Thursday, 5 April 2012

1. The Begining

   वक्रतुंड महाकाय कोटिसूर्यसमप्रभ |
   निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा || ||
     O Lord Ganesha, of huge body with elephant head, shining like billions of suns, O God,  remove all obstacles from my endeavors, forever.
     Our story starts at Ayodhya which is on the banks of the river Sarayu.  Does it ring a bell in your head?  Right?  Yes, it is the very same Ayodhya where the Babri Masjit episode took place.  But our story took place long, long ago.  At that time no Babri Masjit was there.  There was no Ram Mandhir.  Why, there was no Ram either!  He is going to arrive in this chapter!
     At the time of our story, Ayodhya was the capitol of the great kingdom of Kosala.  One chap called Dasaratha was the king of that kingdom.  Subjects of the kingdom under his rule were talking about it that it was the best of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the epoch of belief,  it was the season of Light, it was the spring of hope, we had everything before us, we were all going direct to heaven, and so on and so forth.  Sounds like RamaRajyam?  Yes, of course!   Do you know what Bhagwan Shri Ram did when he succeeded to the throne?  He simply tweaked the rules here and there and claimed it as RamaRajyam!  It was virtually DasarathaRajyam and Shri Ram took the credit!  I agree that there is nothing wrong in the son taking credit for the work of his dad.  I merely stated the factual position.
     Oh! Hare Ram!  Someone is shouting something in my ears!  Hey!  Who is that?  Who?  Alter ego!  He says tha he is my alter ego!  What do you want?  What?  Oh!  He wants me to write what  the people of Ayodhya say about the present day government!  How the hell do I know?  I have never gone to Ayodhya!  What?  He says that it is the same as anywhere else in the country!  Okay!  If you say so.  What?  You want me to write it?  No, my dear AE!  It may offend the people in the helm of affairs.  You insist?  But I do not know.  You dictate and I type?  Okay!  I typed what my alter ego dictated.                     
    It is the worst of times, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of  incredulity, it is the season of Darkness, it is the winter of despair, we had nothing before us, we all feel that HELL will certainly be better than this!
     At the start of our story King Dasaratha was quite old.  He had  no son.  He yearned for at least one.  He had three wives,  Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra.  So, one for each wife would be splendid.   After very many thoughtful thoughts, he approached his guru, philosopher and guide, the great sage Vasishtha  and told him frankly "Sir, you know that as a young prince I was very handsome, extremely virile and strong.   As such I found that one wife was not sufficient for me.  Therefore, I married three beautiful princesses.  I did not like to be disturbed when I was with any of my wives.  I therefore followed family planning.  I agree that it was foolish.  I now want at least one son;  but  I found that I could  not procreate.   Nowadays I do not feel like sleeping with any of my wives.  I sleep in my chamber alone.    Please help me."  
     Maharishi Vasishtha thought for a while and said "Rajan! In those days I hinted that what you were doing was not correct, but as an immature youth you did not listen to me.  Anyhow there is no point in blaming the past faults now.  At the moment I have no solution.  But as every problem will have a solution, yours also should have one.  Let me consult my seniors, colleagues and other learned sages and get back to you as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, keep praying Bhagwan Mahavishnu".   With this the maharishi dismissed the king.
     While the maharishi Vashishta was thinking about the problem of the King, Lord Brahma in Satyaloka was being gheraod by all Devas lead by Devendra, their king.  
     Wait a minute.  Somebody is shouting in my ears!  Who is that?  You!  That is my dear alter ego, again!  What do you want?  Tell the readers about BramaPatram?  Thanks!  Will do.  He wants me  to tell you about 'Brahma Patram' which may have some role in our story.  It is like this:  The three great Godesses Parvathi, Mahalakshmi and Saraswathi formed a ladies club.  They only were/are the permanent members.  Others like Indrani, Valli, Devayani would be invited at the pleasure of any permanent member.  One day Godesses Parvathi and Mahalakshmi were teasing Godess Saraswathi.  Tulasi leaf was associated with Lord Mahavishnu and Bilva Patra was associated with Lord Siva.  No leaf was associated with Lord Brahma.  Goddess Saraswathi felt humiliated and therefore left abrubtly.  On reaching Satyaloka she demanded her husband why he did not have any leaf associated with him.  Lord Brahma asked her why she suddenly wanted to know that.  She told.  Lord Brahma thought for a while and did something.  Then he told his wife that he had just created one leaf associated with him.  That was called BrahmaPatram.  That would be used by almost all humans in the earth in any of the three ways viz.  burn it and inhale the smoke,  chew it, and  thirdly dry it and make a fine powder of it and inhale one or more pinches through their nose.  Once started, the habit would be very, very hard for him/her to give up.  Brahma Patram is called Tobacco in English language.  Godess Saraswathi became very happy.
