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Saturday, 22 April 2017

#AtoZChallenge - 4-22-2017 - Letter S

S for Secrets
One of the few things that separate man from animals is the ability to keep secrets. Maybe some animals have secret hoards of food, but that is probably how far they go. Even that can be put down to their survival instincts.
What a sense of power it gives the secret keeper! To know that he knows something that nobody else does is a heady feeling. Then the issue becomes one of whether or not to give away the secret. For some, it is enough just to have a secret. If one gives in to a baser nature, secrets become ammunition for blackmail.
Traditionally, women have been said to be unable to keep a secret, with jokes going so far as to assign a tummy ache until the beans have been spilled! In Indian mythology, there is an interesting story about why women cannot keep a secret (allegedly, of course!). In the epic, Mahabharata, Queen Kunti was the mother of five heroic sons, the Pandavas (named after their father, King Pandu). The Pandavas, were semi-celestial, each of them having been born by the blessings of a different God.
Upon growing up, the Pandavas are locked in a bitter battle with their cousins, the Kauravas, for the kingdom. Every king from the surrounding areas takes sides and a terrible war ensues. Another great hero, Karna, sides with the Kauravas even though he knows they are in the wrong. This is because of his loyalty and gratitude towards the Kauravas. They had helped him when the Pandavas had insulted him about his low birth.
This was ironic because Karna was actually the first born of Kunti, and thus the eldest brother of the Pandavas. But Kunti had had to give him up because she had not been married at the time. Given a boon by a sage, she had invoked the Sun God, and had been blessed with Karna as a result.
In the war, Karna is killed and Kunti mourns in private. But when the vicorious Pandavas, are offering prayers for the dead, she asks her eldest son to also offer prayers for Karna. Then she reveals that Karna had been her son too. Moved by sorrow and anger at not having known such a momentous secret, the eldest Pandava, Yudhishthira utters a curse, “Henceforth, no woman will be able to keep a secret to herself, however big or small it may be!”

That is why women can never keep any secret to themselves, they say!


  1. Secrets are not easy to keep tis true.
    A Piece of Uganda

  2. I was very quiet in school, so my friends trusted me to keep their secrets, some of which I still have not revealed to anyone, over 30 years later. So I think women are quite capable of keeping secrets.

    T is for the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis

  3. Fascinating story about the origins of women not being able to keep a secret. Thanks.