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Hatred against God1

Translated from the Telugu original by Pranav K Vasishta, IIIT-H Disclaimer: This translation is carried out currently, strictly for academic purposes. Public Circulation of the work is to be avoided for it infringes the Copyrights of the copyright holders (Viswanadha Publications).

This is first in a series of 12 novels titled Purana Vaira Grantha Mala (or) Garland of Books Antagonistic to Puranas by Jnanpith Award Winner, Kavi Samrat Sri Viswanadha Satyanarayana. This book was written in 1958. It was written down by Sri Palavajjhala Rama Sastry as the Kavi Samrat dictated it extemporaneously. The first edition of this novel came out in 1959. As the edition was getting readied by the end of 1959, Preface and Introduction were written and added to it in January, 1960. This is the translation of the fifth edition.
Preface by Kavi Samrat This is the first novel. The story in the novel dates back to a hundred years after the Great War at Kurukshetra2. It has all the creative aspects that one may expect in a novel. The time is that. At that time, King Janamejaya3 donated some land to a few sages on the banks of the river Tungabhadra4. There is evidence of an edict stating this. What more evidence is needed? The story in this novel dates back to that time. The entire history of dynasties that ruled Magadha is available. During the times of Bharata5, the trio - Bhima-Arjuna-Krishna went and killed Jaraasandha6, is it not? Son of Jaraasandha was Sahadeva. His son Maarjaari. Twenty one kings ruled Magadha with Girivraja as their capital for one thousand and twenty one years. The entire history of Magadhan kings is neatly established. This is the first novel. In this story, descriptions are mainly about the Andhra country. In the subsequent novels, these dynasties of Magadha, and the changes that they underwent shall be included. In the history of India written by the Westerners, the first surprising aspect is to call both the King Salivahana and King Vikramarka as mythical emperors! It is during the era of King Vikramarka that Kalidasa was present. Kalidasa wrote a treatise on astrology titled Jyotirvidaabharanam, in which he mentioned that he authored Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Megha Sandesa, and that he is a friend of King Vikramarka. That King Vikramarka is called as a mythical emperor! Now, how do we trust this history written by the Westerners? But our elderly believe this history!? Whats the answer to this!?
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Telugu/Sanskrit = Bhagavan War detailed in Mahabharata 3 Son of Parikshit, great grandson of Arjuna 4 Chief tributary of Krishna, that flows from Karnataka to Andhra Pradesh 5 Times of Mahabharata 6 Emperor of Magadha during the times of Mahabharata

Viswanadha Satyanarayana Introduction These are sixteen novels7 written under a series titled Purana Vaira or Antagonistic to Puranas. Each novel is an independent work. All the sixteen novels do not contain the same story. There is no connection between one and the other. Though there may be some connection that one may find between one and the other novel, that connection is not central to the theme. Then, why are these novels being written under a common series titled Purana Vaira? Why is the series titled Purana Vaira, in the first place? These questions shall be referred again and again at different points in these novels. We8 have Vedas, Sastras, Puranas and Itihasas. In these, there are Puranas. What is a Purana? Our people told us: Puraanam Panchalakshanam, i.e. five qualities make a puraana. That, is puraana is that which has five qualities Sarga, Pratisarga, Manvantara, Rajavamsa, Anuvamsa. Sarga is that which speaks of the quality of first creation. That which speaks of the nature of the first creation after the Great Deluge (Mahaa Pralaya) - that is the Sarga. After this first creation, there will be a few deluges (pralaya). After each deluge, again, creation takes place. That which describes this is the Pratisarga. There is a story in our puranas. When a manu9 went to a pond to bathe, a small fish requested him to save its life, when he put it in his jar, which it soon outgrew, and then the Manu moved it from there to a tank, to a river, and then to the ocean, as it outgrew each of it. The fish then told Manu that in a few days all oceans shall rise and therell be deluge; pick one specimen for each living species on earth, and get on my back. At the end of the deluge, you can sustain life on earth! Manu did as suggested by the fish. This is Pratisarga. That is, this creation is not done out of such things as Mahat, Ahankaara (egoism). If creation occurs out of such things as Mahat, ahankaara then that creation is called Sarga. That kind of creation which sustains life forms of different species, and recreates life in its full, this is called Pratisarga. In the Bible, theres Noahs Ark. It is narrated there that a man by name Noah collects specimens of various forms of life and preserves them in a ship, and from these specimens, creation took place. This is Pratisarga. All knowledge and all wisdom traveled from India (Bharata desa) to the other countries. This instance from the Bible is such wisdom. The third quality mentioned is Manvantara. Put Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali these four Yugas together you get a Maha Yuga. If one puts seventy one (71) such Maha Yugas together, that makes a Manvantara. When fourteen such Manvantaras pass, then comes the Great Deluge (Mahaa Pralaya). What a contrast between this calculation of time and the calculation that Westerners teach by their history! We are following the way of those whose imagination is limited and narrow. The fourth quality mentioned is Rajavamsa. Our Puranas contain the histories of the Surya and Chandra Vamsas (dynasties) which were there right at the beginning of the creation. Anuvamsas are the histories of the various dynasties that came from these two
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This series was thought to consist of sixteen novels in the beginning, but due to several reasons, they ended up being twelve in number. The author, Kavi Samrat himself writes this in the Preface of the Twelfth and the last novel Nivedita. 8 We = Indians (Bharateeya) 9 Satyavrata from Matsya Purana Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor mankind.

dynasties in the Kali Yuga! It is this (Anuvamsa) that is being taught as history in colleges and schools. Western historians have twisted, and spoilt this in a variety of ways and are teaching them as they please. Our elderly are following them. It is these Western pundits who taught us that we, Indians do not have a sense of history and our English pundits who learnt their education tell us this everyday. Some of them believe this that it is true. Just as the way one is brought up influences ones thinking, it is no surprise that having studied English education in the Western tradition and with ones thoughts deeply immersed in that tradition, one believes whatever comes across in that line of thought. In all of this, the bottom line to be noted is that our Puranas speak of the past! Saying that our ancient sages did not have a sense of past is rooted in the thought, rather a plot (!) to bring down our earlier civilization and thereby make the rule of the Westerners look great. The English are Christians. They believe in the Bible. This is true of all Western nations. According to their Bible, creation took place two thousand years before Christ. Our people say that creation took place one hundred and ninety five crore years ago. Take out the Panchangam of each year and see it! Srishtyaadi gataabdaah the number of years that are past after creation how many? More than one hundred and ninety five crores! Kaligataabdaah the number of years that are past in the Kali Yuga how many? Five thousand and sixty!10 This way, our astrologers have been counting year after year. How do you say no to that? What is the basis of Westerners count? 1960 A.D. (after Christ)! How do they use this A.D. count after ten lakh years? When it is in thousands, it is easy to count it so. How about the case when it is lakhs of crores? Even if you take the count in B.C (before Christ), a count that is in crores of years does not come to their mind. Their calculations cannot match even the time when we entered the Kali Yuga! Their creation took place then! What kind of a calculation is this? Our Panchangas tell that five thousand and sixty years ago, we entered Kali. In the Bharata11, during the War12, one finds the necessary leads for justifying the same. Aryabhatta and other of our astronomers have written about this. The Westerners negated all of these. The Englisheducated elders of our country believe these Westerners. Our people do not have faith in the Sarga, Pratisarga details mentioned in our Puranas. But there is faith in Darwins principle! In our country, some of the elderly have worked hard, and with their industry have proven that the theories of the Westerners are wrong. Sri T S Narayana Sastry worked and discussed the time of Adi Sankara13 comprehensively in which he establishes that the Mahabharata war took place about five thousand years ago. Later, Sri Nadimpalli Jagannatha Rao worked and established the same. Later Sri Kota Venkatachalam has clearly elaborated on our entire history. In the Greek writings, there is this word: Sandracottus. The Westerners have interpreted this word to mean: Maurya Chandragupta14. With this interpretation, the
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This is in 1960. Mahabharata 12 Kurukshetra War 13 The proponent of Advaita Vedanta 14 Chandragupta of Maurya Dynasty

entire Pauranic15 history of Kali Yuga dynasties got garbled in a mess. This Sandracottus was Gupta Chandragupta16 and not Maurya Chandragupta. We have the history of the dynasties that ruled Magadha. Pundit Kalhana, in his Rajatarangini wrote completely about the history of the Kings of Kashmir. We also have the entire history of the kings that ruled Nepal. The moment you say Gupta Chandragupta as Maurya Chandragupta, everything got destroyed. Western historians have subverted and rendered our understanding of history useless and incoherent. They made our history dance to their tunes. Our pundits are studying this history. They are making the students read the same. Those interested to have a comprehensive understanding of how this happened may study through the books of Pundit Kota Venkatachalam who has been honored with the title: Bharata Charitra Bhaskara. Those who intend to know the exact details of the dating of Mahabharata War to about five thousand years ago must read Sri Nadimpalli Jagannatha Raos work on dating of Mahabharata war and Sri T S Narayana Sastrys dating of Sankaracharya. The last two books are written in English. These books contain a lot of calculations about the movements of planets and the like. This history was doctored by quite a few Westerners and in the process they spoilt it. By reading the verses wrongly and misinterpreting them, rather providing bad interpretations, the writings of Hindus and Buddhists have been ridiculed and thus started the vilification process. This vilification process was started by Sir William Jones! Several other Western historians followed him. Even Max Mueller, who has admiration towards our Vedanta and other such works, has written ill about India as far as its history goes. There is a proverb in English that goes: Blood is thicker than water! Actually, the dating of Mahabharata war must be done based on the travel of Saptarishi Mandala17. Thats a big story. Let it be. You look through the Pauranic viewpoint; or from the calculations of the travel of Saptarishi Mandala; or if you accept that Sandracottus is Gupta Chandragupta; then everything18 fits. When there is a calculation that has greater coherence with the existing texts (including the Puranas and the modern Western history), what sense does it make to calculate differently and call Puranas as erroneous? What logic can justify this? What is the faith in such a calculation? By their calculations, starting from the time Kali entered to the time of the story of Samyukta-Prithviraj, the Westerners have messed it up. This period, that is, almost the past three thousand years, till Mohammad Ghori comes to the picture in our history, is covered in these novels. These novels make an attempt at countering the corruptions introduced into Indian history by the Western historians. That is why the series is titled Puraana Vaira or Antagonistic to Puranas.

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Of or related to Puranas Chandragupta of Gupta Dynasty 17 The Constellation Great Bear or Ursa Major; Saptarishi Mandal 7 Sages for each Manvantara who form a constellation amongst the stars 18 The dynasties of Kali Yuga as per Puranas and the history of dynasties as per Western historians both match.

Chapter 1 Scorching sun of the summer was about to come directly overhead. Far off in the sun, one could see the whirling dunes. Earth was smoking hot. All around was rocky surface. By rocky surface, it is not to say that it was a hilly place. Rocks were spread across the surface layer by layer in a step by step fashion. That was the nature of that surface. It is natural to expect scorching sun to burn ones skin. It is normal to expect the heat to make your eyes go dizzy. The surprising part was that, in such a heat, there was music to the ears. There was a thin stream flowing from atop. It wasnt very wide. You could easily jump across from one side to the other. But it was still called a river. Her name was Chandrabhaaga. Long time ago, it may be that a part of the moonlight may have fallen apart to flow as that stream this may be why she was called so. This Chandrabhaaga, flowed and flowed till it reached a place. Thats where the hill ended. It must be around four-five ropes deep from there to the bottom. From there, she jumped to the bottom. There was a huge valley at that place. It is natural to expect this water from the stream to form a pond in the valley as the water falls from the heights of the hill. The water in the valley is cold. Water stays put there. Its only when the water gets filled to the brim and forms a huge body of water such as a lake that one can expect it to flow! Having flown for a long distance, itll only then flow as a narrow stream. The valley had water in abundance; there were trees, and creepers; grass, thick roots, and medicinal plants; small troughs of water here and there, stones and in between the stones flowed streaks of water because of which moss grew in the area making it slippery to walk! With huge trees around that obstructed the sun and ensured that the suns heat never touched the valley, it appeared as though that place was as chill as the mountains of Himalayas. Mankind is quite strange. A few just look for satiating their hunger. A few others look for ways to have bodily comforts. It appears as though the presence or absence of wealth (money) is a cause for such changes in ones nature. In reality, though, wealth (money) is not in a way reason for such nature. Some are, by nature, comfort-loving. Some others live just like that. Even in rich homes, some eat whatever that is given to them; some are very selective about what they take. This is not typical only of rich homes; it is so even in poor homes. Some of them dont take food because they did not get what they like. This is a natural distinguishing character. Here you have Chandrabhaaga flowing. Theres this waterfall. At the bottom is a very cold place. The heat of the summer was causing burns on ones skin. During the day time, one might want to get down to the valley, to the cold place, take rest at some location on some stone, and as the sun sets , think of going back home. That place had one or two hamlets. Some of the people in those hamlets do not even know that there is a waterfall around there. But that day, in that deep cold valley, two persons were experiencing the cool climate. Of the two, one was handsome. He had a moon-like face, and a red body. He was tall. With ear-rings, and sacred thread around his neck, he appeared to belong to a fine family of Kshatriyas. 19 The other person also appeared to have qualities of a Kshatriya. But he was dark-complexioned. Eyes were small. The face had some kind of a sad expression. One gets some sort of an irritation when one looks
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King-Warrior class as per the Chaturvarna System

at him. Both were quite close friends. Both were seated on a rock. One must say that the Prince was lying down. Getting down to that valley is difficult. There are no steps or staircase. Catching hold of creepers, dragging ones feet on the stones, one must get down slowly. Climbing back to the top is also along the same lines. Both of them came there around three to four hours after the sunrise. The capital city is quite far from there. Having heard the scenic beauty of the place from quite a few people, the Prince wanted to see the place for himself, and experience the cool climate. This was in his mind for the past four-five years. The person who described the beauty of the place for the first time was this friend of the Prince. The name of the friend was Jayadrathudu. The name of the Prince was Srimukhudu. Srimukhudu was the son of the King of Andhra. Andhras formed a separate nation since the Treta Yuga. In the ancient days, there used to be an Emperor by name Yayaati. Hes the same Emperor who married the daughter of Sukraachaarya, Devayaani! The daughter of Vrishaparva Sarmishta was another wife of his. This Yayaati had five sons. Of these five sons, there was one by name Anuvu. In his lineage, there was a king by name Bali. He used to rule the entire eastern part of Bharatadesa. It was called Praachyadesa. This Bali had six sons. Angaraju, Vangaraju, Kalingaraju, Sumharaju, Pundraraju, Andhraraju! This Bali divided his kingdom Prachyadesa into six parts and gave one each to each of his sons. That part of the kingdom that fell between the rivers Krishna and Godavari was given to Andhraraju. It is since then that this land got the name Andhradesa. This Andhraraju was a contemporary of the father of Sri Ramachandra Dasaratha of the Raghuvamsa of Solar clan. This Srimukhudu was the son of the King of Andhradesa Romapaada. Srimukhudu was well-read and wise. But was someone who carried a lot of excitement with him. His friends name was Jayadrathudu. He was not from that country. Nobody knew from which country he came. Different people talk of him in different ways. Some said he was a Kashmiri. Some others said he was from Magadha kingdom. Some others said he was from the royal family of Nepal. But he was someone who traveled quite a few countries. He had a vast amount of worldly wisdom. He had a way with words. People generally walked away seeing his face. But he makes friends with few. His friendship was like an intoxicant. It intoxicated more as you experienced it. This Jayadrathudu made friends with Srimukhudu. The circumstances were such that such a friendship could take birth. Six years ago, both Jayadrathudu and his mother came to the capital city of Andhradesa. This capital was on the banks of river Krishna. Since both of them were believed to belong to Kshatriya family and were believed to be travelling from place to place in search for food, they were presented before the King. The King did not give any job to Jayadrathudu. But he gave them accommodation in a choultry. It became customary to pay them a daily allowance. There was no other work for Jayadratha. Srimukha developed affection towards Jayadratha. Jayadratha never spoke to Srimukha when there were people around him. He spoke only in isolation. It was always the case that Srimukha longed to speak to Jayadratha, whereas it was never vice-versa. But everything that Jayadratha spoke aroused Srimukha with a streak of a new desire. It appeared as though Jayadratha had an expertise at this art. In a matter of four-five years, Jayadratha had the knowledge of all the passions and desires of Srimukha in every direction possible. But nobody knew about this. It was Jayadratha who instilled the desire in Srimukha to see this place with the Chandrabhaaga River, the waterfall and the cool beautiful valley. Nobody knew that Jayadratha was accompanying Srimukha to this place. The Prince along with some of

his servants came to this place riding on horses. In a far off hamlet, the Prince stationed himself. The previous four-five days, Srimukha and three other servants of his surveyed that entire place. In order to let Srimukha get down to the valley, there was a path laid out identifying places to gain footholds, at some other places by aligning the creepers in a manner as though they made steps. This went on for two-three days after which Srimukha along with a servant of his came down to the valley and took rest for some time and went back. The next day, the Prince told his servants that hed go alone to the valley. The path has been made easier to traverse. There was also the place where the Prince took rest the previous day which was known. The escort agreed. He was forced to agree. Srimukha argued strongly to convince him. That day, about three hours after the sunrise, Srimukha got down to the valley. The escort tied two horses and held them. Far off, he stood under a trees shade. The hilly side where the Chandrabhaaga River flowed, there was not a single tree. There were only shrubs. Even the shrubs were here and there. That which cannot be called a tree, if there is anything that came close to be called a tree, and if someone were to look for a tree there, that which you cannot but count as one, was one tree whose stem was two yards high, with its branches and leaves that looked like a thorny bush. Can one expect such a tree to provide a shade? The escort had no other option but to take shelter under that tree. He tied the horses to the stem of that tree and stayed there. The horses were bearing the brunt of the scorching sun. Their bodies were sweating heavily. The water in the Chandrabhaaga River appeared to flow like coconut milk. The tree was close to Chandrabhaaga. The escort was cooling himself off of the heat with the help of the water from Chandrabhaaga. It appeared to him that even the scorching suns heat was inferior to the waters of Chandrabhaaga. There was only one thing that worried him. In case the Prince who was at the bottom of the waterfall was to call for help having met with an accident, he would not be able to hear his call. In case he goes to the edge from where the water falls and keeps an eye on the Prince, if the Prince does not see him, it is fine, else he would get angered. Till the sun sets, he is bound by the order that would not let him accompany the Prince. He stood there at that place which was wetted by the narrow stream Chandrabhaaga, some times filled with thoughts of caution against possible harm to the Prince, some time giving water to the horses, and cooling them off by sprinkling water on their faces and backs, thus he spent his time. In the mean time, Srimukha entered the valley and sat on the rock where he rested earlier. One does not seem to know whether the time was passing on or if it was nearing the sunset in that place. That day, he was waiting for Jayadratha. But, how could Jayadratha come there? Whatever path he (Jayadratha) takes, he cannot go without the escort knowing his presence. He (Jayadratha) does not know of the path that was made by his (Srimukhas) servants to get down to the bottom from the top. He told why worry? Ill come. Jayadratha was extraordinarily intelligent. People go away seeing him. His (Srimukhas) father, the King, has not even given him a job. He (Jayadratha) and his mother both have been living in the choultry for all these years. They never ask anything. His (Srimukhas) father does not give. He (Srimukha) took the initiative and made sure that some part of the choultry had livable conditions and was provided with comforts. The water from the waterfall filled the pond at the bottom of the valley and it overflowed from there on to the plains and after a certain distance, it again took the shape of a narrow stream as it flowed. At the distance where the narrow stream begins, on the both sides there are huge hills. Cross the hills, it is all plains. On the high side, it was all uplands. On the lower side, it was lowlands. Srimukha felt like walking along the stream

in between the huge hills that were on both sides to see the river that flowed towards the plains from there. It was all part of his kingdom. He wanted to go see and come. He cant get up. That was too much effort. Far off, at a place where the hills gave some respite, where the highlands provided some space to rest, he sat and was looking around. At quite a distance, it appeared as though some thin, small trace was approaching that way, it appeared moving, after traversing some distance towards Srimukhas place, it appeared to take a human form, and as it approached a little closer, it appeared that it was Jayadratha. Srimukha, with a gentle smile on his face, How have you come walking all the way? Is this place well-known to you? Are there any villages on the backside of the hill, thus asked a score of questions. Jayadratha came and sat beside the Prince. Srimukha said, O Jayadratha! Why are you so fearful? We could have come together to this place. Jayadratha: O Prince! There is not a country that I have not toured since my childhood. Touring countries has become an engagement with me. I keep roaming like a wanderer. The King has not given me a job. If the rest of the Kings subjects come to know of my friendship with you, thatll cause a sense of distress and jealousy in them. You are looking after both my mother and me. Our friendship must remain a secret. Otherwise, even this closeness that we have might turn sour!? Srimukha: You get married. Jaya: I am married. I also have a son. Sri: Oh! I never knew! What is the place of your in-laws? How could you stay alone without for her so long? Jaya: She belongs to the royal clan of Kashmir. She is currently in Kalingadesa. We have relatives there. I keep going there often. Sri: Yes. You dont seem to be around for a few months. So, you go and come then. What is the age of your son? Jaya: Four years. He is as old as your son. Your sons name is Vikrama, right! My son is two months younger than him. My sons name is Asmaka. Sri: You should get both your wife and son to our capital. Jaya: Dear Prince! These lives of ours are quite strange. 20 Both my mother and I are already living off your fathers grace. Adding more numbers to live off on this grace is unthinkable. My mother is also born of a king. But shes someone who has seen the difficult phases of life. Shes someone who has taken severe vows up on herself. She goes to any extent for the sake of a vow, a solemn declaration, a promise. Her single minded focus is such that she is ready to stake her entire life for the cause that she picks up. That is the nature of her extreme character. My wife is not of that kind. Though we are Kshatriyas, we are Kshatriyas who never had a kingdom. We are Kshatriyas who willingly gave up our kingdom. My wife has experienced the luxuries of a royal lineage. She cannot stay in a choultry, with two rooms. I am not telling these things to you to
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Idiom: taa doorakanta ledu medakoka dolu

request you for wealth or for an alternate accommodation at a better place. I have a strange character. What is there for living? I married, got a wife. The excitement of marital bliss in the early days of marriage withered off too soon. We, by our mental effort, our imagination, appropriate this early sense of bliss and excitement to the later days, and make-believe ourselves into energizing our lives which is in reality a waste of energy. We think that is living. In reality, any new experience occurs only once in life. The subsequent experiences have nothing new about them. Our mind wanders in vain with the memory of the first experience. Some people argue that the experience that arises out of this memory is special. I do not believe in this. One accomplishes an adventurous task. One does not have the confidence that the task could be accomplished prior to doing it. Suppose you have the confidence! There is no certainty about it! Suppose there is certainty also. The stimulation that ones mind receives caused by the experience of a temporary excitement owing to successful completion of the adventurous task is present only when it is coupled with the charm of lively unfamiliarity of the task Two Kshatriyas come face to face in a battle-field! Both are great warriors. Both are good at war craft. Both are strong. Both have a strong desire for victory. They warred with intent to slay the other. They fought for some time. One killed the other. Having come to know that his enemy has been vanquished and slain by the stroke of his sword, what would be the state of this conquerors mind at that moment? On thinking and imagining, it appears to me that the treasured secret of life is embedded in such moments that contain quite strange and special experiences. This is the purpose of life. What else is left otherwise? We wake up from sleep when the sun rises above the eastern horizon. We perform our daily activities, take a bath, and perform ablutions. What is so special about it? There is a canal flowing. We have this Chandrabhaaga River. How do we call this a river? The wisdom of Andhra people to have called this a river is wisdom! In the end, this is not even the size of Tunga River. Krishna and Godavari are big rivers. This Chandrabhaaga is flowing like a small canal. You get down at any place in it - water at the most comes to your waist. What is the specialty about this flow? Nothing. Water is flowing. That is it. But it came till the cliff of this hill. From there it fell. The fall is so forceful that it could turn Airavatas21 trunk around. It fell into the valley, filled this pond and has made the entire valley so beautiful and charming! It has caused strange and different kinds of currents flowing from between each of the rocks. Thanks to Chandrabhaaga, this entire valley feels a tingling sensation. There is no stubble above, nor is there green grass. It is full of granular stones. As the valley experiences this thrilling feeling, it appears as if the powdered dust, in between the stone formations on the insides of the hill, inherits the vital energy of her waters, as it gets soaked in them, resulting in the emergence of strange and wonderful kinds of medicinal potions. What marvelous energy the soaked earth material may contain! What the combination of these two elements22 can create - the varieties of life forms, varying internally with minor changes, being artfully crafted, the shapes in which they may come out we do not know. In between these two hills, the water that flows is the water overflowing from the filled troughs present in here. And this river is the same narrow stream that one gets to see on top of the hill. In the life of this river, this waterfall, this valley, the marvelous medicinal potion formation all these form a wonderful experience. This experience is constant and is felt every day by this river form. With such a wonderful experience being
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Airavata: Lord of Heavens Indras vehicle. It is a white elephant Earth and Water are part of the five fundamental Elements Panchabhootas. Earth, Water, Fire, Sky, Air are the five elements.

a constantly present in her life, this lady is extremely lucky. Human life does not have this loveliness. In human life, a wonderful experience is experienced for a moment and it ends after that moment. Therefore, if a human dies the moment he experiences such a wonderful and strange feeling, then his life is fulfilled I did not love my wife. In our family, we do not have love marriages. We have a vow to keep. We made a severe promise. Every generation in our family keeps the promise. We take our birth to keep this promise. We keep this promise generation after generation. Therefore, I do not have the control over my life. Sri: If you had the control, what would you do? Jaya: What would I do? My heart has unbounded amount of love for beauty and loveliness. Just the way fishermen in villages net the fish present in the seas to a few tens of miles and bring it to a common location, I would have gathered the beauty present in any form from all the three worlds. 23 I would have made a female form out of the entire beauty collected. Sri: Such a female would not be present in the world. Jaya: Why not? It is said that the wife of Pandavas, Draupadi, was of that kind! Sri: May be. Otherwise, one would not have seen the occurrence of such a great war in her name. Okay, supposing you possess such a lady, what would you do then? Jaya (laughing nastily): Having experienced the bliss in mating with her on the first night, storing the memories of that bliss in my mind, I shall kill myself that very moment. That is the fulfillment of that very moment. It is the desired experience of life. It is the fulfilling moment of life. Thatd make my life significant. Sri: What you tell me sounds great to me. True. The next days night would not have the charm of the first experience. But it has a different kind of novelty. Jaya: The novelty in the second days experience cannot be counted as part of the original experience. It is the one that is out increased association, a feeling that is imagined by ones mind. It is only the first time experience that is the original wonderful experience. The one that you get later is only an illusion of the bliss. Man takes birth. This body consists of a combination of the five elements. This combination has newness to it. As one lives on, the life gets older, is it not? Lets suppose this newness is present for the first few days. Even in those first few days, the newness that is present in the earlier days is not there during the latter days, isnt it? In reality, the newness that comes with the first time experience is only the newness. That which a man experiences for the first time, that wonderful feeling and the pleasantness, it is only that, which can be called the pleasant feeling of the highest order. The rest is the feeling of oldness. Sri: If that were so, then both of us are out of the course that helps us in realizing the purpose of life.

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Three worlds Heaven (Swargam), Earth (Bhoomi) and the Underworld (Paataalam)

Jaya: How is that so, my dear Prince! It is said that your wife is extraordinarily beautiful. It is said that yours was a love marriage. Sri: Yes, thats true! But I did not die the moment I experienced for the first time, that supreme bliss, is it not? Otherwise, if I die as I experience a different experience that is as wonderful, and then Id have made my life significant, isnt it? Jaya: How do you say this! You are someone who studied Vedas and Vedangas. You are the one to protect the Chaturvarnya. The entire population of the Andhra country has great hopes on you. Your father is old right now. He intends to spend a retired life (Vanaprastha) having transferred his power to you. Prince! Human lives are of two kinds. One that is selfish. The other is selfless. Lives of the Kings are rendered selfless by default. They are not independent of these concerns. Sri: Which of these two lives would you reckon as the better one? Jaya: If you ask me, Id say that the selfish life is the one that helps one realize the meaning of life. But, I am leading a selfless life. This has become a vow for me. This vow does not end with me. I have to pass it on to my son too. Therefore, my life does not have the significance. Such strange experience is this significance. Sri: Weve heard that yogis, Brahmavettas (those who know the Brahman) experience a special feeling! That is meaningful! That is significant! Jaya: That is not the significance of a particular birth, of the many births that one has. It is not the naturally significant aspect of that birth. It is not the significance that one has attained by a special experience that is felt by the body. It is that which renders one without several births. That consciousness has nothing to do with these births, or these bodies. Supposing we accept their principles, it is to accept that we take birth into these bodies to experience some strange feeling! Only when you take your birth into one of these bodies, then there must be an experience that contains the essence of the external stimulus caused to the five elements making up the body. This has nothing to do with the knowledge of the Brahman. I told this earlier too! This entire valley is cool thanks to this waterfall. The stone and rock formations on the inner side of the valley are cooled too. The earth material that is present in between them, and the wonderful feeling that that may experience on getting soaked in water, we are not aware. That experience results in that emergence! The medicinal herbs, the tender grass! The former forms of those that emerge the basic ingredients which have been cooled, the atoms of these ingredients have an inexplicable movement, right! That is the true experience caused on sporting the body by the stirring, which may not appear like movement, of the atoms of the five elements that make up the body! Such is the tingling experience a man gets when he makes love for the first time with the damsel he whole-heartedly loves whose beauty is out of this world. The same is experienced when one jumps into a burning fire pot. Its the same when one lets ones body go down to the underworld along this great waterfall. This is the experience unlike any other! Nothing else can match this experience. Sri: What you tell me is quite a novel principle. You are as good as Sage Vyasa 24 As good as Lord Sri Krishna.
24

Veda Vyasa Compiler of four Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata

As Srimukha said this, Jayadratha closed his ears, and kept his face on his lap. It was not apparent that closing his eyes was in response to not wanting to hear Sri Krishnas name. After some time, Srimukha said, Jayadratha! By this time, it must be late in the afternoon. Shall we go above and see? Jayadratha followed the Prince. Jayadratha did not like going along with the Prince to the top of the hill. There will be some Kings followers out there. Hell then be visible to them. But he cannot say no to the Prince. He has to follow the Prince to some distance and stop midway. But a questions was lurking in his mind. Jayadratha has had four years of secret association with Srimukha. He has studied Srimukha in and out. He knows the highs and lows of Srimukhas character. Srimukha has a penchant for novelty and new things. Yet he has a traditional mind. He has studied both Bhagavad Gita and Brahmasutras which spread through the country of late. He has got a flavor of the new and different kinds of commentaries on the same. He is not someone who strays away even slightly from the path of rectitude that is decided by the Dharmasastras. But he has quite a good deal of Princely qualities. He has a penchant for experiencing comfort. He has a strong liking towards adventurous deeds. He cares little for his own life. If he listens about some new thing, he yearns to experience it, and experiences it right away. The Kings followers must not see Jayadratha. Srimukha was climbing the hill. Jayadratha was hesitant. Srimukha turned back and stopped to ask him to follow him. It was impossible for Jayadratha to resist. Srimukha reached the top of the hill. Having reached there, he stood there asking Jayadratha to join him. Jayadratha was forced to follow suit. When his body was still on the other side of the hill, he raised his head to scan through the place around. He looked around carefully to see almost the entire visible distance to this side of the hill. The Princes escort was there, quite afar. Its still quite sunny. When its around seven to eight hours into the day since the sunrise, the intensity in the suns heat is remarkable. One cannot see easily with their eyes. It is not possible to see persons at a distance clearly. The circles of suns brightness come in the way of proper visibility. Further, at a place where there are no trees, and full of rocks, human vision gets distracted and diverts ones attention from focusing in a particular direction. If there is a thin stream that flows through that place, the suns heat hits hard on the water in the stream. The water turns against the heat. The heat gets turbulent. The heat waves caused by the suns rays disperse. These dispersed waves cause vortices to be formed in front of the eyes blurring the vision. This way, at the point of confluence between the heat waves and the water waves, the Princes escort was standing. And further, near the waterfall, the blurring of ones is greater making it difficult for one to identify who he is. The princes escort would not be able to identify that its him. Jayadratha and Srimukha reached the place where the waterfall begins. The escort saw the Prince. He identified that it was the Prince. By identified, it only means that he was able to make out that it is the Prince. He remembers the place where he got down to the valley. The Prince climbed up the hill through the same path. The clothes that the Prince wore were identifiable. Knowledge of these details helped him to identify the figure of the Prince though the Prince was not clearly visible! But, who is the second person? How would he come to know that it is Jayadratha? Not many are aware that Jayadratha and the Prince have such a close association. Further, how could Jayadratha come there? Maybe, from the underworld, some King of the Nagas may have come to meet the Prince?! From the distance, the person looked dark

complexioned. He was thin and emaciated. It appeared as though he has seen him somewhere. The escort could not dare and venture to move closer. And the heat waves are hitting both of them hard. The spattered water at the top of the waterfall jumping down to the valley appeared so white as if a white demon has let her undressed hairs hanging down. Rainbows appeared. The state where they appear is different. The state where the rainbows are about to appear is different. The state where they appear is a visual treat. The state where it is about to appear is illusory and mirage-like. Green bamboos need calm and cool atmosphere to blossom. But the heat intensity there is severe. One therefore sees only the first stage of the development of green bamboos at that place. In such a state, it was not clear to the escort as to who Jayadratha (the other person) was. Both of them sat for about almost three quarters of an hour at the mouth of the waterfall. Srimukha said lets take a bath. Both of them undressed. They were bathing exactly at the cliff of the hill where the waters were falling. The width of the waterfall is very small. A man can sit in there and can stop the flow by keeping ones hands in the way. The water then accumulates on the back of the man and then flows over the shoulders. Having experienced the heat of the sun for almost three quarters of an hour, the cool water provided a great relief and comfort to them. Srimukha said: I want to experience the joy of bodily pleasure that which gives meaning to ones life that you were mentioning. I shall fall down this waterfall. Jayadratha asked not to. Srimukha presented a strong desire to do so. Jayadratha intensified his appeal not to. He caught hold of the Princes hands and pulled him. Srimukha acted as though he withdrew his attempt. Jayadratha knew what Srimukha was doing. And some more time passed. Then Jayadratha stood up, wore his dress, and got down to the valley. By the time one thought Jayadratha must have reached the bottom of the valley, Srimukha started. Having come out and worn his dress, suddenly he undressed himself and got back to the water. By this time, the sun was dropping down the horizon. The second person, whoever it was, has left the place. Just the prince was there. He again got back to take a bath. The Prince, who was sitting in the way of the waterfall, was not quite visible to the escort. The escort was concerned and anxious. He started moving towards the place where the water was falling. He came close the Prince. Srimukha dropped himself down the fall. The escort came running and without thinking twice about, he also jumped down the fall.

Chapter 2 Some say: Arjuna led an ascetic life and deeply mediated in praise of Lord Siva over that hill. Arjuna meditated and led his ascetic life in the Himalayan mountains, not here, some others said. The fact of the matter is that the period when Arjuna led his ascetic life is about one hundred and fifty years prior to the current day. One may imagine this to be the time by which Pandavas spent at least half of their exile in the forests. That was for seven years. The reign of Dharmaraja was for thirty six years. Parikshit ruled sixty years. Now, Janamejaya was ruling. One cannot say precisely that one hundred and fifty years passed. That was when this news started getting popular. In reality, there were a few in that place who were alive during the Bharata war. Then they were young. Now they are old. They have been living for the past one hundred and ninety years or one hundred and fifty years. One of these old men asserts with absolute certainty that it was precisely on this hill that Arjuna led his ascetic life and meditated, In my childhood, I once went to up the hill. There, was a man offering his prayers. There were bow and arrows right beside him. He asked me as to why I came there, and chided me to go away. He was Arjuna. I know, so he said. Krishna River flowed touching this hill. This Krishna River was about two to three times the size of Chandrabhaaga River. On the both sides were hills. One can say that the Krishna River cut across the hills and was flowing. During the rainy season, the upstream of this great river above the hills can be said to be a great ocean. The water levels shall come to half the height of the hills. The water that flowed downstream between the hills could not be contained in the riverbed. Hence, from this Indrakeelaadri25 Mountain to the Vedadri, the river appeared like an ocean. During the summers, the water gets reduced. Year after year, it appeared as though the flow of Krishna cut across the hills. Therefore, the width of the Krishna River upstream was around eight to ten miles. About forty miles north of Indrakeeladri mountain , towards the south of the flow of the river, the capital of Andhras was present. When one says capital it is natural to feel that it would be a great city. It was not a big city. And it was not a small hamlet too. The King, Kings kith and kin, his retinue, and some army this formed the major composition of the people living in the capital. There were a few villages in the outskirts on both sides of the capital. It was a prosperous country. That was a place where the waters of Krishna were available right throughout the year, in all seasons. The overflowing water was stopped by bunds and water was diverted to the agricultural fields. A certain amount of water was allowed to pool at the mouth of the point of diversion by constructing water bunds so that water does not change its direction. All those villages grow paddy. One hundred varieties of rice grew there. Having tasted the Andhra countrys grain and relished it, people from all over the place from the Himalayas to the ocean down south, are ready to pay any amounts to buy this rice that grew in the vicinity of the Andhra capital. The Andhra Country was famous for two things in those days. One, rice and two, betel leaves. There are a few villages along the sea in between the rivers Krishna and Pinakini. In these villages, there are dense betel vines; the flutter of the betel leaves over there appeared like the expression of the frightful looks of Kamadhenus.26 It is widely known that King Janamejaya does not take anything but the Telugu countrys betel leaves every day. It is also said that even Sri Krishnadeva used to relish Andhra countrys betel leaves daily.

25 26

The name of the mountain over which Arjuna led his ascetic life meditating in praise of Lord Siva Kamadhenu is a cow that grants the desired wishes.

The name of the capital was Dhanyakatakam. That name came naturally to it. Just as Andhra country was famous for these two crops, it was equally famous for the swordsmanship of its warriors. In those days, that is, five thousand years prior to the present day, each country was specially known for a particular skill. The places in and around Dwaraka city were famous for the skilful use of mace as a weapon. Those places had expert club of club warriors. Those who wanted to be good at the usage of club used to go to Dwaraka and became experts in using the same. The places in and around Hastinapura were famous for archery. In Andhra Pradesh, swordsmanship was a class apart. All the experts at swordsmanship came to the capital for the Kings patronage. King patronized them. In a sense, one can say that the Andhra capital was the home town of all expert swordsmen. All the expert swordsmen from the banks of the Godavari and Pinakini rivers each and every one of them reach the capital. The army of Andhra is skilful at swordplay. The foot soldiers of Andhra army are a cause for fear amongst the neighboring kingdoms. In general, though it is the case that different places were popular for the expertise available in different war crafts, one or two of the Kings dynasty epitomized expertise in all these war crafts. Thats because the King had experts in each of these war crafts to teach them to the princes. Thanks to divine grace, one of them would become a specialist in all these war crafts and became popular as an expert warrior. In Dwaraka, in olden days, there was BalAaramadeva who was an expert at handling the club, whereas in Hastina27 - Karna and Arjuna were specialists in archery these examples are an instance of the presence of such a tradition of having specialist warriors. In the same fashion, all the princes of the ruling dynasty of Andhra were specialists in the use of swords. Of all the princes, the best was Vijayasimha. Vijayasimha was the younger brother of Srimukha. They were three brothers. Srimukha, Vijayasimha, Nagarjuna. This Vijayasimha was a great expert at the skilful use of the sword. It is said that there is no one better than Vijayasimha in the land between the Himalayas to the sea down south. There is a reason for this great fame. There is no country that has better swordsmen than the Andhra country. All the expert swordsmen in the Andhra country were present in the capital city of Andhra. Of all these experts, Vijayasimha was the best. Therefore, this word that he is the best in swordsmanship carries weight. Expertise in each of these war crafts has a special egoistic quality associated with it. There is a kind of roughness associated with war craft with the mace. The specialists in the use of mace have a quality of behaving like an elephant in rut. They do not think twice about anything. They feel as though they can pulverize and powder the huge mountains. Just as an elephant in rut enters a lake full of lotuses they can destroy their enemies or they may not be able to but the behavioral quality is that of an elephant in rut. This is a quality associated with warring with the use of a mace. There is archery. The guy who is an expert in archery is never in haste or hurry. The expert in the use of mace goes to the enemy to fight him, whereas it is the enemy that has to go to the expert archer to fight him. The club warrior jumps over the enemy. While the quality of the club warrior is that of an elephant in rut, the quality of an expert archer is that of a tiger waiting to pounce on its prey. The quality of an expert swordsman is different from both these. He is like a king cobra. It can bite and spew venom in a split second. It can stand on its tail in a minute. It is very quick in its responses. The next moment after its
27

Hastinapura capital of Kuru Dynasty

bite, it gets slackened. These qualities that are part of the expertise that they have acquired are gradually imbibed in the lifestyles of the experts of the respective war crafts. A King Cobra gets angered without reason. Whenever there is semblance of any disturbance, it rouses the King Cobra. There is no sense of trying to reason out the nature of the disturbance. It may not know what it is ready to bite. The one beside it could be a piece of rock. It bites it spontaneously. The rock may burst at the force of the venom spewed by the snake. Or the fangs of the snake may get broken. This nature is something that it cannot overcome. Thanks to serious practice, that which is not in ones nature might as well get imbibed as ones nature. Vijayasimha became such a person like the King Cobra. He was very handsome, desirous, easily angered, and quick. It is not known as to when his sword cuts someone. It is not even known as to why it cuts someone. In terms of the outcome one cannot distinguish between the king cobra, the swordplay and Vijayasimha. It appeared like an inerasable bonding. This character of his got developed the way it did also because he was not the heir apparent but just a prince. Being a prince gave way to a despotic tendency. Since he was not the crown prince, he did not have any responsibilities attached. Being the second of the three princes, behaving as he pleased became his second nature. His father did not have as much attention centered on him as is on Srimukha. His mother did not have as much love towards him as is on Nagarjuna. Since there was not a great deal of mothers love on him, it was not possible to get spoilt as Nagarjuna. As his father did not give the kind of attention that Srimukha received, he was not to be kept within the precincts of the path of rectitude. Everyone feared Vijayasimha. When someone speaks to him, they do so with fear for their lives. He roamed freely without any restriction not just in the capital, but also in the entire region surrounding the place. Four days ago, Srimukha was made the crown prince. Romapada wanted to pass his kingdom on to Srimukha and leave for the forests to move on to his Vanaprasthashrama28. Srimukha did not agree for the same. He said that he never wanted the kingdom. He said that if his father is going to continue as a king for a few more years and took care of the kingdom, then he would accept being crowned the heir apparent. Romapada desired strongly to make Srimukha the King. Romapada knew the character of Srimukha in and out. Further, Srimukhas escort narrated the entire incident at the waterfall to the king. Romapada felt that since Srimukha had this adventurous streak in him, making him the king and the enhanced responsibility that comes with it would make Srimukha stay away from adventurous activities. So thinking, he tried his best to pass on the mantle to Srimukha. Romapada was one hundred and twenty years old. He was not very old but that does not mean to say that he was not aging. Srimukha was fifty-two year old. Srimukha had three elder sisters. After three female children, Romapada had three male children in a row. Each of them was born with a gap of four years. The age of Nagarjuna was forty-four. The ceremony crowning Srimukha as the heir-apparent was celebrated with pomp and show for three full days. That was the fourth day. That night, all the youth from the ruling clan decided to have a celebration. All the youth shall display their art of swordplay in front of the crown prince and entertain him. Even those youth from the ruling clan who were living far away from the city also came to take part in this celebration. The state of the kingdom in those days was this the king resided in the capital city, the king would
28

Third of the four ashramas in a humans life one lives as a hermit in the forests

appoint the capable from the ruling dynasty as rulers of the important places of the kingdom. All those rulers came. Of these, some of them were the rulers of the villages in the coast of Pinakini. There was a ruler for every ten villages. There were ten such rulers. Another ten to twelve were rulers of the villages on the banks of river Godavari. They came. In the Kings army, there were a few generals. They also belonged to the Kings family. They were also present. In those days, the wealth of India, that is Bharat, was dependent on the stock of domesticated animals. The places where these animals grazed those meadows were called Torrupatlu.29 In the kingdom, there were about ten such Torrupatlu. Of these, five-six of them were commanded by Kings kin. All these commanders came to the celebrations. Of these, at least ten of them were youth. It is probably appropriate to call them as boys than youth. Some were boys, some were youth, and some were youthful and in their prime of their life. In those days, any male up to the age of thirty was termed a boy. Ones youth spanned from the age of thirty to eighty. From then on, till the age of one hundred and fifty, one could be termed to be in the prime time of ones life. In these celebrations where the swordsmanship of the Kings kin was on display, all those who were exhibiting their skills included some who were not part of the ruling dynasty. Of these, some were teachers who taught the kin. Some others coming from good family backgrounds were present. This display of skills was held when it was dark in the night. That was Sukla paksha.30 That day was Dasami.31 Just as the sun set, moonlight marked its arrival in a jiffy. It was autumn season. Along the Krishna riverside, it appeared as though ones eyes were occupied by such waves of moon light that make for pleasurable walks on an open palanquin. The coolness and fragrance that camphor32 provides filled ones bodies. Dazzling and colorful petals were visible through the corners of the eyes of people there. The celebrations were over by the end of the three days. This was an event held as a left over exercise at the end of the celebrations. The exhibition of the skills was arranged to be held inside the fort. There is a special place inside the fort. It is a spacious platform to stage such exercises. That was the place where the princes learnt their warring skills. In the normal circumstances, the King does not allow for such displays of swordsmanship. The reasons for disputes between the princes arise out of eccentric circumstances. It begins as a friendly fight. At some point, the Tamasic33 tendencies grow exponentially. Anger spreads. It is also possible that such fights may end up as life-long enmity. It has happened in some instances that such friendly fights have led to deadly duels. Romapada had faint knowledge of this friendly duels arranged as display of swordsmanship. Being under the spell of a positive hope and a kind of a peace of mind that his eldest son, thanks to the additional responsibility of being the heir apparent, would control his own adventurous streak, he did not pay much attention towards these events. The dangers inherent in such events are not pre-planned. They happen by chance. Therefore the King kept quiet about these events. Further, such dangers are to be learnt by Srimukha by his own experience. If such a thing happens during these
29 30

Torrupattu - singular, Torrupatlu plural in Telugu As per the Indian calendar which is a Lunar calendar, the first fifteen days (fortnight = paksha) of a month when the moon is ascending to the full moon day is called Sukla paksha, and the next fifteen days as the moon descends to the new moon day is called Krishna paksha. 31 Dasami is the tenth day in a paksha. 32 Paccha karpooram 33 The third of the Trigunas (Sattva-Rajas-Tamas) characterized by laziness,

events, he would come to know of the same. It is with this thought that Romapada was silent about the events. In that spacious place, the youth of the royal clan, and some of the teaching experts from the capital assembled. They were the participants as well as the spectators. Those who were not participants and just spectators were just about four or five. One was the crown prince, and a couple of elderly from the royal clan. Though both of them were elderly, they participate in all the celebrations of the youth of the royal blood. They were not engaged in any activity. One of them was Hari Varma. The name of the other was Sahanubhooti. Both of them were distinguished people of the ruling dynasty. It was known that they were great political strategists, well-versed in all Sastras, highly imaginative and learned. Everyone respected them. They never did any job. Never took part in any war. Never were envious of anyone. They had the reputation of being great scholars, but never took part in any scholarly debate. They did not have children. Both of them had ancestral properties. In all royal activities and royal assemblies, they were respected. Their advice was taken. Other than these there was one more person. Not many of those who assembled knew about him. The rest knew faintly about him. It was not known as to how he ended up coming there, or how it was possible for him to come there. Everyone thought He would not have come without the knowledge of Srimukha. When Srimukha himself has sanctioned his presence, why should we be concerned about the same? If we take interest in the same, it might anger the heir apparent! So thinking, they did not raise the matter. But one person amongst the assembled was staunchly opposed to his presence in their midst. One person was extremely fond of his presence. The rest did not bother; rather they did not have the capacity to question his presence. The two were Vijayasimha, Nagarjuna. It was clear to everyone that Nagarjuna was being very courteous and welcoming in his approach to that new entrant. Vijayasimha does not see him face-to-face. He behaved as though that person was not present in that crowd. The rest thought that it was Nagarjuna who brought him to this event. Without the consent of the crown prince, Nagarjuna would not have brought him along. It was apparent that Vijayasimha did not entertain his presence. Vijayasimha would have challenged his presence if it was Nagarjunas decision to invite him over there. It must have been the case that the crown prince gave his consent to his presence in that event. All these thoughts occurred to the youth who assembled there. But none stated them aloud. It was not a matter of concern for the teaching experts outside of the royal clan. The person in question was Jayadratha. Few of them knew that he was of royal lineage from a different country that came to that kingdom; the King did not give him any job, but has consented for his stay in the choultry as a guest. This is all that they knew about him. Was it the crown prince who invited him or was it Nagarjuna? If it was the crown prince who invited him there, then there is nothing that can be said about it, but if it was Nagarjuna who invited him, it was strange to see the crown prince accepting his presence over there. No one knew the friendship between the crown prince and Jayadratha. There was a quality in Nagarjuna. If he did not invite Jayadratha to that event, then he would have inquired as to how Jayadratha ended up attending that event. Nagarjuna did not ask. Therefore, it must have been the case that Nagarjuna brought him along with the consent of the heir apparent. This was what Vijayasimha thought! That was why he kept quiet. Vijayasimha, in a sense rejected Nagarjuna and his ways. That he was young, without any knowledge of what is good or bad, and that he swayed

away from correct path! But he never thought about his own liberated attitude bearing which he acted as he pleased. Whatever the qualities of Vijayasimha, he was respectful towards his elder brother. He accepted and was favorable towards what was the Dharma. He had great regard for the Vedic dharma. Right since the earliest days, this land revered Rama as God. There were temples of Rama. Since the past hundred years, Sri Krishna was revered as God. Bhagavadgita was accepted as a standard sacred text. Sage Vyasa, it is said has written a great book by name Bharata! It is as big as Valmikis Ramayana. It has not yet come down to the Andhra country. But there were a few scholars who went to the Northern countries where they heard about the same. Just as Srimukha, even Vijayasimha trusted all these aspects. It was not known whether Nagarjuna trusted these or not. You tell him anything, he just laughs and keeps quiet. Nagarjuna appeared to be as slow, as Vijayasimha was quick, in their actions. To say that Nagarjuna was as rejective about Vedic path, as Vijayasimha was fond of the Vedic path, it was not possible because Nagarjuna never revealed his opinions to anyone! How would you know otherwise? All were talking to each other. Everyone showed great enthusiasm and energy. Jayadratha does not speak anything. He does not show any enthusiasm or energy. Was it because everyone there were new to him, or was it his characteristic behavior? Whenever Jayadrathas eyes met with the eyes of Nagarjuna, Nagarjunas eyes were pleasant and smiling. Jayadrathas face did not have that pleasantness. Whenever a prince looks at someone with fondness, anyone would feel a bit happy about it. His face did not show any happy feeling. The display of the skills in swordplay began. Initially, it began with the duels between participants of other Varnas.34 After some time, the skills of those who taught swordplay was on display. Sometimes the fight was between two people only. In other times, the fight was between two or three on each side. In some other times, four-five used to fight with a single person. This way about an hour and a half passed. Then, ten members of the royal clan made a suggestion that it was the turn of Vijayasimha to display his skills. Srimukha agreed with a smile. There was not as much an expression of agreement on Vijayasimhas face. After four-five people requesting Vijayasimha, and Vijayasimha keeping quiet on the same, Hari Varma and Sahanubhooti asked Vijayasimha. But, for Vijayasimha to display his skills, who should he duel with? There was only one who could stand a duel with Vijayasimha. His name was Nirankusa. He was closely related to the Kings family. When there are royal dynasties, the Kings eldest son becomes the next King. The rest of the sons of the King are the princes. Their progeny forms the royal dynasty. Every dynasty would have, within four five generations, a vast number of connections formed because of the progeny of such princes. Of these, if there are some connections which are only two-three generations apart, then they are termed to be close to the Kings family. Siblings of ones grandfather, children of fathers uncle such were the connections referred here. Most of these live either in other kingdoms, or live far off from the capital city inside the kingdom. Some such families live in the capital itself. They reckon as having close mutual relations among themselves. This Nirankusa belonged to one such connection. Nirankusas father and Romapada studied together. They learnt
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Varna of the Chaturvarnas