     Now, back to the gherao.  The devas were accusing Lord Brahma that he granted boons left and right to the ten-headed rakshash king Ravana; that all his (God Brahma's)  four mouths were competing in granting boons to that rakshash.  That Rakshash had now become very, very powerful and was harassing them.  He stole the Pushpaka Vimanam from Kuberan.  They were absolutely powerless to fight him.  They ran away when they see him.   They learnt that he was planning to dethrone Indira.  They requested Brahma to do something to have him killed.
     Lord Brahma pondered for a while and said "Dear Devendra, dear Devas it is true that I granted him all the boons he wanted.  I had to.  His penances were so powerful, strong and forceful that if I refused to grant any of the boons he wanted,  well you all know what will happen to me then.  Ah!  There is silver lining!  He wanted protection from all except human beings.  Obviously he  thought that humans were so puny and therefore there would absolutely be no threat from them.  That is it!  A human will have to kill him!  Lord Mahavishnu is slated to kill him. (see the BLOG ).  For that He has to be born as a human!  I therefore, suggest you all go to Him for a solution".  The gherao was then lifted and all the gheraoers started going to Vaikundam.  Lord Brahma patted himself for his clever extrication from the gheroa.
     Vaikundam was not so open to all, even to Devendra.  There was heavy and tight security.  One had to clear seven security gates.  Only Devendra was allowed inside, that too after very prolonged arguments, persuasions, altercations and wranglings with the security people at all the seven gates.  In the sanctum sanctorum, Devendra saw Mahavishnu sleeping!  His consort Goddess Mahalakshmi indicated him to sit and went inside.  Therefore there was only one thing Devendra could do and he did that!  That is he fell on his knees and started praying silently Lord Vishnu with folded hands.   After some time Lord Mahavisnu opened his eyes and looked at Devendra and asked with twinkling  eyes "To what am I indebted to the honour of this visit, Devendra?".  Devendran fell flat on his face (i.e. ஷாஷ்டாங்க நமஸ்காரம்) and said between weeps "Sir, you know very well why I have come to you".  Bhagwan said "As soon as I wake up, my wife would give me a cup of hot steaming coffee; she has never taken so much time as of now!  Without coffee I could not think anything!".  Then He shouted "Lakshmi!  I am awake!  Where is my coffee?  Devendran is here.  Please bring one cup for him, too".  The next moment Goddess Lakshmi appeared with two cups of steaming hot coffee!  She said "I am very sorry my dear!  Milk was exhausted.  I sent for Kamadenu, but she was servicing your sister.  Hence the delay."  Bhagwan nodded and said "That is okay, my darling" and took one cup.  Goddess Lakshmi offered the other to Devendran.  He took the same, sipped and exclaimed  "What a delicious drink!  This is tastier than Amrit!(அமிர்தம்)  What is it called?".
     "Coffee" said Goddess Lakshmi.
     "Where from did you get it?".
     "Which part of Bhulok?" asked Devendran.
     Goddess Lakshmi smiled and asked him why he wanted to know it.
     "I want to get some for myself and my family" said Devendran.
     Goddess Lakshmi smiled again and said "Devendra!  It is not available now.  One has to travel to the future.  Almost to the end of Kaliuga.  You are not authorised time travel.  So forget coffee".
