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Shravan (or Shravan Kumar, or Shrobon in Bengali) is the name of a mythological character that appeared in Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic. In the poem, Shravan is notable for exhibiting devotion toward his parents.
One day his parents told him that they had become quite aged. They, therefore, wanted him to take them to the forty places of pilgrimage, it is a typical Hindu belief that a pilgrimage to the various shrines and holy places undertaken in old age, purifies the soul.
In those days means of transport were scarce and costly, and Shravan Kumar could not afford it. He, therefore, decided to place his parents in two baskets and carry the baskets on his shoulder to the various places of pilgrimage. He took a strong bamboo stick, at its two ends he tied the two baskets with strong ropes, and placed his father in one of the baskets and his mother in the other. Carrying on his shoulder this bamboo stick with a basket at either end, Shravan started on the pilgrimage.
According to the legend in Ramayana, while hunting in the forest of Ayodhya, King Dashratha heard a sound near a lake and unleashed an arrow, hoping to hit an animal.
When he crossed the lake to collect his kill, he found that his arrow had struck a boy who was bleeding.The boy, Shravan Kumar, told Dasaratha, that he had come to the lake to collect water for his sick and aged parents, who were both blind and who he had been carrying on a sling.He requested the king to take water to his parents. After telling his tale, Shravan succumbed to his wounds and when the king took water for his parents and told them of his tragic mistake, they were unable to bear the shock. They cursed Dasaratha that he too would experience "Putrashoka" (grief due to loss of a son). Sanskrit - "putra" is child/son and "shoka" is grief.
Where Shravan died was named Sarvan (Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh—if the locals are to be believed). The spot where Dashratha shot his arrow came to be known as Sarwara and the place where Shravan's parents died is called Samadha. An old and rough memorial for Shravan on the banks of the lake is now withering away. It is said that there lies a stone statue of Shravan Kumar and as he died of unquenched thirst, if water is poured into the navel of the stone figure, the hole never gets filled up. Villagers from Sarvan and adjoining places visit the spot every Monday to offer prayers to Shravan, who is revered as a dutiful son.
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- An unfinished ancient tale. IndiaToday.in. 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2012-09-14.