Sastras and other aspects together. During the days of learning, everyone knew that Nirankusas father showed much better application and skill than Romapada. His father taught him all the skills. There is no difference between the skills and studies that Romapada learnt and that which his father learnt. The difference was in terms of how they displayed their skills. Nirankusa did not know this aspect. His feeling has always been that his father was better at swordplay than the King. All that learning has been transferred to him. It was his father that was the guru for the art of swordplay for both Vijayasimha and him. But his father also taught him at separate times than the common time of learning with the prince. This was a cause for illusory pride in his abilities for Nirankusa. Vijayasimha and Nirankusa took part in friendly fights several times in the past. The alertness and agility of Vijayasimha was not present in Nirankusa. Vijayasimha used unconventional tactics at times while fighting. It is not possible to say that it was unconventional with authority. Some people have a special way with some arts, that though their display of skills appeared at times to be unconventional, up on scrutiny it would turn out to be conventional and flowing from tradition of the art. This is what one calls talent. Vijayasimha was highly talented in the art of swordplay. Right since their childhood, they hated each other. There was never a dent in the mutual respect as relatives. It was only they who knew that they were hateful of one another. When the subject of Vijayasimhas display of swordplay came, everyone knew that it was Nirankusa who would duel him. Vijayasimha looked at Nirankusa. Nirankusa looked back at him. Those looks appeared normal for everyone else. But the mutual dislike was underlying those looks. Jayadratha recognized it the very moment he saw this. They wore an armor made of stone, sported red sandalwood paste, grabbed their swords and reached the platform. Till then, four lamps were burning, another four were now lighted. Vijayasimha hit the sword to his shield and sounded his arrival. Jayadratha felt a sense of rejection that was part of the sound. Prior to that day, Jayadratha never saw such a convention where all skills were on display. He did not recognize his presence in that atmosphere till that moment. In the meantime, he was alerted. The inherent knowledge of the skill of swordplay in him came and sat on his eyes as he observed carefully. Initially, both of them were focused on the display of their skills in handling the sword more than combat skills. After some time, they were engaged in avoiding simple strokes of the sword of the other with the help of their shields and by small steps moving back and forth. The skill that is on display of one who is well-versed in the fundamentals of an art is wonderful. For someone less capable, this hold over fundamentals itself appears to be a great thing. For about a half an hour, both of them displayed their skill in the use of the sword as well as their flexible bodily movements that are essential in swordplay. Suddenly it appeared as though a stroke of Nirankusa crossed the line of a friendly fight. Vijayasimha was quick to respond to it. Suddenly, a thought occurred to Jayadratha. Nirankusa does not mind crossing the line of respectful regard and restraint. If a need arises, he would not hesitate to kill Vijayasimha. And Vijayasimha, like a suppressed King Cobra was all the time focused in his practice of combat with the sword. There is no way someone could catch him unawares in so far as the use of sword goes. With that, the real fight began. It appeared as though bitterness35 increased. It appeared that the desire for victory was
35

Maatsaryamu periginattu anipinchindi Telugu original

overshadowing the display of ones skills. For about a dozen minutes, the sparkles of two swords striking one another, dazzling ones eyes, both of them continued their fight like two intertwined king cobras. For someone without the knowledge of the essentials of skill of the swordplay, it would seem that the moment they were separated from their interlocked state, their bodies would have been covered in blood. But none of it was there. The quality of this art is such. Every second, it seems as if ones sword is about to strike the others throat or chest or shoulder or hand. The second persons agility in moving his body, proficiency in handling the sword, it looks as though this fellows sword is the one that is dangerous to the first person. All those are several insights of the art of swordplay. Each of the approaches in the combat has a separate name. The counter to a particular approach is another approach. This way both of them exhibited their skill in entirety in the dozen minutes. The gurus were happy. Both Hari Varma and Sahanubhooti appreciated them. All this while, Jayadratha tried to distinguish between the relative merits of their skill at swordplay. Neither could establish their supremacy over the other. As long as they were combating one another by the textbook methods of countering one approach with the corresponding approach that is the response to it, it was not possible to clearly establish the supremacy of one over the other. Since they learnt from the same guru, their combat styles were similar. To distinguish between the two, some dissimilarity in their approach to combat must be visible. Following the dissimilarity in the approach, there must be an intensity that drives them to win over the other in the combat. When that intensity arises, the learnt skills are not displayed as if they follow an orderly sequence as is dome when learning; but ten different approaches are combined in a single stroke. When your opponent is combining ten different approaches as he combats, in order to withstand and counter him, you must be ready to combine eleven or twelve different approaches and combat. This requires talent and proficiency. In every subject of study, there is an orderly sequence of learning. He who is not talented but is proficient in that subject follows the same orderly sequence. Whereas, he who is talented uses his skills regardless of the order of their learning, even if some skill were to be suddenly brought to the fore, he would be alert and awake to such possibilities. As the combat progressed, this kind of alertness was observable in Vijayasimha that was not to be seen in Nirankusa. But Nirankusa had something special about him. In the orderly sequence of learning, in every aspect, he appeared to have deeper and greater familiarity. Vijayasimha, regardless of the orderly sequence of combat, was quick at employing any approach. Vijayasimha suddenly displays a particular skill. Nirankusa is capable of countering it, but it appeared that he took a while before realizing what he was facing and in the mean time was going back and forth in the process of countering. Barring this period when Nirankusa took some time to recognize what he faced, both of them appeared to be equals in the combat. Not even once did Nirankusa employ the sudden usage of a skill outside of the orderly sequential method. All the methods employed by Vijayasimha were such sudden changes of approach. Nirankusa was able to counter all of them. But such a person can only defend and protect himself but cannot overcome the challenge of the enemy. But the spark in Nirankusas approach was certainly because of the extra training that he received is what one reckons. Nirankusa was unable to jump across from one approach to another in a manner other than the orderly sequence whereas Vijayasimha could jump across to any depth in an approach by will and in a flash, sometimes without even thinking about what he was employing. Nirankusa was unable to display the skill of a stroke that was without a prior thought of

using it. The order by which his father taught him was fixated in his brain. He learnt the art as an art. He did not make it his own. Unless you make the art your own, the glow of ones talent is not visible. When one has a constant singularly deep concentration on every aspect of any subject of study that one has learnt, as if one has made a special attempt at practicing the same and achieved proficiency, that is when one is said to be talented. Why was it present in Vijayasimha? Why was it not present in Nirankusa? Vijayasimha was a prince, independent, and could behave the way he liked! Nirankusa was a servant of the King. The freedom that he has is limited. He has certain responsibilities to cater to. Vijayasimha practices daily. Nirankusa does not have that practice. Further, if one carefully observes, the bodily strength and health that Vijayasimha has, Nirankusa did not. To say Nirankusa did not have, is to say that there is a small difference which is observable as a small gap at the top layer of the indices of strength and health. Further, there was one more difference which was visible between them. Vijayasimha was combating with the sword in a playful manner. It did not appear as if he paid attention to it. He makes bodily motions the way he pleases. He slashes using the sword; retreats to bring the back of the sword forward. He takes a backward step; jumps forward. All of these appear as if he was engaged in a playful act. He was doing it with lack of attention. But Nirankusas display of skills appeared to be polished and with due attention paid to it. Was the reason for this difference because of their respective characteristic traits or was it a consequence of their respective positions in the kingdom? Was there some kind of fear in Nirankusa? How would Nirankusa fight if the opponent were someone else other than Vijayasimha? Till Jayadratha sees Nirankusa fight someone else, it did not appear to him that he could judge Nirankusas ability properly. Jayadratha came to know one thing with certainty. Nirankusa either had a fear that Vijayasimha was the prince or he had a commitment to the tradition and conventional manner of combating with the sword. What exactly was it?

Chapter 3 The capital was to the right of Krishna River! Krishna River flowed towards the sea and its confluence with the sea occurs at Hamsaladeevi! From there, towards the left side, having traversed a distance of about eight to ten miles, there was a place it was a country with lots of greenery. Trees and shrubs were entwined in the place. This place was spread around a radius of two to three miles. The place had open wells and ponds in plenty. At several places, rows of coconut trees were shining making the place look greatly pleasing to the eye. A few juicy mango trees were present. Neem and Tamarind trees make up the majority of them. In between, there are vast open spaces. Green grass grew there in abundance. To the east of this place, there were several huts that were built making them look like small small hamlets. There were one or two tiled houses as well. The countryside around that place consisted of fertile land. Jowar, Ragi, Corn were crops that grew there in plenty. The place spread around a radius of twentythirty miles from there belonged to the lord of the Andhra country. On King's behalf, employees cultivated the fields and grew crops. This green-rich countryside acted as a storehouse for rice, stalks of millets, and it had granaries for various produce coming from the surrounding fertile lands. That was one of the King's Torrupatlu. There were a few thousands of cattle in that torrupattu. Red cows, white cows, cows whose bodies were black in color but their faces that were white in color, cows that were just about ripe, cows that had marks on their faces, short cows, heavy cows thus there were several kinds of herds of cows were present in the torrupattu. There were about hundred herdsmen who roamed around there. They wore red cloth bands, white dhotis, carried staffs that were bent in the middle. They became strong bodied because of daily industry, constant contact with sun's rays turned their bodies dark in color. They were tall men. One fine morning, sun rose. The multitude of rays of the friend of the lotus coloured the dawn with redness like the red hibiscus and gave birth to a spread of tender leaves in attractive designs that appeared like decorative patterns drawn on the ground for Naagavalli.36 The reflection of light from the ground resulted in strange illuminations in which the herds of cattle appeared as though they were not in this world but were in the Goloka.37 Like the beautiful smile of infants that presents a small opening of their mouth for the reflection of light from their teeth, was the delightful play of the pretty flowers that blossomed that dawn, swinging to the tune of the breeze. The places, in and around the ponds that were filled with lotuses that bloomed just then which saw the heads of the reluctant bees at their inviting doors, appeared like the extremely attractive buxom of a beautiful damsel whose aroused nipples were covered by a blouse.38 The meadows had green grass whose tips were gold colored and as the red rays of the sun fell on them that dawn, it gave the impression of a sword that killed the enemy and whose tip was covered with the red drops of blood. A few bull calves bent down their muzzles, held their tails up, and were trying to imitate the exercise of learning to jump with all four legs. The mothers of the flying calves turned their snouts towards them, with eyes that resembled the raw cotton balls that just broke open displaying the cotton, were watching with great attention and deep concern.

36 37

Final ceremony of a marriage Goloka The world of cows where Krishna and Radha rule said to be a very beautiful place 38 Or a brassiere which one would be better?

With three small vessels in hand for milking the cattle, the herdsmen who are quite used to roaming around, with ropes meant for tying the legs of the cattle in their left hand, saying 'Thei, Thei'39 aloud, leaving the cow herds with ripe cows to graze on their own, loosening the knots of the ropes tied to the necks of the calves that got stiffened owing to the calves trying to free themselves of it which in the process produced such friction as to lead to the beheading of the calves, sitting, pushing the calves with their shoulders towards the stake for tethering, resulting in the crowding of the place that resulted in the milk vessels to tilt slightly downward, resulting in the spilling of milk, for which the calves were jabbed with the elbows, keeping the vessels at a distance, they were trying to loosen the ropes to let them off. In the meantime, their mothers who felt that the ultimate goal of their life was to give milk to their calves were standing there waiting for the moment when they will realize their goal. Just when calves drank milk by sucking their mother's udder with their muzzles, it left the cows with elation. The moment the cow lactates for her children, the side portions of her body appeared like marble pots kept beside a well of nectar meant for the consumption of everyone. Slowly the bright rays of the sun spread out under the shadows of the trees. Spread across two miles to the east of that Torrupattu, were square shaped cottages, in the midst of which, there was a mansion. Towards the right of the mansion was a vast open place. It was a place with an area of fifty square yards. Surrounding it were coconut trees in a row. In the midst of their shoots, once could see coconuts with husk containing plenty of water. That entire place was sandy. The sandy land appeared to have been thrust by footprints. In the early morning, there were two who were duelling with the sword. One of them was Nirankusa. The second one was one of the older herdsmen. His name Gangu. His age crossed one hundred and twenty five. He was one of the specialists in swordplay about a quarter century ago. He had about ten disciples in and around that place. He spent all his life in places around the shores of the sea but never went to the capital and sought the patronage of the king. His relatives as well as his friends tried to convince him several times to go to the capital and seek the king's support, and failed after which they kept quiet. His name was not known in the capital. The entire place that was on the shores of the sea knew his name. A few of his disciples who were in the King's army pronounce his name sometimes in the capital. For those who haven't seen him, his name was just another name. Though some of the knew his name, none of the military officers, king's subordinates, or the experts in swordplay knew about him. It was four years since Nirankusa came as the commander of that torrupattu. He heard the name of Gangu some times. He sent a word to Gangu several times to come and see him. Gangu did not come. He was independent. He had sufficient farmland that was under cultivation. He had four sons. All four of them were in foreign countries. One was in the service of the King of Kalinga. The other was in Kashmir. Another was in the Chedi country. The fourth one was an employee in the Sumha King's court. The farmland gave produce as much as it could. There were ten cows. His sons sent him something whenever they had in plenty. He always stayed put in his home. Though he was one hundred and thirty years old, his physique was excellent. He practised sword play regularly. His wife was about seventy years old. She looked rather old and aged. All her hairs turned white. She had wrinkles all over the body. The entire work in the farm was hers to do. Housekeeping was her job too. Gangu does not do a thing. At both dawn and dusk, in the vast backyard, he practised fencing. There were plantains in the backyard. There were two Alexandrian laurel plants. Those were his opponents. He
39

'Th' as in Thailand

used to attack them with all his strengths. The stout stems of Alexandrian laurel trees had several holes in them. One does not know the number of times his sword must have pierced through the stems of those plantains. Since those stems were naturally flush with waters, there is no way the blood oozed out of them. It may be the case that before the blood oozed out, it was replenished thanks to the internal water content! Since Gangu did not come even after ten calls from him, that day Nirankusa started on foot three hours before the sun rose towards Gangu's place, that was about four miles from Nirankusa's place. He woke Gangu up, told him who he was, threatened him, requested him, pleaded him and somehow brought him along. Nirankusa's thought was on these lines - What were the new techniques that Gangu possessed that he did not know? If these techniques were not known in the capital, and if they had any special properties, then he could learn them from him! If in reality, there were new techniques, then when he learns them, he would be a class apart and would shine over the rest when he duels with the experts of the swordplay in Dhanyakataka. But Nirankusa had a doubt. There could not be a better swordsman than his father. There would not be any secrets that were unknown to him. It would not sit well to think that someone who stays far away from the capital on the shores of the sea, and in a small village would have better knowledge of swordplay. But a hope is a hope. A desire, a desire. Moreover, there was a name for Gangu. That he learnt his art from various countries! Raamata Desa, Gandhara desa, Lampaka desa, Bahlika desa, Trigarta in all these countries, he is said to have served several gurus and learnt his art! Raamatas and Lampakas were virulent characters. It is said that their traditions are much different from the traditions of the Andhra people. With this hope and desire, though Gangu was a herdsman, and he a Kshatriya, though Gangu disrespected his call, in spite of being the commander, Nirankusa did this with all humility. He brought Gangu along by telling him about his torrupattu, describing the beauty of the place where he stayed, the vastness of the fighting ground and the loveliness of the place around, about the coconut trees around, the sweetness of the water in the ponds, and about the hundred odd joyful familes of the herdsmen. Both of them fought with each other for about an hour to hour and a quarter. In the beginning, Gangu did not move an inch from the place where he stood. Nirankusa was enraged. But he adjusted himself to this. Afterwards, he jumped on to Gangu and attacked him as he pleased and fiercely brought his sword down on him. Gangu was forced to move. But the initial indifference and laziness did not leave him completely. Nirankusa realized that Gangu could not be subdued without the display of his complete skill set. There were about five-six techniques. These were techniques that his father has not taught anyone else. In the initial days, he thought that his father taught those techniques to him alone, but in later days, he came to know that his father taught them to Vijayasimha also. It is definite that those techniques were unknown to the rest in the country. Of these, countering four of them is impossible for the enemy. If the enemy knew of these techniques, only then could he counter. Otherwise, that is it. When these four techniques were being employed against the enemy look, I am employing these techniques. If you could counter them, go ahead and counter his father ordered him to make the enemy aware that he was employing these techniques before using them. There was one more thing that was noteworthy. All the rest of the techniques could be employed playfully. There was no way to deploy these techniques playfully. If the enemy is able to counter it, well and good, else, he is going to get hurt badly without doubt. How could Nirankusa employ those techniques against Gangu? If he does not know them, he is bound to get hurt. That is not his intention. Those techniques were to be

employed with a strange sort of a movement with extreme force. As in a play, when the sword was about to pierce through the opponent's body, reducing the speed of the sword was not possible while using those techniques. Nirakusa spoke to Gangu thus, We'll stop for today. I have not come here to showcase my skills in swordplay here. You are quite old. You are someone with a lot of knowledge about the world. Further, you learnt from people in different countries. I am waiting to learn new techniques from you, but not to display what I learnt already. You are someone whose prime has past. You don't move your leg. You moved it a bit to face my intense attack. It is natural that I am agile at my age, you being slow at your age. Some kith of the King has called, requested, lets go that was the spirit which brought you here. Your behaviour does not give me any impression that I should learn something from you. Further, I haven't asked you this earlier. Just as today, I will come tomorrow too to your house. We'll come back together. By this time, if your heart wills, you can teach me some things that are of interest. The rest is up to you. Gangu laughed and said, Master! You have not shown your complete repertoire, right? Nirankusa was stunned. I know a few secret techniques. Those are known in this kingdom only to my father. He taught these only to me and his favorite disciple, King's second son, Vijayasimha. It is impossible to use them against you. Using them implies that either you get to counter them or you end up getting hurt badly! That is why I did not showcase them. And, when one is duelling with one's true enemy, based on the enemy's style of attack, the internalized knowledge comes out by employing even the remotest of the techniques, even if they were small techniques, and that is when you get to showcase the complete repertoire. All these small techniques are not recollected by will by a person any day. They are not really big and special aspects to pronounce your ability to duel. But when they are placed as a reply to the attack of the enemy, it shows the spark of one's talent. This astonishes the commoners. Such kind of things, if any, might be present in me. But all those that are important from the point of view of education, I have already displayed them, he said. As this was being said, Gangu removed the turban that he wore on his head and loosened the cloth around his waist which he tied as he was preparing for the fencing. He said, Let us go to the duelling ground again. I wish to know the nature of those techniques that you mention. It does not matter if that results in a couple of minor injuries. Suppose that the injuries are major! What difference does it make? Is there a way where you get injured only when you duel with enemies and not when you duel with friends? To the north west of Bharatadesa there are a number of Mleccha 40 countries. Do you know...Nirankusa said, I know some of them. Gangu spoke thus: There are ten-fifteen countries. There is a sea on top of the Parsis country. This sea was called Khasa Sea. There is one Khasa country. In between the Khasa sea and this Khasa country, there is a country by name Tushara. Still, this sea was named Khasa sea. Just below this Khasa country, on top of the Meruva country, there are two countries named Mahakhaasa and Mahanaasa. The top most was Mahanaasa. All these are Mleccha countries. These Mlecchas are a strange community. They are uncivilized. They don't have temples. No devotion. Here, our Brahmins perform the rituals including yajnas and yaagas. They don't. They are uncultured and rough people. They are short-tempered. Regularly get drunk. It isn't
40

Mleccha sometimes translated as Barbaric in English

known whether they are aware or unaware of the next worlds!? They are such people! The King of Khasadesa and his son were fencing. The King was teaching his son. The son does not have an iota of concern if his strokes would pierce his father. Neither does the father have any such concern for his son. In a while, they were angered. They do not know how to temper their anger. As they were playfully fighting, the King mocked at his son. Mocking means to tell that his son did not remember what was taught to him properly! That son struck his father with the sword hard, and killed him the next moment. They are that wicked. The reason I say this is because even in a friendly fight, it happens that one has hick-ups. I am old. You belong to the King's clan. There is nothing wrong even if I get injured slightly. So, you please show me those techniques. I will get to know them. So saying, he entered the fencing field again. Nirankusa started thinking. When I was hoping to learn some new techniques from him, he seems to be plotting to learn all my secrets. May be he will tell his secrets after I tell him mine! Should I let him know my secrets or should I not? Of the six special techniques that he knew, two are of inferior kind whereas the other four are superior. Having displayed three of these techniques, and estimating Gangu's position, I should then think of whether or not to let him know of the rest of the techniques. If I hesitate now, then he would start doubting my credentials. Nirankusa descending on to the fencing field the next moment, said Gangu! For that you should not remain stuck at your place as you did earlier. We should imagine ourselves to be true opponents and war each other for real. Unless that happens, I cannot show you these techniques. It is true that you are much older than I am - so saying he drew his sword forward. Gangu also pulled his sword out and readied himself for the duel. Despite being old, he moved around the field with such alacrity as can be seen in a snake on sand. His distinct and peculiar way of moving from place to place left Nirankusa no time to relax even for a second. Why think of deploying big techniques? Even his display of common techniques, even the small aspects of swordplay appeared as if they had great depth in them due to this peculiar movement of his. Nirankusa realised this thing. A part of this peculiar ability of Gangu to move about at lightening speed was also present in Vijayasimha. He does not have this ability. That made Vijayasimha superior to him. Vijayasimha's and his depth of knowledge of the art is same. But because of this peculiar style of movement, it appears as if Vijayasimha has superior knowledge. It is this skill of Vijayasimha that made him inferior to him. Since their knowledge of the art is the same, Vijayasimha could not hurt him. Otherwise, he would have lost to Vijayasimha long back. He does not have this ability to move with such agility. There are only two ways in which he can overpower Vijayasimha. One was to become as brisk in moving on field as him. But that depends on the quality of one's body. It comes by nature. This is not changing. He has been trying hard to improve his agility. He stopped eating for a few days and lived on just cow's milk. He led a chaste life for a few days. Though he was able to gain quickness in his movements, it was no where close to making him superior in agility. He found it futile to continue this way. The second was to learn a technique that Vijayasimha does not know. Then, even Vijayasimha's agile reflexes won't be of help. Learning a technique which the opponent is unaware of confirms one's superiority. Henceforth, he should learn new methods and techniques from Gangu for sure. He fought with Gangu for about half an hour with great pride. If the fign continued for some more time, he would get tired. Before he got tired, he should display the three

techniques that he wanted to show him, and satiate him. So, he chose one of the two inferior techniques, pronounced the name of the technique aloud and he began. He jumped over to the right. He tried to drill his sword down as he jumped. Gangu defended with his shield. In a moment, he was to jump to the right, shield the spot where Gangu was sure to throw his sword to, and go on to cut his left foot. He came to know that Gangu knew this technique. The moment Nirankusa jumped again towards the right, Gangu jumped further to the right. Then, Gangu's feet would be out of the reach of Nirankusa's sword. Though this is a skilful technique, it cannot be stated to be a technique worth the mention. The other technique was also of similar kind. Gangu knew which way to jump when that was employed. The one employing the technique does not tell the step-wise execution of the technique. He just pronounces its name. There are a few methods in this. The same technique might have different names in different countries. There are some techniques which have Sanskrit names. The others are in local languages. The same technique might have one name in the Kalingadesa, and it will have another name in the Sindhudesa. After Gangu got to know the first two techniques, the third one, which is truly one of the great secret techniques of swordsmanship of Andhra country was employed by Nirankusa. This a technique to be employed with great velocity. One strikes the shield of the other with his shield with full force and strength. The force of striking is so strong that both the shields must fall! It is a special way in which one strikes. The manner in which it falls is such that the enemy's shield falls down with its rounded part facing the sky. The one who employed the technique, his shield falls on top of the enemy's shield. The employer of the technique has to skilfully get his shield on top of the fallen shield of his opponent, and jump on to the high spot created by the two shields, and strike hard on the left hand of the enemy which will be trembling on losing his shield. The right hand of the enemy keeps working, the sword of the enemy comes on to hit him. Jumping on to the shields, cutting the left hand of the enemy, just before the sword on the enemy's right hand comes to strike him, jump back to the original spot from on top of the shields at this moment, when the enemy tries to jump on him, the shields obstruct the movement of the enemy, the enemy strikes the shields, which is when one could cut off the enemy's hand. The entire skill that is on display when one employs this technique is in one's ability to hit the shield of the enemy with one's own shield such that the enemy's shield falls down. To do that, one has to hit from a distance, with a certain velocity, in a particular angle. For that to happen, the enemy must have worn the shield in a particular way. Nirankusa struck Gangu's shield in that manner. Gangu's shield fell on the ground. But Gangu's left hand was not trembling. Nirankusa dropped his shield on Gangu's shield and was about to climb on the shields. He saw. Gangu's hand was not trembling. Gangu was standing a fair distance away. Nirankusa did not stand on the shields, stood at a distance, laughed and spoke this way: This is a technique. My shield must fall with its rounded part facing the ground. I should then skilfully move it on top of your shield with the rounded parts of both shields facing upward the sky. I should stand on that raised platform and should do in so and so way. This is the form of this technique as Nirankusa said this, Gangu's face lit up. He said this, I never learnt this way of striking the shield and making it fall in any other country. This is great. When you were about to strike, you were this distance apart. You approached me from this angle. At that time, my shield was in this posture. And at this height Thus, Gangu stated the values of all the parameters part of the technique. Nirankusa was taken by surprise. Did Gangu know all these earlier? Or did he understand all this in that half a minute? If he knew it, he could have avoided the fall of his shield. If he knew this technique, the moment he realizes that this technique is being employed, he would have held the shield in a

different way, and rotated it in a different fashion. Since he did not do so, Gangu did not know it. Nirankusa confirmed thus to himself, and said with a laughter, You are a genius in this art. Even though there are several techniques in this art, there is one defense mechanism that can act as a counter to all of these techniques. Always keep the sword away from one's body. The sword may turn one way or the other at a time, but there certainly is a rule on which way it turns at a given moment. Keeping one's body at a distance, never getting shocked and moving to a state of mental confusion, not letting the body tire, not getting tensed! You have all these qualities in you. Nobody can beat you in a fencing duel. Knowledge of the special techniques in my possession is not of use to you. For you, swordplay is fun. It is meant for teaching others, but not to beat enemies. If you teach me four-five new techniques that you learnt in foreign countries, then I would be some sort of a disciple to you. I intended to be a general in the King's army. The King made me the Commander of this torrupattu. My father and the King were co-learners. The King wants me to be comfortable and happy. But I don't like staying here. If you teach me four-five techniques not known in this country, then I would show them to the King and get myself a job of an army commander. Gangu stood there and remained silent. By then, it was about four and half hours from the time they began. It was scorching hot. Their bodies were not covered with armour, but they wore shirts. Their shirts were drenched with sweat. It was burning hot in the middle of the fighting stage.If it were not for the footwear that was strapped on to their legs, they would have realized that the sand was getting heated. Gangu said, The sun has risen quite a bit in the day. I have to walk four miles again, back to my place. I would tell you two, three techniques. They are not present in this country. But the manner of learning them is different - so saying Gangu moved towards the shadows of rows of coconut trees to the north of the fighting ground which was near Nirankusa's house and was removing his turban. Gangu was not going to tell him new techniques at that moment. It is not known when it would be. In fact, it was late in the day. If he requested him to stay as a guest at his place, it is not known whether he would stay or not. If he forces him, he might misunderstand and take a wrong view? He also took off his war clothes. After some time, Gangu started for home. Nirankusa said he would drop him at his home and come back. Gangu did not accept this, You belong to the royal family, and in fact from the King's clan. I am an ordinary man. It is inappropriate for you to show me this much respect. Nirankusa said, This is not with respect to you. It is the respect that I give to your learning. Gangu then said, Sir! Do you fear that I would not tell you the secrets of my learning!? I would truly let you know. I do not like telling them. But I do intend to tell them to you. I would tell you. A while ago, I spoke to you a bit about Mlecchas. I terribly dislike the Mlecchas. It is true that I went to such countries like the Ramathadesa, stayed with them, acted like them and learnt a few things. But all those are Mleccha countries. There - Sri Ramachandra is not a God. There is no Chaturvarnya. Their sense of the sacred Supreme Being41 is low. In our countries, there is a sense of seeing the Supreme Being in every act of our life. There is no act performed without this sense of reverence towards the Supreme Being. Supposing that some person does not have this sense of the sacred, even if he does not have it, because of the traditions and the customs that are deeply entrenched with this notion of sense of the sacred it makes the lives of all people living in Bharatadesa filled with this sense. I am a cowboy. It might surprise you to see me speaking thus. But, because of
41

Paramesvara bhaavam

my stay abroad, and owing to the purity of my country I am repugnant towards them. We are herdsmenr right! Bhagavan Sri Krishna was born in our community. I was young when the Bharata War took place. Otherwise, I would have gone on to see the Lord. In our country, there is no relation between learning/education and vile chants. Individuals can meditate on Siva, Kesava or Sri Ramachandra murthy. They may pray to them to grant them a victory. There are mantras. Great archery experts learn the weapons including the Agneyastra.42 Each mantra has a presiding deity like Agni or Vayu or Garutmanta43. These are popular deities. They are mentioned in the Vedas. There is absolutely no connection between these deities and the deities of Mlecchas. They do not have so many deities. No customs. Their customs don't have the backing of Smritis. Those customs have come about owing to the convenience they bring in living as a community. In such a state, some of them learnt a few spells. Those spells came into existence in those countries only. In our country, one has mantras only in Sanskrit language. In those countries, their spells are in their languages. The presiding deities of those spells are strange deities. There is a huge well in the Meruvadesa. All the people in that village use the water from that well only. On an average at least four-five of them commit suicide by jumping into the well every year. That well is a deity. There is a spell. That well is the presiding deity for that spell. The people in that place chant the spell repeatedly for a few days in the name of their enemy. That enemy definitely would fall into that well and die. It is not known as to who discovered that spell. There is a connection between that spell and the technique of swordplay that I would tell you tomorrow. Having repeatedly chanted that spell for ten lakh times, and employing this technique on your enemy would render the enemy ineffective and he cannot stand this. This is not swordplay. There is a devil associated with that stroke of your sword which will kill your enemy. I sometimes had a doubt. It is common that the residents of the Mleccha desas like Saka, Yavana, Ramatha, Darada, Bahlika etc. invade Bharatadesa. What would happen if they employ this wretched technique against our brave warriors? To clarify myself of this doubt, I did one thing. I have four sons. My fourth son is an employee at the court of the King of Sumhadesa. I taught all that I know in fencing to him. He is a devotee of Rama. I made him sit and chant Rama's name one lakh times. I meditated this wretched spell ten lakh times and in a fencing duel with him, I employed this technique against him. I do not know what he thought that moment. He called aloud Rama! and kept his sword against mine. My sword was broken into two. That moment, there was a loud sound as if some big stone fell in the well in our backyard. Later, I told the entire story to my son, ' My boy! With an intention to know the strengths of these wretched spells, despite the fact that you were my son, to see the power of our country, our Vedas, and our deities, I employed this technique against you. If you died in the process, I would have killed myself with the sword. My entire faith in this our Bharatadesa would have gone. It would have lost my belief in our traditions. The trust in what our ancestors said the endless time, kalpas, yugas, the continuing tradition of Bharatadesa would have been destroyed. But it did not happen that way. It is our good fortune. But my son is partly crazy. He could not pardon me for employing this technique against him. He took a vow that he would never hold a sword again. All my

42 43

Agneyastra weapon invoking Agni - Fire God Garutmanta or Garuda Vehicle of Sri Mahavishnu an eagle

other three elder sons are in the service of the armies of other kingdoms. This fellow is just an employee. Nirankusa gave company to Gangu for half the distance and he returned back. Chapter 4 Is this the house of Gangu? Who are you? Which country do you belong to? Mine is Sindhudesa. Is this Gangu's house? Yes! Is he inside the house? What work do you have with him? I came to see him. What work? I come from the place of Kulakanandi. You come from the place of Kulakanandi! I am Gangu. Come, let's go inside. Both of them went inside Gangu's house. Gangu's house was a hut with thatched roof made of palm-leaves. But it was spacious. The insides of the house were spacious. The muddy floor was smeared with cow-dung, and it appeared to have been plastered with lime and mortar. The walls were built with soil of elevated fertile land. Even the walls were smeared with cow dung. In a corner, there were two cots with cotton tape woven on them for base. Gangu brought two mats woven of coconut leaves and rolled them on the floor. Both of them sat on the mats. The entire hut had a single hall. It did not have separate rooms. There are no signs of cooking seen in the hut. During the rainy days, Gangu's wife cooked in a small hut which was in the backyard. Rest of the days, she cooked under the open skies. No one slept inside the hut, except during the rainy season. When there is no rain, they sleep on the cots either in front or back of the hut. The house did not have many articles and belongings. There were three shields stuck on the wall, four swords in sheaths. It looked clean. It would not appear that one would see another such poor home. There is not even a pot that stores rice. No utensils either. After both of them sat, Gangu spoke thus, Did Kulakanandi send you? How many days has it been since I saw him! Is he doing well? His wife! Iravati!44 She is not meant to have been born in those countries. Is she well? By then, they had two sons. Did they grow up to become gentlemen? What are they doing? Why did Kulakanandi send you? Does he remember me? It's been so many years! It's been about eighty-ninety years. Had it not been my Guru, I did not forget him, or else this is a thing that one would have
44

Iravati 'I' to be pronounced as in 'It'

forgotten. Kulakandi? He must be two hundred years old by now. He is still alive. Is he well? For someone who heard that Gangu never spoke, he would throw you out of his place standing in the verandah, if he replies in one word for ten things that are asked, then that is a great thing, the visitor was astonished at the shower of questions to him - Kulakanandi is doing well. He is quite old. Iravati also has turned very old. Both his sons are now the body guards of King of another country. As the visitor answered these questions, he was keenly observing Gangu's face and bodily features. The top of Gangu's face was round in shape. His cheeks and chin are thin and sharp edged. His hairs have a parting into two halves and those halves were tied at the back. He did not have a moustache. No beard. But there were stray hairs on his chin as well as above his lip where the moustache would grow. The total hairs would be around twenty fivethirty. They looked like the thorns of a porcupine. It must be said that his face caused a sense of repulsion. But there was some spark in his eyes. Those eyes attract you to him. They cause a fear in you. The next moment they give you a sense of intimacy. His forehead had long upright marks. His neck was long, strong and his side nerves were like iron-rods. His shoulders were large and swollen. One can't say that his chest was broad but it was certainly strong. His arms were long iron-sticks. His waist was slender. All his strength was in his hands. At that time, he was not wearing his shirt. His face showed his age, but seeing his body one would not think that he was aged. Jayadratha himself could not make out as to why he was observing Gangu's body so keenly. He does not intend to fight Gangu with the sword. Further, he heard that Gangu never fights with his sword with others. It seems he never gets into confrontation with anyone. It is better to say it the other way - nobody gets into confrontation with him. But why was he observing in such great detail? Gangu said, You should have your lunch at my place today. All my childhood memories come to me on hearing Kulakanandi's name. Kulakanandi's eldest son - 'Suganori' Aa..I think it must be Suganori. Their names are a bit strange. He is two months older than I am. He used to think that he was better at swordplay than me. Even when having a friendly fight, he used to fight as though he were fighting an enemy. Kulakanandi used to fear as to when his son may end up killing me. Therefore, he taught me more than his son. Because I was better educated, Suganori could not do anything to me. The people of that country are broad shouldered. It is a rocky country. In between the rocks were streams that wore those rocks off. Roots are in plenty. Plenty of sweet fruits. Their bodies are toughened thanks to that kind of food. Suganori had this toughness to superior extent than I had. Owing to this, he could jump over me with ease. But thanks to the education given to me by Kulakanandi, I was able to withstand his pouncing on me even if I were a bit inattentive. Though the bodies of those countries are tough and strong, their minds did not have the alertness that we have. The people of this country have alert minds. We are cowboys. It is known across our country that we are innocent people. Even the alertness that I had, Suganori did not have. He never spoke to me well. I stayed with Kulakanandi for four years. If I stayed there for so long, it was mainly due to the compassion that Iravati showered on me. She never served food to both Suganori and me at the same time. In the early days, the cuts on my body made by Suganori's sword were to be seen every two-three days. That way, about an year, or year and a half passed. Iravati pitied my state. This fellow is from some foreign country. He may end up dying in Suganori's hands. In those countries, there don't care the death of human beings. Just as the dead dogs would be swept away, they sweep you away in the same

manner. Moreover, the regulations in those villages are ingenuous. If someone kills a foreigner in those villages, there is no inquiry held. Those villages are such. Those villages are not like the villages in Bharatadesa. Here in every village, the elders in the village rule. There is no tolerance towards injustice. Inquiry is ordered right at the moment a crime is committed, and there is punishment right after it! It is not so in those villages. Any thing can happen in those villages. Nobody tells you as to why something happened the way it happened. Nobody cares. After a long time, having heard by word of mouth, a soldier comes to inquire. A token amount collected from everyone in the village is given to him. He goes back on his way. He himself fears his life in that village. The state of affairs there is something like this: When some foreigner has come, you seem to have done something to him, I hear? asks the soldier. That villager does not speak. The soldier then says this way. That he disappeared the next day it seems and he laughs. The villager too laughs. That is the end of the inquiry. That is the characteristic feature of those countries. In such circumstances, if I survived for four years, then what do you say I must have a very long and strong lifespan! It is not just Suganori, every other youth was of the same kind. Why just the youth, even the old men were like that. The only difference between the old men and young men is that the young men come to harm you without any reason, whereas the old men don't do that. In terms of their severity and cruelty, and roughness, both are of the same kind. I remember a small thing. The moment I saw you, all these come to my memory. The name of Kulakanandi is working like a magic on me. I don't remember having spoken more than ten words at any time. Yesterday morning I spoke to one man. Today, I am speaking to you. What is the name of Kulakanandi's village? It is just on my lips! Aa.. Aa..! ' Vilaaghara' The names of those villages are like this only. In the first few days of my stay in that village, my guru Kulakanandi used to send me out to get all things done. There is a street. Whether I go or come, I should go along that street only. That village itself was on top of a hillock. One house is on the slope. Another house is one a huge rock. It is not even possible to call that a street. Here are there, there were a few huts built, but one can't call it a village too. In that street, on the slope, there was a house. That is a rock terraced house. Instead of calling it a terrace, one should say the rocks were placed in a layered fashion. House was on the backside on the slope. There was a huge rock in front of the house. On that boulder, there were date palm leaves spread on two sticks to provide for a cover from the sun. There used to be a person sitting on that platform. He was younger than I was. In that country, men gain a good strong body by the time they turn fourteen. They grow tall. Cruelty and hard-heartedness gets ingrained in from their childhood. Whenever I passed by that boulder, he used to keep an eye on me. As long as he kept seeing me, I had a terrible feeling as though scorpions were creeping on my body. I never could understand why he had an unreasonable anger towards me. If I saw him with the same intensity as he sees me, how angered he might get!? If he asked me as to why I was looking at him so, what do I tell him? If I asked him in return as to why he was looking at me that way, he would jump at me with his sword. That I knew. I went there to learn fencing but not to get killed by someone. They are very strange countries. Then Jayadratha asked, Until you cross two countries after Bharatadesa, you won't reach Khasadesa. How did your going there happen? Gangu replied, Before I went to the foreign countries, I did learn fencing in my country. I went there to learn the interesting things in that place, but not for primary learning. After saying this, he remained silent.

Jayadratha knew it that instant. Gangu would tell you many things about Kulakanandi, that village, and the stories about the place for however long, but he would not speak on any other aspects! Jayadratha said, You went there to learn only those matters that are of interest and that are special, right! Why did it take you four years long? Gangu: There is not anything that I learnt in the first year. I just stayed in their house. I told that I came to learn from Kulakanandi. I stayed with them. I ate somewhere for tentwelve days. One day Kulakanandi told his wife to serve food to me also. An year passed. There used to be a fight with Suganori easily every month. For several days, he used to be silent and never spoke anything. One fine day, suddenly he used to run towards me as if he were crazy. I always used to be on alert with my sword in hand. I only defended myself from the strokes of his sword, but never let my sword touch his sword in attack. That way, he did a great service to me. I got to know all the ways in which the people of that country attack you, what their frequently used strokes were. In the first two years of my stay in that village, I must have had confrontations with at least ten people. If they know that we are experts at swordplay, they don't come near you. After a year passed, everyone in the village got to know that I was a disciple under Kulakanandi. Nobody came near me after that. It was only Suganori who considered me his rival. Since I always defended myself from his attacks, his envy and hatred towards me increased greatly as time passed. Knowing that I would not know the distinctive techniques of that country, having thought for a while, he used to employ one technique after another at different times. It caused injuries to my body. His mother used to see. She told Kulakanandi about the same. Then, Kulakanandi taught me about the features of the technique and as to how one can defend from an attack employing it. The rest of the three years of my learning was of this kind only. Just as I was returning from the place, he taught me a technique. That was the only technique that he taught me specifically. All the rest were taught to me to prevent me suffer from his son's attacks! Jayadratha said this laughing, The name of that technique is 'Bagala' right?. Gangu who was sitting, suddenly sprang on to his feet, WHO are you? HOW do YOU know? This is not a word that a person from Sindhudesa would know! How do you know that Kulakanandi taught me this? Who ARE you? HOW did YOU come here? You are young in age! It is impossible for me to believe that you also learnt by serving Kulakanandi..I do not know if he is alive or not. Even if he is alive, he would be very old. There is NO reason why you should know this secret. This is a secret that just Kulakanandi and I knew, and no other third person knew. WHO ARE YOU? and thus he demanded. Jayadratha laughed and said. There is no hurry. I am not your enemy. Even though there is a lot of age gap between you and I, I am also a disciple of Kulakanandi. I served Kulakanandi for ten years. He was already a very old man by then. You served him when he was middle-aged. That Kulakanandi is different. The Kulakanandi ten years ago is different. Every day he used to sit beside me and tell the stories of yore. Iravati used to sit beside and listen to them. His both sons, as I told you earlier, are in the service of Meruva King! Who is to give company to them in their old age? For two years, I protected them. I only used to make rotis for them. They have two goats, and three sheep. I myself used to milk them. They were more or less dependent on me. They used to be playful with me. All those old stories, Kulakanandi used to tell me. He used to tell me the same story over and over. He never got tired of them. Sometimes Iravati used to say, How many times did you tell this same story! However many times he told them, I always wanted to listen to them. I used to ask him to tell them again. That is why Kulakanandi had a great affection towards me. Sometimes, there used to be a mention

of your name too. All that you told me, Iravati used to tell me. But then Gangu! Whatever may be the thoughts that Kulakanandi had on you, Iravati has very fond memories of your words and your actions that happened eighty years ago. Do you know why? Gangu said he did not know. Jayadratha spoke this way: Oye! There is a big tiger. Ferociousness is its nature.Suppose you domesticate it and put it in a cage. It does not know that love, tenderness, affection are all soft natures. It comes to know all these feelings when you take care of it, when it is in the cage. Therefore, it starts treating you differently. It develops affection towards you. That there is a qualitative feeling called love, there is sweetness in it, a feeling that is not a natural feeling to it, takes birth in it. It rejoices in such a feeling. That is why cruel animals do not harm their keepers. Why should they wait for the keeper to serve them food when they are hungry? Its nature is to pounce and eat any animal that comes to its sight whenever it is hungry! Hence, there is a visible change in its behaviour. One of the reasons why Iravati was kind to you was this. Being fond of and having affection towards one's own kids is natural to animals. Those kids are tigers, the moment they stop drinking mother's milk, in the forest, they are on their own - their roaming is theirs, their hunt is theirs. With an excess of such brutal instincts, though they have a little kind-heartedness and independent thinking by virtue of they being humans, the cruel tiger's mentality is rooted in the people of those countries. You are from this country. From a civilized country. Born in a country in which human nature has matured, and bloomed. You regarded her like your mother though she was the wife of your guru. The kind of love that you showered on her, she never received that love and care from her own kids. A relationship of love and affection is like the thin threads running through stalks of lotuses. In the thoughts, and the corresponding actions that relate to it, oh! How delicate it is! A strange tenderness present in those people,the act of a good son that came through your small small deeds, the unending and daily flow of under currents of affection that were as soft as the Sireesha flower from your side towards her, all these made her heart so soft towards you. That softness got rooted in her heart. Even today, when one imagines that softness, one would not think of her as belonging to those nations. And, due to her age, that softness, like a ripened residual fruit45, became soft further. Ten years ago, whenever your name came up in a discussion, there used to be a wonderful serenity about her face. Kulakanandi told stories about you. She never spoke. One should see her face then. For the people of those nations, no other feeling but anger comes out well on their faces. When they turn old, their faces and bodies are covered with wrinkles and they do not appear pleasant watching them in any sense. Such face of Iravati, whenever Kulakanandi told your stories, was filled with such serenity. These words appeared to Gangu as though they took him to the heavens and seated him there. He was ecstatic. He was filled with a kind of fondness which was not present towards Jayadratha before. Earlier, Gangu's extensive mention of Kulakanandi and whenever such a mention came, that was a habitual practice, but not liking towards Jayadratha. Now, he was pleased. Fundamentally, Gangu disliked Mlecchas and their feelings and thoughts. He suppressed this negative feeling towards them when he went to these Mleccha countries because of his desire to learn new techniques in the art of swordplay. Afterwards, whenever there came an occasion, whenever their mention came, he used to express his dislike towards their customs and traditions. He did not keep his dislike towards Mlecchas secret from Jayadratha also. But his feelings towards Kulakanandi have not dried up as yet. The feelings of softness in him towards Iravati
45

Migula pandina pandu vole

were in tact for all these years even after eighty-ninety years passed, even after several changes that came about in his own life. It is not easy to erase the pleasant impressions on one's heart made during one's own childhood. The changes that Gangu's life saw were not small in number. It was intolerable pain to have all his four sons staying away from him without staying with him. Who knows what time is of which kind? When will death stop his journey? That death never comes by informing a priori, right? It is true that he was strong. There is no relation between having a strong and sturdy body and one being overtaken by death. He had a constant worry at the back of his mind that if death approached him suddenly, he did not have anyone around to give him at least the sacred Tulsi waters. He is not someone who sought the patronage of Kings or served the Kings. But he certainly heard the tensions and ups and downs associated from several people. If one is an expert in a particular art and has mastered it, then naturally, the quality of this mastery rubs off on the rest of the aspects in that person's life. Gangu's mind had such mastery and maturity. It is this tightness that his mastery gave him that made Gangu not talk to anyone, and living his life in his own way. Jayadratha's words enhanced Gangu's softness towards his childhood teacher of fencing and his spouse. Even in the case of aged people whose lives may have all but come to an end, even in those lives where tenderness contracted, those lives where life is uncertain, and where the livelihood itself is under question, even in such cases, childhood memories develop a special kind of tender feelings. Such feelings were visible in Gangu's face which otherwise was stiff. There was a child-like spark on Gangu's face. His face sported a kind of pleasantness. Shoots of feelings of tenderness appeared. Jayadratha was smart, ruthless46, and capable of resorting to any wicked act. He was someone who could understand a thing just by looking at it. In this way, he watered Gangu's heart, let it soak, and in that heart, the seed that he wanted to sow, he dug a little to sow that seed into him, he decided to soften even the interiors of the soil which turned to clay when he poured the water initially. He then said thus, Oyi Gangu! I knew that you would have this kind of affection towards Iravati and Kulakanandi. Nothing special in my knowing it! Iravati herself told this. She used to say that you were here eldest son. Kulakanandi and Suganori said once or twice, - So many years passed! Feminine qualities are such. Would he remember this lady? - They spoke this way. She never gave importance to those words because of her excessive affection towards you. I developed a great liking towards you. I was as close to her in her old age as you were to her in her youth. That is why, I felt like seeing you at times. But, where is Khasadesa and where is Andhradesa? I never thought I would come to this place. But, Kulakanandi created a situation where it became compulsory for me to come here. Old people develop certain strong determinations as their age grows. They develop special interest towards certain customs, certain traditions, and certain principles. In one's childhood, the experiences in one's life have a steady development and one's mind revels in the interesting aspects of those experiences, and the luxury seeking mind is occupied by them. As time passes, this experience increases and having seen the roughs in life, one feels the experience, and this interest in bodily comfort retreats, and the thoughts that relate to it reduce, which is when the mind of the one present in the
46

Gundelu teesina bantu from Telugu English Dictionary

body focuses its attention on traditions. Without having knowledge of it, man's mind starts behaving as if death is approaching him. One's mind sticks to certain customs and certain beliefs and it revels in them. This revelling happens only in those things that one knows. Suppose a person is a scholarly grammarian. He's a great scholar. That is just learning. By learning grammar, one learns the soundness of words. He knows the beauty in their usage. By itself, it is not a learning that takes one to God. But since he is a master in that area, in his old age, he takes particularly strong positions of interest or dislike on some of the aspects of that learning. He would stay put with those beliefs. That becomes the main stay of his life. This way, Kulakanandi was particular about two aspects in his last days. Of all the techniques, and skills that Kulakanandi knew, he was particularly fond of one or two of them and his fondness knew no bounds. Kulakanandi taught those techniques to only three of them. These techniques have a tradition, a custom, and a stipulated method to use them. One needs to follow a procedure to practice them. Kulakanandi's mind was filled with the thoughts about them. Once he turned old, he taught these techniques to three more people. I am one among them. He made us take certain oaths and give him some promises before he taught them to us. When he was teaching these to us, he recalled the three to who he taught these techniques. Whenever this came to mind, he was filled with anxiety that he did not take such promises and oaths from them. He told me about this quite a few times during our conversations. One day, I went to him and said, ' I would go to these people and let them know your wish and ensure that they comply with it. ' He did not give much weight to my words in the beginning to my words, but when I repeatedly told him this, one day he said thus: Oyi! How will it be possible for you? Of those three, one is in Chedi desa. It is possible for one to go that place. You may end up telling him. But the other two are not in this region. One is in Vangadesa (Bengal). The other is in Andhradesa. It is very difficult to go in search of them. Suppose you go in search of them in those places! They may not be there, and be elsewhere. That way, you may have to keep on searching for them. That is not an easy task. And, moreover, after so many years, would they give weight to my words? They are not from our country. Their customs are not our customs. I taught them those techniques because of the quality and excellent service that they rendered to me, or else I would not have taught them. And, the person who is in Andhradesa is a downright, pucca native of Bharatadesa. He is instructed by the Vedic religion. Even when I was about to teach him these techniques, he was reluctant to learn them. He does not believe in them. It is not a joke to get someone like him to agree to take up such kind of pledge. He said this once or twice. I told him that there is nothing to worry. Each area of learning has its own respectable place. Whether that learning is good or bad, traditional or untraditional! Learning is learning. Of these, natives of Bharatadesa are traditional people. You said that he was a cowboy. From amongst the various sections of people belonging to Bharatadesa, to my knowledge those who are from the important Varnas47 are not as particularly particular about traditions as is the case amongst the rest of them.48 The people belonging to the important Varnas, learn the Sastras and develop rational thinking and have their own imaginations. Since the rest of them are not privy to the debates that go on in the Sastras, they learn the things only in a cursory sense and stick to them. It is further pleasing to know that he looked after cattle. Someone who reared cows, who drinks cow milk, one who transmits the definite air over the cows towards himself, he would not be someone with a shaky head. There is a quality amongst the
47 48

Uttama Varnas reference to Brahmana, Kshatriyas, Vaisya Varnas Avaravarna a reference to Sudras

cows. He kisses the cows. Call her 'Ammaa'49. He calls her with some name. In Bharatadesa, they do not see cows and human beings as belonging to different species forget distinguishing them as belong to different genera. They think that calves are their own kids. They play with the dewlaps hanging below the necks of the cattle, caress them. Kiss them. Hug their necks. Caress their back, tails, legs, hoofs. They are very traditional. If there is an strong intense feeling, then that intensity is generally visible in the rest of the aspects as well. I would go and meet them. I would tell them your desire. I would certainly get them to take the oaths' when I said this, Kulakanandi felt happy and said, But this task can be done only over the years. You going to these three countries, finding them, getting them to accept, and then coming back your job, your life, your country, your family wife and children, with all these, they don't sit well with each other.' I laughed, Sir! Kulakanandi! I have an intense resolve. I can go to any extent to do a thing for you and Iravati. It might take ten years for me to go meet these three people and get them to take the oaths. I would not marry until then. I would travel to various countries. I would learn the various customs of peoples of different countries, and the corresponding situations in their countries, which in itself is learning of a kind. I am someone born in the far Sindhudesa. Have I not come to learn fencing from that far? Why me? From that far off Southern country, didn't Gangu come to you? Most of the humans born learn only those that one can learn at where they were born. They spend their lifetime at the same place. Some are not like that. Their number may be small. They don't satiate their hunger to learn with just what they could learn at their place. They do not feel content with the wealth given to them by the Almighty. They go to all countries. They learn all kinds of things. They try to earn a lot of money. They go to different countries, join the courts of the Kings of those places and gain a lot of name and fame. They stay back in those places. After four-five generations pass ' Our ancestors are not from here, we belong to that country earlier - so they will be saying. But their likes and dislikes are all like the likes and dislikes of the destination country. They assimilate themselves into the foreign nation. They have a certain kind of nature' so saying, I promised Kulakanandi to get his desire fulfilled, I went to Chedidesa and Vangadesa, got them to take the oaths. You are left. The name of the disciple in Chedidesa is Sataari. I could meet him with ease. The name of the person in Vangadesa is Niranjan. To find him, my bones became caked. It was not all that difficult to find you. There isn't anything. Kulakanandi taught you this technique called 'Kaalanjari' right! That technique should not die with you. You should certainly teach it to some other person. You should protect the technique and its tradition. Kulakanandi wishes that this technique has to live like an unending tradition till the great deluge comes. The manner in which it is to be meditated along with the customs and the secrets of its usage, and the corresponding connection with the fruits that it gives must be taught to someone. It should not happen that it should go without being instructed. That is Kulakanandi's resolute wish. Belief. That's all said Jayadratha. Nirankusa came to Gangu's mind that very moment. He could teach that technique to him. He is strongly inclined to learn something from him. He could also fulfill the desire of his childhood teacher. There is no apparent danger from it. Is it for this small thing that Jayadratha came all the way by taking so much trouble! Though there is a vast age-gap between both of them, Jayadratha is a student of the same teacher. When such an
49

Amma Mother in Telugu

opportunity to pay back the debt of one's own instructor, he thought as to why he should reject it. He said to Jayadratha, There is some person belonging to the royal family who is the Commander of the nearby Torrupattu. He has been pestering me to teach him something. I would teach him. For something as small as this, you need not have come all the way. Even if you have sent a word with a crow, I would have done it. Jayadratha laughed and said, I am that crow.