     Devendran almost said "Shit!" but controlled himself.  He then finished his coffee and smacked his lips and started telling his travails.  He then noticed a beautiful Apsaras in front of him.  She smiled at him, cleared the coffee cups and started going inside.  Devendran started ogling at her.  Bhagwan said in a loud voice "Devendra!  It seems you have forgotten Ahalya episode! (See Ahalya ) Would you like everyone see all your real eyes?".
     Devendran fell flat, face facing down,(i.e.ஷாஷ்டாங்க நமஸ்காரம்) before the God and said "Bhagwan!  Please pardon me!  Such a thing will not happen again, I promise".
     Bhagwan said "Okay!  Get up.  Remember, if you repeat it, then what I said will happen.  Now tell me why have you come to me.".
     He told Bhagwan his woes.  Bhagwan thought for a while and sent for Dhanvandhri.  Bhagwan asked him whether the 'Puthrakameshti Layheum' was ready.  Dhanvandhri replied that it was almost ready and would be fully ready within a few days.  Bhagwan said "I told you to get it ready quite sometime ago.  Why is it not ready yet?".
     Dhanvandhri said "Sir, it was actually ready a few days ago.  One of my bright assistants suggested that by adding Sildenafil citrate, the efficacy of the paste would be vastly increased.  I should have thought it myself.  It was a brilliant suggestion.  We added that and the new paste is under test;  actually the test was complete and I was examining the reports.  I have studied 80 out of the one hundred test cases reports; they are very promising.  When I was about to study the 81st report, your call came".   Bhagwan noded and said "Well!  Make sure that it is ready within a couple of days.  King Dhasaratha will be performing Puthrakameshti Yagam in a few days.  I, along with Aadhi Seshan, Sangu and Chakra will be born to him.  Make three units of the Layheum and have it given to the King Dhasaratha through one of your deputies who will raise from the yaga fire and hand over the leyheum to the king with suitable instructions".
     Dhanvanthri seemed to be somewhat confused.  He asked Bhagwan "Sir,  I beg thousand pardons!  I thought you said you will be born to the King as four sons whereas you asked me to give only three units of the Leyheum.  Should it not be four units?".
     "No.  I said THREE units.  You do exactly what I tell you.  I will manipulate the rest."  said Bhagwan.  Dhanvanthri was then dismissed.  Bhagwan then turned to Devendran and said "King Dasaratha has already consulted Maharishi Vasishta about begetting son(s) for him.  Tell the Maharishi to advise the king to perform Puthrakameshti Yagam.  In the meanwhile tell your cronies to be born as monkeys in Kiskindha.  They will be fighting the Rakshasas under my command."
     "What about me, Sir?" asked Devendran.
     "I think there is no need.  It seems that you have not seen your face in a mirror" smiled the Lord.  He then nodded for Devendra's dismissal. 
     As advised by Maharishi Vashishta, King Dasaratha performed the Puthrakameshti Yagam in a grand scale.  As directed, one of the deputies of Dhanvanthri appeared from the flame of the yagam.   He actually wanted to be an actor; but his parents overruled him and admitted him as an apprentice to Dhanvanthri.  He accepted his fate and learned the job as best as he could and now he had become a deputy to Dhanvanthri.  However, he could not forget his ambition to become an actor and whenever an opportunity presents he showed his acting talents which was by no means less commendable than a very famous and highly talented actor of that time!  For that very reason he was chosen for this job.  He came out of the yaga flame as majestically as an emperor.  He was holding the golden bowl containing the paste for progeny.  He boomed out loudly like a thunder the name of the king Dhasaratha and said "The Devas are pleased with you and are answering your prayer.  Here is the progeny paste sent by the gods for you.  Mix one-third of it with cow's milk and give half of it to your first wife at bedtime and take the other half yourself.  You will find that the night would be highly pleasant.  Repeat this on the second and third day, I mean night, with your other two wives.  Remember this.  Not a speck of this or the milk in which this was mixed should fall on the ground.  If that happens then the result would be catastrophic.  Good Luck!" and vanished, of course after handing over the bowl of progeny paste to he King Dasaratha.
