Published on 11th October, 2015, in Mid-Day.
In the Bible, we hear the story of how Joseph is falsely accused of rape by the wife of Potiphar. Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers and is bought by one Potiphar, an Egyptian nobleman. Potiphar soon grows fond of Joseph’s talents and makes him head servant of the household. But then old Potiphar’s young wife grows fond of the young and beautiful Joseph, and wants to have sex with him. When Joseph rejects her advances, she accuses him of rape and gets him thrown into prison. God saves him eventually.
A similar story is found in the legends of the Nath-jogis. King Salban has a handsome son by a senior queen called Puran Bhagat. The king’s junior queen, Luna, falls in love with him and tries to seduce him. When Puran Bhagat refuses her proposal, she gets angry and accuses him of rape. Puran Bhagat’s fate is worse than Joseph’s. The king, his father, orders that his hands and feet be chopped off and he be thrown into a dry well to die. He would have surely died had he not been found by Gorakh-nath, the great Nath-jogi, and student of Macchindra-nath. Gorakh-nath initiated Puran Bhagat in the ways of the Nath-jogis, a path that involved the vow of celibacy and performing numerous yogic practices to gain siddhi. As a result of his guru’s grace, Puran-Bhagat’s four limbs were restored and he became renowned as Chaurangi-nath, the master with all four limbs. In some versions, he could function despite having no limbs, thanks to the power of yoga and his guru’s grace.
Chaurangi-nath’s fame spread far and wide and, one day, his old father paid him a visit, not knowing who he really was. Beside him was his junior queen, the same one who had accused him of rape. The royal couple wanted a child and begged him to bless them. ‘You will have a child if you tell the world the truth about your relationship with Puran Bhagat,’ said the jogi to the queen. The queen fearing that the jogi knew the truth publicly admitted to her lie. The king was horrified and at the same time filled with remorse for not believing his son. Chaurangi-nath then revealed his true identity. The king begged him to return to the palace and take his place as prince, but Chaurangi-nath refused as he had found greater joy in the wisdom of the Nath-jogis. He blessed his old father and his father’s young wife that they would have a great son and indeed they gave birth to a wonderful hero of a son called Rasalu whose adventurous life became the stuff of legend. This story comes to us from the Sindh and Punjab area of what is now Pakistan.
Both stories tell us of women accusing men falsely of rape. We hear of such cases a lot in the press today. Those hurt most by such false accusations are not so much the men, as the women who are actually raped and have to face the horrific Indian judicial process to prove that they are not lying. Even worse is the fate of wives who are raped by husbands every night and the Indian judicial system – controlled by men – that refuses to believe such a thing is possible.