Chapter 5 Sometimes, foreigners visited Gangu at his home. They stayed for a couple of days before leaving. Never did a royal visitor come to his place. Nirankusa was known to all the people in the surrounding areas. In those days, it was a great thing to be a Commander of a Torrupattu. That is a high post. That was because it was never given to anyone but the men of royal family. You could be a Commander-in-Chief of the Army, you could be a minister, you could be an accountant, but not the Commander of a Torrupattu. Only the close relatives of the King were made Commanders of Torrupatlu. Torrupattu is a camp of groups of cattle, right! Cattle were considered as wealth in those days. In those days, a King's main riches were calculated based on the cattle herds that he had. During business transactions, if someone asked as to what was the cost of an item, the answer used to be like two or three cows. Therefore, a Commander of Torrupattu meant he was the Chief of Treasury. Gold and Silver also used to be there. But they were not minted as coins. The bullion market transacted based on weighing them. But all the rest of the transactions were based on barter system items in return for items. When the transactions based on items was no longer possible, then the transactions were based on cattle wealth. In those days, cow-protection and keen study of cows were considered with great importance in those days. About a hundred to hundred and fifty years ago, Pandavas were alive! Of them, Sahadeva being a son of the King, being a brother of a King, being a great warrior - he was known as a specialist in cow-protection this is a reason enough to believe that the study of cattle was important in those days. Nirankusa was a great commander. Though Nirankusa went to Gangu's home quite early in the morning when he went for the first time, there were quite a few who knew about this. In those days, across the country, people woke up before the dawn and took their bath etc. This was a reason for the longevity of their lifespans. After four days, Nirankusa came to Gangu's place again. Several people saw him. When a great powerful man comes to the house of an ordinary man, it becomes a talking point. Everyone knew that Gangu was well educated. But the arrival of Nirankusa appeared like polishing Gangu' greatness. That morning, about ten elderly people of that place came to see Nirankusa. This word of Nirankusa's arrival spread from one to another by mouth, and all these ten people arrived at Gangu's place, paid their respects to Nirankusa and spoke thus: The presence of our Gangu has made the visit of rulers like you, from the royal family, come to our remote village. Our land has been sanctified. Our

land is blessed - Nirankusa kept these people entertained as they sang praises of him and his arrival to that place. The previous day, Nirankusa came, spoke to Gangu, Gangu refused to come, Nirankusa described the beauty of his torrupattu, and took him along with him to his place. Nirankusa came again to Gangu's place. Nobody knew what he spoke. It was not know as to what response came from Gangu. When ten people from the village around, it would not be appropriate of him to get Nirankusa to plead with him, as he kept tight, and quiet. Nirankusa might get angered. After all, he was a Commander of the King. He could get him arrested for no reason. The expertise of a person under the command of a Kingly power is not taken into consideration. Therefore, Gangu took his sword and shield in his hand, and started with Nirankusa. The elderly of the village came along till the outskirts of the village and then returned. They thought among themselves this way: Gangu and this royal man have close friendship. If it were not for such a friendship, why would Nirankusa come to Gangu all the way on foot to Gangu's hut? He came. And from this side, he went without speaking a word. Both of them would practise swordplay probably! It is known that Gangu was an expert in fencing. He learnt by going to several foreign countries. He taught his sons. So many of them came and learnt from him and went. But it was never known that he was so great. From then on, the respect for Gangu doubled and tripled. Gangu and Nirankusa went half-way through the path. Gangu started saying this way, From that day onwards, I have not been practising swordplay properly. Every day I swing the sword for some time in the morning. I cut the stems of plants. What else can I do beyond that!? I am not a literate. Whatever cultivable land I have, my wife takes care of it. Because the people in my neighbourhood respect me, they help in tilling the land. They threw seeds in the field. We are two of us to be fed. We could do away by eating anything and drinking anything. This is the only entertainment for me. I am habituated to this. It's been four years since my third son left for an assignment as an employee in a King's court. Both of us sit in our home and feel lonely. How do I welcome the morning? How to retire in the night? How to pass my time? How does the night pass? My wife somehow manages to get things going for her. She works all day in the field. By night she boils some rice and serves me. She sleeps during the night with a good snore. Unless I move my body this way and that, I cannot sleep. The food that I eat would not get digested. Therefore, I must practice. Overcome by sorrow that all my sons left me, I remained without doing anything for about an year or two. Those two years, I could not eat anything. I could not sleep. I decided that this was not the way to go, and started my practice again. Never did I go to my field even for a day. Never did I bend my back to do some work there. What would I do going there? Practise till I am drenched in sweat, after that take a bath for an hour, wait for the time till my wife serves me food, after eating, either hit the bed and sleep, or lay down in the night if I could not sleep, till I fell asleep, I know some slokas so I keep meditating them lying down on the bed. Sir! Truly, Sri Ramachandra Murthy saved my son, or else what would have happened to him! What should have happened of me!? I would have killed my son with my own hands. How stupid could one's mind be? In order to test whether that spell was powerful or not should one use it against one's own son? Either way, the fruit of the good deeds I did in my previous birth came to save me. I made my son to meditate Rama's name. That protected us. These contemptible techniques are not very poweful. Further, they are the ones to be employed against an enemy. These kind of techniques are not there in our country. Few of these base and mean arts are present amongst the mean and

lowly communities50 of our society. It is not known as to the origin of these arts. They are in plenty in the Mleccha countries and how did so many of them originate there? Why are they present only with the lowest classes 51 in our society? This is something to be thought of. What is the origin for arts and techniques? How and where do the mantras originate? Every art/technique has a tradition. There is a lineage of gurus. There is a sequence describing its use. Though these arts/techniques are deplorable and mean! Each of them have all the hungama. By this time, both of them reached the mansion of Nirankusa. Nirankusa went inside and it took him some time to come out wearing all armour. The news of both of them having a fencing duel reached the ears from one to another to a few cowboys. Some of them became interested in seeing the show. This again became a problem. Gangu left. That day's meeting was futile for Nirankusa. It was not possible for him to ask Gangu as to when he would come. Nirankusa knows that Gangu would not come on his own. There is no use asking him. ' I would go now and come back tomorrow or the day after' He could not say this. Because if he said it, then that would make him lose his respectable stature. If his people knew that he went to Gangu's place, then he would be considered to be a man of less stature than Gangu. They would think that Gangu was a better swordsman than him. They would think that he was learning from Gangu. In that State, there were only two great exponents of swordsmanship! Vijayasimha and him! Both of them are equals. The world thinks that there is not anyone better swordsman than him. In fact, he reckons it the same way too. By way of conversation, he used to say that he is an incarnation of Nakula. Some others also say the same thing. This will break that reputation. Nirankusa did not know as to how he should meet Gangu again. If he went to Gangu's place in the early morning again, then people would again surround him. Here, the cowboys will surround them. Here and there, there is no possibility of maintaining it as a secret. How does it matter to Gangu? Why should he come? With these thoughts doing rounds, two months passed. There was a deep intense feeling developing in Nirankusa's mind. Whatever may be the case of other techniques, but he should learn that technique where the bedevilled sword stroke in which the presiding deity (devil) kills the enemy. Gangu said that a good Kshatriya should not learn that technique. What is wrong in learning it? A layer of Nirankusa's mind was of the notion that using the technique may be wrong, but another layer was desiring to use the technique. It was vaguely playing on his mind as against who he intends to use this technique and why he would do so. That spell needs to be meditated a priori, it seems! He does not know the rules binding that spell. If he officially sends a message to Gangu, then Gangu might get offended and he may not tell him that secret technique. Because he could not ignore an official message, he would come. But how could this deadlock be resolved Nirankusa did not have a clue. That day was the eighth day of the Sukla paksha. The moon would set between twelve and three in the morning. By this time, it would be at least a four and half hours before the sun rises. In that darkness, he should go to visit Gangu alone. Gangu would be fast asleep at that time. If he calls out loud, it will be known in the neighbourhood. If he goes at that middle of the night, what would Gangu's wife think? It would end up raking up unnecessary questions in her mind. What
50 51

Neecha varnaalu Adhama varnaalu -

would Gangu think of him? He would undoubtedly think that he was weak minded. He would be lowering his own respect in front of Gangu. *********** The eighth day of Sukla paksha went by. The ninth day also went by. It was the eleventh day. A brahmin living in a village which was eight miles from his place came to him every month on the eleventh day of the first fortnight, and told him the coming month's lunar calendar details (an outline of monthly panchaanga52). That day, he came. In the course of telling quite a few things, ' On the coming full-moon day, there is a lunar eclipse', he said. Further he said, Sir! During the eclipse, if one takes a bath and gets initiated by a mantra, or meditates a mantra it is very fruitful. In our country, till a hundred years, there used to be several great weapons like the Agneyastra. All the Kshatriyas used to meditate up on those weapons. They used them against their enemies during a war. With the great Mahabharata war, all these mantras were laid aside and left behind. Today, we find knowledge of hand-held weapons but not of missile-like weapons. Even after hundred to hundred and fifty years after the Mahabharata war, the country has not yet come out of its impact. Pauraniks say that after the war between Rama and Ravana war there was no other war that resembled that one such as this did. A big war taking place is equivalent to an occurrence of a deluge! Bharata war occurred at the end of Dwarapara yuga. Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali all these yugas put together make a Maha Yuga right! At the end of each yuga, a deluge occurs. At the end of the Treta Yuga, the deluge that occurred was the Rama Ravana war. At the end of Dwapara Kuru-Pandava war. At the end of Krita Yuga Deva-Asura 53 war. In this Kuru-Pandava war, if eighteen Akshowhinis of army got destroyed, how many people, how many horses, how many elephants, and how much wealth got destroyed! How many items and how much money? Soldiers from various countries took part in that war! It is unknown as to how many of our Andhra people died in that war. There were a few people who returned after the war. In our village, there is an old man. He keeps narrating the stories of those days. People pay great attention to his stories. You are a good Kshatriya. If you have any great mantra then meditating on that would bear good fruit, so saying, the brahmin left with the cow milk, rice and vegetables that Nirankusa gave him. That day, the sun set. The moon light lit up the sky. The Yambhaaa sounds made by cows appeared melodious that dusk as the moonlight lit the sky. It was time for having his meal. His mind was not at peace. He did not feel like having his meal. The cook was waiting to serve him. He came once or twice, showed his face, and left. He should not say that the food has been cooked, and ask him to come and eat. He would stand at the door and looks at Nirankusa. The essence of that is to convey that food has been cooked. The cook has already come twice to the door and given his signal. There was only one worry in Nirankusa's mind. The eclipse was to come in just four days. That day, he should be initiated with that spell of Gangu's. The brahmin told him, when he asked, that the eclipse was to occur between twelve and three in the night. It was total lunar eclipse. That time, it would be completely dark. Either Gangu comes to his place or he going to Gangu's place should happen that day. But how would it happen? Sun did not rise for Nirankusa. But the sun rose. He should set his royal grace aside. He should leave the feeling of what some others would think aside. Suddenly, another thought
52 53

Explain as to what a Panchaanga is --War between Gods and Demons

came to his mind. Both at Gangu's village as well as amongst his own people, on observation, it appeared that there was a feeling that both he and Gangu were friends, which came out from their movements, laughter and their looks. This sense of a friendship with Gangu would enhance if they know of him going to Gangu again. Let it be, there is no harm in it. On the twelfth day, during the evening when the sun set, he took a soldier along with him and went to Gangu's hamlet. Gangu was astonished seeing Nirankusa. This was not a secret meeting. He came in the open. A thought occurred to Gangu. It was the right time to teach the Kaalanjari spell. He could follow his Guru's instructions. But Gangu had an ambivalent mindset. Should he instruct this mean Mleccha spell to a pure royal personage? These spells may spread amongst the many of the lower classes, it would not be a problem. Seeding these spells into people from higher varnas is a quality indicating the arrival of Kali (yuga). Why should he instruct this spell to this man only? In the past four years, no one came to him to learn fencing from him. When it was known that he stopped fencing for two years, the students stopped coming. After a few days, some other students may come. I could teach them. They would join the army. They would use these spells in common fights. Here it is not so! Why is this man showing such a great interest to learn this technique? Does he have a staunch opponent? This man is an expert swordsman. Since he practised fencing with him for a couple of days, he got to know. He intensified his display of skills in the second instance more than the first. Even he had to struggle to shield himself from the strokes from the other side. There must be an equal to this warrior. He must be equally learned and skilled at this art. Even he must be from the royal family. If this man kills the other man from the royal family using this wretched technique, what will be the sin that he would have to carry? If the person from the other end is someone from the royal clan, then he need not surrender to this to such a Mleccha technique. He would have been administered with such rituals as the Upanayana (thread ceremony). He would be meditating on Vedic mantras. His son is a Sudra. He just let him do a meditation on Rama's name. That wretched spell did not work in front of this. For those who meditate on mantras following the Vedic path, no spells work on them. But the spell that he used against his son was 'Bagala'! It was not 'Kaalanjari'. It is Kulakanandi's order that he must instruct 'Kaalanjari' to someone. When Jayadratha said this, he could have kept quiet. He did not just stop by saying Yes. That Jayadratha is terrible. He made me take an oath on the edge of the sword saying the name of my Guru. Is Kaalanjari a more dangerous spell than Bagala? He never analysed as to what power does each of those spells have. He just learnt them. He came. He never cared to consider them. He never taught them to any of his students. Nirankusa insisted repeatedly to 'Tell something, tell something' and because of the hatred that he had towards Mleccha peoples, and since he disregarded those learning, he mentioned them during the conversation. Now that has come to haunt him. And moreover, what brought Jayadratha at the same time? What made him bring this command from his Guru? Was Jayadratha to be trusted? All that he said were they true? He is undoubtedly a student of Kulakanandi. Kulakanandi's order also must be true. He brought me a cloth that Iravati used to wear as a band on her waist in the days of yore when I was with her. It appeared to me as if I was seeing Iravati herself. How deep an impact does this Iravati have on me? It seems as if I have greater affection towards her than I have on my own mother! Yes, in those four years in such countries, I

could have been dead on any given day. I am alive because of her love towards me. This fact is deeply stuck in my heart. Iravati had my affection, but not Kulakanandi. Depending on the circumstances, and because of the pressure created by Iravati, he taught me some techniques, but never taught him things on his own. Why should I agree to follow his command? But a request that the command be executed has come from Iravati too! She sent a part of her cloth to authenticate the message. I am someone who took to the sword. It is shameful to swordsmanship if I do not keep my word that I gave on the edge of the sword. Why should I teach this technique to this man only? All the circumstances appear as if I would not able to keep my word unless I instruct him this technique. This comes to my memory now. Why didn't I have this sense of judgment when I gave my word!? After teaching the Kaalanjari spell to someone, in a short time, the teacher would get into trouble this is what Kulakanandi told me. Those words appear strange to me today. It is almost a thing that happened a hundred years ago. Why does it come to my mind today? Everything is strange. Kulakanandi taught me this. What trouble did he get to face? Jayadratha said that Suganori fought with his father and left him. Is that the trouble that befell him? Though my sons have not fought with me, they went away from me. There is no possibility of me getting such a trouble. But when someone says it brings some trouble, there is no guarantee that the trouble is of this kind! Who would know the nature of the trouble before it comes? Gangu stood stunned, was staring at him without doing anything, and was thinking about something, this went on for some ten-twelve minutes. Nirankusa finally spoke out: Oyi Gangu! I must speak to you. Both of us should go to a lonely place. Do you have some work, can you come? Do you have any objection to come? Gangu recovered, since he did not have time to think and respond, 'I do not have any objection. If it is your command, here, I am coming,', and he started the next moment. By this time, moon lit the sky. On the eastern part of the sky, across a stretch of two fully stretched hands of an adult, one could get a partial glimpse of the moon, which when the soft white cloud moved spread a seed of silvery shine. Moonlight shines, sun shines, winds blow. These are common qualities in the creation. They keep shining. It keeps blowing. When our mind is not focused on them, the noticeable part of their shining or their blowing does not come to the fore. When they keep shining, and blowing, at some point in time and place, our focus shifts on them. Their elegance is of a different order at that time. When the focus has shifted, at the same point in time and place, if it is also coupled with the cloud movement the pleasantness of that situations directly touches one's heart. Nirankusa felt such a nirvana-like experience at that time. Nirankusa told the soldier who came along with him that it would take him some time, which may be long after the sun set, so he should not wait for him, and that he may leave. He was about to give the sword in his hand to Nirankusa. Nirankusa told him that there is no need for a sword. Gangu said,' No, no. There may be a necessity to have the sword. When going back during the middle of the night, who knows what may come on one's way? Having the sword in one's hand is good.' Nirankusa said with a laughter, ' I am taking you to a place. You would have to return alone from that place. You do not seem to carry a sword, right!' Gangu, ' I am not from a royal personage. Nor am I from the royal family. Whatever happens to my life does not matter. Even then, I would carry your sword in place of the soldier', so saying he took the sword from the soldier and

walked along with Nirankusa. Nirankusa asked Gangu to give his sword to him twice or thrice. Gangu did not relent. There is a large tank about two miles from that place. That is not a tank that was dug-up. Seeing the slope of the land there, there was a bund constructed around it so that it can help irrigate the fields down below. There were four five hamlets along the cultivable land. On the upper side of the tank, water flowed like a stream and normally there won't be any hamlets in the direction of water in-flow. The entire place looked like a forest. The streams cut across the cultivating fields. Nirankusa took Gangu to this place. It was not a big forest, but it was neither a small one. Here and there, you find huge ant-hills. Those places were covered with small stubble and dried weeds used in weaving mats. It was summer since it was not rainy season, though the nights were cool, the grass dried during the day, and it was pricking one's feet. Since Nirankusa had footwear, he did not feel the pain. Since Gangu started off with the same attire as he had when he was in his verandah, he was suffering. He would normally never move out of his house. For someone used to moving in the fields, these would not hurt. For someone who was used to fencing, when he fought, he wore a special shoes that were part of the attire of a warrior. There is no equivalence in condition of that time, and the rest of the times. The same grass, once it cools down, they slowly become soft under one's feet. All this distance, both of them walked without talking. Having seen a good place to sit where it was felt to be comfortable and soft, Nirankusa asked if they could sit there. He sat down, with those words. Gangu was still standing. Nirankusa forced him. If Gangu did not sit, when it appeared that Nirankusa would himself make him sit, Gangu sat down. Whenever the discussion was about swordplay, or when they were fencing, Gangu did not feel that he was talking to a royal personage. He went twice. He fought with him twice. At those times, both of them were two swordsmen. Gangu did not feel the difference. This situation was different from that one. Gangu began to feel that the person at the other end belonged to the royal family. He must show his obedience. Not just show, a loyal obedient feeling came naturally from within his heart. Though Gangu sat down, he felt like sitting on thorns. Nirankusa spoke thus, ' You spoke of some wretched devilish technique. I want to listen to that one. Therefore I brought you here.' The moment Nirankusa said this, Gangu lost his ability to think. He was not habituated to come this way, sit this way, and discuss. Those people who have leisure, rich people, officers, they go on a walk. This appeared like that walk. Gangu does not even have a clue that it was such an outing. He never knew of situations where two friends go on a leisurely walk away from the village to a far off place and have a conversation. The sooner he left that place and went back to his house, the better such was the state of Gangu. That's why he lost his thinking capacity. He said, Sir! You just want to listen to it for the sake of it? Or you want to learn it? If you intend to learn, then there is a better technique than this one. The technique that I narrated earlier is a lesser technique as opposed to this one. I told you that the technique failed in front of my son who meditated on Rama's name, right! If you intend to learn, I will teach you another technique. I did not test it myself, but I have a strong feeling that this must be stronger than the earlier one. That is because my guru sent me a message stating ' This should be taught by you to some other person. The tradition must continue' such an order makes me feel that this technique must be very powerful. I will teach you that. To learn that, one must wait for the time of an eclipse, - to which Nirankusa said, Today is Dwadasi (twelfth day). Not tomorrow nor the day after. The next day is Poornima (full moon day). That day, there is a lunar eclipse. The eclipse is

scheduled to occur between twelve and three in the night. Total eclipse. You teach me that. Something struck Gangu's mind suddenly. It struck hard. He was amazed at the coincidence and said, Yes, Sir! This technique requires one to take to a vow after taking a bath in the night around midnight, three days before the eclipse. Nirankusa said, Okay! We will stay here till midnight at this place. At a distance from this place, there is a pond. I will take a bath and come. Tell me what are the rules to be followed. I will follow them for all the three days. I would come to this place on the Poornima at midnight. You too come. After we come, the eclipse will occur. At that time you can tell me that spell! Gangu's mind again became ambivalent. The following came almost to the tip of his tongue - This is a wretched technique! Not meant for a member of good Kshatriya clan! It is not known as to what dangers that befell because of this! But these words did not come out of his mouth. But his mind went ninety years backwards He said no to that technique. Kulakanandi forced him to learn this technique. He said that unless I learnt that technique I could not survive in that country. For someone who learnt that technique, nobody can dare stare at him. The people will get to know that I (Kulakanandi) taught this technique to you slowly. There wouldn't be anyone who would dare see you. His experience was also same. In that hilly country, at a distant from Kulakanandi's place, there is a well to the side of the hill. That night, Kulakanandi made him to take a bath with the water from the well. He made him sit there and told him a few words. He asked him to meditate on those words for the next three days. ' You should not come with me. Come home after three hours from the time I go. If you came home, then you are certainly alive. There is no fear for the next three days. That night after three days, I would teach you the spell. After teaching the spell, I will also tell you the corresponding movements of the sword and the movement of the feet that go along with it.' He took a bath. He told him a four letter word. Kulakanandi left. He meditated on that word for three hours at the same place. The time he was about to leave, moon was about to set. He went in drenched clothes. In that country, it was as hot in the day as it is cold in the night! The clothes that they wear are clothes with a hundred folds. The extent to which these clothes stop the cold in the nights, in the day time they drench you in sweat. They can stop the cold to some extent. But if those are wet, then it is as good as being in Antarctica... He recalled the extreme pain that he experienced with those clothes on him that day... He was coming back home with a sword in his hand. That was not a country which had bears. Not a country where one found hyenas. There were plenty of snakes. Though that path was known to him, it appeared to be new. When he was going to that place, there were no ant-hills. On the return journey, everywhere he could see ant-hills. From inside those ant-hills, snakes came out on him nodding their heads. Some of them jumped on to him. With the help of his sword, he struck their hoods in the middle. After that a few hyenas and a few bears jumped on to him. He killed them too. He did not know from where they landed. The next day, he wanted to go see their dead bodies. The next two days, he was not to move. He should sit at home, stop eating, stop drinking and chant the same letters. He should not move. The third night, he and Kulakanandi went back to that place. That night, he could not see either the dead bodies of the snakes, or of the hyenas or the bears. Who knows, the vultures may have feasted on them! Foxes may have pulled them apart! He did not ask Kulakanandi...

Then Gangu thought - This man is a great swordsman. He can tear apart the hooded snakes into two from between their fangs. He can kill both hyenas and bears. Gangu asked Nirankusa to take a bath and come. He took a bath and came back. He told him those four letters. He told him all the rules, I am going back. After the moon sets, you should go in wet clothes back to your home. Three days you should fast and not sleep. You should chant these four letters all the time. On the Poornima, I shall come here at midnight. You should also come. After the midnight today, when you go back to your home, you should recall all your expertise in swordplay. Chapter 6 Srimukha, Vijayasimha, and Nagarjuna all the three of them were married. Srimukha was the crown Prince. By law of primogeniture which was followed in those days, only the eldest son can inherit the throne. Therefore, he would be given a daughter of a reigning King in marriage. But, Vijayasimha and Nagarjuna were not going to inherit the throne in future. Therefore they do not get to marry the daughters of ruling Kings. Though they are disenfranchised, they are also princes, so they would be married to the daughters of royal family close to the King. Vijayasimha got a match of that kind. Nagarjunas marriage took place in a different manner. Nagarjuna grew up since his childhood in an environment where he could be as per his own will. To the right of Krishna, below the capital, of the hamlets that were there a few of them put together had a person from the royal kith and kin ruling them. He would stay in a small fort built in that place. His name was Vikrama. Earlier, he used to frequent the capital frequently. Romapada's wife and he were relatives of a kind. Vikrama's mother and Romapada's mother-in-law were one's removed aunt's daughters, or something? Therefore, it happened that Vikrama visited the capital every now and then. In his childhood, Nagarjuna spent most of his time with his mother, and thus the relation and affection between him and Vikrama grew with time. Nagarjuna used to go to Vikrama's place and spent quite a few days with him and lived with him. Vikrama did not have children. He brought home a daughter of a distant Kshatriya relative of his, and adopted her. That Kshatriya was a very poor man. But that girl was very beautiful. She was intelligent. Whoever saw her used to say that she would one day become the principal queen. Vikrama made her learn music and literature. Her name was Neela. Her intelligence was of a special kind. You tell her anything, she can speak the opposite of it. She can get it down to a humourous conversation. You tell her anything, however much deeply you believe it! She would split it into parts, and makes it appear to be a futile thing to believe in. To people listening to it, it would be great fun and brought them to splits. The person who told about the thing he believed in, he would be filled with anger. The sense in which the first person spoke, the listeners would not even be ready to pay an ear to it. She is not born of Vikrama. Though she was born in a Kshatriya family, because she was not born in a rich family, she was not brought up as a mistress in a palace54 who never was ever exposed to sunshine. Her father was a worker. They had a small farm. Both her mother and father go the farm and work like a common farmer. How could this girl born to such parents live in a palace in a special
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Asuuryampasya from Telugu-English dictionary literally means one who grew without ever getting exposed to the son

section for ladies? Once she grew up in age, Vikrama thought of teaching her some of the royal etiquette. But that was not to be. In that house, everything happened as she pleased.55 Her step-mother had showered that much affection on her. If those twenty-five places were to be called a kingdom, then she took care of every detail in administering it. Vikrama used to do as she directed him to do. That he did, not just because of his affection towards her. Her intellectual capability was such! It used to appear that doing so was appropriate. After a few instances of this kind, she naturally became the counsellor for everything in that house. As this was going on, Nagarjuna's visits to that house became more frequent, and this way, familiarity between Nagarjuna and Neela increased. This acquaintance of Neela gave Nagarjuna a strange kind of joy. There are no restrictions as one finds in royal families. There is not a single thing that one could say is a rarity either that which you would intend to see or that you woud not intend to. Intimate companionship, moving about rubbing one's shoulders with another56, playful exchanges with one's eyes, the radiance of sweet smiles, recurrent tender touches of one's finger tips with the other, the looks on the eyes when the sides of the clothes move to the gentle breeze causing goose bumps, the obstacles created on stretching one's hands, the releases after the barriers on movement are lifted, the energetic attempts at displaying one's dominance over the other by trying to do the same task at the same time, the feel at the unreserved pressing of one's body with the other at that time, the strengthening of sensual feelings at the tolerance of the caresses of the palms that wiped off mutual sweat, and such other things which formed part of their acquaintance with one another before Vikrama or his wife could put any thought on this, a bond of love got established between the two. Gradually, this news spread even in the capital. It became a news from the interiors of the palace. Nagarjuna said that he would marry no one else but her. Romapada finally agreed. Some pandits in their conversation accepted this marriage. Of the eight wives that Bhagavan Sri Krishna had, one was named Neela. She was born in the family of cowboys. Nagarjuna is someone who is an equal to Sri Krishna. Romapada also got to hear such talk. He just laughed it off and kept quiet. The marriage took place. The bride came to Dhanyakataka. After she came, her state was like a fish taken out of water. In her step-father's home, she used to roam around the entire village. She used to go and tour every village under his rule. She used to give judgments. She took care of the people. She scolded them. In these villages, her word was regarded as sacred as the word from the Veda. After coming to the capital, there was no opportunity for her to go out. She was like a bird in a cage. By the time this state continued for two-three years, her mind developed a kind of anger against the others, as if it were a revolt against the conditioned freedom given to her. Even Nagarjuna did not feel the same pleasure that he had in her company during their courtship. Nagarjuna kept rejecting her. The past friendship had a feeling of equal freedom to think, roam and converse; today, now that there was a disparity in the available freedom, she could not accept the upper hand of Nagarjuna. She rebelled. That rebellion was natural. In the beginning, it appeared like mockery. One could say that there was struggle between both the intellects for an year or two. Would Nagarjuna bring Neela down to her knees by his superior intellect and make her follow the conditions present in the new environment? Would Neela take control of Nagarjuna's mind with her superior intellect? In the two year struggle, it was Neela who had an upper hand. But, Neela still continued
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Aadindi aata paadindi paata Bhujamulu raachukonuchu

to maintain the etiquette of the inner quarters of the palace. During the initial days of her stay in the palace, her behavior with the maids of the palace was strange. As the time passed, there was a change in her ways. By that time, even in the palace, people stopped being particular about her breach of protocols. It was like, that is her way, what can one do about it. Nagarjuna admonished her whenever her breach of protocol was way beyond what was tolerable. Sometimes, she accepted it, at other times, she revolted. Nagarjuna had a secret desire for Neela's future. He heard several times in Vikrama's place that she would become rich, and become the wife of a king one day. He knew that she ruled Vikrama's villages. She was an expert in political thought, skillful in ruling people, she is deserving to have gotten married to someone better than him, if she were the wife of a King, she had the ability to run the show from behind the scenes with all such thoughts in mind, he had immense respect for Neela. Over and above this, he also had a desired deep down his heart. This desire never came to the surface, nor was it something to be thought of even within himself. How could he become the King? How could she become the Queen? Sometimes, his thoughts were like this: When his brother Srimukha becomes the King, Vijayasimha would become the Commander-in-Chief of the army. Vijayasimha was a great warrior. He might invade other kingdoms and conquer them. Srimukha might make him the king of the conquered kingdom. Then, Neela would undoubtedly become the queen. It used to happen that Neela left the palace at random and go to the houses of other royal men. She had a good contact with those officers. Whenever there was a celebration in the palace, all the wives of the top officials used to come inside the fort. In that place, this way there was a contact between the Kshatriya women and the women in the palace. Never did it happen that the women in the palace went to the places of these Kshatriya women. In the initial days, Neela went. The Queen reprimanded her through her maid. Neela did not go out anywhere for an year. She went after that. The Queen kept quiet. Even Neela does not go frequently. Whenever she went, there was gossip all over the palace, but there were no more reprimands nor was there any effort to keep her in control. Moreover, Neela's apartment had strange and curiousity generating visitors. There is no way to ask her as to why those visitors came. It was a matter to be content if she did not go out. It used to happen that Dussala frequented Neela's apartment quite a few times. Dussala was Jayadratha's mother. Initially, it was Neela who sent her a word and invited her to come. When she came for the first time, Neela comforted her to a great extent, My father-in-law has done grave injustice to you. He has housed as if you were like any other people going by the road. Could he not give your son a job? He is an expert swordsman, I hear! My husband keeps telling me. My husband and your son are friends, it seems! But your son seems to have told my husband that their friendship must remain confidential. I do not know why. He seems to have said that that will be a cause for envy for the rest of the men in King's service. That is certainly true. I told my husband, Could you not go to the King and request him to give a job to him? My husband does not seem to care. With these words with which she began, Dussala felt she had no reason to hesitate going to Neela's apartment. Every day, after the sun set, Nagarjuna went out somewhere. He comes quite late in the night. It was during these times that Dussala

used to come and stay at Neela's place. Both of them used to talk about several things. Neela got to know that Dussala was great scholar. There is not a single thing that she did not know. She knew politics. Religion, society, matters of Dharma, several aspects of different countries in Bharatadesa, all these were on Dussala's finger-tips. For someone who thought that she was clever, she came no where close to Dussala. Gradually, Dussala had a control over Neela's mind. If Dussala told her to do things this way, Neela would do so. If she asked her not to do something, she won't do it. When Neela and Dussala conversed, even the maids were not allowed in their company. How many things did Dussala know! She was old. She must be ninety years old. Though her hairs greyed a bit neither the strength of her teeth, nor the sturdiness of the body decayed. Neela asked her once, ' My dear lady! I know of men who even when they are one-hundred and fifty, they are fit and strong, but I have never seen ladies who are as strong as you are even after crossing hundred years - Dussala replied this way, I had only one child. One son, no other. I did not bear anyone else. He was born when I was forty years old. My husband expired just after seventeen years after my son was born. I was more or less like I was at my birth. I have certain dietary stipulations. I maintan a control over my mind. Moreover, we are poor. We don't get to eat a lot. There is no way we could have indigestion. Indigestion is the root cause for all diseases. Taking right amount of food to keep your hunger at bay, and not eating anything more keeps all diseases away. Normally, people do not do so. People eat a lot with celebrations or festivities as excuses. Further, in royal families, they take liquor. And, there is another disease that ails the royal families. They think that to have the best experience of pleasure in their youth, in the love-making exercise between a male and a female, liquor acts as a perfect catalyst. Moved by excessive carnal drive, overtaken by the hang over due to the liquor consumed, waking up late the next day and to overcome the feeling of weakness eating heavily and then sleeping by the day they behave recklessly. This certainly reduces one's lifespan. He who goes on a workout must make love to a woman in a restrained and controlled manner. He who made love to a lady must not go for a workout. He should not do it the previous and the next day too. A week has seven days. One should not have an intercourse on Saturday. One should leave out Ashtami (eighth day), Ekadasi (eleventh day), Poornima and Amaavaasya (new moon day). Unless he exercises every day, a person of royal family would not be worthy of the royal activities. To wear this heavy iron shirts, to carry iron swords that are capable of cutting the trunk of an elephant in one's dress, one should have great deal of strength. To gain this strength, one must workout for long hours. So, day after day, they exercise. On the other hand, make love by night. Why wouldn't their lifespans reduce? In this country of ours, a long lifespan means two hundred years. But, is everyone living for two hundred years? The number of people who crossed one hundred and fifty years is very less. In fact, that itself is considered great. With an increased enmity and hatred between one another, there are some who die young in a duel. Sometimes, they die because of severe diseases. Those who do not follow these principles, die before they reach a hundred years. There will be people who life two hundred years in the villages. You won't find them in plenty in the capital. One can say that their number is zero amongst Kshatriyas. That's because, they yearn for women, exercise daily, and eat in excess. Moreover, since their mind is constantly involved with the aspects of the State, they get tensed, and even this results in the reduction of their lifespan. I have no worries. I stay with someone. Somehow, I am able to have my fill. My health did not decay. Just move her on any topic, Dussala gives this big lecture. This lecture shows her extensive experience. It conveys a lot of common-sense and knowledge of the world.

Moreover, when Dussala speaks, there is no way one could say something in return. When she spoke, her voice, the features on her face all of them display a sense of authority and control of the situation. You just have to keep listening. Whether or not you agree to what she says. It never happens that someone responds back to her. For Neela, all her words were acceptable. Neela had no clue about religious aspects right since her childhood. She grew up in her birth place when she had no knowledge of the world. She came to Vikrama's house when she was six. In Vikrama's house, there were only two Vikrama and his wife. Vikrama was never at home. Most of the time, he stayed in the capital. His wife was alone at home. Though he has a fort at his place, but the place was very small. Even the washerman had to come there from the nearby place. There are no Brahmins in that place. Theirs is the only Kshatriya family. A little of royal pride and a little of the difference in culture left Vikrama's wife to live within herself inside her home. There were one or two maids, and an old Avarna lady , worked in their home. When Vikrama was at home, a masseur and a swordsman two others used to stay in the house. That Avarna lady was not part of the Varnashrama tradition. Their faith is something else. This story is a story that is five thousand years old. A story that is situated hundred years after the entry of Kali Yuga57. That year was named Krodhi.58 It was autumn (summer) season. On the Poornima of Asvayuja59 month, Nirankusa learnt the Kaalanjari spell from Gangu. How did people in Bharatadesa live five thousand years ago? What were their customs? In those days, how did those not belonging to the Varnashrama system, and belonging to Mleccha varna live in Bharatadesa To answer such questions, there is a need to elaborate on some things ' This entire world was created three thousand years ago, four thousand years ago' One must think of the prudence of those who say such things. In the olden days there was a King, it seems! A few pundits thought Here is a King, he might reward us after seeing our merit and scholarship and went to see him. One of them was a grammarian. Another was a logician. Another was an expert in Mimamsa. The King was a miser. He should somehow get rid of them. The King thought of a plan to do so. When the pundits said, Lord! I am good at this, I am good at that, the King said, Why do I need to know all that! Rama is our Lord, right! What is his father's name? - thus he used to ask. The pundits used to respond saying it was Dasaratha. Then the King asked, Father of Dasaratha? - They - 'Aja - Next? Raghu! - Next? Dileepa!' so, they go on telling. This way the King asks, so they reply. Finally, the question comes to who was Dileepa's father. Since they were all experts of Sastra and not Puraanas, they used to say that they did not know. He used to mock at them saying is this what your scholarship is and send them away. As things were this way there was one smart chap who was neither a pundit nor knew anything came to the King claiming he was a pundit. He told the King that the father of Dileepa was Prabhava60, his father Vibhava thus he started. What could the King do? It was a subject not known to both of them. There is no way the King could say
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3102 B.C.E as per the Traditional calculations One of the sixty names of the years which repeat themselves cyclically in Indian Lunar calender 59 Name of the months in Telugu calender Chaitra, Vaisaakha, Jyeshta, Aashaadha, Sravana, Bhaadrapada, Asvayuja, Kartheeka, Maargasira, Pushya, Maagha, Phalguna 60 Name of the first of the sixty names of the years

no. This way, he kept on saying the names of sixty years, then the names of stars, yogas, karanas, raasis, grahas61 - come in between. This, is a story. The essence of the story is many people have no clue about the time of the past. One could imagine as they pleased. Then, write it. Some courageous man comes, and writes the way he pleases. The imprudent ones believe it. All are lazy men. They agree to what others say instantly. There is another meaning that can be drawn from this story. That Sastras are different, and Puranas are different. Puraanam Panchalakshanam. That is, it has five lakshanas (qualities) First How did the first creation occur Second How does creation take place over and over again Third What were the first royal dynasties Fourth That which tells you about Manvantaras Fifth What is the subsequent story of those first royal dynasties

That is Puranas tell you about creation. They tell you about the infinite time period. It tells you about the royal dynasties. All three things put together is called as Puranas. When one talks of the story of royal dynasties, it is equivalent to what is called history today. History is part of Puranas. ' Our ancestors do not know history' is a statement said by those people who do not have history! This creation took place more than One hundred and ninety six crores of years ago. As the time passes, the oceans rise. Earthquakes come. Some come anew. There is no one who stops such things happening in the infinite time. The entire current Hindu Mahasamudra (Indian Ocean) was land in the ancient days. There are proofs to show that there were great civilizations that ruled the American country in the ancient days. Today, it is not possible for one to live at the North Pole. Two to three thousand years ago, there was no European continent. A thousand years ago, there was no England. As the waters of the oceans receded, these lands may have come up to the surface. The entire European continent was once covered with mounds of snow. As these mounds move towards the North pole, Europe emerged. People went and started living there. From where did these people go? At the beginning of the Creation, there was only one country Bharatadesa. The creation of man took place here only. The Bhagavan said in the Gita that Chaturvarnya was created by him. For some people today, the things that are said in our Puranas, our Vedas and our Sastras are falsehoods. The words of those who opened their eyes yesterday or the day before are the truths. This is what is 'Puraana Vaira' or Antagonism towards Puraanas. Puraanas tell the story of the dynasties and sub-dynasties. This is the second key aspect of the story. Extensive study of the Sastras is not enough. The essence conveyed is that one should also read Puranas. As the time passed, in our country, reading Puranas decreased as there was an increased interest and affection developed for the scholarship in Sastras. This became treacherous for the country. In our country, several ancient poets declared themselves to be well-versed with Puranas. Nannaya Bhattu62 declared himself to be one with extreme interest in and possessed knowledge
61 62

All of which are part of different aspects of Jyotishya Poet in Telugu - 11th Century A.D

of Brahmanda and the other Puranas. Informally, puranas are history! Just as any curriculum would have history as one of the areas of study, our puranas are such! The first creation was made by Bhagavan (God) in Bharatadesa. Gradually, the number of human beings increased. They spread all over Bharatadesa. In the dynasty of Emperor Yayaati, there was King by name Bali who had six sons. The sixth one of them was one by name Andhra. It has been said that Bali gave this part of his kingdom to one of his sons Andhra after who, this land was called Andhradesa, isn't it? Man's mind always indulges in prostitution. It revolts against a principle. Man's quality is such that it considers that which is new as a wonder and that which is old with disgust! Such men are being born in all of these one hundred and ninety six crore years. Some of them are fond of tradition. Some rebel against it. Both these people are always opposed to each other and are at loggerheads. This is 'Puraana Vaira' or Antagonism towards Puraanas. And they call these as Rakshasas (Demons). These call them Rakshasas. This way, those who abandoned/deserted63 our country, they looked down up on our actions (karma). They called the gods like Agni, Vayu as demons. They started behaving opposite to the customs of this place. The people of this place forced them out. They were called Mlecchas. They travelled along the North-western part of Bharatadesa and gradually occupied the rest of the lands. The current Arabia, Turkey, Persia, Egypt, Greece, China etc. - in all these countries, they established themselves and started living there. These are the current names of these countries. Five thousand years ago, their names were different. These same people, began praying to different gods as they liked and some hundreds of years ago, some of them became adherents of Christianity. Some others became Muslims. Prior to this, for several hundred years, they were Jews, Parsees. Further, it is not known as to what their earlier state was. Since they were not civilized, they do not have Vedas. No Puranas either. They do not know that the time is infinite. They are Tamasic in nature. They cut the flesh and drink the blood. The idea of divinity (daivam), the otherworld (paraloka), societal customs, compassion and many such great thoughts about all these they have taken in small quantities from the place they migrated from Bharatadesa and built their societies. All these people were termed by our people as Mlecchas. Of these Mlecchas, some of them left en-masse to other lands. Some of them stayed back. Even they lived along with the people of Bharatadesa. Naturally, they were considered to belong to lowly classes. By the time of the Bharata War itself, these people lived in small groups spread across right from the Himalayas to the grand ocean down South (Asetuhimachalam/Asetuseetaachalam). Of these, some of them became strong, and it was also the case that they ruled some small small kingdoms There were several people belonging to the Mleccha varna doing menial tasks this way at various places in all parts of Bharata, isn't it? They were also there in Andhradesa. It is to such community of people that an old lady working in Vikrama's place belong to. Of the education that Neela received, half of it was handed down to her by this lady. Her name was Relangi. Relangi's brain was storehouse of several Mleccha stories. She knew several of their traditions. She knew to a great extent the several stories of Mleccha heroes, their customs, the points of interest in their manner of worship, that came down to her, generation after generation, from a few lakhs of year prior to that day.
63

The Telugu idiom used: 'lechi povu'

In those days, both for the people of Bharatadesa and the Mlecchas had an oral tradition of transmitting their entire tales of Puranas, and there is no other form of transmission. Relangi was Neela's guru. Whenever Relangi washed the utensils, lighted the lamps, swept the house, when Neela was about to sleep lying down on a cot under the night sky in the presence of moonlight, at all possible times she used to tell their tales only to Neela. Neela has little knowledge of Pauranic (that is, of or related to Puranas) stories. In those days, there were temples of Rama in the country. There is a great temple of Rama in the capital Dhanyakataka. In some remote villages, there were no Rama temples. They had temples of Vishnu. In the place where Vikrama's fort was there, there was not a single temple. It was a small village. Most of the people living there lived by fishing in Krishna River waters. Neela's mind was filled with stories of Mleccha heroes belonging to the various countries like Tushaara, Meruva, Lampaka, Bahlika, their adventurous deeds, their erotic stories...There's some great hero! His name 'Aarama'. He is great hero. In that country, there were two big Kings. There was enmity between them. Aarama was a prince. The second King's daughter's name was 'Geelaa'64. It is not known as to how many hundreds of times Relangi must have told Neela about their love story. Though they were Kings for the namesake, there was no big grandeur. They stayed by building a fort in that hill. Gradually, the people did not even pay the taxes. He who calls himself a King, used to take a hundred people along with him, went to the localities where people resided and collected the dues. This may happen once in ten years. Or once in twenty years. That is all that a King meant. Since the forts of both those Kings were nearby, they had a dispute over the villages from where they were to collect their taxes. Be it the King's wife, or King's daughter or King's daughter-in-law, they had the liberty to roam about as they pleased. Aarama was sitting on a huge boulder by the cliff of a hill under the moonlight of dusk and was playing the flute. In the moonlight of that dusk, that thin music was floating over the cold air waves at a time when it appeared that every other thing in the layers of air were at standstill as if they were asleep. At that time, Geelaa was shaking a bee-hive at the side of a hill beside that hill. Her entire body was wrapped in a woollen blanket. This is an extremely daring act. To extract honey from those bee-hives at the cliffs of the hills, one must expose it to fire at its bottom, prick the hives with sticks and force the bees out of the hive. Even then, one is not sure of escape from the bees. She was very bold. Very clever. After observing several bee-hives carefully, she identified the part where honey lies in those hives. Having covered herself with the blanket, she went slowly towards the hive, carefully removes the bees that cover the part where honey is stored with the help of leaves and twigs. She extracts the honey from the hive by pressing on the hive using a thin twigs. Her delicate act would leave the bees unaware that their honey is being taken away by someone. She stood like a statue. Only the long twigs keep moving. That movement of the twigs would not be painful to the bees. Even then, one cannot be certain that no bees would sting her. One must bear the pain if one gets stung. If you move, then you will have to face hundreds of stings. While the bee-hive remained a beehive, she used to extract honey this way, bear the pain of a few stings and used to go back to her place. If the bees sting you to a great extent, you are sure to lose your life. Those were bumblebees. She was going back slowly. After she walked for a distance, she heard the music played by Aarama. The sweetness of the music struck a chord with her heart, and it gave her temporary relief from the pain of the bee stings. In fact, it was
64