     King Dasaratha took the bowl and kept it safely in his chamber at a very safe place.  He then ordered extra security for his chamber.  Next morning he sent word to his first queen Kausalya that he will have dinner with her in her chamber and sleep there afterwords.   In spite of the fact that it was mid summer, he conveyed to her prime queen that he would have an early dinner.  He could not wait.  Much earlier than the dinner time (i.e. than the advanced dinner time) he went to his chamber took the bowl and took a third of the paste and mixed carefully with milk in a cup, poured half of it in an another cup and went to the queen Kausalya's chamber.  He himself carried both the cups - he did not trust any servant, as he was afraid that the servant may drop a cup or spill some milk inadvertently.  Queen Kausalya was very much surprised, but was very happy and highly pleased.  After dinner, he gave one cup of milk mixed with the progeny paste to his wife and drank the other himself.  That night was most pleasant for Dasaratha as well as for his wife Kausalya.
     Next turn was queen Kaikeyi's.  She was all agog.  She started her preparations right from the time she got up.  She completely reorganized her chamber.  Even as a child she had a flair for interior decorations.  She meticulously chose the items for the forthcoming dinner and gave very elaborate instructions to the cook.  She fixed the time for dinner an hour earlier than the previous day and informed the king accordingly.  Unfortunately in the evening just before the revised dinner time, an emergency arose and the king had to convene his cabinet, discuss the problem thoroughly, examine all pros and cons carefully and pass suitable orders.   King Dasaratha was nothing like the present day CMs, PMs, Presidents etc.  Welfare of his kingdom precedes everything including personal matters.  If he was to choose between welfare of his kingdom and a son he yearned so much, he, without any second thought, would have chosen welfare of his kingdom.  It took quite a long time to decide the course of action and pass orders accordingly.  In the meanwhile queen Kaikeyi was fuming and fretting.  When the time was past the usual dinner time Kaikeyi made a vow that she would make the old goat suffer for this.  After sometime she made another vow that she would make the son of the Queen Kausalya suffer, too, for the reason that the king showed so much affection to her and very partial to her(i.e. Kaykeyi).  It was quite late when the king entered queen Kaikeyi's chamber.  Dasaratha was offering profuse apologies.  But queen Kaikeyi was not in a mood to listen to any explanations.    Not a word was spoken during dinner.  The king offered silently the cup of milk with the progeny paste.  The queen took it and drank it silently.  The night was quite satisfactory.  Nevertheless the king was feeling uneasy and could not sleep well.    He got up much earlier than dawn.  He silently went to the other side of the bed and peered at the face of his queen.  She was sleeping soundly - may be she was pretending!  He quickly went out and to his own chamber and slept peacefully there for a while.
     Next day (I mean night) was that of queen Sumitra.  That night was very satisfactory for both the king and Sumitra.
     After returning to his chamber from Sumitra's in the morning, he checked the bowl in which the paste was given to him to ensure that it was absolutely clean.  The king was very much surprised to find that there was some paste left in the bowl.  He thought for a while and smiled to himself.  He kept back the bowl in the safe place.
     Just before dinner time the king completely cleared the remaining paste into a cup of milk.  He checked and double checked that not even a speck of the paste was left in the bowl.  With a smile he entered the chamber of Sumitra with the cup of milk.  Sumitra was mightily surprised and was very happy.   After dinner, the cup of milk was shared and then the bed.  In the next morning the king thought that the previous night was the best night in his life.
     In due course of time all the three queens were declared pregnant.  The king was ecstatic, naturally.  Not only the king but the whole kingdom of Kosala was very happy.  All the people were anxiously awaiting the birth of their princes, they knew that all the babies would be princes (not princesses or princess and prince mixture) because they all knew of the yaga and the paste in the golden bowl.  After waiting for about ten months (it was same as now) their four princes came to this world.  Queen Kausalya's son was named Rama - the Hero of our story, queen Kaikeyi's son was named Bharatha (the 'Bharat' referred to in 'India, that is Bharat' in para 1 Part I of the Constitution of India, is NOT this Bharatha but entirely a different one not at all connected with our story).  Queen Sumitra's sons (yeah, twins - because of the two successive nights with the progeny paste) were named Lakshmana and Satrughna.
     Long live the King!  Long live the Princes!! 

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