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Kaliyug ka Shrawan Kumar – Modern day avatar of the Shravan Kumar of Ramayana

Shrawan Kumar, the young man who exhibited unparalleled parental devotion in the epic Ramayan by carrying his blind parents on his shoulders, is being imitated by Shiv Kumar Kesri in the modern day by carrying his old mother who is unable to walk on his shoulders on pilgrimage to important temples and sacred places in India. This school teacher from Dhanganwa in the Jehanabad district of Bihar carries his mother who is in her 80s on a Kanwar - a handmade bamboo carrier which rests on shoulders.

While trekking, he carries his mother in front and keeps a large Shiva linga made of stone weighing as much as his mother in the back to balance the Kanwar. Kesari has already completed a journey to the Baidhyanathdham in Deoghar. He plans to visit Varanasi, Puri, Allahabad, Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Vaishnodevi in the same way.

India Today reports

Kesri has resolved to take his mother Bedamia Devi to all the sacred pilgrim centres across the country to fulfil her last wish. Since his mother is infirm and not able to walk in her advancing years, Kesri carries her on his shoulders or, at times, on a bamboo basket, to visit different shrines.

Kesri has got a customised kanwar made to carry his mother in a traditional scalelike bamboo basket. He said he had no reservations against making use of trains, buses or any other modes of conveyance but he would carry his mother on his shoulders whenever required.

"There are many pilgrim sites where one cannot reach except on foot," he said.

Kesri's devotion to his mother in today's materialistic world earns him appreciation from the people wherever he goes. His gesture towards his mother has already earned him the sobriquet of "Kalyug ka Shrawan Kumar (Shrawan Kumar of today)" from his neighbours and other acquaintances.

But he said he was doing it for no reason other than fulfiling his mother's wishes. His mother has no hesitation in saying that her son is no less than the mythological Shrawan Kumar, a mythical character who had carried his blind parents on his shoulders to Hindu shrines. His name has been synonymous with the virtues of an ideal son in mythology.

Bedamia Devi often turns emotional on seeing her son worshipping her. She says that it is difficult to get a son as devoted as Kesri in today's world.

Kesri is the youngest son of his parents. Since his father's death, he has been looking after his old mother.

We had also earlier written about Kailash Giri Brahamchari from Madhya Pradesh who carried his mother on his shoulders on a Char Dham Yatra – the four holy places dedicated to Vishnu. You can read about it here in this earlier article.