Geelaa G pronounced as in get

not just relief from pain. Her heart realized unmanifestedly that it was music played by a young man. The flowering of the youth in her body appeared to ripen to a fruit in her heart. She took out her flute and started singing. That place was the boundary wall for both the forts. The hill that Aarama was sitting on was part of the country ruled by his father. There were several wars fought between two Kings over that place. The path that Geelaa must take was along this hill, and she must circumvent the hill on her way. She stood on the edge of the hill and started singing. He listened to her song. He stopped playing his song. She sang for some time and then stopped. He sang again. She joined singing then. That way, some time passed. They were walking face to face singing this way. They looked at each other. She did not know that he was the son of her father's enemy. This flute feeling of tenderness went on for ten days. Finally, they thought of getting married. They never mentioned to each other about their parents. In those hills, there was a custom. There used to be a creeper by name 'Tiliveni' 65 in those hills. Those tribes in the hills consider that creeper as a sign of marriage. The leaves of that creeper were made into bracelets and the bride and the bridegroom exchanged these bracelets. This was the key aspect of their marriage ceremony. The other aspects of marriage become part of those marriages where the parents give their daughter to the groom. For this kind of sudden love stories, this main stay of the ceremony is sufficient. This is their marriage. They got married this way. They made promises to each other. The extent to which they loved each other was so much so that they mentioned to each other about their parents only after they got married. There must have been some strange sort of a fear within their hearts without their knowledge. If they brought the question about their tribe, their parents, they seemed to have a fear if that would come in the way of their union. This fear was present in their heart of hearts in an unmanifested manner. After their marriage, and having got to know the situation, this fear became a hundred times truer. The knowledge of this marriage spread. Aarama's father kicked him out of his home. Geelaa's father kept her in his fort and tortured her cruelly. Aarama went to his father-in-law and requested him to give him his wife. Geelaa's father would have slayed him! But he duelled with him with a sword. If Aarama won in that duel, he said he would send his daughter with him. Aarama hurt his father-inlaw with the sword. His father-in-law lost. He stuck to his word and sent his daughter with Aarama. Both the husband and wife roamed around in the forests for a few days. Geelaa's father could not survive for long having succumbed to the injuries in the duel with Aarama. Aarama became the commander of his father-in-law's fort. But the torture that Geelaa's father put her to left Geelaa with sickness. Aarama tried his level best to save her from death. Finally, she died. Aarama left his father-in-law's fort. He went around the hills like a mad man. He used to sit at the place where they first met and kept playing the flute during the moonlit nights, for several days! It is not known as to what happened with him after that. People keep saying that his music is heard at those cliffs during the moonlit nights... Relangi captured Neela's imagination by telling her this story interlaced with songs in between. In that Mleccha language, a poet has written this story it seems. That Relangi sang these songs. Neela knew half those songs by heart. That music is completely different. The rhythm in those songs is entirely different. Like a Vrittam, there are no lines with equal length in those stanzas. The sentences break in between. At
65

Tiliveni T pronounced as in Telugu

several places, words are replaced with imitations of sounds in excess. Like the sounds heard in the hills made by big big reptiles with their mouths, like the sound of the whistles made by wind blowing through caves in the hills, like the sound of hoofs of the horses on hard surfaces, like the sounds of swords clashing during a war, like the humming of the bees over bunches of grapes, like the sound made when one throws the fishing nets, and whenever the mention of such sounds come, Relangi used to mimic those with her mouth. All those sounds are part of those songs. That voice of Relangi was a lump of wax! It was moistured clay! There is no limit on how it bends. Neela was Relangi's disciple. She was a slave of Relangi's mind. Neela knew Mleccha customs, their gods, their feelings, she had crystal clear knowledge of everything. Thanks to her association with Relangi, her mind was filled Mleccha thoughts. Those Mlecchas have a kind of literature. If one is fascinated by a kind of literature, those who know that literature, and those who read that literature, they develop a love for the societal customs, and other things that are described in that literature. This is the secret of literature. For Neela, marriage meant something just as she heard in the story of Aarama and Geelaa, that the man must make a bracelet out of a creeper and dress his wife with it. The wife now dresses her man with another such bracelet. Then the wife must display a little bashfulness. The man must then kiss his wife. Hug her. The bride must release herself from the embrace, and run away. The groom must chase her. The bride must tease her man by hiding at the turns of the hills by the side of riverbeds. Her husband must find her at some secret place in some cave, or in the shade of a tree whose branches provide a cover like an enclosed bush, or in between rocks that make up for a house. At that time, her youth must attain its fulfillment. That is marriage. That is love. Neela was not born in the hills. But Neela had a strong desire to go and visit such hills. Nagarjuna did not know that Neela's mindscape was filled with such thoughts. She never told her husband. Dussala found that Neela's mental state, her feelings and everything appeared to be a fertile ground to sow the seeds that she wanted to sow. Both of them sat together and extensively abused Vedic customs and the habits associated with the royal families. What is this marriage? What sort of a kingdom is this? What is this culture of keeping the women as if they were arrested and put in a jail? What is this etiquette for a created category called Asuuryampasya (mistresses in palaces)? There is no way one could move around in open air! There is no way in which she could go to her father's building! If she went somewhere, the fort was filled with gossip, and she faced criticism. She does not care for those. Everyone in the fort has a fear that she would retaliate back. Therefore, she is able to live a little. Otherwise, even she would have been squeezed like a sugar cane into pulp. Chapter 7 There were several employees of the kingdom in Dhanyakataka. All of them were King's kith and kin. Some of them were from distant royal families. Some of them were close. There were small small villages around the outskirts of Dhanyakataka. In some of these hamlets, here and there, there were a few royal men with several kinds of powers vested in them who resided in small small forts. All these forts were individual installations. But all these hamlets put together were considered as one great city. Starting from Indrakeelaadri to the top of Vedadri, the collection of all hamlets put together was referred to as Dhanyakataka. The specific names for each of these hamlets were in

vogue among the people of those respective hamlets. But an outsider refers to the entire place as Dhanyakataka. All the people residing in those hamlets, when they go out abroad, or when they go to other places, they tell that they were residents of Dhanyakataka. Inclusive of all these hamlets was the Capital. Though each one was a different hamlet, referring to them as different localities was also in vogue. There was only one city. But with different localities. Because of the birth of this city in this manner, it had vast open spaces in between here and there, there was good ventilation for the entire place, the density of population was spread across the hamlets which resulted in providing a means for keeping the city clean, among other useful properties of such a design. Further, these hamlets were spread along the Krishna river over twelve to fourteen miles. This great city was small in width. The width was less than four miles. There were two big rocky thoroughfares one on the Northern bank and the other on Southern bank of Krishna River which extended across the length of the city. On each of those thoroughfares, two chariots could travel simultaneously, side by side. There were several roads that ran perpendicular to these thoroughfares. There were several canals dug for the easy flow of the waters of Krishna to all parts of this big city. From a birds' eye view, each hamlet is separated from one another. But, in reality, it's a big city. There is something special about this design. All of them appear to be villages. Every hamlet had great number of cottages. There were not more than two or three buildings. There were plenty of cattle in each village. With creepers, trees and grasslands, it is a treat to one's eyes. The hamlets along the boundaries of this great city, as well as those on the east and west were constantly protected by the army. To the south, across a length of twelve miles, there were twelve forts. Each of these forts also appear like hamlets. They do not give an impression as if they were big forts. In all these forts, soldiers of the King's army each of who was a hero of heroes lived along with their commanders. When the enemy tries to invade, from the north you had the Krishna River to cross. On the South, there were these twelve forts! Knowledge of any slight disturbance brings this great army to an attentive posture as they stand like a fortress protecting the city all along this twelve mile distance. All over the forty eight square miles66 which is the spread of this great city buying and selling of goods and services, reciprocal gifts, travels to and fro, were commonplace. Depending on the circumstances, one dealt with the city as a single big city or as different separate hamlets. Under normal circumstances, a place near Vedadri would be considered a distant village. But during a festivity, or a time of celebration, or when fairs were conducted, all these villages appear to be relatively very close to each other. The royal family members keep travelling to and fro on chariots all through the day. They go in the morning, come back by after noon. They go in the afternoon, come back by the time night falls. A marriage takes place at a place. A thread ceremony takes place at some other place. At another place, a child is born in some royal family or a ceremony for feeding the child is held.67 On these days, this entire area of four miles width and twelve miles length appeared like a great city. Chariots, elephants, horses each of them keep travelling causing great deal of congestion. There is no limit that one can set for the time taken by a person to travel to and fro between these villages. Such situations come several times a year. In some months, because of the flurry of festive activities, the city gave the impression like a big city all throughout these months, whereas in the other
66 67

My corrected figure Annapraasam

months, it was a collection of small villages. Of these villages, the bustle created in places to the upper side of Dhanyakataka and Krishna is different. The bustle of the places to the east is different. The bustle of places in the east is less. The places in the west have great bustle surrounding them. The entire part of land below the eastern villages till the sea belong to Andhradesa. This part had a number of villages. If there's any attack from the enemy, then it would be from the western side. Or from the south. Therefore, the kind of protection provided to the western villages is different. Their configuration is different. All this is in the design of this great city. In one of the members of the extended royal family's house, there is a necessary function held. Then the entire royal family visit that house in the form of currents. Several auspicious celebrations take place. Everyone is considered equal during those celebrations. If the King, Queens,Crown Prince, other princes, along with their wives visit this royal family member's house, then that royal member's house is considered very fortunate and blessed. That does not mean that these people do not visit their houses. They do keep visiting. Everyone keeps visiting. Those who were found missing quite a few times on such occasions was Neela and Nagarjuna. Several members of the royal family were troubled within themselves about their absence in the early days, after it happened for twice or thrice, they got used to it. They thought that after Nagarjuna's marriage to Neela, he changed a lot. If ten such occasions occur, Nagarjuna used to attend one or two of them and Neela attended them once in a while. Neela was not the principal Queen. She was not even the wife of the Crown Prince. She was the wife of King's third son. There is no reason for the rest of the ladies in the royal family to hesitate speaking to her in an intimate manner. So, when Neela went to one of these ceremonies once in a blue moon, the rest of the ladies pulled her leg Who are you! The Queen! (That is to mean, she is not one.) You are from an elite family! (Everyone knew that she was from a poor family) You are adept at handling administrative affairs! (Even if she exercised authority over ten villages, does it count for political expertise?) Your husband is a great warrior! (To convey that sVijayasimha was great expert at swordplay but not her husband) You're an asuuryampasya! (To mean, that she spent her time in the farm fields) Would you ever put your leg out under the sun? - this way they went on nitpicking. If it were someone other than Neela, that would make them angry. It may have led to hostile atmosphere between the ladies of the royal households. Enmity would have grown with time. But Neela used to explain the meanings of their snide comments herself. She would say that she did not come because she was lazy. She used to say that her manners were of a kind, that whether or not she comes, it made no difference. She told that she did not have any attachment towards the ornaments, costly sarees, or any fondness towards the maintenance of the demeanour suitable for the women's quarters in a palace; that she could not act in consonance with those requirements; and if she were not conforming to the protocols she would not very welcome in those circles, and because she was indifferent to them by nature she does not come frequently to such occasions; and further, if she never came, then that would not be favorable towards maintaining good relations, hence she came. Thus her answers went. They all used to think Neela never gets angered. She does not have any strong will. Nor does she have the grace required of a royal lady. She is just an innocent girl. Some other royal ladies did not appreciate these common girl mannerisms in her as they were not in conformance with the requirements of a royal lady and tried to keep her away. Some of them never spoke to her. But still, she was the daughter-in-law of the King! It becomes impossible not to greet her, even if it were for a courtesy. They need not greet her, Neela

herself went around greeting people. In spite of the inherent dislike that they had for Neela, they were touched by her when she came to greet them. And naturally, they sounded obedient. At the back of such circumstances, whenever invitations to such auspicious ceremonies came, when there was a compulsion to go, conversations of the following kind ensued in Nagarjuna's apartment between the couple... In the family of some royal man, an Aksharaabhyaasa68 ceremony was to be held. The invite has come. They must go to the ceremony the next day. Nagarjuna: Neela! Shall we go tomorrow? Neela: Where do we go? Naga: There's that invitation from them, remember! Neela: Who are they? Naga: You're always this way. If we do not go, the King would reprimand me in private. I would have to go and tell him that I had a bad headache, or that I felt weak and strengthless, - I must give some excuse. Neela: I know that certainly! And then for the next four days, there'll be these royal doctors attending to you in our apartment. The soldiers shall come to take you to exercise in the gymnasium. Several kinds of delicate dishes come to our apartment to maintain your diet. Naga: Neelaa! What's wrong if we go to an Aksharaabhyaasa? Neela: Why should there be an Aksharaabhyaasa? Children from royal families must learn how to hold a sword. When the child holds the sword, there will be ceremonies. For those, women need not attend. You men keep attending them anyway! At some point of time when such a ceremony of holding the sword took place, even the ladies are invited. I have been attending them for sure. In royal dynasties, Aksharaabhyaasa is a term that is meaningless. They make you write the alphabet. There is nothing more worthless than that. Which royal person is able to write? They write then. That is it. There are several people who write what is dictated to them. Most of them are Brahmins. In some poor families belonging to the extended royal family, there are people who can write. They do not insist on formalities. Can you write your name? If you ask me, you cannot even read it. You tell all that you learnt orally. You have it in your memory. When even the Vedic pundits and Sastra pundits themselves are unable to read or write why should the boys in royal families learn alphabet beginning this Aksharaabhyaasa? There are some subjects which flows from one's face, some others flow from one's hands. That which flows from one's face is education. That which involves hands is a skill. Be it the weaver weaving the clothes, or potter making the pots, or the goldsmith making the ornaments all these are skills. Being able to fight with a sword or a mace is a skill. Aksharaabhyaasa is related to education. Not related to skills. I do not have the same respect for education as much as I have for a skill. Education is not meant for us. It is for
68

Aksharaabhyaasa a ceremony to denote the beginning of learning for a child. The child is taught the first lesson on alphabet as the main part of this ceremony.

the Brahmins. Ours are skills. As I told you, the respect that I have for skills, I do not have for education. Naga: What's wrong in going just like that? If we do not go, we have several difficulties. The King would get suspicious. When some of these royal men see me at some place, they give me strange looks. It is so awkward. If I were the Crown Prince, they would not be so insistent. Suppose Srimukha did not go! Suppose he were by relation a brother or a son-in-law to them they would say that he did not consider their invitation. We felt that you would come, but we were not that fortunate. Your absence made our celebration lose its sheen such would be the responses. But if I do not go then it is at their mercy that I will be they give nasty looks and overlook me, and there wouldn't even be a mention of my absence. If the host and I were close and related they tease me with the comment - It seems that sister-in-law has kept you under her wraps Therefore, what is the problem in going and coming? Neela: Let me tell you one thing. We believe in something in our minds. Even if we lose our Kingdom; even if the Sun were rise in the West, it is the best policy to follow what we believe in. The best men follow what they believe in. You are one among the best. It is my wish that you remain so. Naga: Neelaa! I do not have any disregard for education! In fact, I do not know the distinction that you draw between education and skills. I heard this distinction from your mouth two three times earlier. I never made the distinction. I do not believe in such distinctions. Neela: If that is the case, then you may go. To draw the distinctions, one should make the thought necessary to make them. You do not think. You accept what several people follow as a tradition without reasoning. There is great difference between a living a life inclusive of thought and living without it. You do not believe in the distinction that I drew. How does one get to believe something? Does it come because our grandfather said it to be so? Is that what is called a belief? That is the quality of sheep. If a sheep crossed a water body, the rest of the sheep follow it. We should think on our own. If you have an answer to my questions, tell them. I am your lover. You love me. I love you. I would not abandon you in the Ganga. You would not leave me alone in a desert. That which we desire must be the same. Would you say that education and skills are the same? Naga: No. Neela: Then we are admirers of skills. Naga: We are not going. Neela: I know it. You are like the pupil of my eyes. You are the diamond-like radiant light in my heart. You are the torch that lit up my youth. You are the great man who took birth to resuscitate my life. Arjuna! What would have happened of me if you did not come into my life? I am born in a poor family. If my adoptive father had not picked me up, I would have been picking up the dung-cakes. I would have been weaving cots with a cotton tape. I would have been drawing water from the village wells. Thanks to the affection that you showered on me, I am now in this quarters in the palace. I am being respected by people. They consider me a pundit.

Nagarjuna rose to clasp Neela into his arms when their faces, shoulders, arms, necks and chests pressed each other as they kissed which left them with goose bumps as they appeared to have experienced the heaven for a minute. Nagajuna was unaware that all this artful crafty speech was taught to Neela by Dussala. Marriage of another of King's relatives takes place. Some of the marriages of the royal dynasty take place inside the fort. The lesser officers, distant relatives of the King, if they marry in their small homes, then the King and his family would not attend even if invited. If they do not attend, then there is no glitter in the marriage. It is disrespectful to their prestige. If the entire King's family went, then the facilities to accommodate them would not suffice. Each village is like a small locality. Even if you have so many pavilions raised, it would not be sufficient. And most of them would not be able to bear so much costs as to marry that way. Therefore, they marry inside the fort. Inside the fort meaning, there is a big temple inside the fort. That temple is very spacious. That is a temple of Lord Vishnu. The canopy in front of the temple has the capacity to accommodate a thousand people easily. To seat all the relatives of the King, chairs made of rock with pillows to rest their backs were arranged. There is a small canopy inside where the marriage ceremony takes place. After the marriage took place, they served a sumptuous meal made of special dishes. The dining place was decorated. The bells that rang six times a day in the fort rang all through the day without a break. The marriage is done. There were other members of the royal dynasty who were rich and insisted greater on maintaining royal etiquette who marry in their homes only. Their buildings are sufficiently spacious for erecting canopies and shelters. The marriages held in the fort were barely like marriages. There is no special pomp or show. The regular show that the fort has is enhanced a bit during those marriages. Only those marriages which are held separately outside of the fort give a complete feel of the splendor of marriages. For such marriages, one finds that the relatives of the King throng in large numbers. For the marriages held in the fort, people come for the sake of courtesy, and witness the marriage. They stay for about an hour or hour and a half and leave. One finds lots of excitement and clamour in the marriages of wealthy relatives of the King. With people who keep coming and going, those who found lodging for themselves in the shelters provided, those who keep sending requests asking for this and that, those who go to the verandahs and take meals, some of them who request for meals to be served to them in their lodging in earthenware bowls, with some who brought water, who carried firewood. At one place, you have instruments that were played. In another, there were serious Sastra discussions taken up. At another place, one can see people displaying skills taught in Sastras. Beautifully clad women appear like flashes of lightning. At one place, one finds a club serving liquor. At another, you had people who discussed issues of other kingdoms. Marriage is not just a marriage. It was a three day fun event. The King's family went to such marriages. That added to the splendor. There was one such marriage that is to be attended the next day. Neela and Nagarjuna were conversing... Naga: Why are you still the same way? You aren't packing your things. You don't seem to think about which sarees to wear, which ornaments to adorn, or which maids should accompany. Come, tell me which of these shirts, dhotis and turbans and ornaments should I dress myself with. Neela did not speak. Nagarjuna asked Neela pressingly, Are we not going to marriage or what?

Neela: Why do you say we? You go. I can't come. For some reason, I am not keen on attending. Naga: You are an embodiment of enthusiasm and keenness. I can't believe it if you say you are not keen. There must be some reason for it. We should stay there for three days. There will be several amusements to see. Sitting on those wooden planks for getting married, to see the bride express her bashful self, relatives pulling the leg of one another, showering talambraalu69 on each others head, it would be a pleasure for one's eyes. Neela: But all these were also done during our marriage! Aren't you satisfied by the pleasure experienced then? Naga: Oh my dear Neelaa! Our marriage took place before that experience. For some reason, you did not seem enthused when we were being married to each other. That honey-like sweetness that I saw in you prior to our marriage, basing on which I decided to marry you, that delight which we experienced together in those moon lit nights in Krishnalanka where we went together riding on two horses, I did not experience that saccharinity during the three days of our marriage. I suppose that's a reason why I am still interested in having the pleasure of witnessing it again. Neela: There should be some real entertainment in those that we regard as providing us pleasure. Pleasure takes birth when one's life style is aligned with what we regard as pleasure, but not by mere display of pleasurable things. There are hills! Rivers! Clouds rain! Ten elephants walk with their characteristic gait! Someone steers a hundred chariots! There is a herd of cows at some place! What is the pleasurable about these things? They are by nature that way. How does entertainment look like? When man displays his abilities, that's when it is entertaining. Even if he does not display his abilities, when one gets glimpses of such a display, it causes delight. There is a man of royal descent. There is a lady of royal descent. Both of them are experts at swordplay. They duel each other. That man is superior in skill than the lady. He stamps his authority. He strikes in a manner such that the sword in the hand of the lady falls at a distance. She tries to pick her sword up again. He places his left foot on the sword disallowing her to pick it, takes her left hand into his right, and thereby marrying her; When she raises her head to see him, he beams a smile that indicates his superiority she looks at him as bashfulness overtakes her for her loss, flutes shall be played in parallel. Sounds of oboes are heard. Flowers from the hills, and droplets of honey are showered from above. A marriage should take place this way Further, if you want some amusement either the elder or younger brother of the bride calls him and says 'Marry my sister'. Both the bride's brother and this man will be fighting with the sword. The bride stops their fight, and conveys that she loves this man. She hugs him. There will be a well decorated horse of the best breed waiting for them. He jumps over the horse, squeezes her in the space in front of him, and steers the horse toward Krishnalanka by letting the knee-deep waters of Krishna splash all over as the horse runs in them, and by letting it swim when water is deeper. As if the Gods and Goddesses have readied everything for their arrival, all arrangements for their happy stay will be made. By the time one reaches there, the lady who appeared to come with him - by her own choice, by desiring him, by hugging him starts quarrelling with him.
69

Grains of rice showered by the newly wed couple over each other's head

'You do not seem to love me. If so, would you fight my brother? How could you expect me to love you after you kill or defeat my brother? How could I love you?' Saying so, she sits tight. A marriage that takes place with such romantic and lovely situations is a marriage, but what is this idea of making the bride and groom to sit on planks on the ground, and carrying a bride in a basket as if you carry an old man who cannot walk? What's the cause for the bashfulness of this girl? Why should she feel shy? She knows him earlier. The match has been fixed earlier. They saw each other earlier. If not, at least their pictures must have been exchanged. Why be bashful? It has become a habit to express bashfulness. If you don't appear to be bashful, people would talk about it strangely. Therefore, they enact bashfulness. Arjuna! I don't like these marriages. Naga: Neelaa! Sri Krishna brought Rukmini Devi just the way you narrated. Rukmini Devi's marriage took place just the way you mentioned. Neela: A ha! This is what you tell me! Is this how Rukmini Devi's marriage took place? They fought with the sword? Who is a greater slave than that Rukmini Devi? She sold herself to Krishna. She sent a word to him asking him to take her. Is she a casket full of ornaments, or a basket full of clothes? Chii! Chii! And how shameless is this Rukmini? Krishna caught hold of her brother Rukmi and shaved his head. It would have been better if he pierced his sword into Rukmi's heart. Even better if he chopped off Rukmi's head. Living a life together with that male who humiliated one's own brother? A lady without the least bit of self-respect! Probably all of you think of it as a marriage! Naga: Neelaa! A woman is supposed to live that way, it seems! She must give herself completely to her man! The relation between a devotee and the Deity, and the relation between a wife and her husband are identical! That is when a woman's life will attain its fulfillment! There is a pundit by name Vinaya Sarma. He narrates Pauranic stories in the temple in our fort. He reads the Ramayana aloud. He lectures on Upanishads. You never ever come to the temple! I go once in a while and listen to what he expounds on Puranas. Members of the royal family must go and sit in those lectures at least once in a fortnight. This is the Dharma of an Aryan woman. Rukmini gave herself completely to Krishna! There is no other separate person as Rukmini. She has become a part of Krishna. A part is never a separate whole, right? Neela: If she were a part, then Krishna is the other part. There is no separate and specific identity to the other part too. That part can give itself to this part on its own. Naga: This is exactly the question that Jayadratha asked Vinaya Sarma! Neela: Who is Jayadratha? Naga: He is a strange man. He never lets others know about himself. He is quite friendly with me. Nobody should know our friendship. I think most of the people who come to these lectures on Puranas would know him. Nobody acts as if they know him. I recognized this based on some signs. He is a Prince of some country. He came to our fort five to six years ago. He requested my father to give him some job. My father made him stay without a job in the choultry. There is no one who cares for him. Neela: You told me about him several times. You tell about him again.

Naga: But it's you who asked me about Jayadratha again!! Neela: I asked it once again so as to remind you that you have not yet made arrangements for him to get a job. Any way, leave it. So what was the answer of your Vinaya Sarma to Jayadratha's question? Naga: I definitely made a great effort to arrange for a job to Jayadratha. But my second brother does not like it. I do not know why he does not like. Whenever the question of Jayadratha comes, my fathers looks to my second brother's face. My brother frowns at the idea. My father does not speak. Whenever I go to meet my father, I go along with my second brother only. I always feared going alone to meet my father. I never went even to my eldest brother alone. Neela: You are truly the last of the brothers. You have all the fear and respect that the youngest of the brothers should have. You were not present during Valmiki's time, or else he would have modelled the character of Bharata of Satrughna like you. It is Valmiki's misfortune that you were not present during his time! Naga: Osi Neela! How do you know so many stories? You were not so knowledgeable when I married you! You have a very clear idea of the story of Wedding of Rukmini. Not just the story of Ramayana. But those brothers. Their devotion, and love, how do you know about these so clearly? Probably, you happened to listen to Vinaya Sarma's lectures without my knowledge! I used to go once in a while, once in a fortnight to his lectures. You would definitely know more than me. Everyone may have listened to Ramayana as just another story. You seem to talk about Ramayana in a different plane. Who told you this? Neela: Leave that aside, what was your Vinaya Sarma's answer? Naga: What is this my Vinaya Sarma? He is your Vinaya Sarma! You have known more secrets about what he teaches. What did he say? He said that Krishna was the God (Bhagavan). A God is someone who is a complete whole. He spoke a verse from the Veda aloud: 'Poornamadah poornamidam Poornaatpoorna mudachyate! Poornasya Poornamaadaaya Poornameva vasishyate!' This is a whole. That is a whole. Take out a whole from the whole. What remains is also a whole. If you add one with another one, it is two, but add two zeros, it still makes a zero. You subtract a zero from a zero, still the answer is a zero. Krishna is an embodiment of a whole. Rukmini went and entered into him. There is no growing or diminishing for that Krishna' This is what he said. Neela: Then Rukmini is another zero, right! Then this principle must hold for her too! Naga: That is true. Why did Jayadratha keep quiet? Neela: If he asked this question, then everyone will stare at him. They must have looked at him with the first question itself. Why would someone go far away from his comfort zone when his intention is to keep low and quiet? But, suppose Jayadratha asked the question again! What would happen!? Vinaya Sarma would stamp his authority and make him sit. Vinaya Sarma has the backing of the King. For someone like Jayadratha who hopes to get an employment under the King tomorrow, if not today, it would mean he would have to lose his hope for employment. Do you realize, Rukmini had a poor

heart. That is not a marriage . If you call it a marriage, it should have equal stake for both men and women. There should be a streak of valor in both of them. That's when they would have children who would become heroes. Otherwise, they will give birth to incompetents. Someone says something, and they keep hanging on to it as if that were true. They have come from the very mouth of the Bhagavan, it seems! We do not know where this Bhagavan is nor do we know how big his mouth is. In this country, everyone is a sage. Grow your beard, close your nose, and sit in some place with sparse population. You're a sage! Naga: Why sit in some place that has sparse population? Neela: If you sit in a completely unmanned place, bears might come. Tigers might come. Moreover, how would you feed yourself? Somebody going that route must see you. The news that a sage is sitting there and doing his penance must spread. People must bring you bananas, coconuts, pieces of sugar cane, betel nuts, betel leaves. Naga: Why should they bring betel leaves and betel nuts? Neela: There are these pieces of Ikshu70, you know! They are the pieces of the bow of Manmatha.71 When Manmatha's bow is in tatters and is broken to pieces, how else would one's lips turn red but for chewing the betel leaves? Both of them laughed at it heartily. Nagarjuna left the place. There is no going to the marriage any way. Nagarjuna feared one thing in his mind. Neela might as well say this thing to someone else! They will gradually spread in the fort. They will also reach the ear of his parents. There are several complications with this. The King might order him to leave this wife of his. She might be expelled from the country. He cannot live without her for a minute. Where else could he get a damsel who is so clever? What an intellect!? What an ability to engage in a discussion? She speaks as if she measures each of her words and her words carry a lot of hidden meaning. Earlier, Nagarjuna thought she was just a beautiful damsel. He thought she had a lovely,free,lively character. He thought she was playful, charming girl born in a good family. He thought she was a gorgeous lady whose emotive love was like a stream of nectar. But now, she is an authority in the secrets of the Sastras. She is a treasure trove of wisdom. She is a jewel in the crown amongst logicians. If she intends to, she has the ability to constitute an entirely new framework for the entire Bharatadesa. She is a great mind that can resolve the problems in the old thoughts and old ways that have come to us over the years traditionally. With these thoughts in mind, having gone a distance, to suppress the minor fear that arose in his heart, he went back to Neela and said, Neelaa! O my dear lifeline! The light that has come to drive away my ignorance! Crown jewel among ladies with the ability to rule over the entire world! I am praying for this one thing! Promise me that you would never speak to anyone else, the way you spoke today with me. You speak like this, you can be rest assured that we'll be beheaded. We'll be separated from each other. I cannot live a second without you. Give me a promise that you would not speak like this with anyone.
70

A Sanskrit name that means that which is to be tasted, experience the sweetness of; it also means that which has the smell of sugar cane 71 Manmatha Cupid in Indian mythology

Neela thought for some time and said, Before I give this promise to you, you must promise me something. I do not appreciate this country. I dislike the customs of this place. I must have been born in the hills. My Guru is Relangi. She is the one who influenced my mind. I have no need for this kingdom nor this world. My life is meaningful if you, my lover, have the same thoughts as I do have. Both of them made promises to each other.

Chapter 8 Vinaya Sarma was from the banks of River Godavari. His age must have crossed one hundred and seventy. It's been two years since he came to Dhanyakataka. All through these two years, every day in the morning, an hour after the sun rose, he sits in the temple of Lord Vishnu and gives sermons on Puranas. These sermons went on for an hour or an hour and a half. He comes back in the night after the sun sets. The sermons in the evening were for about three quarters an hour to an hour. It is not the case that he tells from a particular book. He knew the Sanskrit Ramayana by heart. It appeared that he mainly dealt with Ramayana but his discourse included a number of stories from various Puranas. He told a lot of things in the process. These things cover the stories of Krishna Leela (marvels of Krishna), the Kuru-Pandava war, by referring to several of the books written by Sage Vyasa. He speaks of the infinite time. The several yugas, the current Yuga, story of Nala, etc., he narrates the story of every previous king. Everyone used to listen to him. Nobody knew the background of Vinaya Sarma. Some old Brahmin has come. He took refuge with the King. He is living by lecturing on Puranas - This is what most of them thought about him. But Jayadratha did not think so. He was in Dhanyakataka for the previous four years. Whenever a pandit came, he used to visit the King. The King honored the Pandit, after which he left. There was nobody in the past who stayed back and gave sermons on Puranas this way. There was no prior tradition of talks on Puranas being held in the capital, and that too in the fort. There were people capable of delivering discourses on Puranas in other cities and big villages. In the capital, more so in the fort, there were a few pandits. They were the gurus of Princes. There is one pundit who focussed on ensuring that the princes studied. There was one who was their guru in Sastras. There were others who taught them political science, the art of governance and there were others who taught them how to war. Normally, those who taught how to war used to be Kshatriyas. Those who taught political science and the art of governance were either Brahmins or Kshatriyas. They stayed in the fort only. The members of the royal family, and the princes keep learning from them regularly. These pandits happen to go to the King's court once in a while. A few discussions on Sastras may take place. But this was the first time that sermons on Puranas were being conducted in the fort. This Vinaya Sarma went to visit the King first. And he started these sessions on Puranas almost immediately. Whenever a pandit came, it used to take some time before they could get the King's appointment. After that, it would take some more time before they could find the King's favour. But, this man established himself in the fort all too quickly.

This fact created a doubt in Jayadratha's mind though it made no difference to many others. Vinaya Sarma came along with his old wife. Their stay has been arranged for inside the fort itself. Jayadratha could not find information about the birth and other background details of Vinaya Sarma despite his best efforts. Dussala tried speaking to Vinaya Sarma's wife several times. Whenever she went, Vinaya Sarma's wife replied that she was cooking, and hence could not spare some time for a chat. Several other times, one found that their house was locked. It is not known as to where the lady of the house went. At times, Vinaya Sarma stayed alone in the house. Dussala returned without talking to him. Jayadratha could go and talk to Vinaya Sarma. But he did not like doing so. There was only way. That he attend the Purana lecture sessions held by Vinaya Sarma, listen to the discourse, and based on the contours that the lectures take, draw up the nature of what Vinaya Sarma intended to do there. Though Vinaya Sarma lectured for two years, Jayadratha could not make much sense of where he was leading the people to. Jayadratha was not in town for a few days. During that period, he heard from some people that Vinaya Sarma spoke of some issues. Based on the aspects that were raised, Jayadratha suspected some pattern. Why should those issues come only when he was not in town and attending the lecture? The number of days he attended the sessions was high. Why should they be raised only when he was not in the audience? If that were so, Vinaya Sarma must have marked him and have identified that he was Jayadratha. He never raised a question during the lectures. He asked a question only once. He did not want to ask. But he wanted to know the response and the aftermath if he were to ask the question. It did not appear that there was any alarm raised after that. Nobody went to Vinaya Sarma's house. Only one royal person went. His name was Chandra Sekhara Varma. Though Jayadratha wanted to find more about him, he could not trace any useful information about him. But, this Varma had a lot of say in the fort. People say that he was an escort to the King. You never found him with the King. He stayed most of the time in his home. One must say that he was rich. He had several domestic helpers. But Jayadratha had one doubt. In the initial days, when he got Srimukha to go down the waterfall no, he did not get him do that. But, because of the excitement created in him by his words, Srimukha jumped was it this Varma who was standing afar near the tree!? But in such a heat, it is not possible to confirm whether it was him or someone else. Jayadratha saw him then. He tried a lot to identify who this escort was. But, at a time when the light appeared to be as bright as the light that reflected from several dazzling gems put together in a vessel, how could someone identify under that bright sunlight? But, Jayadratha had sharp eyes. Not just sharp, that day Jayadratha applied some lotion to his eyes. In the countries to the North-west of Bharatadesa such as Ramatha, Haara, Huna, Bahlika, Kiraata, Saka, and Barbara, people applied that lotion during day time. Those are all hilly countries. Countries where rainfall was low. The sun was red hot. In that heat, to see the complete distance that falls in the range of human vision, the people of those countries applies an eyesalve so that their eyes can stand the glare of the sun. It is this eyesalve that Jayadratha applied to his eyes that day. He should be able to see him clearly. But he could not. The outcome of the extent to which he could see resulted in this feeling that this Chandra Sekhara Varma must be the escort that rescued the Prince. It is impossible for Varma to recognize him.

That day, Jayadratha changed his usual attire. The dress that he wore that day was not the same as he used to wear regularly. He has two baskets full of different kinds of clothes at home. Nobody knew that the clothes that he wore that day were there in one of those baskets. In those days, they used to make articles like big big baskets out of rattan. They used to have lids and latches. All the commoners stored their articles and items in those baskets. It was impossible to open the lids of those baskets. Here the baskets mean Jayadratha's baskets. To open those baskets, one must invoke an incantation. If someone who did not know the incantation attempted to open the lid, a snake appeared to bite the person who was about to open the lid. That snake was about a foot long. It was red and black in color. Such snakes are seen only in the big mountains of Saka country. That incantation and this snake are related. But there is only one drawback with this spell. That snake appears to bite. But if the person who is trying to open the lid dares to open not caring for the bite of the snake, the snake cannot do anything. That is not a snake. Normally, many people get scared and run away the moment they see a snake. That apart, there is no way for Chandra Sekhara Varma to identify him. In that hot sun during the middle of the day, how could Varma who was without the eyesalve identify him who was in a completely different attire? As Jayadratha was occupied with such thoughts from his end, and was unable to find even a little about Vinaya Sarma and Chandra Sekhara Varma, one night, Dussala spoke thus to her son: My dear son! The name of Vinaya Sarma's wife is Jahnavi. She goes to the Queen and all the ladies of the royal family and tells them the stories from Puranas. That is the only work that she has. I did not know this all these days. I got to know this today because she, having got a command from the wife of the Crown Prince, went to Nagarjuna's wife Neela to instruct her. She is instructing everyone. She knew everything but the Vedas, I am told. She has initiated the Queen to meditate on a mantra. She has done the same to the Crown Princess. Also to the wife of Vijayasimha. She is the Guru of several women in the Palace and the women of the homes of several ministers and commanders in the army. Apparently, the Crown Princess brought her along with her to Neela. She told all these things to Neela, it seems. Jayadratha said this in quick response, Hope Neela did not say anything! Dussala, How could she keep quiet! She is a woman in hurry. She seems to have said,'You need not instruct me. I know my religion. I have my deities. I have been initiated already.' She did not let my name out. But the maids in her apartment know that I went there daily. So, they must have linked the two by now. To which Jayadratha replied, Mother! I spread a rumour around long back that justifies your daily movements in and out of Neela's apartment. I did not tell this to you earlier. You tell this to Neela tomorrow. If anyone asked Neela as to what is the relation between you and her, she must answer thus. Vikrama was Neela's adoptive father. Her biological father is different. He lives in an island named Sambara Deevi. This island is on the coast of the sea between the mouths of Krishna and Godavari rivers. These Puranas of the natives of Bharatadesa, they are irresistible cock and bull stories. The following is one such story. Krishna had a son by name Pradyumna. He also died. When Yadavas drank and made merry, they fought amongst themselves and killed each other. He must be one amongst those dead at that time. This fellow, there is this man who has graced the city of Vaikuntha right, Sri Maha Vishnu! He is his son! Manmatha! He is regarded as the cause for all male-female unions! This nation is not even ashamed to have such imaginations. He is a lewd god. He got burnt to ashes in the fire that emanated from Siva's eyes. What kind of a god is this Siva! What is this fire from eyes! What is this getting burnt! What is this story! And this is a civilization! Then there are kingdoms to protect this! Their enemies are those

who do not have such bad beliefs. They drive all those without such beliefs out of their country. Those countries that do not have these beliefs are all Mleccha countries! Uraga, Abhisaara, Darada, Bahlika, Kirata, Saka, Yavana, Barbara, Ramatha, Haara, Huna and other such countries are all Mleccha countries! Why are they Mleccha countries? They do not do Yajnas. They do not kill animals. They do not pray insincerely. They do not build temples. They do not have idols inside those temples. That Rama, son of Dasaratha, became God. As if that were not enough for us, this Krishna is regarded a deity. He is a God. That Manmatha is the one born to him. He killed a demon by name Sambara. When one says demon, he would not have all those horns and big canine teeth. Tomorrow, I could become a demon. You could become a demoniac lady. This Sambara Deevi was ruled by Sambaraasura. Pradyumna slayed this Sambara. There is a kind of political friendship and friendly ties exist between the kings of Hastinapura and the kings of Andhradesa. There was some goodwill between the father of this Romapada and Dhritaraashtra. Romapada's father and Krishna's father Vasudeva were friends, it seems. When Pradyumna came to kill Sambara, the army of Andhra helped him enormously. I was told this story by someone. He is opposed to the religion of Bharatadesa. He pretends to be following their religion in all his outward gestures. There are several of his kind. Dussala: Oyie! What you wanted to tell me was about Neela's biological father. You left that and told me all this. This is exactly what I fear of you. And you raise questions that enhance my fears. You are incapable of maintaining absolute secrecy. See, leaving aside the actual story, the moment you told about Sambara Deevi, you told me all the entire story associated with it. Is this not wasting one's energies! Jaya: I spoke thus because it was you. Why would I speak the same way with others! Dussala: That is a thoughtless point. Speaking the way you do is natural to you. Our nature expresses itself by leaving us inattentive. It comes out at some time without our knowledge. It is a must to have emotive quotient in one's nature, but who knows as to when the emotions burst themselves out in the open! Restraint is that which keeps even one's inherent nature under control. Jaya: Yes mother! But am I the cause for all this trouble? You are. Dussala: I get what you are trying to say. Then we would not be able to continue this silent crusade. We should remain as Kshatriyas. Keep doing what we do. If we are not Kshatriyas, then our entire plan is revealed. Let it be. Tell me the story. Jaya: That is the place of Neela's biological father. I said that we stayed there for three years. When we stayed there, we developed a good relation with Neela's biological parents. That is why, you go to Neela's apartment. Naturally, she will have affection towards you. She would ensure that all voices that project as her guru are nullified. And further, that Jahnavi would come to Neela. The Crown Princess would not sit quiet. No one in the palace has a favorable attitude towards Neela, it seems, except for the Crown Princess. While the independent, and free attitude shown by Neela was disapproved by the rest of the royal ladies in the palace, it is only the Crown Princess who laughed at her behavior. There must be some streak of independent thought in her. Did you never attempt to establish a contact with the Crown Princess? I made a contact with the Crown Prince!

Dussala: I am waiting for the opportune moment. I am not allowed to go to the apartment of Crown Princess. The Queen and other old ladies from the royal family keep visiting frequently. There is nothing much that I can do even if I end up going there. Except for revealing our identities and our entire plan. The Crown Princess does not come to Neela's apartment often. If Neela has some work, she must go to the former's place herself. This is the royal etiquette. But, if there is any festivity in Neela's apartment, all the ladies of the royal family visit. The Crown Princess also would come. At that time, I should get Neela to request the Crown Princess, Sister! Why don't you stay for a little longer? and after that happens twice or thrice, that's when I can establish my contact with the Princess. This would take some time. How far has your scheme come? Could you tell something about it? This entire conversation was taking place at midnight in the special place made for them in the choultry. Jayadratha went and verified if there were anyone around eavesdropping in between. In that choultry where they lived, there was a wall to the south of their room. There was another room to the other side of the wall. That was not their room. It was also part of the choultry. That was a house covered by tiles. Though the sound may not travel through the walls, it certainly travels from the roof. He used to verify keenly if there were any holes in the walls. If there were any hole made by an insect or something, he used to fill it up with thick mortar. Nobody could listen to their voice on the other side of the wall. But he was very suspicious. That wall was constructed only till the roof. The roof was sharp edged at the middle and it was slanted on both sides. The portion of the wall that drops from the sharp edged part vertically down the slanted portions of the roof are made of different material. Even this wall was plastered, but it was not as strong as the wall below this triangular portion. It has just a stone which was laid out. There is no limestone applied to this portion. If he were to request for this part of the wall to be plastered with limestone, then it would naturally raise questions as to why he wanted it. The height of the wall of the room was reasonably high. Is it possible for the voices of people to sneak out from the single stoned wall above? It is not clear one must see if there were any holes in it by climbing a ladder. All the six years that he stayed there, there was no ladder in his portion. Though he intended to get a ladder every now and then, there was this reluctance arising out of a feeling as to what others might think of it. There is nothing that they needed to hide. Every day,before the sunrise, all the articles needed arrive from the fort, including the firewood, pickles and all stored food items. What is it that he could store and keep in a closet? What should he put on an attic that can be arranged in the room? He should place those baskets in which he kept the different varieties of clothes wearing which he would be sporting different looks. If he were to place these baskets on an attic, then there may be someone who may jump across the wall in the triangular portion near the roof, and examine them. Therefore, it was better for these baskets to be placed on the floor in the room. If someone by chance were to open those baskets and ask him as to what those strange items were, he thought up a reply that he intended to give. Both the mother and the son always spoke only in a whispering voice. Whenever he got excited, he would speak with a louder tone. There is a Brahmin who was the in-charge of the choultry. Both he and the Brahmin were quite friendly. Jayadratha heard that this Brahmin once told in the fort this way to some people, 'Jayadratha and his mother, both are good people. They do not interfere in any others' affairs nor do they intend to. They feed themselves lightly and may go their way to some other place. Or else, they stick to their beds and take rest.' In spite of this, he went around his house quite a few times and

checked on all three sides to confirm that there was no one listening to the conversation between him and his mother. His mother told him strongly that he should not put any questions to Vinaya Sarma. She would guide Neela, get her to be Jahnavi's disciple and extract information. In the mean time, if Jayadratha's plan succeeded then everything will fall in place nicely. ************* On the one side, at the middle of the night, as Dussala and Jayadratha were conversing, on the other side, in the fort, Jahnavi and Vinaya Sarma were talking to each other. Vinaya Sarma was not going out of the house to check if there were someone who were listening to them speak. They are neither whispering to each other to prevent others from overhearing them. But Jahnavi's voice was feeble. It is difficult for her voice to reach more than ten yards distance. Vinaya Sarma had a deep stentorian voice. But it was Jahnavi who spoke for most of the time. Vinaya Sarma asked a couple of questions in between, he did not speak more than that. Most importantly, they did not have any reason to be secretive. Around his house, there were a few attendants of Chandra Sekhara Varma who guarded the place in batches of four in different shifts. No one knew that they were guarding the place. They were people who even reasoned as to why a bird flew in the sky in that area. It is impossible to identify them. They were not King's soldiers. They are neither the King's servants. They were all mad street dwellers. One was a beggar, the other a potter. They were such people. Moreover, they were all from that same place. All from inside the fort. Everybody knew who they were. But nobody thinks that they were members of Chandra Sekhara Varma's secret service. They were there in the fort since ages. They went about doing their respective vocations. How would someone suspect such people? After the sacred rituals associated with the sacred fire were over, Jahnavi spoke this way with her husband, It has been two years since we came to this place. No news has reached us regarding our kids. The elder one is in Emperor Janamejaya's service. The younger is in Magadha ruled by Emperor Srutasravasa. There is no message from them. We are principally under the protection of Emperor Janamejaya. This is a cause for angering Emperor Srutasravasa. Can we not have our younger son also put in service of Emperor Janamejaya? Vinaya: Jahnavii! Since the time King Pandu had a successful conquering spree, the entire Bharatadesa, from the Himalayas to the sea down south has been under their rule. Duryodhana enjoyed the fruits of this campaign.With the Rajasuya Yaga, the supremacy passed over to Dharmaraja. After the Kuru-Pandava war, Emperor Yudhishtira performed Turagamedha Yaga. With this, the kingdom stabilished under him. Emperor Parikshit ruled for sixty years, after which came the rule of Emperor Janamejaya. In a war, son of Jarasandha Sahadeva died. His son Somaapi ruled for fourteen years, after which Srutasravasa came to power. At the same time when Rajasuya Yaga was being performed, Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema went to Magadha and killed Jarasandha. Forty years after that, the Bharata War took place. In the Magadhan dynasty, they still harbour a desire for revenge. Even Srutasravasa has this desire to retaliate. But what could he do? There is no King in Bharatadesa today who could revolt against Janamejaya. To the best of my knowledge, for a few hundred years from now, Pandava dynasty would remain unchallenged. Our second son is not just an

employee in Srutasravasa's court. He is the head of the espionage team of Emperor Janamejaya. There is nothing to fear of him. You do not need to worry about him. Jahnavi: If he were just another employee, I would not be troubled. It is precisely because he is the head of spies that I am troubled. Vinaya: If that were so, you should also feel troubled about me. How true! I am an old man, how does it matter to you if something happens to me! Jahnavi: Yeah, how else could I feel? There is no need for me to be worried about you. There is no enmity between Andhra and Hastinapura kingdoms. For quite a long time, the latter were the Emperors, and the former, the latter's subordinates. There is never an instance where they turned against them. There is no one till today who stood up against the empire. Vinaya: Times are not always in your favour. In the future, definitely, there will be a revolt from this end. But that would take some years. Jahnavi: How many years? Vinaya: There is no hurry. There is a long way to go. It would take at least another two thousand three hundred years. By that time, you would not be there, nor would I be. Jahnavi: Would Hastinapura empire be stable till then? Vinaya: Would the Magadhans keep quiet!? The Kshatriya Kingdoms itself will go. After fifteen hundred years, kings of Magadha will become the Emperors of Bharatadesa. Jahnavi: Who has time-travelled to verify if it were going to be so or not? Vinaya: Prophesiers have seen, Jahnavi: Okay, you asked me to talk to the ladies of the royal family and find out news from them, right! Why don't you ask me about them? Vinaya: You keep telling me about them now and then without my asking right! Why should I ask? Jahnavi: When you delegate some task to someone, you should keep a tab to check if they are doing it well. Vinaya: If the person to who the task was delegated is a strong follower of Dharma, then there is no need to ask. Jahnavi: Then I will tell you the news without your probing, and prove myself to be a strong follower of Dharma. The wife of this Crown Prince her name is Kalindi. Vinaya: Wife of a prince is Neela. Another's wife is Kalindi. Were the rest six also present?

