas had a chicken.
The moved to Hastinapura along with their pets--the Pandavas by this time had children, who were still babies. Lomasha was quite protective of them. One morning the Kauravas’ cock crowed loudly and awakened the little ones, who began to cry. Lomasha ran to protect them and killed the cock. The Kauravas attacked the Pandavas and the great war started!
I found this story in secondary literature--still looking for the original. If a cat was responsible for the beginning of the war, surely cats in India deserve more respect!
All through the Mahabharata the Pandavas are seen to be friendly with animals. Yudhishthira did not abandon his dog on the way to heaven; earlier too they had a dog who barked at Ekalavya. And in the pious cat story narrated earlier, that cat too is elsewhere called Lomasha.