Stories of Boons from Indian Mythology
In Indian mythology, especially in times of Mahabharat and The Ramayana, we find many interesting stories related to boons. These boons were awarded by gods and sages to their devotees. The devotees performed penance so that they can be granted boons. Following are the narratives of some of the famous boons.
The boon (or curse) of Ashwaththama
It is believed that Ashwaththama had a boon from his father Drona, that he would not die. Another account say that he was cursed by Shri Krishna to live in seclusion till the end of Kalyuga. This is because he targeted Parikshit in an attempt to render the Pandavas heirless.
The boon of Bhishma
Bhishma had a similar boon to choose his own death. His father Shantanu bestowed this boon to him after he declared that he will never marry, so that Satyavati’s sons can become the ruler of the kingdom. Before that, he also forgone the throne, which was rightfully his.
The boon (or curse) of Kumbhakarna
Kumbhakarna pleased Brahma and intended to ask the throne of Indra as a boon. But Indra asked Saraswati to help him. So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping). It is also said he intended to ask for Nirdevatvam (annihilation of the Devas), and instead asked for Nidravatvam (sleep). His request was granted. But his brother Ravana asked Brahma to undo this boon as it was in reality a curse. So Kumbhakarna slept, and was awake for six months, when he ate everything in the vicinity, including humans.
Boon of fragrance to Satyavati by Parashar
Satyavati, the mother of author of Mahabharat, Ved Vyasa smelled like a fish. Sage Parashar saw her once and got smitten by her beauty and proposed her. Satyavati put forth couple of conditions, one of them was that she should get rid of the smell from her body. Parashar told her that this would be fulfilled and instead of the smell, a fragrance will emanate from her body which can be sensed miles away.
Vyasa boon to Gandhari for hundred sons.
Ved vyasa has told Gandhari that she would be a mother of hundred sons. These sons were born from a lump of mass which gandhari gave birth to after pregnancy of two years. Ved Vyasa cut them into pieces and put them into jars. With time they came out as sons of gandhari thus making his boon true.
The boon of Vali
Vali was famous for the boon from lord Shiva, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight when Vali was doing his regular Sandhyavandanam. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. He was killed by Rama, when Sugriva was fighting with him.
The boon of Jayadratha
Jayadratha had been enslaved by the Pandavas as a punishment for trying to kidnap Draupadi. Enraged, Jayadratha had performed penances to please Lord Shiva who granted him the boon that he would be able to overpower all the Pandavas except Arjuna on one day in battle. Abhimanyu entered the Chakravyuha and the Pandavas tried to follow him but Jayadratha single handedly held them all back and Abhimanyu, unaided, was killed in the Chakravyuha.
The boon of Bhasmasur
Bhasmasur obtained a boon from Lord Shiva that anything will turn into ashes, if he put his hand. He tried to test his boon on Lord Shiva only. Lord Vishnu came to his rescue and saved Lord Shiva from Bhasmasur.
Link to Recommended Reading