Jahnavi: Wife of Romapada, the Queen her name is Rukmini. I do not think Naagnajiti was there. Vinaya: Okay, tell me about Kalindi? Jahnavi: I should be telling without your asking. Vinaya: I should not be asking to start the conversation, but I could be asking in between. Jahnavi: People in the driver's seat can speak as they like. That Kalindi is the daughter of the King of Pundradesa. When this marriage took place, we were in Hastinapura. She is a very strange person. We never know as to what goes on in her mind. Whatever we say, she keeps smiling. You tell her the most astonishing thing, she does not do anything else but smile. She is a very beautiful lady. She has a broad face, a nice forehead, very nice eyes and has a self-assuring figure. Vinaya: You got to see her palm? Jahnavi: She never showed me her hand. There were several ladies who competed with each other in order to show their hand to me. But, she never, not even once, showed her hand to me. I asked her once. She smiled and kept quiet. It is inappropriate for me to grab her hand, when she is the Crown Princess. Vinaya: Did you initiate her with the Taraka Mantra? Jahnavi: On account of the force applied by the Queen, she got herself instructed. Vinaya: There are certain powers vested in the Guru who instructs you. Using those powers, you could see her palm. Jahnavi: Arya72! That is not an easy task. The grace that she exhibits is exceptional. The moment you see her, a narrow sense of fear overwhelms you. It is impossible to take liberty with her. I am a Brahmin lady, an old woman and also her Guru who instructed her with the Mantra. She gives only that much respect that she must give me. Nothing more, nothing less. It appears as though there are boundaries drawn between her and me. Even the Queen stays away from her. There is no extra respect that she shows towards her mother-in-law. I observed carefully one day when both of them met. There is no sense of respect that is apparent from the manner of the daughter-in-law. But she gives a pleasing smile. She comes a step forward. She appears to slightly bend. That is sufficient to give an impression that she has shown the Queen great respect. Vinaya: You don't need to see her palm. She is definitely someone deserving to be the wife of a King. I am glad that one of my fears is put to rest. Jahnavi: After I became her instructor, she is exhibiting greater trust in me. I never heard her say more than ten words at a time. Today she spoke a hundred words. I'll narrate it. There is a great astrologer in the house of her parents. He seems to have
72

A respectful address like Sir! - in Indian English

seen Srimukhas horoscope. Kalindi learnt Sanskrit under him. She also seems to have learnt some astrology from him. He loves Kalindi a lot, it seems. When she was about to leave for her in-laws house, he called her secretly and told her, My dear girl! You must have known. But I cannot resist myself from telling this to you. There is a possible peril for your husband's life that is waiting to come in the coming year named Plavanga. This danger is from the Mlecchas. You should carefully look after your husband. The year Plavanga is yet to come and three years to go before it comes. Her apprehensions apparently is that one need not wait till the year Plavanga came. There is a danger waiting to happen. She has several maids who came from her parents' house. She tried searching around Dhanyakataka with their help to find if there were any wicked people including Mlecchas. They could not find anyone, but her mind is not at peace. Her selfassured looks very composed. I could not trace this thought which is running at the back of her mind for the past two years Today, she went on to tell me: Respectful Jannemma! I have been carefully observing all the movements of my husband. He has immense love towards me. He follows the ideal of Ramachandra, to live with a single lady throughout his life. He does not have qualities that one may find in other princes. He tells me almost all the thoughts that are at the back of his mind. But there is one thing that he is hiding I am going somewhere. I'd come back after so many days. - This is what he tells me. Sometimes it is once in a fortnight. There is no way to tell which day it is going to be. Sometimes it is in less than a fortnight. Sometimes it could be twice a week. There is no condition that it has to be in a particular week. He goes somewhere during the nights. He went during the midnights. He would come back before the rooster crows. Nobody knows about his going and coming. It is only I who knows it. The guard at the door knows it. I asked him as to where he was going. To which he said, My ladylove! I'll tell about this to you later. Do not insist on knowing this now. If you do not insist now, I'll trust that you love me true.' Once he said this, what else could I say? I never thought that he was going out because he had an affair with some other lady. In reality, there is no way to say that secrets deep down the hearts of men and women are known to each other. From the external signs and from the circumstances, everything is appearing leery. I do not think that the nature of my husband is such that it would fall to such disgraceful lows. I have a suspicion. That my husband is engaged in some secret thought process with some man. That man must be really forceful. It may not be a single man. It could be a group holding secret consultations. This is definitely not related to political issues. If it were so, they would not include a to-be King in this group. It is my belief that this must be a secret group of those who were fascinated and inspired by some untraditional spiritual practices. There are some methods of worship that follow a different path than the Vedic path, and are different from our tradition. In respect of such methods, some people behave in this manner. He is a proper Kshatriya. He could practice Yoga. There is this purohit of ours. He is someone who has a great hold over mantras. He is further initiated into mantras under the able guidance of this purohit! Ask him to meditate on these mantras till the middle of the night! Would I say no to it? I have kept track of my husband's nature and qualities to the minutest detail right since the time I came to live with him. I never see him during the daytime, except once in a while. I have determined and drawn my conclusions on his nature based solely on his conduct during the amorous sport that we indulge in during the nights. There is some dissatisfaction deep down his heart. He has this urge to experience some kind of unlimited happiness. Suppose if he thinks that if he does something, he would get some kind of a contentment, he would do it for sure. He never thinks about whether I would feel otherwise about it

That friend of his whoever he is, has been playing on this part of my husband's nature. I am saying this because I have no knowledge of this friend's name, but in reality, I have no idea whether such a friend exists or not. If he exists, then he is attracting him. With the limited knowledge of Astrology that I have, I cannot get to know things in depth. My Guru is in my father's kingdom. I keep waiting to see if he would come down to this place some day. He never came. He used to take care of me as if I were his own kid. Even when I was coming here, I requested, Grandpa! You should definitely keep visiting me.' to which he replied in the positive saying, Definitely, my girl. I am telling you all these things because I want you to tell them to your venerable husband. I do not think he has come here just to tell Puranas. I have come several times and overheard his words from behind the curtain. He is a Brahmajnani. Someone who has seen Bhagavan Sri Krishna with his very own eyes in his childhood. All the commoners in the kingdom are not able to realize his greatness. I have never come more than ten to twelve times to the lectures. He has seen Sage Vyasa who is equivalent to the Bhagavan himself. He saw Lord Sri Krishna with his eyes in all His splendor. He moved around the place when the Bharata War took place. He was near the chariot when Sri Krishna instructed Arjun with Gita. Please tell him. Ask him to find out. Chapter 9 Bhaama was the name of Vijayasimha's wife. She was very thin, dark complexioned, and had big eyes. Her obsession with wearing clothes is unparallelled. In those days, the name of the country to the West of Andhra country was Vidarbha. In reality, one could not say that there was any boundary line between the two kingdoms. There are a few villages in between the two kingdoms that do not pay taxes either to the King of Andhra or to the King of Vidarbha. Once in ten years, either this King or that King sends some of their tax collectors. That year, they pay taxes to whichever tax collector comes to collect them. The remaining nine or ten years, they do not pay taxes at all. In every village, the elders of the village get together and convince the rest this way, We haven't paid taxes for the past ten years, right! At some point if we do not pay the taxes, then we'll be buying trouble for ourselves and this way they collect the taxes from the people to be paid to the collectors. If it is known that one of the Kingdoms has collected the taxes, then the other does not send its tax collectors to these villages. In the previous one hundred years, it happened only once that both the Kingdoms sent their tax collectors at the same time to these villages. There was a competitive backtracking with each side requesting the other side to go ahead and collect the taxes and in the end both the teams of tax collectors left without collecting taxes. That time, these villagers had no taxes for twenty years straight. The total number of such villages would be about fifty. One must say that all these fifty villages have a King. The people of these villages do not pay taxes to him. He does not ask. He is neither the subordinate of the King of Vidarbha nor of the King of Andhra. He does not have the capacity to seize the kingdoms, and has no such desire either. He is a self-declared King! He does not have a kingdom. All that he has are those fifty villages! He does have some property that is his own. He has cultivable land in each of the villages. The villagers of the respective village cultivate the land. They give him the harvest. He has about a hundred cows in each village. The cattle wealth in each village is protected by the residents of that village. Taking care of his cattle and giving him the harvested grains is the tax that the villagers pay him. There is no other tax. He thinks that these villagers do so because they are his people. The people think that they were

doing it for the sake of courtesy and as they were hesitant to say no to him. He is not a King but a King. In terms of the grace, pomp and show, he thinks of himself as an Emperor. If there were enemy kings who attacked, they either attacked Vidarbha or the villages of Andhra but nobody cared to spare a thought for these fifty villages. All the members of the family of this Kshatriya who called himself a King had the same kind of egos and pride that were observable in an Emperor's home. They were all rich. They never had a shortage of food and other supplies. They neither had a fort nor an army. There were neither ministers nor employees. In that village, there was a Brahmin who wrote and maintained records of the accounts and other things. This same Brahmin was his 'minister'. Though there was no money or delegation of powers involved, their interactions and the etiquette maintained, everything was like how an Emperor behaved with his Prime Minister. Naturally, this Kshatriya's word had some weight in that village. Not just in that village, in all of those fifty villages, his word was respected. There was a servant of his who was the chief of all his servants. He always rode a horse. A broad, double-edged sword hung around his waist. This fellow went to the villages once in a while and made sure if the cattle were kept well. He drove home the agricultural produce from those places. This chief of the servants was that King's 'army commander'. All this appears to be funny to speak about or amusing to see such a thing. But, the people of those fifty villages call this Kshatriya as their Emperor. They regard him as an Emperor. Even that Kshatriya thinks of himself as an Emperor. The entire quality of Emperorship is rooted in the pride of the people of this Kshatriya's dynasty. And this pride was not a haughty pride. It was the pride inherent in that family. He was generous. His charity knew no bounds. Scholars came to his place, so did mendicants. They would never feel as satisfied even if they went to a King's fort. In fact, there is not much that he gave to them. But he always gave them that which he regarded high. Further, all the members of his family were educated. Their wealth was the knowledge of music and literature. There were ten pundits who lived in the village that he lived. All ten of them associated themselves with him. He never gave them any land or property. He never took care of their welfare. All of them had their own lands. They gave them their livelihood. They come to this King's house to study and discuss. They taught his sons and daughters. That King was a good pundit himself. He had a great taste in vocal music. He was a decent singer too. He had four daughters. Bhaama was the youngest of his daughters. The affection that this father had towards her last daughter is undescribable. He taught her all Sastras. There is not a single art that she did not learn. She knew Srauta73 well. She knew the grammar. She knew logic. Her voice was mellifluous. But, one could not call her beautiful. They waited for several years in the hope that some Emperor would marry her having got attracted to her education. Neither did a Prince come nor did any God descend from the heavens. Further, it has been one hundred to one hundred and fifty years since the Gods stopped descending from the heavens. Prior to the Mahabharata war, Gods used to descend on to the earth it seems. After the demise of Krishna, and after Emperor Yudhishtira went to the Heaven, people used to say that Gods stopped coming. Emperor Yudhishtira went to the Heaven thirty six years after the Mahabharata war. Just a few days prior to this, Lord Sri Krishna left the mortal world. The day Sri Krishna left the earth, that's the day when Kali entered. yasmin krishnO divam yaatah tasmi nnEvahi vatsaram, pratipannam kaliyuga miti praahuhu puraavidah As long
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Srauta = Study of, or related to Vedas

as the Lord was present on the earth, it was not possible for Kali to set its foot on the ground. In those days, it was in vogue that Kings called for a Swayamvaram 74 for their daughters which was attended by several Princes who formed an assembly of suitors for the girl. But, the Princes need not have to get on a horse and go in search of royal maidens. Nobody came that way. Bhaama's father did not announce a Swayamvaram. Some elderly pundit went to Dhanyakataka to Romapada and told him about this Emperor. He told him about Bhaama's intellect and scholarship. Romapada said that he was willing to marry his second son Vijayasimha to her. Bhaama's father was an Emperor. Romapada was just a King. Would an Emperor come and say that he would give his daughter in marriage to the second son of a common King? He wouldn't. Would a King go to some ordinary man's house to request for a match for his son? He wouldn't. Then how would this marriage take place? Even this was arranged for by that Brahmin. That year, Vijayasimha must be sent as the Commander of the tax collectors who went to collect taxes from these fifty villages. He would go to the village of this Emperor. The Emperor would receive him. They exchange pleasantries. Then the Emperor would say to Vijayasimha, Gentleman! You are a great Prince. You have come to our fort on a mission. We appreciate your good qualities. We have a duty up on us to honor our guests. We honor you by bestowing our daughter to you, To which Vijayasimha must reply, Sir! You are an Emperor. I consider it a matter of great esteem that you have decided to give your daughter to me. I heard that your daughter is educated in all arts. The fact that you are doing this indicates that you are bestowing grace up on me. Then, the marriage takes place. Vijayasimha would stay there for three days. After that, he would send a word to his father. Romapada would then send his reply, We accept your marriage to the Emperor's daughter though it happened without my knowledge. In fact, we are glad. We are sending elephants, horses along with some army. You should bring your wife paying all the respects that are due to her as an Emperor's daughter. That Brahmin mediated between the two parties to arrange for the marriage with the above said protocol. Romapada agreed with a laughter. The marriage took place this way. Under normal circumstances, if you look at it closely, Vijayasimha must reject this alliance. But Vijayasimha did not say that. His nature was different. This appeared like an enjoyable thing to him. Vijayasimha heard about this Emperor quite a few times. He was known to be a pundit and a generous man. People used to say that the Goddess of Music and Literature danced in their home. Vijayasimha developed a strong liking towards the idea. He went. All the customs were followed the way they have been described above. The marriage took place. Vijayasimha stayed in his father-in-law's house. Bhaama had four elder sisters. All four of them were married. All the four sons-in-law were normal Kshatriyas. All the four sons-in-law came on the day of marriage. After that, they left to look after their farms. All the four ladies were beautiful. The only one who was not beautiful was Bhaama. The four were no scholars. Bhaama was the only one who was a scholar. All of them were daughters of an Emperor for the namesake, but not in grandeur. Not in terms of etiquette followed in Queen's castle. Their house was big, definitely, but not spacious enough to maintain the protocols of the apartment of the women-folk in a King's palace. All the conditions of their living was similar to that of common folk. All the service rendered to Vijayasimha was taken care of by his sisters-in74

Selection of a husband by a maiden from an assembly of suitors

law more than the attendants. Three days passed. Hundred foot-soldiers came along with two elephants and ten horses to escort Vijayasimha and Bhaama back to the palace. Vijayasimha did not start. He tells the commander who has come with the army Let's go tomorrow, let's go tomorrow. One sister-in-law gets him water to wash his face. Another readies water for his bath. Another serves him food on a platter. One lady arranges his bed for a comfortable sleep. Another acts as though she were playfully poking at him. There were only four sisters-in-law. But, it appeared to his mind as though they were forty in number. In general, one finds a silver lining in the midst of a dark cloud. But here, it appeared as though there was dark lining a in the midst of a white cloud. She was Bhaama. Bhaama is someone with undescribable bashfulness. It is not known as to how such a good education and such modesty came together as a package. Vijayasimha was swinging between two heavens. One was heaven by the day. The other heaven by the night. Heaven by the day was getting filled with tender sun rays. It was filled with the chirping and ringing sounds of birds. Gentle winds added to the excitement. The fragrance of flowers was enchanting one's nostrils. And now, the heaven by night! It's uniqueness is it's own. A sweet sound emanates from the Veena. One cannot draw boundaries for the expressive jest in that sound. The bashfulness expressed there is sweetest of the sweet. It is within your reach and in your hand, and in an instant it slips out. If you make an effort to catch hold of it, you squeeze out drops of honey. It appears as if you were sitting in the shade of a Kalpavriksha.75 As if a cold breeze passes over the top of a Kamadhenu.76 It cannot be called a paradise in reality. But it certainly was not a place on earth. Bhaama was proficient in Kamasastra. For him, every night was like experiencing a new heaven. The entire first half of the night went in making an effort to attain that heaven. In the second half, it is in your hold. Never would one get bored of making that effort. Every aspect of making that effort leads you to nectar-filled places. He was awake all night. The service rendered to him by his sisters-in-law to recover from his state with redness filled eyes, a crisis-ridden mind, and a tired body left him with a feeling of roaming in a different world altogether. This way, several days passed. The husbands of his sisters-in-law sent them a word to return to their homes. The heaven by the day ended. Only the heaven by night remained. This heaven was the same, whether it was there, or in Dhanyakataka. In those fifteen days, the Emperor's wealth was halved. Here was an emperor who did not have enough to feed the elephants, horses, foot soldiers, and another twenty-five employees! Here was an Emperor who gave his all to keep his dignity in tact. They did not think that they came to the house of a common King. All of them thought that their Prince married an Emperor's daughter. They did not lodge themselves in palaces. They were lodged in ten cow-sheds. The kind of hospitality they enjoyed! The excellent food that was served! The vast greenery surrounding them in that village! All of these made them forget that they were lodged in cow-sheds. Even they did not feel like leaving the place. Vijayasimha did not feel all those days that he was a Prince, and a great expert of swordsmanship. He forgot all his majestic demeanor and the respect accorded to him in Dhanyakataka. All those fifteen days, the attendants who came all the way from Dhanyakataka could not even get to see him. His sisters-in-law churned his mind and extracted the butter. Bhaama melted it to turn it to ghee. By the time Vijayasimha returned to Dhanyakataka, he turned completely subservient to Bhaama. He does
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Kalpavriksha tree that grants you whatever you wish Kamadhenu a cow that grants you whatever you wish

whatever she says. She was the empress of the sensual world. She was the queen of a white island which was covered by the spread of the glow from her dark body.Vijayasimha had no clue as to whether Bhaama was beautiful or not. She was the embodiment of Sringara rasa (eroticism).77 This was the only thing that he knew. He felt that the collective beauty of all his sisters-in-law put together was present in her. He came out of this illusory feeling only a few days after he was back in Dhanyakataka. After an year passed, Bhaama remained as Bhaama. She was not beautiful. But, she was still the queen of his heart. She looked at him with resentful eyes. He looked at her in anticipation of her pity. She wouldn't melt. He went and caught hold of the hem of her dress. She pulled her dress out and hit him with it. He hugged her tight with force. She loosened his grip, slid out of his arms, and went and stood at a distance. The delicate manner in which she loosened herself out of his grip is undescribable. It indicated her rejection in an enormous manner. At the same time, it had an inexpressible amount of affection. The manner Bhaama does this reminds one of the way a mother sleeping beside her young child who hugged her tight makes an effort to release herself from the arms of the child delicately making sure that the child's sleep is not disturbed as she gets out of the bed. If the movement of the mother disturbs the child, she pats the child putting her back to sleep the same way, if the manner in which Bhaama slid out of Vijayasimha's arms made him angry, she nestled. Again, she slowly loosened herself from his grip. Loosening the grip of her charming sensuous fetters and freeing himself of them was impossible for Vijayasimha in this birth. It wouldn't probably be possible for him even after ten births. As the years rolled on, this love for his wife, and the vigor in the experience of the stimulations due to the erotic entirety in their conjugal life, did not get diluted. But, a distinctive desire for the pleasure that came with the yearning to see the beauty in a lady's visage and the silhouettes of her curvaceous body started to take a separate space in his mind. It was four years since he got married. He never saw his sisters-inlaw after the early days of his marriage. There were no visible traits that indicated that he would see them again. His wife never went to her father's home herself. If she were to be sent back to her father's home, that would amount to destroying the reputation of the royal dynasty of Dhanyakataka. Even amongst the royal families of equal stature, a married royal lady is never sent back to her father's home. In this case, it was not just the case that it would be a breach of protocol to send her to her father's home, but also that it would bring down the reputation of the royal family that shone bright. They never come here. The Emperor, does not come because he was the Emperor. Because they were the rulers of the Kingdom, they do not go to the homes of the village authorities. This desire for beauty in Vijayasimha was compartmentalized it was unrelated to his family life, it never crossed the boundaries of his desire for Bhaama, it was subdued by his affection towards Bhaama, it was as though it could not be revealed, like a secret imagination, which could not be launched out in the open, but appeared as it was being encouraged by the pride and ego that were born out of his mastery over swordplay.These days he was distressed and was brought down to a pitiable state. It was not the case that he did not have the demeanour that suited a prince. There was no shortage of the dignity personified by a member of the royal family. He never saw ladies from the royal families. Those he could see were ladies from other Varnas. Of these ladies, here and there, rarely, he found a lady whose entire face, thanks to a great nose,
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Sringara Rasa One of the nine rasas an emotion of love/sensuousness/beauty/eroticism

was a reflection of shining beauty. Another lady appeared as if the squinted sight from her glittering eyes was like cupid's bow-string was being sounded at a distance. The grace in the gait of another lady appeared as if a king cobra which was moving slowly, on sensing some sound, raises its hood and looks sideways. Another lady looked at him overcome by fear, completely intimidated by his presence. One finds the sense of a horrifying dream written in the eyes of a young deer, grazing in a green field, finds a tiger seated right in front of him as it raises its head. Gradually, Vijayasimha thought this way Why do those ladies look at him that way? Probably the innate lust that he had, vented itself out through his eyes, by the manner of his looks, and the manner in which he stood! The lady at the other end was not lustful. She was an honorable lady. It is not clear as to what prior information she had, but the moment she saw him, she was able to identify his lustful designs. It appeared as though this ability to be well-informed is completely different from the other natural forms of knowing. It is sufficient if you were born a human. You need not know a thing earlier about the matter at hand. It was like there was something that was chasing you in the direction of this information and was emphatically pronouncing itself before your eyes. For an year, Vijayasimha was able to keep the newer and novel excesses caused on account of this keen well-informed nature of the lady at the other end under control. After a few days, those excesses became the norm. At some place, a stroke of beauty appears. She was agitated and anxious. He was not shy any longer. Another year passed. In the mean time, Bhaama's affection for Vijayasimha grew very thick. Her husband was deeply attached only to her. He never had any thoughts of another lady. There was no reduction in her amorous plays in their conjugal life. There was no strain in his deep companionship towards her. He did not frequent her apartment every day as used to be the case earlier. When Srimukha becomes the King, he, in turn would be the Commander-in-Chief of the entire army. Normally, princes used to be sent to far off places in the kingdom as representatives of the King. After a few days, he would become the King, himself. By King, it is to say that for all practical purposes, he is the King. The actual King and this king are siblings. Or otherwise, they are close relatives. That region would be under his control and command. For all official matters, he was the King. Only when dealing with other kingdoms, his brother is the King. That was a kind of independence. A freedom without responsibilities. Here, in the fort, they were not all powerful. Howsoever many days passed, he will still be the Crown Prince's brother. Or else, King's brother. If he were the Commander of Army, then that is a kind of honor. The King, the Minister and the Commander of Army all three belonged to the same league. The Commander of Army may enjoy the royal luxuries, or he may not. No one thinks of him as a King, the people never think that had an independent existence. But he was independent. The wives of other princes would want their husbands to be posted to far-off places in the Kingdom where they would be the kings of those respective places. But Bhaama was not of that kind. She wished that her husband became the Commander. Even before she married Vijayasimha, she was aware of scholarly discussions. She knew the art of music. She knew fine arts. She knew their boundaries. She knew what a father's liberality would be. She knew of a father's love. She knew of a mother's affection. Sisters playing with each other, amusing themselves with pranks, irritating and annoying one another, and then to coax and cajole, giving up things that her elder sister wanted, her brothers giving up their little little infatuations for her sake, Bhaama knew of all such little comforts that one experiences in a wholesome and a compact family. But, being a daughter-in-law of a real royal family and not having any relation with the rest of them and her; living in her apartment on her own; seeing only the faces of her maids and not that of her relatives; paying due

respects and going by the protocol whenever her mother-in-law or co-sisters or other ladies belonging to the royal family came to her apartment; the courtesies exchanged during those meetings not having any deep sense of affection towards the other side, these were unknown to her. All these were new to her. She got used to them over a period of time. She became a lady from the royal family. But a tenderness in her heart that was nurtured all her childhood in her upbringing did not get dried up. It could not find a resting place for itself. Her husband listened to music. He took delight in listening to music. He could not sing, but he enjoyed sweet music. This was a quality innately within him, for the roots of the natural affinity towards beauty in his heart, this must possibly be the seat of Rasa, the aesthetic pleasure. The narrow stream that flowed from that seat might make a contact with any stroke of beauty wherever it was! The consciousness of a man, having evolved completely, with a purity attained thanks to the refinement that has taken place over multiple births, might have developed a small pond of flashes of lightening from which the flashes emanate identifying beauty everytime the man came across one! From that pond, small streams let themselves out and flow towards the blissfully sweet waves that are emitted when the performance of an art reaches its climax the man, even without the knowledge of the art, experiences the bliss when the twains meet. This quality was present in Vijayasimha. Common men having known the trifling and unimportant forms of expressions of the arts, get trapped in them, just as they would get trapped in a quagmire. The highest state of any art is that state of bliss. There are several details that are present in the structures of an art. All these forms and structures get embedded in that state of bliss. If that art were a Sarasvati78, then this state of bliss from the art is her soul. The rest of it is her body. How great would the beauty present in a body be? Each of the parts feet, nails on the feet, calves, knees, thighs, loins, waist, hips, breasts, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, face, cheeks on the face, eyes, forehead, hairs may be beautiful, when looked at in isolation. An object that contains in itself the characteristic beauties associated with each of the parts observable when one is enacting something that involves every part the beauty associated with such an object, if it exists, may be undescribable. But still, all this is body. He who is knowledgeable about all the parts of this body must be counted as a pundit. A person who strolls not just across the state where an aggregation of all parts of the body are in the act but also in the individual characteristics of each of the parts may be called an imaginer. But, the true imaginer the one who has seen that state of bliss how could the rest of the lesser mortals be called imaginers? The quality of the consciousness lies at this place. The intensity of the experience originating from the radiant mind's eye in regards to the special characteristic features of the respective organs of the body is equal to the intensity of the experience of that state of bliss. Consequently, there is no difference between a pundit who has the knowledge of such bliss, and a lay person, able to feel the bliss on account of one's purity thanks to the refinement over multiple births. In terms of temporal reality, there's a lot of difference. The former is a pundit, the latter is not. A learned man, or someone who is ravenous about displaying one's learning, or someone who craves for proper appreciation of his learning/skill from others, would have tremendous admiration and appreciation for such a person who could experience that
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Sarasvati Goddess of Learning

state of bliss. That person may be pundit, or may not be. That is why the love of Bhaama for Vijayasimha knew no bounds. Her husband took delight in her music more than her. Her life had already attained its fulfillment. She was the empress of the sensual world. There was not a single thing from the treasury of Sringara Rasa that she was not aware of the different kinds of heroines and their gentle and amiable (Satvik) acts to the Vyabhichaari79 acts, Rasas, displeasures, sufferings, reproaches, rejections, unions, receptions, games, playful acts, and what not. All this was part of the progression in her physical life. Her playing of the Veena was something that was unrelated to her body, or her being a princess, or her being a wife of someone; it was as if some Godly illumination was dancing within her. This was the reason why she had such great affection towards her learning. This is a quality arising out of the feeling that that learning is the essence of her advancement in life. This quality was not in the emotion of love. In that, Vijayasimha was her intimate friend, her disciple, her slave, her servant, and above all, someone who thinks that he is her Guru. This is the necessary characteristic of the highest goal of learning. Wherever there is someone ready to exhibit one's learning, there is also another who appreciates and takes delight in it. The spectator who takes delight and appreciates an act may not have even an iota of the energy that the exhibitor has, but this spectator is the closest relative and someone who is worthy of taking a Guru's post for the exhibitor. The exhibitor may end up violating a Guru's word, but never would he violate the spectator. In the quality of Bhaama being lonely, in the isolation of her apartment in the fort, in those special moments when her heart yearns for tender expressions it is her husband, Vijayasimha, only who was her ultimate God. In her soul (heart of hearts), Bhaama was a slave of Vijayasimha. In her role as wife, she is the sovereign ruler of Vijayasimha's sensual empire. In her physical body, she was his consort.80 Vijayasimha was aware of all this. But, his yearning for beauty was one that was haunting him like a devil. At times when huge celebrations were held in the fort, there was a practice of spectating a few shows like that of wrestling, swordplay, shooting, fights between two rams. In one of the rarest of rare occasions, when at last the King consented, and to fulfil the wishes of elderly, she got to see her husband and Nirankusa duel each other. The manner in which Vijayasimha appeared to her while he was engaged in swordplay was the same as she could see him during those memorable moments filled with the quotient of Sringara Rasa's climax. There was not anything else that satiated her. Her husband must stand in the ring. She should see his agile short and quick bodily movements and marvel at the wonderful manner he moved on the battleground with ease. This turned out to be a desire deep down Bhaama's heart. Once or twice, playfully and to keep her entertained, and not to deny her repeated requests, Vijayasimha displayed his swordplay in her room. She was not satisfied by that. She heard that when the Crowning Ceremony of the King took place, the swordsmanship of several swordsmen were on display. None of the ladies from the Queen's apartment went to this exhibition. She heard that some young men from the royal dynasty came together and they displayed their skills among themselves. She asked her husband. He confirmed that such a thing happened. Could you not have asked me to come? she asked. Well, well! You haven't asked me to jump around carrying you with my arms! he replied. This way, both of them were mutually immersed in the appreciation of each
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These are several special features in expression of emotion of love. They are said to be thirty-three in number. [Sabdaratnaakaram] 80 Distinction between Bhaarya Dharmapatni

other's skills in the respective arts. This was like a golden vessel kept over their castle of love. Time was passing. There was no decline in Vijayasimha's love for her, but, she started suspecting him. She found her maids gossiping and she forced one or two of her maids to tell her the matter, and they gave her half-cooked information without revealing anything concretely. She asked her husband. He made a thousand promises to her asking her not to believe those rumours. His promises did not bring her trust in his words. The kind of promises that a husband and a wife make to each other are quite strange in nature. Hidden meaning of the entire origination81 comes into view from the manner in which those promises are made and heard. Then - the body, and the bodily desires, its strength, the mind, and four-five layers of the mind, the person (I,ego) in the background, dharma, the desire for comforts, the falsity, the reality, the secret, the acting, deceiving one's own self all these and more such infinite emotions lay awake at those moments. He does not know whether she believed him or disbelieved. He does not know as to whether he told the truth or not. But there is one thing that covers up all these things. That is their conjugal life. And their constantly familiar desire for company and congress. This situation established itself a bit more. Bhaama got angered and it so happened that she did not talk for a few days. This did not appear to bring any change in his attitude, but when he turned to her again, his requests reflecting his pitiable state got doubled and tripled which caused her greater happiness. This happiness assuaged her. My goodness! Human nature! This, in fact is not just human nature, it is the quality of origination.82 The gains from one side subside the losses from the other. Gradually, Bhaama got used to this. Truly, there was not anything concrete to believe that such a thing was happening with Vijayasimha. Very rarely does he venture to go outside the fort, and most of the time, almost daily, he remained inside the fort. And whenever he went outside the fort, the reasons for going out were very clear. But one day, when her husband's plea for her mercy reached its zenith; when he was successful in getting her to respond benignly, to gain her acceptance that day when his pleas matched the requirements to gain success the moment when there was no gap between their heads in their embrace of each other she whispered thus in his ear: O, You! the permanent light in my heart! The sweet scented breeze breathing life into my life! Please do not go leaving me for myself. If what a few say turns out to be true, then there is no life for me. I am someone to come along with you to the grave, but not one to live without you. Though you are a son of a King, the path that you take is very dangerous. You may spend some years with comfort and happiness. But it recoils suddenly without your knowledge like a tiger waiting to pounce on its prey and cutting the nerves of one's throat. If there's someone who attacks you from the front, however strong the opponent may be, you'd kill him. But, my love! How could someone defend an attack from the rear? My heart trembles as I speak these words.

Chapter 10
81 82

Srishti Origination Creation distinction to be drawn Creation is not the ab-initio creation

Indicating a definite observable change, a few celebrations started taking place in Neela's apartment. The first time they were held was a matter of surprise for everyone. Everyone came, everyone left. Neela gave utmost respect to the wife of Crown Prince, Kalindi. The regard that she showed for her eldest co-sister was the same as her regard for her mother-in-law. It appeared natural to everyone around. When everyone was about to leave, she requested Kalindi, Respected Sister! You could possibly leave my apartment a little while later, I myself was to come to your apartment. I thought of coming there quite a few times. I am a lazy person by nature. I have a particular respect for some people. The cause for not carrying out the due tasks in paying respect is more due to this lethargic nature, but not anything else. I have great respect for you. Could you stay for a while longer by excusing my indolence and forgiving me? When she requested which such politeness, what could Kalindi say!? She conveyed the matter to her mother-in-law and stayed back. When everyone left the place, Neela was about to press Kalindi's feet. Kalindi gently turned it down. Neela spoke with all humility that was apparent, Sister! You are a daughter of a King. I, a child of a poor home. If your brother-in-law had not shown mercy up on me, I would not have come to the royal apartment, and I know not where I would have been. Kalindi got suspicious at what was to come. Her suspicion was directed towards Neela. But she did not express it. She did not let a single strand of her hairs in her eyebrow move, that would indicate her internal state of suspicion. Her tender lips did not give even the slightest hint of suspicion. She responded the next moment, Sister! I get to hear several things from several people about you. I always knew that by nature you were modest. I have always been telling the same about you. That you must be very good at heart. Just as I thought, you are so good. It is true that I am a daughter of a King. But what's the big deal! It's all the same once we are here, what is the relation that we have with our father's homes now? This is the nature of lives of daughters' of royal families. It is just till you go to your husband's house. Once you go there, we are all birds in a cage. Bhaama has four elder sisters. I am told she and her sisters were very close and had a great liking towards one another. And now who is Bhaama who are they! Whenever I think of this, it reminds me of a thing. Do you know of the story of King Nala? Neela did not know. If she conveyed that she did not know, Kalindi may laugh at her ignorance. She might appear as someone who is ignorant of native stories. If she conveyed that she knew what other questions she may ask? Therefore, she neither replied she knew nor she replied she did not know and kept quite. Kalindi understand that 'she did not know the story of Nala'. Without revealing that she got to know this, she said, King Nala parted ways with Damayanti and left. In the forest, he tore off half her saree and left. After roaming around the forests extensively, she went to the Chedi country along with a group of merchants. The Queen of the Chedi country was her aunt. She stayed there for a few days. Sudeva from Vidarbha came in search of Damayanti to that country. Sudeva had to tell the Queen of Chedi that she was the princess of Vidarbha. From then onwards, the Queen of Chedi started to look after Damayanti with greater care and respect. The former was the latter's aunt. The latter was the daughter of the former's sister. But, they did not know each other. That is to say, this aunt did not even attend Damayanti's marriage. This is how you would find relationships amongst the Kshatriyas. When you are part of common men's family, however distant the relationship, you'd be aware of them. There won't be a marriage that takes place without the presence of all the relatives. But what can we do? Therefore, because we all fell at the same place, we're all sisters. But, no! Nishadha country is far away from Chedi country! Could we

say that it is because of this distance that they didn't know each other? There are not distant. The country between Krishna and Godavari is the Andhradesa. To the west of Andhradesa is Vidarbha. To the other side of Godavari is Pundradesa. That is my birth place. To this side of Godavari is Vidarbha. Cross the Tapati river, you come across Chedi and Nishadha countries. Both of them are neighbours just like Andhradesa and Vidarbha. There is no great distance between them. Why should I point out that they are not distant? How distant are Andhradesa and Pundradesa? I never go there. Neither is the case of these people sending me. They do not ask to send me over. I suppose that in previous eras, there may not have been such difficulties for travel from one place to another. Why wouldn't there be any difficulties? The story of Nala took place in the Krita Yuga, right! But, by the time of the story of Ramayana , it is apparently not so! We hear that Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi attended the marriage of Sri Rama. How true is that? Well, why do we talk about that now? All three of us have come and fallen in this place. For me, both you and Bhaama are equal in all respects. Neela could not grasp as to what she was listening. And she did not know that there are stories in the folk lore of Bharatadesa which require to be elaborated and studied with commentary. She heard that Kalindi was a scholar. Neela grew up with a highly liberal attitude but she was not someone who was disciplined in her thoughts. Her entire character in her heart was inherited from Relangi. Dussala gave a push to that character. Neela was intelligent by birth. She does not know the nature of Kalindi. She was not aware as to where she would go wrong. Any wrong step from her end would mean that the instructions she received from Dussala have been thrown to wind. Unknown to Neela, there was a streak of desire deep inside her to listen to new stories. Whatever happened to Dussala. Whatever Kalindi might think. Why did King Nala tear off a piece of his wife Damayanti's saree and leave? She must ask Kalindi and get to know that story. Would it be good to ask her? She thought, she'd keep quiet this time and ask her the next time. Or else, she thought she'd ask her husband. This was going on at the back of her mind. Then, Kalindi said she'll meet her again later and left. After she left, Neela thought, I do not know how to talk to her! How could I stop her here from going? Still, she went till the door, and took her leave from Kalindi. That day, Dussala came late in the evening. Having come, she spoke thus,' You must be on talking terms with the Crown Princess. It is not my wish to speak to her today itself. Therefore, I came late.' Neela: I could not stop her at this place for long. She was telling me something about King Nala tearing a piece of Damayanti's saree in a forest, about Chedi country, and the Queen of Chedi country who was some kind of relative to Damayanti. They did not know each other it seems. This way she went on about different different things. She went on without a break continuously at a stretch in the same manner for about ten moments. I did not even find time to catch her line of thought. I did not even know any of those names. How could I respond to her in any manner? My situation turned out to be like a lizard that fell in milk.83' To which Dussala replied, 'Suppose you do not know a story! Whenever you are in conversation with someone, and they speak of something that you are not aware of, you should have this art of tackling it. Even if you did not know the names of the characters in the story, whatever be the story, it is still situated in the human world itself! And in the human world, you have only two things the joyous and the sorrowful! All stories relate themselves to these things! Whenever a joyous occurrence is conveyed, one must smile and when sorrowful details are told, Oh! What a pity! How unfortunate! or Yes, that is how things are! - if such expressions are
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Paalalo padina balli vidhaanam

used, then the other side would not know that you are unaware of the story being told. Before you use these expressions, you should learn the art of suppressing the feeling of alarm caused at not being aware of what was being conveyed. You are young. You were brought up in an uncultured manner. You do as I tell you this time. Though it is true that one must have such quality by nature, do not have apprehensive about whether it could be cultivated. Whenever we go to talk to someone, if we go there by preparing our minds not to turn hostile, not to be amazed or alarmed, then we can be comfortable. One could say that even our minds have a quality of being cautious on their own. This was Dussala's instruction to Neela. Neela thought of requesting Dussala to tell her that story. But, may be it was wrong to ask her!? It was not the story of Mlecchas, it was a story of people of Bharatadesa. Dussala was not as fond of stories of Bharatadesa as she was fond of stories of Mlecchas. Even if Dussala knew that story, to grasp the fascinating part of the stories, she must hear it from Kalindi only. At another time, when another festivity was celebrated at Neela's apartment, all the ladies from amongst the relatives left. Even without Neela's request, Kalindi was hesitant to leave, I felt like staying here for a while longer! The last time I came - did not feel like I have come, stayed here. The other day, I had some work back in my place which made me leave early. Today, I've come with a thought to stay here for longer saying so, she sat on the diamond studded bedspread which was laid in the balcony. Thus, one of Neela's troubles was sorted out. She had this question lurking in her mind as to how she could stop Kalindi and ask her to stay back for a while. Without her intervention, she decided to stay on, on her own. Neela sat politely beside her. The politeness in Neela, without her own knowledge has acquired some natural hues. Kalindi smiled at her. What was Neela before that pleasant smile of Kalindi, of her equanimous looks, of the composure visible in her face, and the Empress-like majestic quality of her eyebrows? How great was Neela? In a minute, Neela became malleable. She did not think of herself as her co-sister. She thought as if she were her maid. She felt as if all her independent qualities were dissolved in a minute. The manner in which Kalindi sat was like request for something, it'll be granted, ask something, it'll be answered. Neela adjusted her thoughts and asked, Respected Sister! You've been kind to have decided to stay for a little while longer on your own. Since that day when you first mentioned it, I've been longing to listen to that story from you. Why did Nala leave Damayanti in the forest? What is this tearing off a part of the saree? Why did he tear it off? What is the story behind it? How come he tore off his own wife's saree? This did not make sense to me. Please tell me the story. Kalindi smiled and replied: I get your question. He tore it off and left because both of them were clothed in the same saree! She was sleeping. He wanted to leaver her. Unless he tore the saree off in the middle, how could he go? The moment Neela heard this, her body was covered with goose pimples. In some strange romantic world residing in her mind, there was some thought that poured itself like the moonlight that illuminates the sky when it is cleared of clouds. Did both husband and wife clothe themselves in a single garment? What is this unusual romance? Are they both so one and the same? If they were so close to each other, then why does the man have to leave the wife tearing off the saree? Was it to play hide and seek? Where were they at that time? Were they sleeping on a single bed? Were they sleeping in a room in their apartment? Were they in some hills? Would he have hid himself behind some boulder? Would he respond if she called for him? Would her calls be echoed by all the

surrounding hills? Would it break the layers of the waves of hilly winds like the sweet music from the flute? Would it create markers in the atmospheric waves? How would it be when he responds? This appears to be a romance that beats the romance of Aarama and Geela! With all these thoughts at the back of her mind, without raising the names of Aarama and Geela, she showered all her questions. Kalindi was pleased to see the keenness and the detail to which Neela's thoughts went. She felt that this girl who had such wonderful ability to imagine, was getting spoilt. Following this, for the next one to one and a half hours, Kalindi narrated the story of Nala to Neela. The narrative was replete with interruptions. It did not come to an end after it began. Till the end, Neela kept on asking questions, and the story kept revolving around the answers to those questions. Oh! how could the elegance of those questions be described? If the questions asked by the latter and the answers given by the former were compiled as a narrative, then it might as well end up as an exceptional epic poem. The kind of questions she posed! She never asked just a question. She would prove that every stem had at least twenty branches. Every branch had an attractive fully blossomed meaningful flower. If Kalindi's mind itself were a person, then the sense of the smell of this person would be as sweet and as immersed in the ecstatic experience of the fragrant purity of the fragrance from the collection of bouquets of such blossomed flowers. Kalindi forgot that she was the Crown Princess. Neela forgot that she was her co-sister. She also forgot that she was the disciple of Dussala. She forgot that on the prodding of Dussala, she was trying to extend Kalindi's stay at her place. Kalindi was engrossed in the joyous delightful worlds taking birth on account of strolling across the pleasant waves of the stream of the stories. The former was the Guru, the latter, her disciple. The former was the elder sister, the latter, the younger. As if both of them were sharing their respective plight with the other, the story of Nala and Damayanti that was being narrated provided them with a platform for detached view, a kind of illusory feeling of transcending from their own experience, their hearts were struck by the emotion of love emanating from the ocean of sorrow generated from the constant wait. Was the main Rasa of the story Soka (sorrow)? Or was it Sringara? What is the relation between Sringara and Soka? The underlying story right throughout is the feeling of love between the protagonists. It is their love that governs the sorrow in the story. Though their hearts were experiencing grief, in their essential make Sringara Rasa flowed like a perennial river. Finally, at the end, there was not a single question left to be asked. By this time, it was already an hour to hour and a half. Dussala came and saw them completely absorbed in a state of ecstasy. It did not make any sense to her. She did not what was going on between them. Neela happened to see her. It turned out that she came out from that world of imagination. At that moment, Neela's state appeared to be a peculiar state of mind. Dussala was her Guru already. It was her daily practice to give due respect and accord as her Guru whenever she came. But she was just a Guru. The one sitting in front of her was the Crown Princess. She positioned herself in the place of a Guru in just a span of an hour and a half. Over and above this quality of being the preceptor, she also had the majestic qualities of a Crown Princess. If she got up the next moment and paid her respects to Dussala, that would definitely indicate that she rejected the authority of the Crown Princess. If she did not do so, that would mean she was being impolite to Dussala. Just then, there was a crafty thought that appeared in Neela's mind. She was not aware as to why such a trick occurred to her. 'She behaved in such a manner because of Dussala's prodding and was part of a larger act. At this moment, if she were to show disrespect to Dussala, then she may be causing in irreparable loss to an

important plan that she was currently unaware of. She could request Kalindi to pardon her offense in the absence of Dussala, at an opportune moment' with this thought in mind, she got up instantly, went to Dussala, brought her along with her and made her sit on another seat that was arranged on a raised platform and spoke to Kalindi, 'Respected Sister! This lady's name is Dussala. Her son's name is Jayadratha. I do not know as to which country they belong. If I remember what she said correctly, it is Sindhudesa. Six years ago, her son came to get employed in our court. Our father-in-law has arranged for both the mother and son's stay in a choultry. All these six years, he has not inquired about their well-being. A daily wage is sent to them. In between, her son has requested for a permission to have audience with the King our father-in-law has been postponing it, or rather evading it since. Is it just a day or two! Six years. She is also an old lady. She was desiring to see you. She keeps coming frequently to my apartment. She requested me to arrange for a meeting with you. The last time you came here, I tried to stop you for a little longer to bring her request to your notice! Today, she came here in your presence itself. You should excuse me for the same! Dussala was startled at what has happening in front of her. Who is this Neela? Is she my disciple? Oh, this speech of hers? This obedient attitude? Does she have so much respect towards her? In reality, it was her second meeting with the Crown Princess. When she was standing near the door and watched the manner of Neela's squatting, her mental make at that time, did not appear to be like her disciple's. The other day, she said that the Crown Princess did not stay for long at all. And, it has been only for an hour or hour and half that they spoke for. If in this little amount of time, the Crown Princess could create such an impression on Neela, it appeared as if Neela would quit from her tutelage, leave alone the possibility of Kalindi getting influenced by her. Or else, shall we say that this manner of Neela was staged and not real? Neela does not have such ability to act so skilfully. For the past few months, she has studied Neela in and out. Dussala was left speechless. She turned and looked at Kalindi. How was her face? She was a lady with radiance whose majesty appeared to befit the Queen of vast expanse of land. Her eyes seemed to radiate a light. Dussala started imagining about the same having separating the light transmitted into diverse shades. At least four five shades were apparent. A shade was like Oh, has it been six years since both she and her son have come? Our father-in-law has been giving them a daily wage for no reason? He is not even providing an audience with him? Whoever her son is, I should know more about him! Another shade was like I am the Crown Princess. By the established protocol, she must be exhibiting certain amount of respect towards me. But she did not follow the protocol. What was the cause behind this disrespect to the protocol? She must be exercising some authority over Neela. It must be that Neela was a person who followed this lady's commands. Having this cushion, she was acting that way with me! At the back of this shade, there was another shade This authority is not just any other authority. It is an unusual one. It is related to some spiritual aspect. It does not seem to be related to spirituality. There is some kind of untraditional quality about it! Another shade was like this It appears like this lady wants to turn me into her disciple. What would she instruct me? Who is she? Dussala understood that these were the thoughts running in Kalindi's mind. How could someone have an ability to imagine all these things with just a glance at the other person? Those minds that have the ability to dig ten ropes84 inside, from which they can

84

Meaning length of standard rope

grow a hundred ropes high on top of it, those minds are different. Their outlook is different. Their sense of perception is different. And Kalindi looked at Dussala. Being the Crown Princess she felt as though she was to stand up and convey her namaskar to Dussala. There was a kind of audacity (Dhaarshtyamu) that was spread all over Dussala's eyes. The audacity was such A few people think to themselves that they are great, and quite frequently end up meeting people of mediocre abilities. Those mediocre people praise them to the skies. They start believing that they are as tall as the skies. These people who do not have great exposure do not know that there were always greater people. They are not aware that there were better pundits than them. They do not know that among them, there are a few, in spite of their great scholarship, they are modest by nature. They normally think that whoever comes to them, must pay obeisance to them. It is their considered opinion that they were born to be accorded such respect. This quality was very clearly visible in Dussala's eyes. There is a word in Telugu to capture this quality. It is not known whether its origins are in Sanskrit or in Telugu. It was felt that the word 'Dhaarshtyamu' (equivalent to audacity) would not suffice to capture all the above qualities described, and henceforth, the people of Andhra named it 'Dhaarshteekamu'. This 'Dhaarshteekamu' was there in her eyes. There is a quality to this 'Dhaarshteekamu'. Even after knowing the capability of the person at the other end, it does not let you accept it. At times, it can be aware of the other's talents. It makes them tell to their followers, that that talent cannot be called talent at all. This, is a Mleccha thought. That is, it is a thought that is other than the Dharmic thought. This survey of each other's minds, and reading the state of the other's mind happened in a flash of a second. There was a difference in terms of the ingredients that go in to the making of Dussala and Kalindi. The persona of Dussala based on her lifestyle qualities has been touched already. Now, the manner of Kalindi's living must come to the fore based on her talk. Kalindi said, Oh! So, your name is Dussaladevi? This appears to be a familiar name to me. I never had the opportunity to see you earlier. If only you had sent me a word, I would have commanded the authorities to let you see me. You are aged. You appear to be someone with loads of worldly wisdom. You seem to have taken birth in some reputed family. It seems inherent in your mannerisms to assert authority, and a quality of being used to be respected by others. If you desire of any help that I can do for you, I'll do my bit to the extent possible. Dussala was perplexed. Her words had sarcasm. They were replete with criticism. There was smartness in her talk. The last words were conveying the sense that you ask me something, I'll get it done for you. More than that, there is no more relation between you and me. There did not seem to be a scope for her to tell about her ideology to her, nor has she given any room to exercise her authority over her. What was common to Dussala's experience was to see everyone greet her with a namaskar whenever they saw her. Whenever she got others to meet her, she would let her existing disciples to let them know of her greatness , and by the time they come to meet her, she would be in a position to be their preceptor. Even here, she tried the same thing. But it did not work out. She does not know as to what happened. If the other side already knew about her greatness, then her authority could be stamped right from the beginning. Otherwise, it is a difficult situation. She should use all her abilities to take an upper hand over the other, and then exercise authority. It is a very difficult task to win over the other side in a direct face to face encounter. One should win them over in one's absence, indirectly and then one can exercise one's authority in their presence. This, is a flaw in the entire human

creation that comes naturally. It is this flaw that lies in the depths of human heart that Rajaniti85 Sastra, and Kama86 Sastra have identified. In the Rajaniti Sastra, of the four implements Saama, Daana, Bheda, Danda Saama, Daana, and Bheda are attempts to capture the human heart in an indirect manner. That is, not approaching an issue directly, but by touching its periphery and thereby pushing an agenda. If there is any direct assault, anyone would resist it. If there is an assault from the side ways, standing the same is difficult. There is an issue. The nature of any issue can be captured in four words. What does Saama do? It shows examples. It shows equivalences. It tells the results of what happened in those instances elsewhere, in other countries. It takes one's mind off from the issue at hand. It shows an issue that is quite straight-forward, from another dimension. That is to say, that any issue is not an issue by itself, in its own right. Every issue is inter-connected with the rest of the issues87 and thereby push for their alteration. Saama, Daana, Bheda are part of this process of alteration. The same is true of Kama sastra! The union of the hero and the heroine that succeeds on employing a mediator does not succeed if it were to be tried by the protagonists themselves. In fact, it never works out directly. Moreover, there is a great difference between saying 'I love you' directly and being told 'He loves you' by some lady. It is common in human nature to neglect that which is in your presence and that is direct, and take interest and hope for that which is indirect and in your absence. The entire human race lives on hope. Hope is that which relates to future. That is, it is not in the present, and therefore is not direct. Following this natural flaw residing deep within human hearts, people who have vain prides try to inject respect for them in new comers through their followers before they were brought in direct contact with them. Dussala wanted to employ this technique on Kalindi in this case. Without her knowledge, the technique failed. Unless she speaks to Neela in isolation, she would not know as to why it failed. Dussala was now sitting on top of the summits of two mountains. Both the problems are related. If she knew why the technique failed, she could easily impress up on Kalindi with her skill and charm. Or else, this would become difficult. Both these came up at the same time. This is something that evil people experience all the time in their life. There is no way for them to escape it. She must respond immediately to Kalindi. The quality of human mind is such that the thoughts in one's mind keep coming like the ripples created in a lake under the influence of breeze. Every wave is a whole consisting of a collection of infinite tiny droplets of cold water. The entire thing together is the wave. The movement of this wave occurs in a flash of a second. Dussala replied, Yes, lady! It has been six years since we have come. My son has not been able to see the King even once. He requested me several times to make a contact with you. It is not possible to have a meeting with the King by a direct effort. One must require a recommendation from someone. This is the quality of human intellect. If there is a work with some officer, it starts thinking that that will get done if it were conveyed through some person. But, it never occurs to them to go directly and ask on his own. This appears definitely like some flaw inherent in human intellect. I could have come to meet you directly. I feared that just the same way as my son's meeting with the King got deferred and delayed, my efforts to meet you also may end up being futile. I knew this Neeladevi. I knew her, meaning, not that I know her really. Her biological parents are residents of Sambara Deevi island. At that place, both my son and I lived for two years.
85 86

Art of politics and governance Art of Love 87 VikaaryamaaNamu meaning?

