Shravan Kumar is a character in the great Hindu epic Ramayana. While taking his blind and disabled parents on a pilgrimage through the holy Hindu shrines, he is mistaken for a boar by Lord Rama’s father, who is also the King. After fatally shooting Shravan with an arrow, the king apologizes to Shravan’s parents. The parents then place a curse on the King that his first son will leave him when the father needs him the most.
Shravan Kumar’s parents were blind and frail. They wanted to go on a pilgrimage to ‘Char Dhams’ (holy places of great religious importance to Hindus). As it was not possible for them to walk, Shravan Kumar makes them sit in two baskets hanging at each end of a wooden pole. He places the pole on his shoulder and sets on foot for the pilgrimage. En route the parents feel thirsty and ask Shravan to get some water for them. Shravan goes in search of water and reaches a riverbank. He starts filling water in his urn.At that day, King Dasaratha went hunting in the forest. He and his men roamed the forest when suddenly they heard a gurgling sound in the distance. Thinking it to be a animal drinking water, the king shot his arrow in that direction. When Dasaratha came to the spot he found a youth lying seriously wounded by the arrow. He was shravana Kumar, the only son of an old and blind couple. He had come to fetch water to quench the thirst of his parents resting in the forest. Shravana carried his old parents on his shoulders, in a palanquin, where ever he went.Even while dying, Shravana could only think of his helpless parents.
He held Dasaratha’s hands and asked him to take the pitcher of water to his parents. Unsuspectingly the old couple drank the water, but an extremely sorrowful Dasaratha could not withhold the truth. He told Shravana’s parents how he had unknowingly killed their son. Shocked by the news, the grieving parents cursed Dasaratha with putrasoka, which meant that he would go through the same agony of child loss. Years later, this curse led to the exile of Rama, and Dasaratha suffered the pain of separation from his favorite son.