Her parents were well known to us. Basing on this relation, I came to meet her at her apartment. I've been asking her to arrange for a meeting with you. Finally, I got to see you today. Kalindi was carefully observing every word that she spoke. Neela was her co-sister. Even, she was like a queen. Dussala did not show respect in any reference made to her in all her speech. In fact, she was not being respectful even with her. More than this, the royal blood flowing in Kalindi made her thoughts move towards another aspect. They lived for a couple of years in Sambara Deevi earlier. Was this true? This must be confirmed. Dussala did notice a quality of intense look in Kalindi's eyes for about a thousandth part of a moment, but she did not see the reason for the look. The words of her son justifying her close relation with Neela came to her mind, and in the given context, they came out from Dussala's mouth. She was shrewder than Jayadratha. If she were speaking to a royal man or a political expert, she would not have said this. She was speaking to the Crown Princess. However wise she was, she would not think of verifying the veracity of her statements. Only those people who were politically active, were keen about the details. Therefore, Dussala could not relate the intense look on Kalindi to the lie told by her son justifying her closeness to Neela. Kalindi said, This is not something that is in my hands. I can mention this to the Prince. We can get the message across to the King. Even for a passer-by listening to this that for the past six years you were made to stay on daily wage would not appear to be just. What did you say was you son's name? Dussala: Jayadratha. The next moment, Kalindi wondered Dussala and Jayadratha how were they mother and son. When Vinaya Sarma narrated the story of Bharata, she heard it once in a while. In one of those instances, she heard a story related to them. What were these names? What is this eccentric relation? This thought occurred in Kalindi's mind without recourse to a change in her expression in cheeks, or eyebrows or the glow in her eyes. Kalindi said, Oh, yes! Neela told me. I forgot. What is his expertise? Dussala: He knows quite a few arts. Mainly, he is good at swordplay. He learnt it from various countries. He could be appointed as the commander of a army regiment. He is an expert in politics and governance. He could be appointed as a junior minister. It is His Majesty's grace! Whichever role is assigned to him by the King, I am confident that he will perform well. Kalindi: He could be appointed as commander of an army regiment. My brother-in-law is there. Vijayasimha! If only he were informed of your son's skill to him, it would not have been this difficult. He would have mentioned it to his father himself. He would have ensured that your son got a job long back. But, at the same time, another thought occurred in Kalindi's mind. In the past six years, there were several occasions where swordplay was on display. He never took part in any of them, why? If only he took part, and if he were that good, then his name would have been known to everyone. Even she would have come to know of him. Though he was some distant relative from the royal family, has she not heard of Nirankusa? Has she not seen him in the ring? Names of expert swordsmen like Harivarma, Jayasimha, Raathantari were known to everyone in the kingdom. In fact, everyone in the fort knew

them. Even the ladies in the Queen's apartment have seen their skills when on display. Her son must be someone who was uninterested in being the commander of an army regiment. If he displayed his skills, then he would be unnecessarily stuck with a job that was not of his interest. He wants a job that is to do with political strategy. Desirous of one job, who would stay in the choultry for six years sitting idly? Those who expect to gain more out of that job would want to stay. For them, earning their daily bread is not of importance. It is important for them to achieve that gain. What could such a gain be? Dussala could not estimate the nature of thoughts that were running in Kalindi's mind. But she definitely was able to grasp that those thoughts were not favorable to her plea. For Kalindi she was searching for something she felt that which she was on the look out for was this. Who is this Jayadratha? She confirmed to herself earlier that her husband was under the influence of someone. Was he this man? What a favor Neela has done unto her! If that were so, Dussala stuck Neela in a stream of delusion. Neela is innocent. A snow flake in the street of bliss. Someone with a naturally romantic character. She heard earlier that Neela was not brought up in a proper manner. She saw the reason for that. She must observe carefully and find out as to the veracity of the things in here. She must go away from there. She must not give any reason for Dussala to suspect her thoughts. She must display respect and obedience towards her. She should send a message across to Vinaya Sarma right away. Is it true that Dussala and Jayadratha stayed for a couple of years in Sambara Deevi before they came here? Chapter 11 There is a village four miles below Dhanyakataka. Most of the residents of that village were rural folk. If one were to go directly to that village, by crossing the Krishna River, then it is full of hills and it is a huge forest area. In those days that is, as mentioned earlier, five thousand years ago the upstream of Krishna River to the other side of Indrakeelaadri was a huge sea! Near Indrakeelaadri, Krishna River does not have a width more than a big canal as it flowed between two hills. Therefore, Krishna River, starting from Indrakeelaadri to the Vedadri was full to the brim like a huge lake, in some places like a huge pond, and overall like a huge sea, during all seasons. In those days, crossing the Krishna River was not an easy task. During the rainy season, it was like a majestic ocean. Though there was no inflow from the upstream, it still looked like a great sea. Therefore, any chance of rain, or blowing wind, meant that it looked dangerous. It was extremely difficult to traverse across the river. That is why, there were about ten villages on either side of the river where rural folk resided from the Vedadri to the Indrakeelaadri. After two thousand years, the width of Krishna River between the two hills near Indrakeelaadri increased. Over thousands of years, Krishna River cut both the hills on both the sides. As it cut the hill, the speed of the flow increased, and the water stopped accumulating at a single place. The flow width and the force of the water increases as it moves towards the sea downstream. As the size of the flowing stream became bigger cutting the two hills, up till Dhanyakataka, and upstream till Vedadri, the huge sea like great river's width reduced, and on both sides, several villages sprang up. In between, a few islets formed. During summers, the size of the stream reduced, and at places, it was flowing just like a big canal. On both sides, strands increased.

Two to three thousands years from the time when this story took place, near the Indrakeelaadri, Krishna River acquired the width that it now possesses. Till it reached the sea, Krishna was deep, and it looked like a great stream. In those days, even ships travelled along Krishna. The time when this story took place was not more than hundred years into the Kali Yuga. By the time Andhra Kings ruled Magadha, it was two to three thousand years into Kali. Andhras, being the rulers of Magadha, reigned for approximately five hundred years during which time they were the Emperors of the entire Bharatadesa. Today's Krishna is different, the Krishna of Andhra Kings was different, and the Krishna River in the times of this story was different. About half the number of years between today and the year when this story is set, was when the Andhra Kings ruled. The Kali Yuga has entered five thousand and sixty years as of today. 88 By the time of Andhra Empire, it entered the two thousand and three hundredth year. The day Yudhishtira passed away, starting that day, Yudhishtira Saka started. The Kuru-Pandava War took place for eighteen days. After the War, Yudhishtira was crowned the Emperor of entire Bharatadesa. He ruled for thirty six years. As he was ruling, in the thirty seventh year, Sri Krishna, who is the Lord himself, left his mortal body. That day, the Great Bear or the Saptarishi Mandala89 left the Makha Nakshatra.90 Seven planets were in Mesha Raasi.91 That was a weird time. The fact that seven planets were in the same Raasi is not an indication of auspicious time. That day, in the year named Pramaadi, in Chaitra Maasa 92, Sukla Paksha, Pratipatti (first day), at a time that passed six ghadiyas93 and thirty liptas94, Kali entered. Since then onwards, almanac makers in Bharatadesa started counting the time elapsed in Kali Yuga. This (when the original book was written95) year is named Vikaari. As of today, it has been five thousand and sixty years since Kali entered. After Sri Krishna ascended to the Heaven, sixty six years after Kali entered, the Saptarishi Mandala entered Aaslesha Nakshatra, earlier, it was passing through Makha Nakshatra. Saptarishi Mandala resides in each Nakshatra for a period of hundred years. The traversal of Saptarishi Mandala is in the reverse order.96 The Nakshatra that comes next to Makha in the reverse order is Aaslesha. Having resided in Aaslesha for hundred years, it moves to Pushyami Nakshatra. This is how the reverse traversal takes place. By the time, Saptarishi Mandala moves from each of the twenty seven Nakshatras to the other, back to the first one, it takes two thousand and seven hundred years. Since the time Sri Krishna left his mortal body, the time since Kali entered, to this day, Saptarishi Mandala has moved from each of these Nakshatras to the other, once. Its second revolution passing through all these Nakshatras will be over after three hundred and forty years.97 By that time,
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1960 Constellation Ursa Major 90 Makha Name of one of the twenty seven stars. 91 Name of the first Zodiac Sign in the Lunar Calendar - Aries 92 Month 93 Ghadiya a time equivalent to 24 minutes time 94 1 lipta a second (?) 95 Late 1959 - Early 1960s 96 Twenty seven stars in the Reverse Order Revati, Uttara Bhaadra, Poorva Bhaadra, Satabhisha (Satataara), Dhanishta, Sravana, Uttaraashaadha, Poorvashaadha, Moola, Jyeshta, Anuradha, Visaakha, Swati, Chitta, Hasta, Uttara Phalguni, Poorva Phalguni, Makha, Aaslesha, Pushyami, Punarvasu, Aardhra, Mrigasira, Rohini, Krittika, Bharani, Aswini 97 From 1960

Saptarishi Mandala will be back in Makha Nakshatra. It takes seventy four years for the Saptarishi Mandala in the orbit of Makha Nakshatra.98 This is the count in Kali Yuga. Twenty six years after the Kali entered, Yudhishtira successfully reached the heaven. Yudhishtira Saka (era) started since that day. This same Saka is also called Laukika Saka or Saptarishi Saka. The counting of time in this Saka was started in Kashmir. Therefore, it is also called Kashmiraabda. That is to say, Yudhishtira, Laukika, Saptarishi Sakas and Kashmiraabda are all the same! This counting was started twenty six years after Kali entered. Two thousand three hundred and five years after this Saka started, the Andhra empire came. That is to say, two thousand three hundred and thirty one years after Kali entered, Andhra empire was established. To see the time in which the story of this novel is set, notice that Yudhishtira lived after Kali entered for twenty six years. When Kali entered, Parikshit was crowned the Emperor. After tranferring power to Parikshit, Dharmaraja along with his brothers, went to the forests for Vanaprastha. By that time, Parikshit was thirty six years old. He ruled for sixty years. He died of a snake bite. Janamejaya succeeded him to the throne. It was fifty two years since Janamejaya came to power. That is, it was exactly, one hundred and thirteen years since Kali entered. It has been mentioned earlier that there is a village four miles below Dhanyakataka, right! The name of that village was 'Agnigramamu'. The people of that village were all rural folk. But all of them called themselves Kshatriyas. People of this dynasty did acquire a few lands after about four thousand years and ruled them. But, at the time of this story, they were rural folk. Of these men, a few people get strong and may end up ruling. The rest were all sailors. Later, after two thousand years, when Andhra empire reigned, the width of Krishna River increased and by the time ships travelled to the sea, when the contacts of the Andhra empire increased enormously with the rest of the lands across the sea, the people of this dynasty, having come into contact with the distinctly different culture of the other lands, changed a lot in their mannerisms. But, at the beginning of Kali, it did not change so much. Though their main vocations were to help people cross the rivers and catch fish among others, their customs were a bit inclined towards Kshatriya dynasties. They mainly worshipped Agni, the fire. That is why they were called people of Agni dynasty. In those days, theirs was a distinct religion. In those days, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas performed rituals like the Yajnas and Yagas. Most of them were people who performed Agnihotra99 daily. Though they performed Agnihotra daily, their manner of worshipping Agni was different. The manner of worship of the people of Agni dynasty was different. The people of all four Varnas, worship Agni. For them, Agni is one of the gods who are worshipped daily. Agni is not the ultimate God. For the people of four Varnas, it is Narayana, who is the ultimate God. The worship of Agni is a part of this. There are different kinds of worship. Worship of Omkaara, worship of Akshipurusha, worship of Agni, among others. But, as the time passes over the infinite time-scale, minds of men keep changing. The minds of people got diverted from the Chaturvarnya, constructed by Paramesvara100, became Mlecchas and went to countries like Saka, Yavana, Barbara, Darada among others. Having gone further from there too, they occupied what is today called 'Greece' which is none other than 'Ayoniya'. The term
98 99

Saptarishi mandalamunakoka Makhaa Nakshatramu nandali unikilo debbadi naalugendlu gaduchunu. A sacred fire ritual (give details?) 100 Paramesvara = Supreme Being, Vishnu, Siva (detail?)

Yavana itself became Ayoniya. In the entire creation, for every aspect in the world, deterioration is an inherent quality. The body grows till one reaches one's youth. From there onwards, it starts degenerating. Taking birth, growing, degenerating this is not just the quality of a body, it is the quality of entire creation 101! This is the quality of all aspects of creation! The act of creation began, it grew till the end of Krita Yuga. From then onwards, it started shrinking in each and every aspect. By the end of Kali Yuga, it will get completely destroyed. This is the birth, growth and death of time. Similarly, several nations, races grow. They reach the pinnacle of their growth. Then, the degenerating stage begins. This is the same even with empires. The same is the state of several languages. There is only one language which does not know this state. That is Samskritam (Sanskrit). Therefore, it is called Amara Bhaasha102. Every other language in the world is a degenerated version of Sanskrit. When Mlecchas went to the North-western side of Bharatadesa, and pronounced the Sanskrit words as they pleased, over a period of time, each of them appeared to be a different language. If one leaves about one hundred and ninety six crores of years of previous Yugas, in the present Maha Yuga, thirty nine lakhs fifty eight thousands of years have gone by. The total number of years in a Maha Yuga is forty three lakhs twenty thousand years. Since the first creation, for the approximately one hundred and ninety six crores in between, several such Maha Yugas went by. Even in those Maha Yugas, there were human beings. Even then, just like today, there were people who did not like the Varna system and left Bharatadesa, became Mlecchas and occupied other countries. A few of the nations, races die. Thousands of languages die. In the various Pralayas, there may be a few Mlecchas who survived, and belong to the first creation. Therefore one can say that, Mlecchas, along with the people of Bharatadesa, have existed since eighteen lakh years after the time of the first creation. But, at the end of each Yuga, and the various minor and major deluges (Pralayas) that keep taking place, several Mleccha countries get destroyed owing to several reasons like earthquakes, the rise of the seas, snow mountains occupying them, or owing to great wars fought between them. The rest of the Mlecchas will be destroyed by the Bhagavan when he incarnates as Kalki avatar. After that, Krita Yuga begins, again. This is the order of the process of creation. There is no relation between this thought, and the lowly thoughts calculated and constructed by a race amongst the human beings who live for a hundred or two hundred years and temporarily become rich, and acquire power. The moment wealth gets added, even without scholarship, Ramayya becomes Rama Shastri. Bhimanna become Bhima Varma. Ramigaadu becomes Rama Rao Pantulu.103 All these are very temporal issues. By not having faith in infinite time, Paramesvara a nation enticed by arrogance of several kinds like being wealthy, being a member of a particular Varna, having scholarship, being valiant, being victorious, belonging to a nation gets corrupted and constructs corrupt doctrines/theories. These theories/doctrines have their field day for some time. Those enamored by these theories/ doctrines, take to them. The reason why all this has been conveyed is because the residents of Agnigrama consider Agni as their ultimate God. They do not have Narayana. For some of them,
101

Creation used for Srishti which is a word coming from the root Sru which means to release. Therefore, creation does not mean ab-initio creation. [Kota Venkatachalam ] 102 Amara Bhaasha = Immortal language 103 Ramayya, Bhimanna and Ramigaadu are names of common folk in Telugu, and their names correspondingly get changed to more respectable names in society on the addition of wealth is what is being conveyed.

Vayu (wind) is their ultimate God. For some others, Agni is their ultimate God. To some extent, a lifeless thing could be the ultimate god. The people of this village were one of such kind of people. This way, even in those religions which have Narayana as the manifestly ultimate God, there are different hues, thereby different religions. This Narayana is in Vaikuntha104. He is someone with Sankha (conch), Chakra (disc) and Gada (mace) as his weapons. Some say that it is this Narayana, visualized in this form, who is unchanging. A physical form is an indication of presence of substance. Substance is material. There is no permanence for any material. Substance gets dissipated. With this, the form also gets destroyed. Therefore, more than the God with a form, there is a power that is formless. That is God. That is the Brahma Padaartha. 105 But, in terms of the inherent power, the former with the form, and the latter without the form, there is no difference between them, say some other people. People of both these sections are not contaminated. The rest are contaminated partially. Mlecchas are those who are completely contaminated. Contamination is related to the thought process of Mlecchas. There is some amount of contamination in the people who worship Agni as their ultimate God. Therefore, the people of that village find Jayadratha's ideology acceptable. They knew in a vague manner that Jayadratha was acting as a portentous comet for the kingdom. In that village, there was an underground house inside a big house. Jayadratha and his ilk meet at that place. Normally these meetings took place on some cloudy nights, loud windy nights , nights when great festivities are being celebrated in the capital, nights when a marriage of distant but famous member of royal family took place outside the capital, and everyone from the capital left to attend the event. An old minister is deceased. A great warrior dies. A son is born to the Crown Prince. A prince gets married. There are some show of skills in the fort. It is on those days that these conventions are held. Or else when the entire country is irritated at the sun being obstructed by clouds for three-four days at a stretch, and people dread the thought of opening their windows as the rain showers from that end, as the showers accompanied by blowing winds end up wetting one's clothes before the person could close the window on the nights of such days, these meetings were held. On such days the gathering meets for longer hours than usual. Plans are chalked out for important activities. On normal nights, a review of how the plans were being implemented was discussed. That was Sravana Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi. In the middle of rainy season. For the past ten days, there was no sight of the sun. Krishna River was being tossed by the extreme winds that appeared like red waters repeatedly moistening the tongue of Kalika Devi.106 In spite of such dangerous looking Krishna River, there were a few rural folks, who were undeterred, careful and secure without shivering at the cold atmosphere, behaving as though they were navigating in a temperate climate, steering two small boats from Agnigrama to the other side of Krishna that was covered with hilly forest. Wind was blowing with force. It was pitch dark around. Even if you pushed one's eye to another's, one would not be able to identify the other person in front. Those boats were going. There was a fear of whether someone were following those boats for those inside them. It is only the excessive boasting of the people steering the boats, that made the people sitting in them feel that they were moving forward. There was no possibility of

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Vaikuntha Abode of Vishnu Brahma Padaartha The God Material (literal) 106 Kalika Devi Goddess Kali

striking two flint stones together to light a spark. If that were done, then people afar could identify that there were these boats that were travelling. Those boats were travelling at great speeds. The cause for the speed was the flow of the intense rain-fed river. It was due the expert skill of the navigators at holding the rudder and their skill at rowing the boat by thinly throwing the oar, that the boats were travelling in the north direction. Or else, one would have been travelling in the east direction. That day, it took at least three hours to cross the river and reach the other side. In those days, Krishna River flowed just by the side of hills. Four men alighted from those boats. The number of people steering the boats were four. Before the four who got down and walked ten yards forward, the other four brought the boats to the bank, tied them to the wooden posts that were firmly rooted in place there. Close to these posts were a couple of furrows where they placed their masks, and started pretending as though they were sleeping there from a long time. On such nights, for the night stay of the navigators, there were furrows dug and over them, there were poles placed which were covered with leaves and twigs, over which soil was spread, so that the leaves did not fly because of the winds. The furrows were not deep into the earth. One could easily crawl into them and come out with ease. The four people who got down were walking into the forests in the hills. They walked for about three to five quarters of an hour. Of those four, three of them could walk by recalling the path that they must take even in the pitch darkness in that hilly forest. The fourth person did not know the paths of that mountainous region. He has no clue of those paths. If it were in the broad daylight, he could know as to where he got down, and which direction was taken as he went into the forest. He did see those forests, and mountains earlier. He came there for a hunt five to six times earlier. If it were in the day, he could have identified. At least know the approximate place in the forest they were. Now, in that darkness, he has no clue. He was completely dependent on those who were leading him forward. They were treating him with great respect. Those four of them walked and walked till they reached a cave in a valley in those hills. Till you went to the face of the cave, you would not know that there were people there. Keeping the face of the cave in the under wraps were two huge boulders on both sides. The way was from the third side. Beside the third side was the steep-side of a mountain. Unless one knew it earlier, the light inside the cave was invisible from outside. The three of them let him enter the caave and they stood at the entrance of the cave. He did not even know who those three were. The cave was well lit. There were four hand torches that were glowing. They were made of the sticks cut from the forest whose corners were beaten to that extent that it softened and become combustible. This was ignited, that made them look like torches. In that light, Jayadratha welcomed Nagarjuna. The moment Nagarjuna saw Jayadratha, there was a glow in his face. It was not clear in the darkness, but all this while, Nagarjuna unaware of where he was being led to, not knowing as to what those people who were taking him along would do to him, he was walking with some kind of courage, holding himself tight. From that place onwards, torches followed both of them. They went into the middle of the cave. There was a lady sitting in there. She was very old. In terms of the calculations of that time, she must be two hundred years old. Her entire body was covered with wrinkles. Her body was shrunk. She was looking like a skeleton. She had no teeth in her mouth. But her eyes were bright. There was a necklace made of stone beads hanging around her neck. The beads were of different sizes and not one was the same as the other. There was no uniformity in color too. Nor were they of the same kind.

Some of them were shells, some were big Rudrakshas107, some were thin forest beads, and there were also four or five finger-length twigs. She had a small cloth covering her loins, and another covering her breasts. The cloth covering her breasts slipped off from its position repeatedly and fell down. If she felt like it, she would pull the cloth back over her chest, and fasten it to her thin beaded necklace. If one looked at her, one must say she was an evil spirit sitting on a platform that she made for herself inside the cavity of the cavern. But, Jayadratha was there. There were four of them who were holding the torches. They were four tribal men. They were dressed in hunter's attire. They were being greatly obedient. Jayadratha spoke to Nagarjuna thus: She is Konangi. She can foretell the future. I conveyed the same to you earlier! If you show your hand to her, she will read your future. Nagarjuna felt a kind of revulsion. Since the time he was born, he never faced such a situation... Jayadratha and he met a few years ago. Jayadratha paid respects to him by offering namaskar. Nagarjuna never saw Jayadratha in Dhanyakataka prior to that. He asked him as to who he was. The words that Jayadratha spoke about himself that day produced a marvellous effect (Adbhuta Rasa) on Nagarjuna. He thought the former was a lunatic. He came to know that he was not one. Jayadratha left saying that he would present himself before Nagarjuna later. He left after telling him this, To create a belief in you that I really know the skills and techniques that I told I knew, I would display some of them to you. Then you could start believing me. I must show those to you in private. You are a Prince. If you dare for a night, and come with me, then I would take you to a place. There, you would get to know the truth in what I spoke. This is a very secret matter. If anyone got to know that I met you from your end, then I would not be in a position to display the skills that I mentioned I would. The manner in which he told contained humility. It had authority. It contained a threat. Later, on one night, Jayadratha met Nagarjuna at a pre-decided spot, took him to Agnigrama and made Nagarjuna sit in that big house there. He displayed his skills. In the beginning, he displayed simple tricks. He took a stick and threw it. It became a snake. The moment Jayadratha caught its tail, it became a stick again. There was a woollen rug placed in a corner. After taking a stick that was bent at the middle and rooting it in the ground, he placed the rug on the stick. He asked Nagarjuna to close his eyes and open in a moment. Nagarjuna closed his eyes, and opened them in a span of two blinks. The bent stick and the rug over it were looking like a bear standing on its hind legs. The bear was quite close to Jayadratha. Nagarjuna forgot that 'Jayadratha was displaying his tricks', and he took out his dagger from his waist and pierced the bear. The rug and the stick fell. Jayadratha laughed. This way, he showed several magical tricks. That was their first meeting. Since then, Nagarjuna developed a kind of regard for Jayadratha. But, he thought he had only such kind of skills. Later, after an year passed, after Nagarjuna went to this secret place twice or thrice, Jayadratha himself told him of his expertise in swordplay. All these days, Nagarjuna was thinking that he learnt these magical tricks from some tribal people. Nagarjuna did not believe in them. But, swordplay was not unknown to Nagarjuna. Because Srimukha and Vijayasimha were elder than him, Nirankusa's father taught them swordplay along with his son Nirankusa. In those days, Nagarjuna was quite young. By the time Nagarjuna grew up, Romapada sent him also to Nirankusa's father. But by then, Nirankusa's father was suffering with some disease. He could not teach Nagarjuna
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Rudraksha seed of the tree of called Guazuma tomentosa

properly. He taught Nagarjuna the theoretical aspects of the various techniques and told his as to how one should go about using them, and he taught him the secrets of all techniques. But, swordplay is not something that is learnt by listening. More than theory, it was the practice that mattered. Every person in the country knew that Vijayasimha was the best amongst the swordsmen in the country in displaying as well as deploying the various skills. But the secrets of those skills, there was none who knew them better than Nagarjuna. From those days to this day, there are some arts like this. There will be teachers for these arts. They teach the arts to quite a few of them. But they cannot display the skills that they taught themselves. But still, they are teachers of such arts. Whenever there were competitions held relating to swordplay inside the fort, Nagarjuna played the role of the examiner, judge, mediator several times. There were times when Nirankusa and Vijayasimha learnt an issue or two from Nagarjuna during such occasions . This was Nagarjuna's knowledge of the art of swordplay. Though he could not himself display them, he knew all of it. However great a person might be, nobody could harm him in a frontal attack. Therefore, he asked Jayadratha to show him his expertise in swordplay. Another time, on a clouds were all over the skies, on a night, both of them duelled with the sword. Nagarjuna got to know the capability of Jayadratha. From then on, he developed respect for Jayadratha. Later, in several conversations, Jayadratha spoke to Nagarjuna implicitly suggesting as though he were going to be a King. The latter asked former as to what he meant by such utterances. The former never answered. It was generally believed in Vikrama's home that Neela was suitable to be a Queen to a country. Nagarjuna was very fond of Neela. She was adept at statecraft. If her husband became the King of some country, then she would be suited to handle the state affairs is a thought that Nagarjuna had. Whenever Jayadratha suggested implicitly that he would become a King, the desire and fondness that he had for Neela propelled his mind slowly and gradually to a thought of he becoming a King of some country. After two to three years that went this way, Jayadratha told him, I have faith that you will become a King. Nagarjuna: I have two elder brothers. How would I become one? If they conquer some other country and make me a King of that, I would become one. Jaya: No, no, not that way. Not that way. When Nagarjuna asked how else, Jayadratha would not answer. One day, Jayadratha spoke to Nagarjuna this way: Inside a cavern, there is a Yakshini. 108 Nobody can see her during the day time. She stays in the cavern only in the nights. She looks like an old lady. Though, in reality, she is not one. Yakshini. In complete darkness, on some night when it is raining heavily, someone who could not find a shelter and is stuck in the forest, happens to enter the cavern, then that Yakshini deceives you. It happened to me once. I went inside this cavern, and wanted to see which place it was and lighted a flame using the flint stone. I saw this Yakshini. She appeared like a very old lady. With the help of the power of magical spells in my possession, I came to know that she was a Yakshini. I overpowered and brought her under my control using some spells. She knows the past, present and the future, everything. She saw my hand and foretold my future. I would take you to this lady. I somehow feel that you would become the King of this country. You have two elder brothers. Therefore, this is not possible. I do not know why I got this thought. We will go and see her.

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A kind of celestial being

After that, Nagarjuna pressed Jayadratha several times, and Jayadratha always said one must wait for the right time for the same, and after a few days, Jayadratha spoke this way: That Yakshini stays there throughout the year. We should wait till the middle of the rainy season. It must be cloudy without the sight of sun for at least four-five days. If there were four such days, on one of those nights, we should go to her. She stays in a cavern that is in the midst of the huge forest on the other side of Krishna. Whenever I wanted to see her, I go to see her on those days. Nagarjuna wanted things to be hurried up. He became an embodiment of waiting. For him, more than the thought that he would become a King, the thought of Neela becoming a Queen was more desiring. That wait was finally over for Nagarjuna this way... Nagarjuna showed his hand to the Yakshini. The torches came close so that the lines on the prince's palm were clearly visible. Yakshini saw them. She showed her disapproval. Asked him to remove his hand. Nagarjuna grabbed his hand back. Just then, the four torches suddenly turned off. There was a loud frightful laughter that started in the cave. Till then, Nagarjuna was not frightened. Suddenly, he was frightened. Did this Jayadratha bring him to this cave to kill him? What purpose does it serve him? Is this really the magic of Yakshini? Jayadratha said that the Yakshini was under his control. Nagarjuna was just one person. It's a different matter whether it was Yakshini or not! Jayadratha, and the four people bearing the torches were there. There were three others at the beginning of the cave. In total, eight of them. The people bearing the torches did not have any daggers with them. Nagarjuna had a sword tied to his waist like a belt. Nobody knew that he was carrying it. He removed the sword from his waist. Nirankusa's father taught him a technique. It was called Sarvadishaarakshini.109 That sword was soft. It would bend like a palm tree leaf. It does not feel like you are flashing it in the air, though you flash it. No harm is done to his body. Nagarjuna was employing this Sarvadishaarakshini. In the meantime, Jayadratha's loud voice was heard, Osi yakshini! I am going to lock you up in this cave. Just when these words were completed, it appeared as though a few words appeared to come from that old lady's voice. They were not very clear but it was understandable He is not a King. There is only one way to become one. He has two elder brothers. If he searches for ways of their death, or at least help in such a thing, they will die. Then, he would become the King. He cannot do this. If he does it, he would become King. What is the use of he becoming a King? He has a wife. She is a great political expert. Here is he who would not help in murdering his brothers. If his love for his wife is greater than his love for his brothers, then there is a possibility. Just then, the torches lit up again. The old lady was not visible there. Chapter 12 Six to eight miles above Vedadri, Krishna River flowed northward, and then turn eastward, and flow in the same direction till it reaches the sea. At the place where the river turned north, the Andhra kings constructed a great fort. The river was quite deep at that place. It was not easy to cross her there. The entire area to the east of that fort was Dhanyakataka. The fort was also part of Dhanyakataka. The only direction where
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Sarvadishaarakshini literally means protector from all directions

protection was necessary was the south. A great extent of land even in that direction was part of the kingdom. This fort was initially of great importance. As long as the rulers of Vidarbha were strong, and as long as there was friendship between the rulers of Andhra and Vidarbha, till then, there was no threat to the fort. The region between Krishna and Godavari was occupied by the Vidarbha and Andhra countries. The countries above Tapati were Nishadha and Chedi. The region between these two rivers had people belonging to Mleccha, Yavana, Saka, Barbara and Huna nations as residents for a long time. They did not have kingdoms. The entire region was occupied by a dense forest. Those royal men who were shunted out of the kingdom went and lived in the forest, became leaders of these Mleccha communities, and invaded the respective kingdoms from which they were expelled, and if the King of that country were capable enough, then he would punish those invaders and stop them from raising a banner of revolt for at least some time such situations kept happening since days of yore. Because they were not in favor of the civilization of Bharatadesa, they left orderly governance, societal customs, and lived as they pleased, and since they were lazy by nature, ate something that was available, and somehow spent their lives, leading the life of Mlecchas,savage tribes and uncivilized. At times, the fear of their invasions was present in people living in the land till the ends of both the rivers. From a long time back in history till the time this story took place, Vidarbha and Andhra did not face such threats. Therefore, the fort at the corner where the Krishna turned north from its eastward flow lost its prominence. That fort was under the control of the ancestors of Nirankusa for several hundreds of years. Till the time Nirankusa's father was alive, it was under him. Under his control. Gradually, the attention towards that fort reduced. Since there were no invasions by the savage tribes, and since the depth of the Krishna River being great, and the flow constant, the attention to the fort reduced. After the death of Nirankusa, there weren't anyone who cared for the fort. Nirankusa did not have any male siblings. He had one younger sister. Her name was Jambavati. Jambavati was younger than Nagarjuna. She was much younger than Vijayasimha. Nirankusa's mother and Jambavati were living in that fort. Nirankusa and his wife lived in their mansion in the torrupattu. Despite several requests of Nirankusa to come and stay along with them, his mother had other thoughts. 'Having married your father, I came to this fort. Since the time I came, I never ever stepped out. I am the Queen. This fort is mine. I must live my last breath in this fort. Your father died here. The place where his mortal body was burnt, it is there that my body also must burn. ' Nirankusa had to leave his sister as company to his mother. What is there in living alone? There were servants both male and female. Further, it was on the banks of a river! It was a difficult situation. On both the sides, the residences of rural folk were along the walls of the fort. A few other people belonging to the royal family lived in small forts that were nearby. There was a broad highway from this fort to the other forts on the east that was together called as the vast Dhanyakataka extending up to the sea. If Nirankusa travelled by horse, he would start early in the morning, and would reach there before the sun sets. He stayed there for that evening and the night, and he started early in the morning to reach his place of work the next day before the noon. Nirankusa may not have accepted the offer to be the commander of the torrupattu. Because his father was teaching swordplay, he never gave sufficient attention to the lands that he owned all his life. The laborers who cultivated that land, who were supposed to give them a sixth of the total produce, gave at times half of that, some other time, a quarter of that sixth, and for some other years, claimed that there was no proper produce, and pleaded before his father to exempt them from giving the due produce that

he was entitled to receive for those years, and his father, being magnanimous as he was, allowed them to go scot-free this way, their income fell drastically. Even Nirankusa behaved like his father till the time he realized his folly. Even at that time, if he carefully worked towards ensuring that that sixth of the total produce was legitimately theirs was given to them, things would have stabilised. But, having seen their state, Romapada gave the control of this torrupattu to Nirankusa. In those days, it was a great honor to be the commander of a torrupattu. The income was huge. He was equivalent to the military generals. There were ten such commanders. There were commanders of regiments, and troops who may be in hundreds of numbers. The Commanders of Torrupatlu were of the same rank as the military generals. Secret political discussions about the kingdom were held by an assembly that included ministers, commanders of army, commanders of torrupatlu, commanders of forts. Their total number was not more than a hundred. That was a big assembly. It is this big assembly that ruled the kingdom. This big assembly may meet at least once in every forty years or may not. But whenever there was a word about a foreign king invading the kingdom, this big assembly assembled. At other times, though it was an assembly for the namesake, there was no protocol of it meeting regularly. If you leave out the Commanders of army and ministers, the rest commanders of forts and torrupatlu were more or less independent. They had sovereign powers over the villages under their rule. But, they were still employed by Romapada. Since he was already a commander of his fort, he already had such an honored post. As he was also the commander of a torrupattu, he held two such posts. Under the control of the commander of a torrupattu, there were no villages inhabited by common people. There were ten to twelve villages which were rich in cattle wealth (livestock). Those villages did not have people from any other community other than herdsmen. Thousands of cows that were there in those ten-twelve villages all belonged to the King. That is, they belonged to the kingdom. But the cattle wealth from the cows present in one village belonged to the commander of the torrupattu. That is, if you were the commander of a torrupattu, then one twelfth of the wealth of the entire torrupattu is yours. You get a lot of income from that. That is, he has at least a thousand cows. People say that he has 'Sahasragodhana' that is wealth equivalent to a thousand cows. This wealth was something that keeps growing continuously. If you have a thousand cows, then, easily, you'd have at least two to three hundred oxen enough for a yoke. All that was gold, and silver! Those yoke of oxen were bought by farmers. A few mlecchas bought them. That is, the savage tribes! They took the livestock to the forests, allowed them to graze, and took them to the farming villages to sell them. Gold and silver were molten and were in vogue as lumps and pieces weighing about ten grams. All the transactions beyond barter exchanges occurred in gold or silver. Therefore, Nirankusa left his mother and sister in their fort and lived with his wife and two children at the place of his command. His mother's aunt also stayed with his mother. She stayed with them since a long time as a part of their family. She did not have anyone. She was dependent on his family. She was quite old. But, her eyesight has not deteriorated. The strength of her teeth was intact. Her ability to work was much more than the maid servants. Every maid servant used to fear her. She was very skilled at extracting the produce from his lands, much more skilled than his father. That is why Nirankusa left his mother and sister under her guardianship and used to visit them once in a month or two. At times, he also went there once in ten days. Though the wall of the fort was strong, the mansion inside it was small. There were four-five rooms. They cooked in one room. One was his father's. Of the other two rooms, one was his, and the

other his sister's. From within the kitchen, there was a way to Jambavati's room. There was a way from his father's room to the kitchen. There was way from his room to his father's. Another to the kitchen. His room was spacious. His mother always lives in his father's room. His mother's aunt apart from those times when she had some work, she always stayed in the kitchen. That was not a room. You could say it was a big balcony. In that balcony, you could cook to a side. At the center, you could dine. To the other side, she stayed. Every day, at night, she arranged for a cot at the same place as they ate, and slept there. She had great affection towards Jambavati than the daughter of her sister, his mother. When Srimukha and Vijayasimha were learning swordplay in that fort, Jambavati was a four year old girl. When she was young girl, she was cute, and her beauty could not be described to be this much. She was as pretty as a doll. A grain descended directly from the silvery island.110 The study of Srimukha, Vijayasimha and Nirankusa in swordplay went on till the time she was seven to eight years old. Both Srimukha and Vijayasimha came home after that. After that, about twelve to thirteen years passed. Both Srimukha and Vijayasimha never went to their home again. But, Vijayasimha had a memory of Jambavati deep in his mind. He saw her when she was eight or nine. By that time itself, she looked like the most beautiful damsel who could mesmerize the entire world (Jaganmohini). Even when one is young, one has this sense of gender somewhere. It remains unexpressed. For some, that thought is intense before they attain the required age. The idea of female and male in human race, depending on the different different characteristic features of one's character, is of different different kinds. An individual's such deliberation, never crosses Dharma at any point of time. In another's thoughts, though it goes to any extent in one's mind, it never crosses the line of the society in the physical body. For another, there is no thought that intensifies in the mind. At that moment, it indulges in an adharmic act. For some other, both the mind as well as the body are spoilt. For another individual, he is depraved in mind as well as body. But there is no limit to his sense of guilt and repents it. All these and more kinds of differences characterize the male-female relationships in human nature making it difficult to assert with authority on their nature at a particular point of time and space. Vijayasimha was in love with Jambavati right in his childhood. Jambavati was a little girl then. Vijayasimha did not yet attain a marriageable age. Vijayasimha thought of marrying Jambavati in his childhood. But, who knew that he had such a thought in his mind? Not just that, there were no give-take (in marriage) kind of relations between the two families for generations together. There were other kind of relations, but not of this kind. It was not even known if their kinship was appropriate enough to be permitted to marry. There is no such thought also. When the question of Vijayasimha's marriage came up, he wanted to tell his parents that he wanted to marry her. But he was not close to either of his parents. The protocols and dignity to be maintained in royal dynasties are different. By the time, the boys attain a certain age, the apartments they reside in, their servants are different. The manner in which they are brought up is different. Their teachers are different. They could get to meet their father once in a crore times. The same is the case with the mother. In such a state, who could he tell? Moreover, his life was mostly spent in practising swordplay. There was also this internal envy and enmity that grew with time between him and Nirankusa. The enmity was deep down their hearts but no one else knew about it. If his Guru were alive, he could have asked him directly to give his daughter in marriage to him. He thought of
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Teli deevi ?

asking several times. But he could not muster enough courage. But who was he when it came to questions of marriage? His father would decide some match. He must marry her. If he opposed his father and married on his own, his father would ask him to go his way. He would have to leave the country. After his Guru died, the next in command there was Nirankusa. And between them, there existed bitter enmity. If he were to ask, Nirankusa would surely reject. As things were this way, Nirankusa was given the command over torrupattu. After a few days, an idea flashed Vijayasimha's mind. Nirankusa's mother and her aunt were there. In fact, it is only they who stayed there. And he was a Prince. He had intimate relations with that family. The old lady had great affection towards him. If he went and spoke to his Guru's wife and made a mention of his desire, if she were in agreement, she would herself go and convey the same to her son. Then, he can talk to Nirankusa. With this thought in mind, when Nirankusa left for his torrupattu and it was confirmed that he would not return to the fort in the near future, he went to their fort in complete secrecy. Both Nirankusa's mother, and her aunt gave him a hearty welcome. They said How long has it been since we saw you, son! They made some snacks for him. By that time, Jambavati was in her youth. There was no big separate apartment for the ladies there. Therefore, the etiquette associated with such an apartment was not there. Therefore, Jambavati came to see Vijayasimha. She behaved with him the same way as she used to behave when she was eight. She laughed a little, pulled his leg a little, paid him respects a little, and this way, till the sunset, time passed quickly as the atmosphere was lively and was very pleasant. Vijayasimha came back home. He did not make a mention of that visit. He did not know as to what he should do. He went there again, after a few months. There was no difference in terms of the treatment that he received from them. But, Jambavati was not mingling with him as well as she did in his earlier visit. She did not talk to him the way she did the previous time. She stayed away. But, whenever he saw her, she kept smiling that looked charming. She displayed a kind of tender shyness that could not clearly be classified as to which type it was. Having stayed there for some time, he returned home. By then, he realized that he did not have the courage to go up to his Guru's wife and ask her daughter's hand for his marriage. Moreover, her mother did not seem to like it. He felt that it was because of that that Jambavati could not behave intimately with him as she did in his first visit. After a few more days, he made an audacious attempt and went there again. Even that day, Jambavati did not come to the place where he was. She was seen only once. That time, when he saw her, she was completely bashful from her head to the toe. When he was talking to her mother, and her mother's aunt seated with them, her mother's aunt said Son! My son-in-law taught fencing to Jambavati. Do you know this? They say that you are an expert in fencing. Why don't you test her skills? Nirankusa's mother did not speak. With that, that discussion ended. After that, he never went back to the fort. Nirankusa came to know that Vijayasimha visited his fort two to three times and Vijayasimha got to know that Nirankusa knew this as it was written in his eyes. The heirapparent was crowned as the Crown Prince. The manner of Nirankusa's approach to duelling with the sword that day in the swordplay shows that were on display indicated that he was ready to cause an injury to Vijayasimha. As this was going on, he learnt that just beside the bliss of his conjugal life with Bhaama that flowed like a stream of honey, his desire for beauty was flowing like a narrow mountain stream of water that looked like the tender coconut milk. Though he got married, and had the lovely exceptional experience of getting served by his sisters-in-law

for those eighteen days, and though he experienced the entirety of Sringara Rasa in his marital life with Bhaama, at all points of time, Jambavati was overseeing all this from a corner in Vijayasimha's mind. His affection for Jambavati remained as it was. Now, there was no relation between him and Jambavati. He could just go, see and come. Even her mother need not suspect him as it was earlier. Even for him, it was a visit just like that! What is the outcome of going and seeing just for the sake of it? But, what is the kind of urge that is there in one's mind? This intense desire or craving is a strange thing. It has an outer color that is different from its inner color. In fact, there might be ten to twelve different colors in the interiors. Mind is an expert at being deceptive. Mind deceives itself and thinks that it is not being self-deceptive. How did it matter as to what happens? He went there once. This time Jambavati came and spoke to him freely. Her mother did not object. Her grand mother made a mention of her skills in fencing, again. Her mother requested him to find a good match for Jambavati. Vijayasimha stayed there for a while and returned. But as he came back home Jambavati, overcome by bashfulness all over her body, gave him a look or two, as she served a beverage touching the of tips of his fingers all of which appeared strange to Vijayasimha. Why just strange! Those were some of the aspects from the chapter on the first union that he learnt, saw from Bhaama and that which was known to him! From then on, Vijayasimha started behaving as though his mind were corrupted by the desire for a secret mating with Jambavati. What is the point in going to their place several times, during the day? Her mother, and the aunt of her mother were always present. Since he was already married, the question of his getting married again never arose. He must meet her furtively. If she really loved him, that is when his desire for beauty will attain its gratification. But, how could he go there by night? If he went there, how could he enter in? How to wake her up? In order to know all these intricacies he must know the customs inside their fort, custom of their family, and he must know everything including who sleeps where. At least for this sake, he must go there another time. However many times he went, he must ensure that when he was there, he must ensure that Nirankusa did not end up coming there at the same time. He must know as to what her mother, and her mother's aunt thought about his numerous visits. He came to know the quality of the thought of her mother's aunt. She seemed to be positively inclined to see both him and Jambavati together. All the objection was from her mother. He had a doubt that that objection might be at the instance of Nirankusa. Other than that, was it he alone who learnt swordplay there? Even the heir apparent learnt there. Nagarjuna learnt there. They never went there any time? Why should he go? Why did he go? Several people saw it. What would they think was the purpose of his visit? Vijayasimha decided one thing firmly in his mind. Whatever be the case, he must surely go there, that time. He must come back only after knowing all the intricacies! So, he went. Jambavati behavior indicated intimacy again. It appeared as if her mother disapproved it. But she did not say anything. The maternal grandmother made several references and witty statements laced with several words that apparently hinted, and gave some meaning in its distant sense to the effect that it will be very good to see both of them as man and wife. She warned: Jambavati! You duel with Vijayasimha. Let's see! - three times. The third time, Jambavati was instigated she tied her saree to her back tightly, taking the part of the saree over her shoulders from behind her to be tightened round her waist, and came with a sword and a shield. Vijayasimha neither had a sword nor a shield. He laughed, and indicated with gestures that he neither had the sword nor the

shield. But where was the deficit for swords and shields in their home? She brought both of them and gave it to Vijayasimha. To the north of their house, on the banks of Krishna river, there was a platform for practice of swordplay that was as vast as the area of their house. There weren't anyone who looked at that direction now. About five-six yards of that place was cleared a little, where Jambavati practised fencing. Both these duelled each other at that place. Nirankusa's father taught Jambavati as much theoretical aspects about swordplay without its actual practice as he did to Nagarjuna. But there was one difference between Nagarjuna and Jambavati. Nagarjuna never put his knowledge to practice. Just the way his Guru taught him, he tells them to others. He has never practised. Never did he employ the techniques on anyone. But whenever someone deployed a skill to harm him, he recognized it oh! so this was the technique employed and escaped from getting hurt. That is all. Jambavati, in her various attempts at practising what her father taught her by mouth, she, all on her own, tried to imagine that there was an opponent on the other side and brought all that was taught to her to be deployable. Vijayasimha was big and well-built. He had a tough body that is nurtured by daily exercise. He had a slight brownish complexion. He had a body that could move quickly. He was like a lion. If Jambavati stood beside him, her head would be at the same level as his shoulders. She had a slender body. But, because of her training, her body was like a tender branch of a neem tree. Her body, untouched by a male, was flying in the air. The sword and the shield that she used were not heavy. They were easy weapons. With their help, one can hurt the opponent in short strikes without the opponent knowing as to which direction the sword comes, and hurt in a distinct manner. The sword in her hand, that was neither long, was very thin, and can bend in any direction and it was not possible to make sure that the strike of the sword could be estimated with precision. The middle portion of her sword may end up striking the opponent's shield at its bottom most part. If the distance between the edge of the shield and the opponent's body were not great, her sword may turn sideways and the opponent might be injured. Though Vijayasimha was someone with quick movements, it became difficult for him to defend her strokes from the sides by jumping in tandem with her extremely light body. A duel must be between equals. He was a lion. He could fight with another lion. But that which came in front of him was a deer. She was fearless. And he had love towards her. Supposing that deer had sharp nails and teeth like he had! How long could such a deer hoodwink a lion? Jambavati hoodwinked Vijayasimha that much. By the time this friendly fight came to an end, the blood in Jambavati's body pumped up to fill her face, and the nerves of her body swelled, and her face was lifted by her enthusiasm making her look like Vijayalakshmi. Vijayasimha had four to five scratches over his body and blood came out from them. That fight was spectated by only two people! Her mother, and grandmother! The servants were disallowed to come there. Her mother was very happy to see the skill that her daughter displayed. Overwhelmed by the happiness that came to her at that time, she completely forgot that Vijayasimha was a man, and moreover a married one, whereas Jambavati was an unmarried girl. Jambavati dressed the minor injuries on his body by cleaning them with a wet cloth, and while applying medicines taken from the bottoms of the vessels containing lotions that were used during her father's time, was conversing about several things, laughing and making him laugh You treated me like a small girl! - You did not duel with me! - Since my sword can twist this way and that like a waistband that caused these minor injuries to you! Your sword is a doubled-edged sword. It does not bend! so saying, she was

appreciating, conveying her apologies, cajoling, and as she was conversing, rubbing her body with his, standing as though her body was very close to his, and in this time when she was dressing him when the saree on her chests fell on his shoulders, and face, and when she was adjusting it back, she appeared to have willfully touched his shoulder and face and this way she showered her love in so unusual a manner that it could not be described. It appeared to Vijayasimha that every quality on display was an outcome just as it would express itself when arising out of sensual love. It so happened that during this time when she was dressing him, both her mother and grandmother were not present for some time. During that time, Vijayasimha touched her thigh, the back of her neck, her hands and her waist, as if it were unintended. She not only excused such fondling, but also appeared to have smiled at it. He came to know that the place where Jambavati dressed him and this conversation took place, that was the room where she was the only one who slept; in the room to the west on the opposite side of the door of that room, slept her grandmother, and that that door was always kept open, and a lamp is lit all the time, and that that room was the room to the south of the house, and the window of that room was always kept open to satiate the desire for cool breeze, and that her mother slept in a distant room that was to the north-west of that room. When she excused his fondling, he joined his fingers with hers, once. She smiled and took them off skilfully. Finally, when he was about to leave, Jambavati came along outside the fort to some distance into the fields to see him off. Vijayasimha dared to ask her: Suppose that I come some midnight and am visible from the window to the south direction in your room! Can you recognize me? Or would you think I am a thief? To which she replied, You are a thief, right! So, I'd think that you are one! and laughed. After that there was not much to be talked. She went back. One day, that thief came. Jambavati was not afraid. She opened her door. He forcefully took her to a distance from the house. After a long time, she came back and slept in her room. The rest of the night that day, she experienced a kind of fear that she never ever had. She experienced a kind of happiness that she never knew earlier. The rest of the night, she felt as if she were walking on a narrow pathway that was between the hell and the heaven. That pathway was too narrow for walking. Therefore, she kept moving this way and that walked in the heaven for some time, and at other times, in the hell. She does not have a clue about what she did and why she did it. When Vijayasimha came, she was in the know about what was happening till she opened the door. There is some sweet desire that shone in her heart. She lost control on herself after she opened the door. Instead of that desire, her heart was filled with an equal amount of fear. As long as she was with him, that was there primarily in her mind. That sweet thought inside her was as if 'the bright light of the moon was filling the dark cloud that shrouded it'. Thought the presence of the cloud was true there, the impact of the moonlight became greater. That cloud did not have the strength to reject the moonlight. She was insomniac at that time of the night. This secret was unknown to her grandmother. Neither did her mother know. There were at least twenty five to thirty such nights that passed in a calendar year. It was surprising as to how the world got to know about something as secret as this! Before the year ended, it was known. So many people started gossiping about it. Jambavati's mother got to know. Her grandmother got to know. Nirankusa got to know. It was known in the fort. But nobody dares speak that in the open. Jambavati stopped

sleeping in that room. She started sleeping in Nirankusa's room. Nirankusa tried daily to find out the details of Vijayasimha's trips. Vijayasimha kept getting the information about the days when it was impossible for Nirankusa to leave the torrupattu. Vijayasimha had a few informers in the torrupattu. Some of the servants in Nirankusa's house were disposed favorably towards Vijayasimha. They had a kind of respect that he was a prince. A desire that he would be giving them some money. Their respect for Jambavati lead them to be pleased that she was not going to get some small person as her husband but it was a prince who would be her husband. This would go on for some time. After that, Vijayasimha would marry Jambavati. There were several princes who had a couple or more wives. This was the thinking of the servants. There was no obstacle for this entire thing on account of the change in the room where Jambavati slept. Nirankusa knew that all this was not possible without the help of some of the servants employed at his home. But how could he know who they were? By then, he punished a few of them. He threatened one or two of them. They would say they did not know anything. They bear the punishment. One or two of them were expelled. Later, Nirankusa got to know himself. This is as good as spreading the word himself. He stopped talking to his sister. Whenever he was at home, she remained compliant. A thought occurred to Nirankusa. Because he was a prince, all over the place, people would have more respect towards him, than him. Therefore, it would not be possible for him to trace the secret journeys of him. Srimukha anyway was the Crown Prince! It was impossible to identify his movements through him. Then there was Nagarjuna. He should get close to Nagarjuna, and make him believe that he was not being friendly to extract information about this secret from him, and that way, he must find it through him. He also knew that his father had taught Nagarjuna and Jambavati several techniques that were not taught to him. Earlier, he thought of learning by asking Jambavati several times. But, that was not suitable for his state as her elder brother. Though Nagarjuna was younger than him, because the former's knowledge was his father's knowledge, there was nothing wrong in learning from him. This knowledge was not necessary for him to conquer Vijayasimha. Using the strength of the magical spells that he learnt from Gangu, he can kill Vijayasimha whenever he wanted. Friendship with Nagarjuna was a pretext to know Vijayasimha's secrets. Having decided thus, he started making friends with Nagarjuna. This friendship went on for five to six months. Nirankusa saw some extreme qualities in Nagarjuna. They did not make sense to Nirankusa. At times, Nagarjuna was extremely energetic. At other times, he was depressed. He did not know the reasons for that. That year was of the name Paraabhava. The rainy season passed. He came to know that during the rainy season, Vijayasimha went to his home four to five times. Was it Vijayasimha's expertise? There were situations created such that on certain days it was impossible for Nirankusa to leave the torrupattu. That day, Nagarjuna was deep in distress. Nirankusa asked him about it repeatedly. Finally, Nagarjuna said, Oyi! There is one scholar, a fantastic swordsmen, someone who could turn the entire kingdoms upside down, who came to get a job with our King. He and I are close friends. He was not given a job, and over and above that, there was a slander match that accused him to be a spy of another country, that he was bad by some people. If he were made a Commander of army or a Minister, he is someone capable of making our King, the Emperor of the entire Bharatadesa! This is what you call as creating an obstacle for the

wealth that is coming your way. 111 The King ordered him to be taken into custody. Is it these people who are to arrest him? He could jump into the water and swim a distance of eight miles like a fish. He could stroll in fire. Suddenly, he could appear like a bear. He could make the gods listen to his words. He would not be caught by them. I am deeply distressed at the thought that I would not get to meet him again. I am angry. I would get your work done. Chapter 13 Srimukha begot a son. He was now ten years old. Nagarjuna had a daughter. That was her sixth year. Vijayasimha had no children. Nagarjuna's daughter was named Subhadra. Subhadra was a cute little girl. She always stayed in the apartments of her paternal uncles. Everyday, before the dawn, Bhaama went and woke up Subhadra, coaxed and cajoled her into coming along with her to her apartment. She always asked for the monkey on the hill. And that monkey on top of the hill must come down to her! Or else, she would not let Bhaama or Vijayasimha live. Kalindi would not let Srimukha live. Why go that far! If that monkey did not come down, Romapada would set himself out to plough the hill down so that the hill collapses and the monkey ends up within your reach. Even Srimukhas son was pampered a lot. But, there was no way one can compare the manner Subhadra was pampered with the manner he got pampered. Before he crossed five, he was initiated into learning with Aksharaabhyaasa. From then on, it was all learning. That learning was not of just one kind! One one side it was study of Shastras (weaponry). On the other, study of Sastras. He would never be with Kalindi. He would go on his own to Vinaya Sarma's house and sit there. He listened to the Puranas that Vinaya Sarma narrated. He tires Jahnavi out by insisting that she tell him stories. With such a son, Kalindi could not satiate her motherly love. Early morning Bhaama takes her along, bathes her, combs her hair and dresses her. The moment Bhaama turns the other way, she dishevels her neatly combed hair. She spoilt her clothes with dirt, whose marks were all over. The question was from where did so much dirt come in the royal mansion! In some corner, there would be a little amount of fine clay gathered and put as a spherical lump. That lump must surely be there. Otherwise, she would cry. What was it for Subhadra must make wheels of a cart with that clay. She must make toys with it. By this time, Kalindi would send a message. She must embellish Subhadra with all kinds of ornaments. From there, she must go to her paternal grandmother. She must sit on Romapada's lap for some time. All his clothes must get dirty. At times, she would have her lunch there. At other times, Neela sends a message across for her to be sent. That message was futile. On some days, if by the evening, Subhadra reached Neela's place, then she went there, or else, she stayed with her grandmother or with one of her two aunts. Wherever Subhadra was, it meant the same for Nagarjuna. He never took care of Subhadra. But from the Kartika month of Paraabhava year, he was paying attention to her daughter's case. He went to Vijayasimha's house looking for her. He went to Srimukhas house. He asked if Subhadra was there. They would reply in the negative. He would be about to leave. They used to request him to stay for a while. This way, on account of Nagarjuna going to his brothers' homes several times, sitting and staying back, also having his meal there, and in the process having extensive and
111

'siri raa mokaalodduta'

lengthy discussions with his brothers, his relation with his brothers strengthened tremendously in four to five months. Nagarjuna was a good conversationalist. He could speak humourously. He could narrate some fantastic stories, and make one laugh. He could speak about several arts as they were. It was not known as to how he knew, but he knew about the customs, stories, beliefs, arts and sciences of Mlecchas and also the nations where they lived and their histories, comprehensively. Srimukha asked him about them with great interest. Since Srimukha was going to be the King in the future, he had a desire to have the knowledge of all these things. Between the Godavari and Tapati rivers, there were several Mleccha tribes that turned to being savage tribes. For the past four to five hundred years, they were not invading Vidarbha nor were they invading Andhra. Their pressure was more on Nishadha and Chedi countries. During the course of the narration of the stories, it was mentioned that four to five hundred years ago, there were instances of tensions due to them in the Andhradesa. There was a tradition of invading four to five hundred years that way, and the next four to five hundred years this way. Therefore, Srimukha used to think that during his reign, those invasions might begin. That was the reason why he showed great interest in listening to those stories from Nagarjuna. In the course of these discussions, Srimukha developed great respect for his second brother. There were a few rumours pointing against Vijayasimha's character. But, there was not even a single comment against Nagarjuna's character. It was known to everyone that Nagarjuna was an expert at the theory of swordplay. Whenever Nagarjuna gave a discourse, he was a true native of Bharatadesa. It appears that Nagarjuna's scholarship about tradition, Vedas, Sastras and Puranas was deep. He knew Srauta very well. It was not known how, but he gave great lectures on the secrets of the manner in which one performed rituals. All this was taught to Nagarjuna by Jayadratha. Jayadratha used to tell him the procedural details of the respective rituals and he used to point the faults in all of them. Nagarjuna's trust was in the faults that Jayadratha pointed out! The thing that he narrated to Srimukha was the manner the ritual was performed! Whenever there was a reference to Vijayasimha, Nagarjuna remained silent. Nirankusa's sister was the daughter of the Guru for all of them. She was like their sister. There were no marriage relations between their family and their Guru's family. It was betrayal of Nirankusa's father. Though their relationship was distant, there existed no kinship between them. Nirankusa was one of the power centers in the kingdom. Whether he liked this or not! It was not fair to behave in a manner that angered him. There is no problem at all if he married Jambavati. As long as Bhaama was there, Vijayasimha would not get himself another wife. Bhaama did not have children. Even then, Vijayasimha would not marry again. In such a scenario, it was unjust to dishonour Jambavati by breaching her modesty. All these were not words that were said at a single time. Over a span of a few months, at different times, one of these things came out one by one. At another time, Srimukha said he did not believe that there was any relation between Jambavati and Vijayasimha. Nagarjuna said that he did not believe it either. Srimukha saw Nagarjuna steadily, without any movement in his eyes. Nagarjuna laughed. And Nagarjuna also went to Vijayasimha's house. He used to stay there also for quite some time. Most of such stay of his was during the evening times. The time when Vijayasimha practised swordplay. Gradually, it came down to both the brothers taking a sword each and practising. Vijayasimha gradually noticed the skills and quickness that he saw in Jambavati, also in Nagarjuna. Oho! This is a strange art. It has more secrets in theory than in practice. If one learnt from the Guru, he would learn only those

techniques that were widely known to everyone. One would not know the intricacies in the theory that translates down to certain techniques in practice. Those techniques do not have wide recognition in terms of their deployment. They cannot not be described. Based on what you hear, in terms of how you bend, strike, or stretch your sword, a few special effects appeared. These were known to Jambavati. So did Nagarjuna know them. Vijayasimha met Jambavati's only by night, and never during the day. He had a contact with Nagarjuna during the day. Nagarjuna made references to Jambavati quite a few times. On one occasion - that their Guru taught those secrets to both Jambavati and him; on another, that in applying those techniques, the skill that women had, men could never have and that Jambavati was an expert at them; that he saw Jambavati long ago, and has not seen her after that; this way he used to make references to Jambavati now and then, about the wife of their Guru, and the old lady in their house, and a mention here and there of Nirankusa. In all these discussions, he never gave an impression that he ever got to know or suspected that there was an amorous relation between Jambavati and Vijayasimha. Vijayasimha himself tried to see if he knew anything about this by making slant references to their relation. Nagarjuna replied like he were dumb. That gave Vijayasimha the confidence that he knew nothing. It was known to everyone that Nagarjuna was deeply attached to Neela, that he was a slave of Neela, that he particular to chose to marry Neela and that he would not see a different lady other than Neela. There was only one suspicious thing about Nagarjuna. That suspicion was created in him by Chandrasekhara Varma. That Nagarjuna went to some Mleccha congresses on densely clouded night times when nasty things are performed and that he was learning something there and coming back. But, what was that to do with his character? Nagarjuna, by nature, would never care for any interference. Oh, his Neela and his daily routine! Vijayasimha developed deep love towards Nagarjuna. One day, during a conversation while taking a break from the practice of swordplay, Nagarjuna said, Respected Brother! Your skills are useful to be employed in a battleground. It is useful for cutting off the trunks of elephants, the front legs of horses. The art that Jambavati and I know is a delicate skill that ensures that the sandal paste applied on our bodies is removed in splinters without harming the body with the help of the strokes of our swords. Both these skills cannot be together at one place. The one who learnt this delicate skill cannot learn your rough, overpowering skill. The one who learnt your overpowering skill may learn this delicate skill. When both these strong, rough and overpowering skill and this delicate, gentle and tactful skill are together it would be really good. Vijayasimha said, When both of us are together, it is equivalent to both the skills being together, no? Nagarjuna replied, Not like that! You should have an acquaintance with the lady who learnt that skill. She must become your wife. If respected Bhaama Devi knew this art then that would be special. But who would teach her this skill? Why not let Jambavati teach her? Possibly, after the death of our Guru, Jambavati may have forgotten this skill. Nirankusa comes to see me now and then. He never makes any reference to Jambavati. Vijayasimha, swayed by this, replied without much thought, How could Jambavati come here? How would she teach Bhaama this skill? Bhaama learnt gentle skills but not swordplay. Later, gradually, the references to Jambavati increased in their talk. There were mentions made about her beauty. Slowly, but surely, Vijayasimha expressed his desire for her with Nagarjuna. ***

The year Paraabhava passed. Plavanga started. That was the spring season. One day, a cuckoo on a low and bushy mango tree in the fort, started singing. There was a gentle breeze blowing across in the evenings. Several years after Bhaama came to the palace, the people from her parents' home took her to her previous place. It was with great difficulty that the people from her parents' home received the permission from King Romapada to take her along with them. For the past one month, Bhaama was not in town. Nirankusa tightened the security in his fort. He replaced all the old servants with new ones. It was as if he blocked the way from all the eight sides to ensure that Vijayasimha does not enter his fort! The waves of breeze carrying the sweet fragrances from the garden with jasmines that was to the south of the platform for practising swordplay at his fort were repeatedly hitting him. Vijayasimha was enervated. Caring a damn for consanguinity, heartbroken and having lost control on his mind, Vijayasimha spoke to Nagarjuna this way: Oyi! You are a truly good man. Someone who strictly adheres to monogamy. I am not so. I am not someone worthy of having born to our father. I kept this under wraps till today. I will tell you a secret on the condition that you would take an oath not to tell it to anyone else. Nagarjuna asked: What do you want me to taken the oath on? Vijayasimha said, Take an oath naming Vedas and Sastras. For Nagarjuna, whose mind was filled with thoughts of Mlecchas, Vedas and Sastras were not authorities that he would place his trust on. He took an oath in their name. One, he was his younger brother; two, a person who has taken a vow to have only one wife and was loyal to her; three, someone who was well-versed in several arts; four, someone who taught him several secrets of swordplay; five, he was the father of Subhadra who captured all his affection; six, when he was thinking that he was born to spoil the name of his father, someone who behaved in a manner without any such flaws and was born of his father; seven, someone who does not command great respect for he was not the Crown Prince. Owing to all these reasons, and since Bhaama was not around in the palace, and since it was months since he last met Jambavati, and since it became extremely difficult to arrange for a meeting with her, since the sweet song of the male cuckoos was ringing in his ear, and since the sweet breeze was causing great discomfort, as much as if scorpions were crawling on one's body, since the waves of the intoxicating smell of Maghya112 flowers were paining him the same way as the pain inflicted to the devotees of Sri Kalahasteeswara113 the snake and the elephant when their enmity resulted in the snake slithering up along the nostrils of the elephant below its trunk and reached the projection on the head of the elephant and settled there, Vijayasimha, overcome by diffidence and desperation, narrated the entire tale of his love affair with Jambavati to Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna listened to the story with utmost feeling of sympathy. He acted as though he was very happy. On the one hand when Vijayasimha was saying that the act that he committed was fraught with mistakes, Nagarjuna countered it by supporting his act. 'Brother! I know. I said you should get Jambavati to teach this art to my sister-in-law. Now, there is no need for that. If this is the relation that you have with Jambavati, then these arts that are at two different places is as good as being jointly together at the same place. Did you ever duel with her with the sword? You said that your first contact with her happened on account of this, right! Brother, how lucky Jambavati is! It is her good fortune to get a husband like you. Her beauty and your valor that is a master combination. Paramesvara sets everything in the right place after
112 113

A kind of white flower with single row of long petals Story of Sri Kalahasteeswara in short (to be filled)

deep thought. My soul is very happy on account of your union' saying so, he appeared to mirror all his happiness in his visage. From then on, whenever they met, there was definitely a mention of Jambavati. Nagarjuna told him to marry Jambavati. The latter said that that would not work. The former said that he would go and talk to the King and the Queen and convince them. Unlike the past, now, he had better rapport with the Crown Prince. He said that he could also get him to accept. Vijayasimha rejected all these proposals. One day, Nagarjuna said, Hello Mister! Is it the case that both of you have been in love with each other! Both of you are mutually related! Why do you hesitate on marrying her? And when he asked the question forcefully, Vijayasimha replied, Oyi! I am not inclined to marry her. I told her. She agreed. As long as Bhaama is there, I would not marry another lady. Though I have the confidence that I could get Bhaama to accept it, I would not do it. I have already betrayed Bhaama earlier. She has this as a suspicion in her mind. That suspicion is currently deep down and more or less erased. I have been pushing it to the sides to the extent possible. Oyi! Bhaama means a goddess like lady. Whoever has come to our fort, all of them are goddesses. There is a specialty about Bhaama. Well, why discuss that! It is improper to discuss such things amongst brothers. But Nagaa! You do not seem like my brother! You look to me like a very close friend. I do not wish to hurt Bhaama's mind with this. Jambavati is positive about this thought of mine. I told her about this entire thing. She knows very well that our marriage does not sit well. She is someone who devotedly considers me as her husband. Even if Nirankusa forces her, she would not marry. She does not even insist on me marrying her. She is a peculiar lady one finds in creation. There is womanhood in her. It is not there. Whenever I am there, on account of the cupid's strike, there is a desire for a male that takes birth in her. At other times, that desire is not present in her. Even in our first union, she just had a natural curiosity about the playful thoughts about love, but not a physical desire. The base physical act in Jambavati was only to follow me. For her, I am the husband. There is no need for the societal sanction with a formal marriage. She does not even have the desire to meet me repeatedly. Wherever I am, she keeps thinking about me in her mind. I am the one experiencing the distress about her absence. She does not experience the pangs of separation. Whenever I meet her, in the worlds of Sringara Rasa, she is as favorable towards me as Bhaama is - saying this, he sighed. He was worried. He was distressed. Lion like Vijayasimha turned into a cat. Nagarjuna, looking at his plight, acted as though he pitied him. He brought forth a kind of energy into him and said, Owing to the evilness of Nirankusa, your union is not taking place. Nirankusa keeps coming to me. I shall clandestinely manage him to set up both of your union. If I do not make arrangements in favor of your meeting with her, you can change my name and call me what you like. This is a vow. Your relation is beyond normal human relationships. It has even crossed the heavenly relations. There would not be a damsel of the kind like Jambavati in the entire creation. From what I draw from what you told me, it is amazing to note her remarkable concentration and think of such an ascetic woman. No woman would be like that. She is indeed a startling instance of a woman in creation. Unless I arrange for a union between you and her, the strange feeling of excitement that fills my mind would not be satiated' Nagarjuna repeatedly said this about ten twelve times before he left leaving Vijayasimha assuaged. Later, one day when he was discussing with Srimukha, as if he were reluctant to convey for a fact that the relation between Jambavati and Vijayasimha was real, and if he were to assert that it were so, he said that he could as well prove it. That he could tell as to

which day and at what time Vijayasimha went to see Jambavati; and if he wanted to verify on his own, Srimukha could check for himself by going to that place at that time and seeing it with his own eyes. Not only that, having told all that Vijayasimha told him, that though he asked him to marry Jambavati, he rejected the idea and that this is seriously an Adharmic thing, and without actually making a pressing statement, he acted as though his concern was that that was an adharmic thing and otherwise it was of no consequence to him. Srimukha strongly disliked anything that was not dharmic. He was angered. That someone who was born of his father did this was not at all acceptable to him. He would not believe that it were true till he saw it with his own eyes. This, was Srimukhas point of view. Nagarjuna spent time with Nirankusa over this issue slowly, and gradually, and in the process he rubbed it in him, and to some extent instigated him and this way, he made things topsy-turvy in several ways. In the end, Nirankusa came to a state where he could not do anything. If that happened, then this would happen. If this happened, then that would happen. He made Nirankusa dance to his tunes in thousand different ways by complicating114 matters by connecting things that are as far apart as one's leg and one's finger one way and the other interchangeably. Nirankusa was taken aback by Nagarjuna's smartness. Nagarjuna was like Vamana.115 All the princes exercised extensively. Therefore, all of them had strong bodies. Based on the structure of his body, he was a Vamana. In spite of being a Vamana, some person because of the muscular body that he builds, develops a broad chest, and this big arms, and grow like a bear. Nagarjuna did not grow like that. Right since his childhood, he exercised in a manner where his short structure got strengthened without growing stout. He was not just short but also thin. You never notice any solemnity in his visage. Whoever saw him would never feel that he was from a great royal family or that he was a highly talented person. For those who knew him well, they were aware that he was not someone to be taken lightly.116 But, Nirankusa did not know that he was this clever. Why just Nirankusa! No one else knew. Prior to that, Nagarjuna himself did not know. He never thought that he was that intelligent. It was his association with Jayadratha that brought all his cleverness out. Initially, Jayadratha thought that Nagarjuna would do as he advised. But, the magical spells that he showed to Nagarjuna did not win him over. Nagarjuna was not stunned by his skills in fencing. It is only later that Jayadratha realized. Nagarjuna, by nature, was a peculiar person. He was not faithful to Bharateeya Dharma. Neither does he not have faith in it. He neither had a liking nor dislike towards Mleccha thoughts. That midnight, when Jayadratha showed that old lady as Yakshini to Nagarjuna, once they returned to the house in Agnigrama, Nagarjuna asked Jayadratha: 'Hello Mister! Is there a cavity at the back inside that cave? You sent that old lady into it'. Jayadratha turned pale. All his tricks failed in front of Nagarjuna. There was only one that was left. It was the desire of Nagarjuna to see Neela as a Queen! And then, Jayadratha placed all his hopes on that desire. If Jayadratha tried to tell him anything, Nagarjuna smiled at it as if he were uninterested. Further, if he insisted, he would say that he knew it already. In spite of the situation being this way, Nagarjuna had a great friendly attitude towards Jayadratha. He used to think that the latter was his only friend. Jayadratha knew this
114 115

Idiom kaaliki vadilinchukonnacho vreliki, vreliki teesinacho kaaliki vesi Vamana Avatara the fifth of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu who is portrayed as a short Brahmin lad 116 Correction in original niraadaranam cheyadaginavaadu niraadaranam cheyadaganivaadu

thing. Even if Nagarjuna became the King, Jayadratha would not have any power under him. He would never look at him as being inferior. But, there were no great expectations either. In the end, Nirankusa was reduced to such state that he did whatever Nagarjuna said. This would not make Nagarjuna's authority clear. Today, my brother Vijayasimha would go to meet Jambavati in the night. Your servants should not obstruct him. You tell them if Nagarjuna directed him so, Nirankusa would do exactly the same. Nagarjuna spoke this way, There is enmity between you and Vijayasimha. A sense of hatred, and desire for vengeance. If you do exactly as I tell you, you can take your revenge. It would not be possible for you to do this in any other way. If you do it in any other manner, your wife would become a widow. Your children would die of hunger. You would lose your job. Your fort would be usurped by the King. Your mother and sister would end up begging in the streets', and tried to gauge his response. Nirankusa concurred saying what he said was true. Starting from that day, Vijayasimha started to meet Jambavati whenever it pleased him. Earlier, it necessitated him to ensure that Nirankusa did not come to his fort when he was there. Now, there was nothing of that sort. It was as if it was free for all for Vijayasimha. He thought that Nagarjuna got Nirankusa to accept this arrangement. For Vijayasimha, Nagarjuna was like his greatest deity! A great intellectual! Someone competent of making impossible things possible! Any work that Nagarjuna tells him! Vijayasimha must do it! One day, when Vijayasimha was narrating his erotic experiences to Nagarjuna, unlike the normal days, when he used to listen with great interest, Nagarjuna sat with his head down. Vijayasimha did not understand. Vijayasimha pleaded in several ways to tell him what the matter was. Finally, Nagarjuna said, Oyi! I do not know if one could trust women or not. You might think that you are the only one to love Jambavati. There is another person who loves her. Even then, I am not sure if Jambavati loves him the same was as she loves you. I am not sure if she and he have a relation at all. I do know that there is another man who is loving her, and that he went to her building in the middle of the nights. I also know that she was not accepting this courtship. But, he did not stop his efforts. Vijayasimha's entire body from the top to the bottom inflamed with full of rage. Vijayasimha tried to exert pressure on him in all possible ways to extract the name of who that other man was. Nagarjuna said that he should not tell it. Vijayasimha listed a quarter of a century names to know if he was one of them. 'Oh, none of them from this list! Then who else?' Nagarjuna finally said, 'I should not reveal. You can see him for yourself. I would tell you the night of the day when he would go to the fort, and that he would be at that particular time in the fort. You could go and see for yourselves with your own eyes.' Vijayasimha said, 'Whether I'd see with my eyes or my sword sees his end, you can see!' Naga: What is this fellow! Would you cut anyone to pieces with your sword? Suppose, you end up seeing the Emperor of the entire Bharatadesa, Janamejaya there. Would you strike him with your sword!? Vijaya: Undoubtedly. But, how would Janamejaya come there? Naga: How would he come? Oh, have you not heard? Our father is making his moves towards Vanaprastha. Before he left for Vanaprastha, he would crown the heir-apparent

as the King. He requested Emperor Janamejaya to be present for the Coronation Ceremony. Vijaya: All the kings of the various countries from the Himalayas to the ocean down South are subordinates of Emperor Janamejaya. Would He attend the Coronation Ceremonies of the heir-apparents of every subordinate king? Naga: No, he wouldn't. But since the Emperor was coming to visit places closeby, our father has requested him to grace the kingdom. His Highness has agreed to come. Vijaya: How do you know? Naga: How do I know there is this Viswakarma 117 in your fort, right, his name is Kihinarudu. Do you know him? You wouldn't. There are only three things that interest you in this entire world. Swordplay, Bhaama Devi, Jambavati! This Kihinara is a great sculptor. Whichever rock edict has to be written in the entire South, they get it written through him. He is writing that rock edict. There is a Sita Rama temple being builty by sages on the banks of Tungabhadra river, it seems. In this year named Plavanga, on the Kartika Amavasya, Monday, Emperor Janamejaya, having come to visit this temple, has donated that place to the sages at the holy place. That day, there is a solar eclipse. That holy place is being donated to the sages by the Emperor. The corresponding edict is being sculpted by Kihinara. I saw that edict. Having donated that place, the Emperor is scheduled to come to our capital from there. Around Margasira Sukla Dasami118, Srimukha's coronation would take place. The next day, the King will leave for Vanaprastha. Anyway, Emperor Janamejaya is coming. So, he would be here on the Margasira Sukla Dasami, right! On the previous day, that is on the night of Navami, he would go to visit Jambavati. Would you go and cut him to pieces? Vijayasimha did not know what to respond. But, he said, Oyi! The Emperor may stay at Nirankusa's fort that night on his way to the capital. Does that make the Emperor love Jambavati? Naga: Love her! Your words amuse me! Not love. Kings collect the diamonds, right! Having seen such a beautiful damsel, would he keep quiet? He would take her along with him to Hastina.119 Vijaya: But, she is my wife, isn't she? Naga: But you did not tie a Mangalasutra120 that is around her neck, right? Vijaya: You are just speculating. Naga: But suppose that it became true?

117 118

Viswakarma architects or builders were referred by this term Dasami tenth day in a Paksha 119 Hastina Hastinapur the current day Delhi 120 Mangalasutra Marriages in Andhra have this process where the groom ties a special thread called Mangalasutra to the bride, which is when the marriage is said to be solemnized.

Vijaya: Leave alone Emperor Janamejaya. His grandfather Abhimanyu! And his uncle Sri Krishna! Even if that Sri Krishna came, I would put him to death with my sword. Naga: Aaa.. You will say this way, here. By the time you see him, your hands will go soft. Vijaya: Naga! Have you listened to Purana that venerable Vinaya Sarma narrates? That great epic was written by Sage Vyasa. From that epic, the venerable Vinaya Sarma has tried to get some parts of it written down from various places, and he reads that part out. You have not heard of Bhima or Arjuna. Of the two, if Arjuna took a vow to do something, and even if performing what he promised were a great sin, he would definitely live up to the oath and worry about expiation in some other manner, later. I am like that. Naga: (laughing) Which oath did you take? Vijaya: I did not make one earlier. Now, I am. Jambavati is dearest to my life. Whoever might want to abduct her from me, even if he were the Bhagavan himself, I would cut his head off before Jambavati's doorsill. This is a great pledge! Having stated this, Vijayasimha took his sword out from its sheath, held it in front of his nose parallel to his upright position, the tip of the sword facing upward, knelt down when he took the pledge, and placed the sword in front of Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna left the place with severe looks on his face. *** In that year named Plavanga, Kartika Sukla Ashtami arrived. Even before that, there were feelers that Emperor Janamejaya came to the banks of Tungabhadra, having directed to carve an edict indicating his donation to the sages living there, and serving Sri Ramachandra as though he were his grandfather's maternal uncle Bhagavan Sri Krishna, was coming to Dhanyakataka. Dasami was when the Coronation Ceremony was planned. On the Ekadasi, the Emperor was to make his way back to Hastina. Romapada was to go to the forests. The celebrations associated with the Coronation would happen only after they left. On the morning of Ashtami, Nagarjuna went to Srimukha. The entire day before the sunset on the Navami, Srimukha would be involved with varieties of baths, adhering to principles, Agnihotras and Homas [sacred fire altar]. The kind of excitement that must be visible in Srimukha was not seen. Since he was naturally modest, he could control his excitement, and enthusiasm. Nagarjuna said, Respected Brother! From the day after tomorrow, your reign begins. The entire day tomorrow, you would be busy with the rituals. You are not yet convinced about our brother and Jambavati. If in case you want to get convinced about it, today's night is a good opportunity. As it would not be possible once the celebrations begin for at least ten to fifteen days, our brother has decided to visit Jambavati tonight. Having started at around 9 PM in the night on his horse, he would reach Nirankusa's fort by the middle of the night. You could see for yourself then. If you wait for a while after that, and knock the door, you would certainly see Jambavati and Vijayasimha together. Go there and knock the door with the knob of your sword. I do not know as to what situation would stop them from not opening the door. After you start ruling, I do not wish that such unjust things happen in the kingdom. Tell Nirankusa that Vijayasimha must marry Jambavati

and ask him to follow your injunction to let the marriage take place and perform the marriage. That must happen today itself. Having said this, Nagarjuna left the place. After that, he went to Vijayasimha and said, It would be known to you as to who he is. You should not go to Jambavati's room. Is there any place to hide near the door of her room? Vijaya: Yes, there is. Just beside that wall, there is the open space for practising fencing. To allow for that space to be covered from the front, there was this wall that was extended while it was being constructed. One could hide behind that wall. Naga: Then hide in there. Someone would come and knock the door. Nagarjuna left the place having told him this. That day, Nagarjuna left a message for Nirankusa to see him. Nirankusa came with a feeling of dejection. Nagarjuna smiled and said, Oyi! How long would come to me with a long face? Those days are over. I cut the strings of my attachment that he is my own brother. 'You marry Jambavati! I shall get people to accept it. I shall get even Nirankusa to accept it' I told him repeatedly. He does not want to marry her! He would indulge in adultery! He wants the world to think that it is sacred love! How could there be a greater Mlecchaic thought than this one? Getting married with the sacred fire as the witness is Vedic. This is Mlecchaic. I did not tell this to you all these days because if you went and killed him earlier, then that would have meant that you would be indicted for the same. Today, it would not. Today, there is a great man going there. Vijayasimha would kill that man. The next moment, you kill Vijayasimha. Tell that since Vijayasimha killed this great man, you killed him. Then, there won't be any charge against you. That is because -- you would know for yourself when you see the person who Vijayasimha kills this night. This way, he strengthened the resolve of Nirankusa and sent him away. At the other end, Srimukha spent a lot of time pondering over this. Should he go that night, or not? If he went there, would Vijayasimha listen to his word? He certainly respects him. But he also prides that he is a greater warrior than him. If he became the King, he would become the Commander-in-Chief of armies. These are titles in the structure of the polity, but because they were siblings, both of them would appear to exercise same amount of power. He should not do anything related to this issue without consulting his father! Thinking this way, Srimukha went and narrated the entire thing to Romapada in complete detail. Romapada said he would call Vijayasimha and reprimand him. Srimukha responded to this saying: He would deny it. He would say he didn't know anything. What would we do? Therefore, one should catch the thief when he is committing the theft.' Romapada said, 'I would send someone and get it confirmed to ensure that there is a proof beyond doubt' and sent Srimukha away. This news disappointed and left Romapada with dejection who thought all the while that his three sons were very upright and followed Dharma. If Vijayasimha wanted to marry, let him marry. This was a perfect case for adultery. Adultery was Adharmic. What is this principle? Is there anything of this kind? Because his wife would feel bad, he would not marry a girl born of a respectable family having exerted his influence and control on her? The day after, Srimukha would become the king. I am going to the Vanaprastha ashrama following my calling. Srimukha is someone whose thinking is rooted in Dharma! He has enormous love and affection for his brother. He would not do anything with him.

The brother of the King himself is committing adultery. Why should it matter with us would be the attitude of the people and they would dare to commit such acts. He who cannot keep his house in proper shape, could he keep the village in shape? 121 Srimukha is struggling hard within his mind. Going to be coronated on the day after tomorrow, should he go tonight to make an effort to investigate about this secret? What would happen if someone else were sent on this task? Vijayasimha would not care for him. Even if someone went, saw it and come, he would say that he was lying. If he went and countered him, and got into a fight, Vijayasimha was strong, brave and quick to get angered! Moreover, this is to do with a lady. He might as well end up killing him. Either Srimukha should go. Or else, he should go. It was better for him to go than letting Srimukha go. He could get both of them to sit and explain the matter to them. I could talk to Nirankusa's mother. Having seen from all possible ways, it is best for him to go. He was the King till the day after tomorrow. How should he go? When he was younger, and in his youth, he used to go around the capital in disguise. After his age crossed hundred, he did not do it that way. He thought of doing it that day. He must tell his protection officer about it. He told Chandrasekhara Varma. Even Chandrasekhara Varma thought deeply about it. All that the King said appeared to be appropriate. That night, Chandrasekhara Varma decided to go along with the King. But, there was some doubt lurking in Varma's mind. It was two years since Jayadratha left their kingdom. He took care of his case himself. Jayadratha himself did not know as to where he was. Chandrasekhara Varma knew where he was. Chandrasekhara Varma kept him and his plots at bay for the past six months. Possibly, there was not anything that he had to do with it? If that were so, is it that a previously planned plot was coming to fruition!...His thoughts were baseless, possibly? Romapada told Varma 'Varma and the two soldiers who came along with him must stay afar', and that 'They should come only when he went and called them in, or else he might tighten himself looking at me as the King, but not his father; the thing could be handled by Sama'; and that 'if Vijayasimha did not listen to him, then he would call Varma and the soldiers with him, and that he could establish the truth in front of them' This way, he made strict arrangements . *** That day, it was three hours into the night. Romapada started from the rear entrance of the fort discreetly towards the West. He disguised himself in a manner as though people would be tricked to think that he was the Crown Prince when they looked at him from a distance. Given that he was aged, he did not think it would be appropriate to go that way. Based on their structure and features, there was not much difference between Srimukha and Romapada. Romapada was aged. Srimukha was young, that is all! By the time Romapada travelled a mile or so, the entire sky was covered with clouds. Gradually, the sky became dark. There was lightening. It was thundering. Should he turn back, or not? Setting the question aside, Romapada along with Varma and the other two soldiers moved forward.

121

Illu chakkapettikonaleduura chakkapettunaa?

Chapter 14 Half to three-quarters an hour after Romapada started on his horse along with his bodyguards, there were a few more who started from the fort. The one who started first was a servant of Nagarjuna. He was right from the day one, Nagarjuna's servant. Nagarjuna sent him on a horse. He must go to Nirankusa's fort at the speed of wind, at the speed of thought and come back to tell him as to what happened there! He would not go along the rocky highway that was spread from Vedadri till the mouths of sea. He went along the banks of the river Krishna. Though that path along the banks of Krishna was full of rocks, it was a footpath! In between here and there, one wouldn't even find a path. On such a path, if one were to ride a horse, then the person must be an expert at riding a horse. He was someone who not only had that expertise, but also knew some nasty magical spells. He did not have any such fears. He left for the fort. After that, there was a group of three that started. That was a chariot. The charioteer, Srimukha and Vinaya Sarma! Chandrasekhara Varma went and told Vinaya Sarma about this right after he heard the King tell him about his plan to go to Nirankusa's fort. Vinaya Sarma calculated the omens of the hour of the travel. The time appeared to be quite dreadful. It appeared as if a great danger was awaiting Romapada. Not just that, the time seemed to indicate some other unexpected perils. He immediately went to Srimukha and told him about the thing. Srimukha suggested that they should go right behind the King. Vinaya Sarma said, 'One must go on a chariot. It is not known as to what things are in store and how things will be.' Srimukha requested Vinaya Sarma to come along. Srimukha got his chariot readied. He appointed his charioteer. The amazing thing about this was though the Crown Prince's charioteer, the Crown Prince himself, and his chariot was moving out of the fort, nobody knew about this. All this was a secret known only to six of them inside the fort. Romapada, his bodyguards, Srimukha, and his charioteer. Top secrecy was maintained in handling the entire thing. By the time Srimukha and Vinaya Sarma got together and reached Nirankusa's fort, the clouds that were to rain heavily, did not shower. The clouds were lurking around, but towards the north, there were several white clouds that gathered, resulting in reflecting the moonlight, and since this moonlight was the light transmitted by a setting moon, it was not very bright, therefore, it made the things at a distance appear hazy. It appeared as if there was a group of five-six people who gathered in front of Nirankusa's mansion. Srimukha got down the chariot, asked the charioteer to stay there, and went along with Vinaya Sarma taking giant strides forward. It was a deeply tragic scene that he saw on going there. Two lamps were brought from inside. Romapada was lying on the floor with a sword pierced into his heart. One must deduce that he was certainly dead. There was a severe blow on Vijayasimha's neck. He also fell on the floor. There was no hope that he would survive. But, he was still conscious of the surroundings. Nirankusa was standing beside and he did not have a sword in his hand. On both his sides stood Chandrasekhara Varma's soldiers holding their sword. Chandrasekhara Varma was deeply shocked at the sight, and was staring. Nirankusa's mother, and her aunt were standing near the door, crying. The moment Chandrasekhara Varma saw Srimukha, he knelt down, paid his respect and with the words, Your Highness!, he fell on his feet and started crying. Srimukha was left without a thought in his mind. He was seeing his father's dead body. He saw his

immediate brother's distressful plight. A thought occurred to him in his mind like a lightening. If he came instead of his father, his state would have been the current state of his father's. The rest of the thing was all clear. Without knowing that it was his own father, Vijayasimha thought that it was some other male who came for Jambavati and killed his father. Nirankusa struck Vijayasimha with his sword. Just when this happened, Chandrasekhara Varma's soldiers came, took control of the situation and unarmed Nirankusa. There was no need to ask Chandrasekhara Varma as to what happened. The big noise that was made during this made the ladies from inside come out. They were shocked on seeing the terror in front of them. They were grieving the loss. Srimukha could not sight Jambavati there. What happened to her? Srimukha saw his Guru's wife and said, 'What happened to your daughter? We must see as to what happened to her!' She went inside. A shrill cry was heard from inside. Srimukha spoke to Vinaya Sarma this way: 'Guru! Jambavati must have killed herself with a knife. Both, you and Chandrasekhara Varma go inside, see and come' and sent them inside. They went inside, came back and said, 'So it is'. Srimukha saw Nirankusa shrewdly with anger. He asked the soldiers standing beside him to leave him. He made them give his sword back to him. He took his sword in his hand. He said, 'Oh, you tyrannical Nirankusa! All three of us were co-students. My father and my younger brother both died because of you. You are as good a swordsman as Vijayasimha. I may not be as good as you folks. Come, duel with me. Kill me also. I would think that all this is the art and tact taught to you by Nagarjuna. Now I understand. As I was travelling in the chariot, venerable Vinaya Sarma told me about it in parts. Nagarjuna would become the King. You would become the Commander-in-Chief of army. Come, duel with me with your sword and kill me. Come!' - he thundered. Nirankusa threw the sword from his hands and started crying as he fell on Srimukha's feet. Srimukha took his feet two steps back removing himself from his clutches. Nirankusa narrated the entire thing that Nagarjuna told him the other day morning, 'Your Highness! I was envious of and considered Vijayasimha my enemy for the past several years. I also was enraged that he was spoiling Jambavati's life. I never wanted to kill him. My intention was always to injure him. The stroke of my sword ended up being much stronger than I anticipated it, and all this happened without my knowledge. I did not think that the person who died was the King himself. I thought that it was you. That also increased my wrath. Nagarjuna told me. Kill Vijayasimha. You would get to know yourself as to who Vijayasimha would kill. He asked me to tell that I killed him showing what he did. He also said that that would mean there would be no charge against me. But, seeing from afar, even I thought that the King was your very self. That angered me. When Chandrasekhara Varma's soldiers came, I surrendered myself to them. The moment I saw that the person who I thought was you who was killed was the King himself, left me lifeless. I am not hiding my crime. Whatever I did, I did to avenge the hatred that I have towards Vijayasimha, and not in retaliation for he killing you. Now it is up to you. Punish me the way you will. Behead me. You are the King from now on' Nirankusa fell on the floor and wept. Srimukha tapped Nirankusa with his sword and commanded him, 'Stand up!'. Nirankusa stood up. Srimukha said, 'You are my Guru's son. Your mother is my Guru's wife. If you were given the command of the Torrupattu, it was I who spoke to my father and asked him to give it to you. It seems like your house is in great danger today. I am taking my father and my brother on the chariot. It is we three who came in the chariot. The number of people who came with my father were three. We are total six in number. I am taking my father and my brother on the chariot. In your house, you, your mother and your

grandmother are left. Your servants are there. Nothing happened in your house tonight. If this secret goes beyond this place to any other, then I would get all of you killed. This is a top secret. Tell everyone that your sister is infected with some deadly disease. After two-three days, declare that she is dead. You set your house right. Come to me after that. Either you come to me like a true citizen, and as someone devoted to the King, or. The group of adjudicators will decide the punishment that should be meted out to you. Or else, if you intend to expel yourself from the Kingdom like a thief, you may!' Having said this, he got the bodies of his father and his brother on to the chariot, ordered the charioteer to take them back to the fort, and he, along with Vinaya Sarma, Chandrasekhara Varma, and the other two guards made their way back to the fort. Srimukha forced Vinaya Sarma on to the chariot. He told him to take good care of the bodies. He and Chandrasekhara Varma were running on both sides of the chariot. The chariot was moving with some speed. At the other end, Nagarjuna's servant came on the clouds. Went back on the clouds. He came to know about all that happened here. He went and narrated everything to Nagarjuna. It would take at least three quarters of an hour to an hour before the chariot arrives inside the fort. Nagarjuna got to know that the plot he conceived failed. Based on his calculations, both his brothers must be dead. Now, it was his father and his second brother who died. Based on Srimukha's words, it means that Vinaya Sarma knew his entire secret. Jayadratha told him for sure that this Vinaya Sarma was not just a scholar of Puraanas. Nirankusa anyway has revealed his completely covert plan to the King. There were only two ways before him now. Should he stay back and accept the punishment that the King gives him? Or to leave the country and run away on his own? But, Srimukha said that this entire thing must be kept secret! What does he mean? What would he do? He ordered Nirankusa to create a rumour that Jambavati fell sick and succumbed to fate's irony. Would he do the same thing in the case of Vijayasimha and their father? He could do it in the case of his father. But how would he do it in Vijayasimha's case? He knew Srimukha right since his childhood. Was he this mature? Jayadratha did not understand properly about Srimukha. He told me that he was someone who was easily excitable, and that he was longing to experience a peculiar kind of joy, and that he was ready to give his life up in pursuit of that. I thought that he was a lunatic. If he were this composed and dignified, then he is definitely worthy of being the King. Jayadratha is like a honey-smeared knife, dangerous from the inside, but very nice and safe from the outside. He is a wolf in sheep's skin. He stimulated the innate desire that I had for my wife. Why should I run away? Nirankusa did not run away! Am I that cowardly? It would have been good if Nirankusa did one thing. Had he accepted Srimukha's challenge, duelled with him and killed him, then my entire plan would have succeeded on its own. After that, Nirankusa may have killed me to usurp the kingdom himself? Was it possible for him to kill him? He learnt the Bagala and Kalanjari techniques from Gangu. He employed Kalanjari against Vijayasimha. For that reason, at that moment, Vijayasimha may not have been able to even raise his sword. Otherwise, someone who is such an expert in swordplay, may suffer minor injuries, but would face the enemy if the enemy pounces on him suddenly, without any notice. He would fight the enemy. If Vijayasimha fell without any such thing, then it must mean that he employed Kalanjari for sure. Oh! I know the technique that can counter the effects caused by this magical spell Kalanjari! Jayadratha taught me the same! I seem to recall it just at the moment! Is Vijayasimha still alive? Hopefully, his life is not taken away by the shakes and jolts on account of the movement of the chariot? It is the poison of a snake that is involved in

Kalanjari technique. I can provide the antidote to the venom. If by the time the chariot comes to the fort Vijayasimha is alive, then I could save his life. Then it would just remain as a mark of injury. And slowly, the injury might heal itself. How long would the impact of the technique last? It would stay till the early morning. By the time morning arrives, Vijayasimha would die. Till then, he would not die. It is sufficient that his father has died. Anyway, I would not get the kingdom. Whatever happens about what happens to me? I would save Vijayasimha. Jambavati died. The bad shadow that loomed on our fort is now gone. Turmeric on Neela's face and ash on Bhaama's face should not be at the same time.122 Oh, how I swayed away from the path of rectitude! By this time, the chariot must have come inside the fort. It must have come discreetly. There may not be any sound of the wheels. I should go there immediately. I should take a bath immediately, wear wet clothes, and also take bones of snakes oh, right, I saved the bones of snakes and go. Would they believe in my words? I did not run away, right! They would trust me. May be, they'd think that I am trying to ensure that Vijayasimha died immediately? I should draw the pattern of a four-headed snake on the ground. I should get Vijayasimha's body to be laid on it. They might accept. I would tell Srimukha about it. I would convince them by saying that if it were not for such a nasty magic spell, how could someone kill Vijayasimha. Someone as wise, as thoughtful, and as composed and solemn as Srimukha would believe in what I say. Vinaya Sarma is an utmost follower of the Vedic path! Whether he knew that such mean and base techniques existed, or not... With that, Nagarjuna's imagination of the events ended up at a dead end. He immediately went and took a bath. Even without wiping his wet hairs, he wore wet clothes, and searched for the vessel containing the bones of snake, and having found it, took it in his hands, having taken lime powder, kumkum123 powder, turmeric powder and powdered charcoal all of which he secretly hid them in a place since the time he started learning these techniques he reached the rear end of the fort. Just then, the morning star started being visible. There was still about two to two and half hours of night time left. He reaching the place from where chariots entered the fort, and the chariot coming in, took place at the same time. Srimukha recognized Nagarjuna. Srimukha was filled with irresistible anger. But at the same time, he was shocked. He thought that the latter would have taken to his heels and left the fort. He thought of taking his sword out the next moment and cut him to pieces. He should punish him officially, but not tear him to pieces, himself. He showed a streak of magnanimity in the case of Nirankusa only! Why should he not show that to someone born of the same blood? What is this attire? What are those wet clothes for? What was this leaving the hairs loose? What were those liquids in his hands? The moment chariot came inside the fort, Nagarjuna was about to get on it. Chandrasekhara Varma and others looked at Srimukha. Srimukha did not say anything. They too did not do anything. Nagarjuna saw his father's dead body. He took his father's feet in his hands and paid his respect and reverence by placing his hands on his eyes. He looked at Vijayasimha. Vijayasimha was not conscious. He saw his pulse. It appeared that it was still running. His body was gradually getting cold. He felt the area around his nostrils. He was still inhaling and exhaling. He got down the vehicle. The horses' stable was quite spacious. There was some place which was separated from the
122

The mark on the forehead with different colors for women is considered an indicator of the status of the mortality of their husbands. Ash indicated that the husband died. Turmeric that the husband is still alive. 123 Red powder made of turmeric, alum and lime used to wear on the forehead or for worship

rest. Nagarjuna did not speak to Srimukha. He did not look at Vinaya Sarma. He did not appear to have recognized Chandrasekhara Varma. He told the other two guards, Vijayasimha is still alive. He would not die till the time sun rises. If you do as I say, then there won't be a question of him dying. You would not understand what I tell you. That King, that venerable Vinaya Sarma and this captain of spies, if they attempt to know it, they may know. However stealthily someone came, who would have the capacity to give such a deadly blow to Vijayasimha? There is a secret behind this. This is a Mleccha spell. Nirankusa invoked it. He employed that technique over this man. Vijayasimha could not hold his sword. He received a very big blow. I know the way this Mleccha technique can be countered. The strength of this technique lasts till this morning. If before the sun rises, you do not counter with an antidote, this man would definitely die. Even the antidote to this technique would not injure a person to the extent it got injured because of this blow. And in the days to come, the injury will heal itself. Get a torch at the earliest. I will draw a pattern on the floor inside the stable. Get Vijayasimha and lay him down on the floor on the pattern that I drew. Do not let anyone else come till the morning arrives. What he does with his father, and what he would to his brother is the wish and will of King Srimukha - he concluded. He went inside the stable. He drew some pattern on the floor. One of the two guards brought a torch in the surreptitious manner possible. Vijayasimha was laid down in that pattern. That pattern was seen by all who were present there. On all the four directions, there was a four-headed snake with its hoods. At the center of the pattern, the tails of these four snakes were intertwined. One snake was drawn with lime powder, another with turmeric powder, another with kumkum and the final one with powdered charcoal. With their tails, each in one of the four colors, intertwined, it appeared as if a floor mat was woven with palm leaf. Nagarjuna kept his feet towards Vijayasimha's head, and with his head towards his feet, he hugged Vijayasimha's feet and was meditating on some spell. For all the six who were standing there, all that appeared strange and surprising. The King's corpse was lying in the vehicle. After about half an hour, Srimukha came out. Anyway, whatever happened with that can be seen later. He got his father's corpse laid in the King's bedroom. No one in the fort appeared to have woken up. He did not know as to how he should break the news to his mother. He made Chandrasekhara Varma guard the corpse. None of the servants must go into the King's room. He made tight arrangements for that. Once the morning arrives, whether or not Vijayasimha was alive, it was decided that his body must be placed in his room, and he appointed Vinaya Sarma to oversee the task. Both he and the two guards came to the place where Nagarjuna meditated and stood there. He told the charioteer to loosen the horses from the chariot. He asked him to tie the horses in the stable. By the time it was morning, he wanted him to ensure all the traces that the chariot went out at night removed. The charioteer must go and act as if he slept all the while during the night. At times, there were some secret deliberations that took place inside the fort. At that time, there was a kind of sound made with the bell in the fort. The moment that sound was heard, all the people of the fort were to stay back at their homes. They should not come out. After a while, another sound was sounded. Then they could come out. The Queen and her maids stroll the streets without any prior information. At those times, such sounds were rung. At another time, friendly kings come along with their ladies from

the harem. When the ladies from the harem came inside the fort, then such a sound was made. And there was another time when it was done. After Krita Yuga passed, by the time Treta Yuga came, the entire territory to the south of Vindhyas was occupied by the progeny of Surya and Chandra Vamsa Kings. Along with the followers of Vedic religion, Mlecchas also lived along with them in the country. Who constituted those Mlecchas? Those who swayed away from the path of Vedic religion. And those who were expelled from the country. They made colonies in the forest and lived there. After thousands and lakhs of years, they turned to being savage tribes. These Mlecchas kept following the customs, religions and deities of these tribes. At times, both of them lived together. At other places, they lived separately. Over crores of years, how could one say that this would happen this way only? Though for the namesake there are four Varnas, but in Sudras, there were some hundreds, thousands of varnas that came into being. These Sudras were people who had faith in Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Rama, Krishna, Siva, Kumaraswamy, Nandi and other all deities. They worshipped these deities. But they also have this tendency to worship the deities of those who removed themselves from Vedic path, became Mlecchas, and savage tribes. Even amongst these Mlecchas, in spite of they being Mlecchas, they have the habit of worshipping Vedic deities. They also have the habit of celebrating the festivals in Vedic religion. There is also this idea of celebrating the Mleccha festivals by the Sudras. This way, in this country spread over the territory from the Himalayas to the ocean down south, it is not possible to tell definitely as to how something happened considering that it has the different hues over the hundred to hundred and fifty crores of years. There is also the case where a few upper caste people worshipped Mleccha deities. There is also this case of interpreting a few Mleccha deities as Vedic deities. This Bharatadesa has been, since times immemorial, to an extent panchakolashaayamu. 124 But, there is one secret. Amongst the higher castes, to a large extent, Vedic religion has been flowing from the origin of time to this day with purity and as a great flow. These Mleccha deities are worshipped by a few women of these higher castes. But men show disinterest towards them. In spite of this, they provide for all the facilities required for the proper worship of those deities. During such festivities, at times, the ladies from the Queen's apartment, move out along the villages. Even during those times, that sound was made, and the people of the fort stayed inside their homes. Srimukha himself went and made that sound. Nobody knew the reason for the same. Having decided this way, Srimukha was awaiting the sunrise. The sun was about to rise. As if paarijaata flowers were showered in the east, as if white oleanders bloomed, as if white lotuses were spread, as if white double hibiscus flowers shrank, as if herds of white cows strolled, as if white sands were arranged as small small steps by the early morning breezes, as if the white clouds blended with the sky, as if one jumped into white dust as the Sun's chariot came along, as if the dazzling reflections of light from Anoora's125 diamond bracelet hit the east direction, as if the gardens of whitish pink lotuses were about to bud, as if the lady representing the east direction painted her house white having come to know that the Sun God was arriving, in the midst of the erect ears of the seven horses, as if the decorations of their white eyes, that were like
124 125

Four varnas + Mlecchas (?) Anoora Son of Kashyapa Prajapati and Vinata. His younger brother is Garuda. Both Anoora and Garuda were born of eggs. Of these eggs, the egg in which Anoora was there was artificially hatched by Vinata in a hurry, as she was envious of her co-wife Kadruva had sons even before her, which resulted in Anoora being born without full development of his body. He did not have thighs, and other parts below it. Hence, the name Anoora.

the peacock's feathers, were really endowed with eyes that overlooked the eastern space which it was about to traverse, as if the entire autumn season (Saratkaalam) came like a wave and filtered itself in the east, as if the moonlight that comes only after the sun sets and in the middle of the night wants to say that we would start providing light starting right away, as if the entire paths along which dark serpents slithered appeared to be like white rows of ploughed field after they left, as if that which was thought to be extremely difficult turned out to be very easy, as if the white powder of snake's bones were sprayed, as if the entire place with multi-colored decorative pattern on the ground erased itself to turn to a kind of ash color, as if the entire world was getting a new life, as if a great man wriggled himself out of the clutches of the pollution in his eyes and spread his pleasant looks, as if someone's heart, having filled with astonishment has freed itself from the darkness of the night, as if it shrank the darkness bound patterns on the ground and shone with bright lights of the day, as if the person called time was about to get another life this way, the hues and colors of the east appeared in different ways. Nagarjuna got up. Along with him Vijayasimha got up, sat on the floor, and kept his hand on his neck. His hand appeared to have gotten wet. He saw as to what that was. His hand was smearing with blood. If that were a little while earlier, then the blood would have been visible very clearly. The light rays from the hand torch made of a broad rag soaked in oil turned pale and became one with the rays of the sun pushed themselves in just before the sun rose. Those rays did not make things appear clearly. Nagarjuna rose and stood up. Vijayasimha looked at him from top to bottom. He recognized that he was Nagarjuna. He wondered as to what that attire was. Nagarjuna went and spoke to Srimukha this way: Now, you are the King! You could take Vijayasimha and maintain that which you wanted to keep confidential the way you think appropriate. I would not go anywhere. I would stay put in my apartment. Whenever it is the King's command, then I would come and communicate the entire story. You take Vijayasimha with you immediately. If you want me to come along with you right now, I'd come. But, I should not be seen in this attire by people. Whichever way you command. Srimukha said, Tomorrow morning, Emperor Janamejaya would visit our city. You may come in the evening today and convey whatever you wanted to convey. You may go now. If ever you intend to go out of the capital city, and you do not wish to come back again, no one would stop you. If you intend to stay, you may come to me in the evening around an hour before the sunset. Then, Srimukha got the two guards to hold Vijayasimha and took him to his (Srimukha's) room. Nagarjuna got the complete sense of what Srimukha conveyed. The latter was no longer his elder brother. He was no longer the latter's younger brother. The latter is the King! He is his servant who is also an accused! The latter gave him respect only with the thought that 'He was my brother earlier'. Nagarjuna went back to his apartment. Having got Vijayasimha laid down on the bed in his room, Srimukha called for the royal physician immediately. He came and checked. The physician said, 'The injury is a strong one, but there is no threat to life.' Vijayasimha was conscious and kept talking. The royal physician had no clue about the reason why Vijayasimha suffered such an injury. Srimukha asked as to what caused that injury. Having thought and analyzed the case deeply, he said, He must have lost his consciousness and must have fallen somewhere. At that time, some strange serpent must have bitten his entire neck. Such serpents are found in dense forests. They are found in hilly countries. That snake must have four

heads. That is because, we see that four distinct marks are found clubbed together wherever it bit. That serpent must have bitten for a long time. Snakes normally bite, and leave. This serpent must have thought that his neck was some eatable. It has also bitten the nerves inside. The nerves would definitely have cut. If by the time the person who saved the prince's life could not locate him, it would have bitten the nerves to the extent that it cut them. For some reason, the fangs of the snake seemed to turned blunt. Maybe that snake bit a few stones with its fangs. Its fangs turned blunt. All this is my imagination. Something that I could visualize. There are no such serpents in any of the nearby forests. Such serpents will generally be rare in nature. Such serpents are found in countries like Darada, Barbara, Saka among others. I saw them long back in my middle age.' Srimukha asked, 'Would this heal?' The physician said, Dear Crown Prince! Undoubtedly it would heal. Because the physician taking this up is me, it will heal. Sir! I am someone who learnt medicine for forty years travelling to all places of Bharatadesa. I do not have anything like - 'I know the diseases of this country, I do not know the disease of that'. I also went to the countries on the north western side of Bharatadesa, roamed around them and learnt about their animals, their bites and the ways to treat the bites. Dear Crown Prince! Another word! This may not be the bite of a serpent. There may be someone who employed a mean spell against him that made this serpent attack him. Even then, the injury would look like this. But, I am saying that it must be the bite of such a snake because if it were such a spell, the prince would not be alive till now. That spell is employed at around midnight. By the time the sun rises, the person dies. But, the prince is still alive. Therefore I decided that this is an attack by a snake but not an evil spell cast on him. To get this to heal would not take more than ten days. I will go right away and fetch the medicines from my home in a few minutes. Having said this, the physician left. It was about 9 AM in the morning. Again the sound was made. After that, the people in the fort attended to their works, people moving in and out took place normally. There was a news tom-tommed inside the fort. That the King has transferred all his responsibilities of ruling to the Crown Prince. The next day, the Coronation Ceremony would take place. The grand assembly of all the commanders would take place right after that. Everyone was invited for the same. *** The grand assembly was in session. Ministers, Commanders of army, royal officers, everyone came. Vijayasimha and Nagarjuna were the only ones who did not come. In that assembly, Srimukha told this way: Ministers! Commanders! Officers of the Royal Command! A miracle happened the previous day's night. My father is a great Yogi. Some of you already know it. I requested him to enter in to Yoga126 after these two days. But, my venerable father entered into the Yoga by the middle of yesterday's night. He entered the Samadhi state. None of my advice made any difference to him. He told me this secret a couple of times to me earlier. I prayed and pleaded with him not to do such a thing, several times over. But he did not take my plea with kindness. He entered Samadhi127 yesterday night. All this was a process that went on for twenty four hours. That is a kind of conscious exit from the physical body. Tonight, at the middle of the
126 127

Samadhi Yoga Cosmic consciousness experienced in deep meditation

night, his skull would separate itself and the his soul will leave the body. My Coronation would not take place tomorrow. It would take place after the Karmas. 128 But, following my father's command, I took control of the reigns from the time it was twelve in the previous night. The assembly thundered with hails of victory.

Chapter 15 In that year named Plavanga, by the midnight of Kartika Sukla Navami Vinaya Sarma, Chandrasekhara Varma, two Commanders of army, and another two ministers, with four elephants and a hundred horses along with a four-five hundred foot soldiers left the city to meet Emperor Janamejaya on his way from Vidarbha capital Kundina Nagara to Dhanyakataka. By the time morning arrived on Dasami, about twenty miles to the South of Dhanyakataka, they met the retinue of Emperor Janamejaya. There were about one lakh people accompanying the Emperor. Chariots, elephants, horses, foot soldiers, camp followers, and offices of several kinds the entire retinue of the Emperor was as if literally mother earth gave birth to so many people at once. 129 Vinaya Sarma and others came in front of the Emperor's army and introduced themselves. The Emperor's retinue stopped. The Emperor gave his audience to Andhra minister, commander of army, Vinaya Sarma and Chandrasekhara Varma. Vinaya Sarma spoke to the Emperor this way: Your Highness! The King of Andhradesa, Romapada left this mortal world for higher worlds yesterday midnight. He has been in the Samadhi for the past three days. By the time it was midnight yesterday, his skull separated itself and he attained salvation. He is a great yogi. The Crown Prince Srimukha has requested and pleaded the King with utmost respect to wait till you arrived, in several ways. But that great yogi does not belong to this mortal world. He ordered that after the moment his soul is separated, before the morning arrives, his funeral rites must be performed. By this time, the funeral rites must have taken place. If it were not for that, Srimukha would himself have come to escort you. As has been informed to you earlier, the Coronation would not take place by 12 PM today. But, he is still awaiting your visit. He is requesting your forgiveness for his inability to come on his own through me. To provide for the shelter of your army and you, there are already arrangements made that are spread over and area that is four miles long and a mile wide on the banks of Krishna. A big mansion has been constructed for your stay that has been built with a cost of ten kilograms of gold. All the punyaaha karmas130 relating to the use of that mansion have been performed and it is waiting to host you. All the while as these Karmas 131 are conducted, it is the request of Srimukha that you stay in Dhanyakataka and coronate him as the King after that, after which you may leave for Hastina - this way he presented the request to the Emperor. Janamejaya analyzed and brooded over it, after which, Oh virtuous Brahmin! Why should we come to Dhanyakataka now? We do not even have the chance of seeing the body of Romapada who received such a Siddhi! It is not possible for us to stay here for the entire time when the Karmas are conducted. There is quite a good deal of work to be done in Hastina. My
128 129

Sraaddha Karma funeral rites Nela eenindaa -130 Grihapravesam among others --- Need to provide more details. 131 Sraaddha Karma

sibling is currently the King of Kashmir. It is a matter already known to you! Our father, respected King Parikshit won Kashmir and ruled it all his life from Hastina. When he got to know that his end would come shortly by a serpent's bite on account of a curse of a Brahmin, he transferred his empire to his eldest son, that is me, and to his second son, and my sibling Haranadeva he gave the kingdom of Kashmir. Kashmir is a country close to several Mleccha countries. It is a country that is always under the tension of impending attacks from Meccha Kings. When we were on the banks of Tungabhadra, my brother has sent me a word. That either I must come on my own or send some army to Kashmir. I intended to go directly to Hastina from the banks of Tungabhadra. But I started for Dhanyakataka with thoughts that combined the desire to see the aged, wise and great yogi Romapada, as well as having a visit to my great grand mother Rukmini Devi's birth place, and at the same time to see the Coronation Ceremony of my would-be subordinate king, Srimukha. We would come back to this region only after an year. Please tell Srimukha. That we would not be coming to Dhanyakataka. We will arrange for our stay at this place itself for the day, and start our return journey to Hastina this evening. The Andhra army that went to receive the Emperor came back to Dhanyakataka after the Emperor's retinue made their way towards Hastina. By the time they came to Dhanyakataka, Ekadasi came. The disappointment of the people of Dhanyakataka doubled for they were eagerly waiting for the arrival of the Emperor's army, and as they would stay in Dhanyakataka for about a month, and throughout the month, a lot of festivities and celebrations that befit the stature of an Emperor will be held, and that they would get to see the people from the North, their habits, their clothing, their language and the kind of amusements that they had for themselves. The news that King Romapada attained his Siddhi through his soul departing from his skull spread not just across the city of Dhanyakataka but the entire Andhradesa, that was spread till the banks of River Godavari and made everyone overjoyed. Everyone started praising the dharma based rule of Romapada, his zeal for Yoga, his knowledge of Vedas and Vedangas. With the spread of this news, the entire country resonated with a liking towards the thoughts of Vedic traditions. The interest in the Vedic path increased. It gave an impression that the Sanatana Dharma was the best of all. In the Brahmin homes, the sacred fire in the altars started accepting the offerings with great pleasure. The days of Karma were over. Several ceremonies were held in Dhanyakataka. From several places in Andhradesa came about a lakh Brahmins, Vedic and Sastra scholars. They left having taken land grants. The entire capital city was filled with the waves of joy on account of the celebrations in ceremonies. However many celebrations were held, everyone had this on their mouth Why don't we see Vijayasimha and Nagarjuna? The reasons for the conspicuous absence were being filled in by different people in different manners. That Vijayasimha was sent to inform about Romapada attaining salvation to Romapada's Guru who is another Maha Yogi who resides in Badarikaashram. 132 There are several Mleccha tribes living in the region between Tapati and Godavari that invade a country in the intermediary time between a normal King's death and the ascension of his successor. Since it was already known about King Romapada attaining his Siddhi, Nagarjuna was sent along with some army to contain the attacks of those Mleccha tribes, it seems. These two reasons were strongly doing rounds among the people.

132

Ashram in Badrinath

Only after a month after the karmas, and along with them the celebrations were over did Dhanyakataka restore itself to normalcy. Everyone thought that right after the karmas, the Coronation of Srimukha would take place. They thought of staying back for another two-three months in Dhanyakataka. But, it was announced that the Coronation Ceremony would not take place till some time in Madhu-Maadava133 months of the next year named Keelaka. The question was as to who would be the king till that time. Srimukha was the King! It is he who would be ruling. But that was not the tradition. The Coronation must take place immediately. But Srimukha did not agree. He said that the way Bharata kept Sri Ramachandra's footwear in Nandigrama and ruled in the name of Sri Ramachandra, he would keep Romapada's sword on the throne and he would rule in its name. He said that he would do it the same way for the coming four to five months. The conscience keepers and scholars could not say no to it. The words of Srimukha appeared to be acceptable even as per the tradition. That way, the kingdom was being run. Margasira month went by. Pushya came. Vijayasimha was back to full health. Both Srimukha and Vijayasimha sat together. They used to invite Nagarjuna several times to know about all the concurrent details that happened. Nagarjuna went to the King's apartment during the midnight hours. He went back during those hours. Another officer was appointed the Commander of the torrupattu that was commanded by Nirankusa earlier. Nirankusa did not have the permission from the King to come out of his fort. Within two months, with the help of Nagarjuna, Vinaya Sarma and Chandrasekhara Varma, every detail of the spy activities of Jayadratha was known, and was at one's finger tips. On one of these nights, Agnigrama was destroyed by fire.134 Nobody knew as to why it caught fire. Not a single living organism in that village seems to have survived in that fire. Even in Dhanyakataka, there were a few houses that caught fire and that burnt to ashes. It was not known as to what happened to some men. Apart from this, across the entire Andhradesa, and in the great cities, some men were arrested. Some remote villages on the banks of Godavari were destroyed. The reasons as to why such things happened were not known to anyone. Some of them thought they faced the wrath of the King. Some thought that the God was against them. Since some of the navigating people and their boats were extinguished, the travel across the rivers Krishna and Godavari was nationalized. The authority over the boats, as well as taking the travel fare was transferred directly to be under the authority of some officers employed by the King in Dhanyakataka. As things were going on this way, one day in Dhanyakataka, a messenger announced the news of Vijayasimha returning from Badarikaashram in the King's court. That evening, Srimukha along with his entire army, and with people from all strata of life went four miles on the way by which Vijayasimha was coming to welcome him, and bring him to the capital. The entire fort saw Vijayasimha with great eagerness. It appeared as if Vijayasimha suffered a great injury on the right side of his neck and it got healed. Srimukha asked in front of everyone with great concern as to what happened to him and when it happened pointing to his injury. Vijayasimha said that as he was going along the forests of Badarikaashram, a tiger attacked him from behind and that he killed it, and that a tribal man with medicinal knowledge healed his injury in abount fifteen days, and that he could have come at least a fifteen days earlier, and that unable to tolerate his
133 134

Chaitra Vaisaakha months Idiom Parasuraama preeti

speed of travel, the horses on which he travelled at least fifty of them died on account of fatigue and this way, he narrated the events in the form of several stories. All these spread amongst the people. And after ten days, another message came that Nagarjuna is returning having suppressed the Mleccha tribes, and was coming back with army. Of that army, more than a half of them were Mlecchas who were overpowered and arrested. Encircling them were the King's army stationed in the dense forests around the Godavari! This entire army, started from the Godavari Papi Kondalu135 to travel in the direction of Dhanyakataka. Dhanyakataka was abuzz with great energy. All this was the outcome of the brilliance of Chandrasekhara Varma. Fifteen days after that, on one fine morning, in a spacious secret chamber inside the fort, Srimukha was seated on the throne. Vijayasimha was seated on another chair that was kept to the side of the throne, but at a little lower level. Chandrasekhara Varma and Vinaya Sarma were seated to the right of the King on appropriate comfortable seats. Nagarjuna and Nirankusa were standing in front of the King. If they wanted to, they could sit. But they did not. They kept standing. The King was seated facing the east. There was one person standing on the north-east corner. He was shrunk to half his size and was very thin. He was unshaven, with long beard and moustache. He had long hairs that were matted for want of a bath. His arms were shackled with fetters. If one observed him carefully, then one would recognize that he was Jayadratha. Then, Chandrasekhara Varma got up and spoke this way: Your Highness! He is Jayadratha. His father's name is Jayadratha. His son's name is also Jayadratha. His mother is Dussala. The name of the sister of Emperor Duryodhana was Dussala, right! Her husband's name was Jayadratha. In the great epic Mahabharata, Jayadratha was referred to by the name Saindhava. This Saindhava had a nephew. His name was Kanakasimha. This Kanakasimha was a very pampered child at his father's home. He used to roam unfettered in the capital of Sindhudesa. Saindhava had great affection towards him. Saindhava was the King of Sindhudesa. There was no one to restrict the unfettered behaviour of Kanakasimha in the capital. He associated himself with the Mlecchas, lived with them, he took to the worship of Mleccha gods and goddesses, followed Mleccha customs, developed faith in Mleccha ideals grew up with such qualities. In spite of all this, he did not leave the Vedic religion. By his Varna, he was a Kshatriya. But, by faith, he was a Mleccha. If it were not for his affection towards Saindhava, he would certainly have gotten Mlecchas to invade Sindhudesa. Ramathas were Mlecchas. Ramatha country is close to Sindhudesa. Both of them have the same border. He had a daughter. He named it after his uncle's wife. Therefore, her name was also Dussala. Saindhava not even considering that she was the wife of his brothers-in-law, setting the kinship aside, when the Pandavas were in exile in the forests, noticing that they were not in the cottage, wanted to and was about to violate the modesty of a great pativrata136 like Draupadidevi, Bhimasena came, cowed him down and sent him away; in reaction to that, he did a great penance unto Lord Siva; thanks to Lord Siva's generosity, Saindhava was able to prevent the four Pandavas other than Arjuna from entering the Padmavyuha when Drona planned it, and on account of which Abhimanyu lost his life;
135 136

Papi kondalu hills surrounding the Godavari river in the current East Godavari district Pativrata a loyal and chaste wife (elaborate)

due to which Arjuna was enraged and vowed to kill Saindhava before the sun set the next day; all these are well known to all in the form of stories. It is these stories that Bhagavan Vyasa composed in the epic Bharata. But the story did not end with that. Because of the valiantness and gallantry of Drona among others, the going became very tough for Arjuna to kill Saindhava. Then, Sri Krishna got his Sudarsana Chakra137 to cover the Sun, and created an illusion that the sun set, and the moment Saindhava raised his head, Arjuna got him beheaded. If his head fell on the ground, then Arjuna's head would be broken to a thousand pieces. Therefore, Sri Krishna, who was Bhagavan himself, advised Arjuna to juggle Saindhava's head with the help of Pasupataastra, and make it fall in the hands of Saindhava's father who at that time was in the banks of some river about to offer Sandhyaarghyam.138 This was as good as having dug his own grave.139 That father of Saindhava said that he from whose hands his son's head will fall on the ground, his head will be broken to a thousand pieces a single sentence that appeared as if it were a boon to his son, as if he were cursing someone, or as if he was deciding his own death. Behind such a statement was the weight of Saindhava's father's penance. This is what has happened. This news spread and was known to everyone. In Sindhudesa, this appeared as if it were an extreme, evil, mean, artificial idea born out of the wicked mind of Sri Krishna, and a startling example of Arjuna's incompetence. And moreover, in the royal family of Sindhudesa, it created a belief that there could not be any worse ghastly news in the entire creation than this. For them, even the disrobing of Draupadi also did not appear to be this unjust. Saindhava died. Even Duryodhana and others died. Who was there to avenge this? Who should one take revenge on? Saindhava had one son. He was an infant. Later, when Arjuna went around during the Asvamedha Yaga performed by Dharmaraja to conquer the world, Dhritarashtra's daughter Dussala brought her infant son and placed him at Arjuna's feet requesting for his life. The thought of taking vengeance occurred neither to Dussala nor her son. Saindhava's son became big. He went on to rule Sindhudesa. Saindhava's grandson is ruling now. Who has got this idea of taking revenge? It was to Kanakasimha! Kanakasimha decided that the life time goal of his daughter Dussala was to expiate this hatred. That Kanakasimha is a very wicked devil (parama raakshasudu)! The manner in which he decided to take revenge was that was not a revenge to be taken against Arjuna, not against Lord Krishna. That is a revenge against Vedic Dharma! The reason for this was because he was completely filled with Mlecchaic thoughts. That was because of his affection towards the customs of the Mleccha society. He dislikes Vedic Dharma to the core. Hiranyaksha-Hiranyakashipa, Ravana-Kumbhakarna, Sisupala-Dantavaktra are several times better than him! That is because all of them were devotees of Lord Siva. Who is the deity of this Kanakasimha? For the people in the Saka, Darada, Barbara, Yavana, Kiraata, Huna, Paraseeka countries, who have turned against the Vedic path, and those who were expelled by the good Kshatriyas from here, for them stones and pebbles, some ghosts in some valleys, and in some place, because of the peculiar nature of a natural setting that caused the place to be lit up in the sky a power that appeared to be but not in reality a bright one, it is that which they consider as their deity and worshipped it. Having rejected the Vedic - Rig Vedic deities, that which is
137 138

A missile in the form of a disc used by Lord Vishnu, Sri Krishna Sandhya Arghyam is an offering of water invoking a mantra made to the Sun, during the three Sandhyas dawn, dusk and the midday 139 Vaani vrelu petti vaani kanne podichinatlu

worshipped by a strange tribe, that which appeared to be a power that is beyond human powers, an unSanskritic, impure140, and that which cannot be described concretely as this, that something is their deity! That deity echoes in a valley. When you walk in extreme heat, one's eyes get dazzled and that deity appears as blazing fire. Some words are heard. That is what is their idea of god! It is this god that they want the people of Chaturvarnya in Bharatadesa to worship. That is their lunacy. Is there anything like this anywhere? They got spoilt and went away! That from which they got spoilt, should they also try to spoil it too?! That is the belief that Kanakasimha got his daughter to believe in! The reason why Saindhava died - was because of Sri Krishna! If Krishna were not there, it would have resulted in a sure shot death of Arjuna. They say Krishna is the Bhagavan, right! Who is he the Bhagavan for? For those who are the followers of Vedic religion! Therefore, we must destroy the Vedic religion. But, how could you destroy Vedic religion? That is by destroying those protect the Vedic religion the Kings! By occupying their kingdoms! But, Kanakasimha and his Gurus were not foolish. It was known to them that after a few lakhs of years into the Krita Yuga from the time of the origination of the world, their Mleccha tribes existed in this creation, and that they repeatedly invaded the small kingdoms in Bharatadesa whenever it was convenient to them, and that though they may have won for a temporary period, some able and capable Emperor or a epoch maker came and drove them away to the North-western part of Bharatadesa. But, the new thing that Kanakasimha brought in was that his daughter Dussala and her progeny would not leave the Vedic religion. They would stay within the Vedic religion and do as much harm as they could from within. On one side the stream of pure Vedic Dharma keeps flowing and right beside it, this drainage canal keeps flowing. The name of the husband of Kanakasimha's daughter Dussala was Ramatha. From there on, they began a tradition. That Ramatha and Dussala begot a son. His name was Jayadratha. He got married. The lady to which he gets married, his name was changed to Dussala. This Dussala begets a son. His name is Jayadratha. His wife's name Dussala. It has been one hundred and twenty years since the Mahabharata War took place. The people who were in their childhood when the Bharata War took place are still alive even today. But already three generations of such Dussala-Jayadratha pairs have passed. This Jayadratha is from the third generation. There is his son who is from the fourth generation. There is his wife Dussala. She is the daughter of a Kshatriya family in Pundradesa. I tried to get a hold on this fourth generation. That is not an easy thing. It must be done with the assent of the King of Pundradesa. The son-in-law of Pundradesa, your Highness, yourself know the futility of my effort. They escaped before we could catch hold of them. Having crossed the river Tapati, and crossing the Chedi and Nishadha countries, they entered the forests of Vindhya. How could the army of Andhra country counter the Mlecchaic savage tribes of those forests? These Mlecchas have all the arts that we possess. Who were they? They were those who cut their relation with us and went away! For them, the Trimurtis141 are useless. Rama and Krishna are useless. The worship and meditation of Agni, Pranavaakshi, Purusha among others is worthless. They do not accept the classification into Varnashrama and their respective customs. In Vedic Dharma, all arts are parts of Veda karma. But amongst the Mlecchas, each art is on its own. That way, they got spoilt for the higher worlds. They have Jyotishya (astrology). They have music and literature. In
140 141

Avahnikamaina ? Trimurti Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesvara

Vedic Dharma, music is an art that is a part of Veda (Vedanga). In Mlecchas, it is something that is sung in the hills wearing clothes that are bulging like a cupola, and jumping without a pattern, and that which is far from the dance that is enriched with hand made signs among other expressions. This is the difference between the arts in Bharatadesa and the arts of Mlecchas. All the arts in here are technical and have a content that is to do with several thoughts that inspire and lead you to the otherworld (paaralaukikam)! Their arts are like trees that spring up in dense forests! There are some great astrologers in them. There are great geologists, political strategists, and intellectuals, among them. At the center, and head of all the Mleccha countries is the Ramatha country. There is a relation between this country and Sindhu country from times immemorial. Just like the Atharva Veda in the world of Vedic Dharma literature, analogously they have a tradition of several lowly and mean arts, spells and techniques. One such technique among them is the Kalanjari. Gangu taught that technique to Nirankusa. Nirankusa employed that on Vijayasimha. There is one flaw in these techniques and spells. These spells do not work for those who do not have their full set of thirty two teeth. I should not tell as to why they do not work to Your Highness. But, on the directions of venerable Vinaya Sarma, I am telling them. It is his opinion that Jayadratha must listen to this. I informed the respected Vinaya Sarma that there would not be any use of he listening to this. He wished that this aspect must be a part of the reformatory process of Jayadratha. The nature of magnanimity of this good Brahmin on the person in Jayadratha is such. Each of the Vedic mantras have their presiding deities. They are the letters (aksharam) that are the outcome of great penance. The great penance of the seer (Drashta) who sees those mantras forms that mantra. That is to say, from their penance, the respective presiding deity takes birth. That mantra is the letter-form of that deity. All these mantras have their origin in the penance (tapassu). They are not the lowly powers, the ones to have their source of strength coming from the external, extreme and corrupted manner of the compounding of the Pancha Bhootas (earth, water, air, fire and sky). The proper utterance of Vedic mantras has been mandated. That is for the success of the rituals. In the case of the rest of the great mantras the strength of the mantras does not come from its proper pronunciation or proper utterance. It is related to the meditation. These mantras (spells) of Mlecchas have their source of strength in the proper utterance of those mantras. They do not work for those who have lost their teeth. That is why, on the King's command, the two front teeth of Gangu have been removed. Further, the calendar makers for these Mlecchas are some of the people from Ramatha country. They tell the Kings of Mleccha countries as to the times when it was conducive for impacting the corresponding countries with their Mlecchaic thoughts, and occupy them, which kingdoms do not have the strength, which part of the country has less gravity and is easy to influence. They invade in those respective times on those parts of the country concerned. They occupy them. They proved that this Andhradesa is ready to be occupied in these times. In all of these one hundred and twenty five years, these Jayadrathas are like weapons in the hands of Mleccha kings. There is no impact or influence of the Mlecchas on this Andhradesa for the past four hundred years. For every four hundred years if not about four hundred years it could as well be three hundred, and at other times, it may be fifty more years every country would be conducive to the spread of Mleccha thoughts. This is the nature of time. This is related to the classification of wealth between Devatas and Asuras. 142 It is inherent in time, that at
142

Daivaasura sampada elaborate

times it has the godly trait and at other times, it has the devilish trait. This is also related to the influence on countries. It is the thesis of the Mleccha calendar makers that it is also related to the countries. These are not good days for Andhradesa. It is clear that they are not! Those Ramathas sent this Jayadratha to Andhra country. Before he attains the age of twenty, there are Gurus who teach this Jayadratha to attain proficiency in every Mleccha art that has its roots in the entire Bharatadesa. I have already mentioned to you that he is the third Jayadratha! Of the previous two Jayadrathas, one tried to fell the kingdom of Kashmir and in the process he died. That was when Emperor Sri Parikshit invaded Kashmir, won it, and brought it under his control, and later gave it to our Emperor Janamejaya's brother Haranadeva. The second Jayadratha met his end in Angadesa. The third one is this. This Jayadratha came here. He got to know the nature of Your Highness, as well as the nature of Vijayasimha and Nagarjuna completely. Getting to know the nature of a person this way is an art that they are born with. Of the three brothers, both of you, you and Vijayasimha are admirers of Vedic Dharma and respect it. Nagarjuna is someone who does not have great deal of respect for Vedic Dharma. If both of you are eliminated, then Nagarjuna would become the King. If Nagarjuna became the King, then it is as good as establishing a Mleccha country! Initially, his plan was to ensure the death of Your Highness without getting a blame on his name, and that is why he got you to jump from that waterfall. This servant of yours saved his master. Prior to that incident, I did not suspect him. He thought that in that scorching heat, I could not recognize him. I am also aware of that eye lotion that allows you to see things at a distant in such heat. That is a different story. That way he could not cause any harm to you. From then on, he started plotting other plans. The different kinds of plots that he designed are known to Your Highness by now, through Nirankusa, through Vijayasimha, and through Nagarjuna. I do not know as to what he would have done after that. But I tried to validate the veracity of his statement as to whether he and his mother have stayed in Sambara Deevi for two years after Kalindi Devi hinted at finding it out. Even before that, he influenced Nagarjuna to get Vijayasimha to slay Your Highness, and to get Nirankusa to slay Vijayasimha, and that way succeed in his evil design. But, the powers that be thought otherwise. It is your wisdom that saved you. It is with the thought that if you went there yourself, then you would not be able to rectify Vijayasimha because of your relation as a sibling, that made you not go. Your father went. The rest of the story is known to Your Highness already. For the benefit of Jayadratha's knowledge, I must also mention one more thing. In the dense forests on the other bank of Krishna, in that mountainous cave, where a Yakshini by name Konangi was brought to existence, and through whom Nagarjuna was being tricked, that aged tribal woman, was not old by age, and moreover, she was not even a woman. He is a jester from a hamlet that is there on the borders of Vidarbha and Andhra countries. He is an extremely competent and talented man.143 He is about fifty years old. He can right in front of our eyes sunken his cheeks, eyes, and make his entire body appear like an old man, with his stomach going inside, as if his shoulder bones were removed, and as if his fingers of the wrist got twisted. I could trick Jayadratha into believing that he was an old tribal woman. I would get this jester to your presence later. Having done all this, I erred at one place. I thought that having arrested Jayadratha about six months ago, the impending danger has been averted. Apart from this, another reason was there for such thoughts in me. Neela Devi came under the influence of
143

Idiom chanda prachandudu

respected Jannemma. The Queen paved the way for respected Jannemma's influence on Neela Devi. Nagarjuna was completely under the sway of Neela. With that, I thought Nagarjuna would also change. This is the story. Having spoken thus, he sat down. On which, Vinaya Sarma asked Jayadratha as to what he has to say. Jayadratha said, 'What do I say? All of you are the way you are! Even if I deny the charges, Nirankusa and Nagarjuna would point the finger towards me. It is very clear, right! But, what is wrong in Saindhava desiring for Draupadi? That is biological attraction and is a natural desire for males and females. You would talk of kinship and all. When Rukmini, who was to be married to Sisupala was married by Krishna, you do not talk of kinship. That Rukmini is the girl born in the royal family of your neighbours, Vidarbha. There is not anything that I have to say. He said right! You could not get hold of my son. This enmity is going to be there till the Pralaya and you cannot escape it. This is the command of Kanakasimha! Your Chandrasekhara Varma is saddened that he could not get hold of my son. Even if he got hold of my son, I would not be dejected. That is because I know this secret. It is not known to you. Till the Pralaya comes, you would always be hit by the Mlecchaic thoughts. Some times you win. Some others we win. For such things, it is the foolish like you who feel elated. Right since the beginning of the origination of life, we were some times Rakshasas, some other times Dasyus, some other time Mlecchas, some other time Yavanas, some other times Hunas. When has it been that you escaped from our torment? Make a count and see! The time for which we ruled is greater. You have ruled for a lesser number of years. This is all that I have to say. The King made a gesture asking Chandrasekhara Varma to take Jayadratha away. In the next thirty days, these were how things happened: Nagarjuna left Subhadra with Vijayasimha to be her guardian, and he and Neela left for Vanaprastha in place of Romapada. Vijayasimha became the Commander-in-Chief of Army. Nirankusa became a Commander under him. In spite of repeated requests from both his brothers, Nagarjuna went to the forests. After the coronation ceremony of Srimukha, one day Srimukha asked Vinaya Sarma: Swami! Did Emperor Janamejaya really think that my father attained Siddhi? To which Vinaya Sarma replied: O King! I am one of the close friends of Emperor Janamejaya. You know it. I told him about you. He was amazed at your genius. Having confirmed that there was no threat to the Kingdom, he left.

Chapter 16 That was a place in the forests of Vindhya. In the midst of the dense forest, between two hills flowed a big stream. To the east of the stream, on the terrace on the side of the mountains were a few huts. There were no one who went there to see if they existed. If one saw them, they would appear as if they were huts, but when you go inside them, they were spacious. The floor was very clean. It appears to be a place where warriors live. Shields, swords, skins of tigers, deers, several kinds of eatables that are found in the forests, saarapappu144, the intoxicating flowers of mahwa (Bassia longifolia) tree,
144

Fruits of some forest tree,

pots filled with the finest honey, not quite ripe millets, rock salt, and such other varieties of items were there. There was sufficient space for one to sleep comfortably, and to eat, move around. However much it rains, not a single drop of water will stay in that place. It is impossible to access that place when the stream is in flow. When it is not flowing, in the path of the stream, if one went upstream for about a twenty miles, there was a big village. And about fourteen to sixteen miles towards the downstream, there was another village. People from each of these villages travel from their village to the other. This travel is dependent on whether or not the stream was in flow. If the stream was in full flow, it would not be navigable for about four to five days. On all the other days, there would be a narrow flow. There was a vast expanse of sandy spaces. That place where the stream flowed in between the two hills was covered with huge trees making it completely shaded from the sun's rays. It is an apt place for wild antelopes and other beasts to quench their thirst as well as take rest when they are not able to stand the heat. The people travelling from one village to the other keep an eye on whether or not a beast like the big tiger was present in that place as they are trying to navigate or travel along the stream. If such beasts were there, they go back the same way they do when the stream was in full flow. From those huts which were at the north of that stream near the edge where the hill took a turn, it appeared as if the way forward was through the stream and over the hills. There is no such way. In fact, it was not even a way. There was a different path to go there. Even that path is not the path. In the hills, and for ten yards towards the north, the entire place was a hilly terrain but not anything else. The entire place to the other side of it is a place where people lived. If you see from atop the hills carefully, it was about ten yards. But for those who intended to go there, and who knew the secret pathway, and if that appeared to them as a path, then it was twenty yards long. That is a place where one could spend ten days at a time, or twenty days at a time or at times even as much as a month and a half. People used to come, and go. From amongst those four cottages, there was a lady sitting inside one. There was a ten year old boy sitting near her. By their dressing, and their facial features, they were not tribals. She was wearing the attire that befits a royal lady of Sindhudesa. Even the boy was dressed in an attire that is suitable to a royal lad. There was a tribal sitting in front of that cottage. That lady from a royal family appeared to be waiting for some thing. That wait is not a day's wait. It was something that appeared to be a wait for several years together. There are differences even in the nature of waiting. The wait associated with a result that is going to come in immediate future is different from the wait associated with a result in the distant future. One could notice that the wait in her eyes was to do with a result in the immediate future. The tribal man sitting in front of the cottage kept looking repeatedly to his right. On his right, if you go ten times the distance of his outstretched hands, that is where the hill took a turn. The place where it took a turn, was where the path was. That turn was also the distance of ten outstretched hands. There were hundreds of such turns in the entire mountainous terrain that stretched for ten yards. Therefore, it was futile to expect someone would come by looking at those turns keenly. There was no use of making any guess even after checking four-five such turns out. Further, the nature of this wait in the tribal, is very much different from the nature of the wait in the Kshatriya lady. The tribals wait. But that wait is different. It does not have the feel of the intensity associated with a wait. Some work must happen. Ask a tribal to sit there till that work happens! He would sit. He would not do anything other than that. It

might as well be something related to his family! He would not get anxious. He would not turn on a heel and stays put. He is like a Yogi! In terms of their external being, there is not much of a difference between a Yogi, an extreme beast, and a stubborn person. The difference is related to one's wisdom and thought! The nature of that Kshatriya lady is different. She was looking at the door every second. She would go near the door, and look at that tribal. He is like a statue made of stone. She goes back in again. There is no way she could ask her to go, see and come. He would not listen. He stayed there because that was a place where there was no danger. If there was any danger, then to protect them. To protect them means that if it were to give up his life in saving them, then he would do it. 'This is life. This life may go, and we may die. If I die, then in a distant hamlet, there is my wife and children, what will happen to them' there is no such thought present in him. Tribal people do not have them. There are two reasons why they would not have them. One, their inherent nature. And two, he is not the one who took care of his wife and children. All of them lived on the forest. There is not anything that he brought, nor he supported or fed, and neither did they feel they were being supported or being fed. In that sense, he was not a husband 145. She was not his wife146. But, he was the husband, and she, his wife. The aspect of this husband-wife relation is not dependent on the man's earning, and the wife being borne. It is a different dynamic that is secret to the creation. It is not known to the tribals, non-pundits, and non-Vedic people that that this is the secret. It is known to the holders of the secrets of Vedic Dharma. It is they who gave them these names.147 Veda Dharma is the compilation of the secrets of the creation, this world, and the continuity of the tradition-based procreation.148 It is not a regulation to be followed amongst those who have half-baked understanding and are like the brutes. They are people who neither know nor do not know the thing. They do not consider that which is not known to them. They give extreme importance and value to the part that is known to them. The tribals are people who absolutely do not know anything. They are people who do not even have the curiosity to know. They do not have the revolutionary thinking that since it is not known to them, they must argue that there is nothing else that is yet to be known. Therefore, they are man and wife! They do not cross the line. He would give his life up. He does not worry about what would happen of his wife and children. They would survive. There is the forest that is there to keep them alive. In this world, half the worry that humans have is about the question: what would happen of their children after them? The greater bother is about how they would survive. It is the nature of good societal system to drive away such a question of survival to people at large. Ruling such a system is what we call as governance. The manner of handling the wait by that Kshatriya lady and its nature, is different. In a way, she is also a tribal. By tribal, it is to refer to those who think less about the past, the present and the future. They are people who do not get into anxiety or wait for a future action the way they are immersed in the activity that they are involved in the present. She is also of that kind. When she got married to her husband itself, she was instructed about a severe principle that she would have to adhere to, and she toughened her mind to marry him. A son was born to them. He has now crossed the age of ten. By the age of ten itself, he had a big chest, strong arms and a good physique. He gained expertise in
145 146 147

Telugu - Bharta meaning he who maintained a family, he who bore

Telugu Bhaarya Bhaarya-Bharta 148 Santaanaavyavacchitti

swordplay. He knew all the Bharateeya dharmas. He was someone brought up with a liking towards Mleccha thoughts. Someone who could hit the target using a bow and an arrow easily. But, he did not yet get initiated into having an independent thought process. Though in his childhood, he was brought up with severe rules and regulations, and with several restrictions, the playful qualities that are the hallmark of childhood did not go. It did not develop the way it did in other boys of his age, but it was there inherently. That hour of the day, he would not have been with his mother. Never did he stay with his mother. He normally roamed around in the forest. Even his mother did not have the fear of what would happen to him. No brute in the forest could do anything to him. If there is any beast closeby, he can kill it with a sword. If some animal lunges on to him suddenly, then he could lunge back at a greater velocity than that of the animal in the reverse direction, turn aside and cut its throat. He could kill the animals at a distance with his arrows. Not just that, he also was aware of quite a few tribal mantras. With the help of those mantras, one could keep a tiger's mouth shut. One could make the snakes go away without coming in one's way. Such a boy did not go any where outside of the house that morning. His mother did not permit him. His mother said, You must not go anywhere in the morning today. I told you, didn't I! Your father has been killed by someone in the distant kingdoms. He was arrested. He was hanged. He was hanged to death in the outskirts of the city. It took a great deal of effort and repeated attempts to secretly cut his head from the gallows and get it here carefully. In that country, they picked and picked carefully to identify all those who have a liking towards us, and were killed. That is the reason why it became very difficult task. One must look for a moments of inattentiveness, trick a thousand people by telling them lies, keep the head in a box and get it from that country to this place. Already, a year has passed. It took an year only to come outside of that country. It became necessary to keep that box for a few days in some secret place. When there were pilgrims who were travelling, that box was slipped into their bags without their knowledge to get it across. It required great care and attention equal to that of a thousand eyes keeping an eye to keep it out of the vision of the guards who would inspect it at any time and thereby lose our hold over it. In some manner, that danger was overcome. The head came out of that country. The rest of the journey is easy. I got a message three days ago that that would reach this place today. Today, you must get initiated into that great task for which your father has lived a principled life and in the process of accomplishing that great task has given his life up. You must have the same intensity and faith in that great principle, that same focus on accomplishing the task from now onwards. You know several things. You know all the stories from Bharateeya Puraanas. You know many of our customs, deities and mantras. Your expertise in swordplay and archery cannot be dismissed in any way. No other lad who just crossed ten would have such an expertise in several arts. You have been endowed with them. It is to live that principle that you have been trained this way. From today onwards, you must set your child-like nature aside. Having been beheaded at least a year ago, and kept in a box, and it is not known as to how much exposure did the insides of the box have with the air, sun light and rains, and it is also not known as to what is the condition of your father's head. It would not be known till the box is opened. The moment that box is opened, it might be smelling foul. But, it is my esteemed husband's head. Your father's head. Having seen that head, and on account of the memory of that scene, you should imagine the danger that your father faced, and as long as you are alive you should avenge his death by taking revenge against your enemies. You should dedicate your entire life for that purpose. You should keep your

hand on that head and take an oath. That head would come. I would get you to take the oath. This evening or tomorrow morning, we will leave this place. Till you age for another eight to nine years, we will stay in the Ramatha country. Then your marriage would take place. You would be married to that lady from a royal family that agrees to adhere to the entire set of principles. Till the time she bores a male child of you, you would not be entrusted with the task of executing the great task for whose sake you were born. Once you bore a male child, there are people in Ramatha country who would let you know about which country should you go, and what you should be doing there. Stay put her. Before it is noon, that box would arrive. It might come at any moment from now. Having said this, she made him sit there. Seconds, minutes, quarter of an hour, half of an hour were passing. At around 10:30 AM, the box arrived. The man who brought it, stood in front of the door, lifted it down to the ground from his head, kept it near the door in front of her, and left. That box was lying there. Both mother and the son were sitting right in front of it. However much you regulate yourself, however severe your vow may be, however extremely difficult custom that may be coming down from several hundreds of years, in spite of the fact that the entire issue has been completely thought out several lakhs of times and decided, having taken birth, and as long as the body is alive, a temporary thought and a grief that is natural to human heart would come. Her eyes were about to get watered. She did not let them come. Her heart was about to beat fast. She stayed calm. She was about to take a deep breath. She controlled it. Her throat was about to get choked which she avoided. She resisted her trembling hands by tightening her fist and stretching her arms. She opened the box. A peculiar foul smell spread around and filled the entire cottage. The head inside was neither fresh, nor did it completely decompose. One must say that it got decomposed to a large extent. Having taken the head out, and pushing the box aside, she kept the face in front of her son. That boy took a look at it. From the past two years, when he went out in the forests, he saw several heads of animals that he beheaded playfully including that of heads of monkeys, heads of deers, heads of hyenas. Seeing his father's head did not make any impact on him. The only sign that that was his father's head was her mother's word about it. When he was three years old, he saw his father one day. He saw his father when he was five years old. When he was seven years old, his mother told him that within ten days his father would come and then he could see him, but he did not come. He did not have any memories of his father. He did not have any love for his father. Not having love means he does have it, vaguely. The quality of that vagueness is that every human thinks without their own knowledge that they have a father. It is not known whether such a feeling is natural to human beings or was it because of living in the midst of people, and having seen people, they imagine such a thing. Or may be, it was because of the repeated utterances of one's mother. Even if none of these reasons exist, no one thinks that he was born on his own (Swaayambhuva149). Thinking so, is not in the nature of creation. That is a quality of egotism in some people. It is not in the literal sense of the word that is being used. It is in a different sense. In the literal sense, no one thinks that he is a Swaayambhuva. He must have a father. That feeling of 'father' is associated with some affection. That affection is of the kind that is to do with the liking towards being born and growing up. There must be someone who is a cause for that, right! That liking comes naturally towards such a person. This liking itself is called affection. That apparent affection comes out of that feeling or the sense of a father. That feeling is related to the visible face that cannot even be considered one for it was ninety percent
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Swaayambhuva - <elaborate>

decomposed on that beheaded head. What a kind of magic is this! The moment he saw that head, his eyes started watering. Grief was about to overflow and take him over. Why did that grief come? He thought of someone as his father. He had this longing for seeing him for a long time, and a longing that was constantly there in his heart. That longing desired to see a man who was hale and healthy in all his flesh and blood. When that sight was not so, and when it was like the sights of the several beheaded animals that he himself beheaded, without their bodies, in a manner which is not even the same as a normal death, the result of that feeling of waiting turned out to be ninety percent destroyed and ten percent it was disgusting. That grief was not for his father. It is the grief arising out of not having the desired result of his long wait. The qualities of characters are quite strange. She appeared to be sitting there with an empty heart. She did not know what to do. She did not know what happened to her mother-in-law. Her husband was arrested. He was hanged. What happened to her mother-in-law? She was not arrested. A thought occurred to her. Once the previous Jayadratha dies, the next Jayadratha took up that vow. The previous Dussala perished without telling anyone, possibly! Her father made her the central part of the flow of this strange and severe vow. Several arduous vows were taken. She must do what she must do. It was not possible for her to sit as if she were not the mother of that boy, that she was some ghost, and having got the beheaded head of her husband after a great effort and difficulty, and cry over that. She does not have the liberty to beat her chest. She could not arrange for a pyre and do a Sahagamana.150 There were no Karmas. No otherworlds. No God. It is not known as to what is the otherworld for the person who died. What is this vow - that is so exact, so tough, so mean and disgusting, with such an uncertain result, that which is empty, and that which is going against the happiness that a normal human desires, and that which is so worldly? What is this strictness of adherence to the principles? She could not make any sense of it. But she must stay on with her son. Without speaking out anything, she placed her son's right hand on his father's head. She made his say this: This head is my father's. I am taking an oath by placing my hand on the beheaded head of my father. If I sway away from the path of this oath, then may my body be eaten by moths when I am alive! Or else, may I become the food for vultures! Having got bitten by a snake when asleep, may I die while asleep! This is the command of Kanakasimha. The directive of his daughter Dussala. This is a revenge taken on Krishna for having got Saindhava, that is Jayadratha, killed by his conjured trick! I would avenge that death. This hatred is embodied by me. I would always follow the orders of the calender makers of Ramatha country. I sold my soul and my body to the traditions of Mleccha thoughts. I am not what I am. I do not have control over my body. I have no relation with either happiness or sadness. I would marry. I would marry only to foster this vow of mine. I would beget children. Those children are meant for fostering this vow, they are not my children. That wife, and my son are my wife and son for the sake of Kanakasimha's revenge. They are not for my sake. Up on which, Dussala took a little amount of mud in her hand, rubbed it on the clotted blood near the neck of the cut head, and drew a swastik mark on Jayadratha's heart. Both of them came out of that hut. They should not go inside that hut after that. The fellow who brought the box, and the fellow who was guarding the house, both of them
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Suicide on husband's funeral pyre

went inside, and brought some of the instruments that they had. They started in the direction of Ramatha country. (The next novel in the series: Fumes of Atheism151)

151

Nastikata Atheism differences - elaborate